Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Why Winning Auditions Are Seldom Made Public

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 28, 2011

Comments (12)

Blonde haired woman thinking"Can we hear winning auditions and see how much they got paid?"

We've been asked that question more times than I can count! The answer is always the same, though. At Voices.com we do not provide talent with access to the voice sample or winning talent's quote.

While that's our answer, I interviewed a number of casting directors, agents and clients to ask what their thoughts were on the matter to give you a more well rounded view of this topic.

Read perspectives from people who hire in today's VOX Daily.

An Age Old Question

Talent using our site often want to know what the winning audition sounded like and how much that talent quoted to get the job. While we don't share this information out of respect for our customers and their privacy, I thought I'd ask around and see if other people run into this and how they respond.

I invited a number of people from different areas within the business to share their thoughts including a New York City talent agent, an LA casting director, a talent who also casts when need be and an LA voice over coach with an agency and casting background.

A Casting Director's Perspective

Todd Resnick of Resnick Interactive in Los Angeles works with voice over talent regularly. He shares, "I do get asked, and a lot. Normally, I won't release the actual rates I pay as they tend to vary based on talent. However, I'm asked more often...who won? Or did I make the running at least? My answer is usually honest and/or at least how ever much information I'm contractually allowed to reveal. More often than not, my hands are tied. I cannot release any information about who we cast or what we are paying the talent. Contracts these days are usually very restrictive about any information related to our negotiations with talent, studios, engineers, the actual project and voice directors."

What about the talent and giving feedback?

Todd went on to say, "I will reveal to the talent where they were in the running and why I didn't choose them. I'm very honest about this. I know it's crucial for an artist to know the nuances of how I make decisions and why these decisions are crucial to my process. I'm very very close to a lot of voice actors. I love my relationships and I will do just about anything that I can to make sure that they're inspired to keep on trying. At the end of the day, I work for publishers, developers and networks. They are my client, not the talent."

A Talent Who Casts

Dana Detrick-Clark often finds herself in a position to cast voice talent for projects she is working on that require a different voice type or gender than her own.

Dana writes, "For me, as a voice caster, I'm not pleasing myself - I have an end client who it's my job to satisfy. My role is to find the 'right' talent, and sometimes, they may not always be the 'best' talent, or the 'most experienced' one. The only requirement is that they be the talent my client can hear most effectively fulfilling the vision they have in their head of what they want. By then putting that winning audition or finished product up for public display, all talent stand to learn is what my particular client heard for that script - not really anything that can educate them. It could be that no matter what direction you took or how much you could even imitate the winner, you still were just not the right voice, and you've wasted valuable time studying something futile instead of gaining more clients."

Why Having A Coach Who Casts Comes In Handy

If a voice talent wants to share what their winning audition sounded like and has permission from the client or casting director to do so, I think that would make for an interesting discourse. The bid itself, even if it was quite high, is likely not to be discussed for any number of reasons as money is a sensitive topic for most people.

Nancy Wolfson of Braintracks Audio is a voice over coach who at one point in her career worked as a voice over talent agent in LA. She is a rare gem who not only coaches but can also open doors for her students in the casting arena as well as coach them privately on how to negotiate fees.

Nancy offered, "I don't ever discuss rates that the agents have negotiated for the talent for several reasons - the talent's income feels like a private matter. Do I share the audition MP3 that won the job? Yes, at times I do share that with students who also auditioned for that same project. Also, I evaluate which of my coursework chapters are present in the winning audition and, with the winning talent's permission, I play for new students the choices the winning Braintracksaudio graduate made in performance. Hearing that winning audition really augments the coursework concepts for the students and validates that the concepts they are learning book work since the talent's use of the concept led to a booking. Lots of students have commented - particularly after having listened to my MP3, Acting for Advertising #10, that hearing the winning audition really locks and loads their understanding of Audition Theory."

Thoughts From An NYC Agent

Expecting to hear what someone was paid or what their audition sounded like is somewhat unreasonable if you did not book the job. That being said, some people don't need to ask because the answer is right in front of them. This is particularly true of on-camera actors or those who perform in theatre as they can clearly see who booked by watching a performance or Googling a cast list. Voice actors who've auditioned for roles in tight knit acting communities within a given market can also find out who booked the job because the finished product is on display and running on radio or television.

Abrams Artists Agency talent agent Billy Serow has seen this firsthand. Working in New York has its benefits as does being in a casting director-centric market.

He writes, "Well, in my world, the strongest relationships exist between casting director and agent. If I'm working on a job, and have actors come down to the wire and get released because someone from another agency booked it, I can ask the casting director who booked it, and they will almost always divulge that information. Most often, the talent will not ask that same question, but just wait for the commercial to air, and hear who got it. In NYC, it's a relatively small group who dominate the industry, and those actors who travel in the same circle know each other's voices quite well, and can determine who won the job without having to ask anyone on the Ad agency level."

Billy went on to say, "I think for actors, the best way to not make yourself crazy with finding out who or what kind of voice books every job you audition for, is to go through the process with blinders on, moving on to the next audition without focusing on what transpired yesterday."

Any Thoughts?

Do you have anything to add to this conversation? What do you think?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Stockphoto4u

Related Topics: agents, how to, industry, Los Angeles, New York, radio


Comments


    Thanks for a good, solid read--ours can be a difficult business for the ego, but it helps for talent to understand that not landing a job isn't (in most cases) a personal rejection, but the producer's quest to obtain just the right voice/delivery for their client. Mental toughness and the ability to get back on the horse and keep at it go a long way in this biz!

    Posted by:

      Thank you for this article. It is useful to be able to have the input of others in why this decision was made and gives me input I hadn't considered. I can now understand why the client may not want to play the winning audition. I also appreciate Dana's comments that even if I do hear the winning audition, it's not going to help me on the next job that I approach, it will just tell me what that client wanted on that one particular job.

      However, I am still struggling to see why the amount that the job closed for is still needed to be kept secret. I understand that talent's finances are private matters, but we don't have to have the winning talent's name disclosed to us. Say a job is posted for a budget of $250 - $500 and I win the job and I had quoted $400. It's not like Voices.com is going to publish "Natalie Donegan just won this job for $400, so far this year that means Natalie has won X$ on Voices.com auditions, making Natalie Donegan's bank account X$."

      I don't believe that you will budge on this issue, but I still wanted to state that I believe this is the wrong way to handle this request. My only other suggestion on the matter is if you won't actually post the amount the job is won for, would you be able to tell us if the job stayed within the budget that the client had suggested e.g. the budget was $250 - $500, when the job closes it would list next to it if the job went below client budget / within client budget / over client budget? That would still be helpful.

      Regards
      Natalie Donegan
      www.britishvoiceovertalent.com

      Posted by:

        Hi Natalie,

        Thank you for your comments. I'm glad you appreciated the input and different perspectives! With regard to your request, I think it is important to consider the client and how they would not want the fee they paid to be made public.

        Where does this sort of thing occur in business?

        If you can provide me with some examples, I'd appreciate it.

        Thanks!

        Stephanie

        Posted by:

          I don't know why so many voice talent are concerned with hearing the winning audition or knowing the rate being paid to the winner. It really doesn't make a hill of beans of difference who won or what they got paid if it's not you. Knowing such information is not going to help in future auditions, because every single audition is a different ball game. You either won the gig or you didn't. If you won, good for you. If you didn't win, just move on and forget about the ones you didn't win. Life is to darn short people. NEXT.

          Posted by:

            All the comments above are worthy and very thought provoking. I must say that I too am curious as to why I may not have landed an audition. I tend to think that I may not have been suitable for the project or another talent was a better fit. I realize also that posting the winning audition and bid would problematic. I was wondering if the new icon system could provide some insight. In other words, maybe have 2 boxes the clients check on rejected auditions. One for "project fit" and one simply "budget" . This at the very least would give the talent some clarity as to why he/she didn't win the job.

            John M. Thomas
            www.jmtvoiceovers.com

            Posted by:
            • John M. Thomas
            • October 30, 2011 10:03 AM

              @ BP:

              I agree that if you don't win a job you need to move on, but I try to view auditions in a way that I want to improve my chances each time I audition. I would like to know if I have been rejected purely on budget, if so, that is an easy fix if I am willing to alter the rate for that type of job. If it is not rate, it would be useful to know why, but I know this is something we cannot always find out. If I can see how much a job finally closed for and say I was consistently rejected on that type of job due to rate I am obviously quoting too high. Without this information I would never know.

              @ Stephanie. My husband is an Estimator in Construction. He receives projects for which he has to estimate a project building cost which is put to the client. At deadline numerous local companies submit a bid. The client will pick the winning bid and my husband getls informed if he was too high or came in with a low number, they also know who the winning company is and what the job closed for. With this they can review their work and see how they can work to meet their next project.

              I guess the other reason why I don't see why it needs to be so secretive is that the budget that the client is willing to pay has all ready been exposed to us. We are then just seeing the finer details within the budget they have all ready quoted.

              I would hate to think that for example a budget job of $250 - $500, when I review that type of job I believe it is worth $500. Now say when the client listed that budget really they wanted it below $250, but they listed the higher parameters just incase the right talent was quoting just above the one below that. If I could see that typically those style of jobs are going for say $225 I would know I need to review my rates.

              Posted by:

                I think Dana has the right angle in terms of where artistry and decision meet. I have long held the view that in all forms of the performing arts the decision comes down to a considered judgment often entailing many factors or simply a whim or gut instinct within the decision-maker. My circle of acquaintance is mainly with theatre practitioners and I will frequently recognise those voices known to me. Because the pool in Melbourne where I live is smaller than in, say, New York, my knowledge of voice-over-only specialists is limited. Life's too short to be worried about such things. This is definitely a case of 'Get over it and move on' and enjoy the surprise when you get the nod. Keep on talkin'

                Posted by:
                • Jim Daly
                • October 31, 2011 9:20 AM

                  Hi Stephanie and all,
                  Thanks for this thought-provoking Vox Daily! When we're talking budget, I sometimes quote higher than the proposed budget, knowing there's a good chance I won't get picked for that reason only. So why do I do this?If I feel the client is budgeting WAYYY too little for the job, if I feel I have a good shot at something that's in keeping with my voice talents, and if they like my voice, perhaps they will consider paying more. It's happened. Sometimes if a client hasn't hired a voice before, they are just throwing a number out there and it isn't realistic. I've also had clients e-mail me and say "we liked your voice; could you do it for $$XXXX? And so then we are in negotiations and I can state why I am charging what I'm charging. Usually they go along; it's rare that a client refuses to budge.

                  And as to who got the job? Not really helpful. Like so many have said before me, take a deep breath and get back to work!

                  Posted by:
                  • Robin Rowan
                  • October 31, 2011 5:08 PM

                    @ Natalie Donegan........Stick to your "Rates", never sell yourself short. There will always be "bottom feeder" Clients and Voice Talent. If you lose the gig, for whatever reason, be totally true to yourself and you'll advance in your own realm as a talent. My favorite word in this business is "NEXT". Remember the rate range that is given on an advertisement is just that, a "range" given by the prospective client. Use your own sensibilities to determine "your" rate to do the project, submit it and let it go.

                    -BP

                    Posted by:

                      @ BP:

                      That's good advice :-)

                      Posted by:

                        @BP- I love the "NEXT" the philosophy. It definitely doesn't pay to get bogged down worrying too much about an audition that's been submitted.

                        Stephanie, once the client begins reviewing the auditions, there are two things I'd like to see on the job page: The # of auditions reviewed (47 of 157 reviewed), and the # of Thumbs Up. I believe someone's mentioned the # of thumbs before, and it'd be nice to know if we're shortlisted in a group of two or if we're 1 of 15.

                        Posted by:
                        • Ben Amos
                        • November 9, 2011 9:18 AM

                          I agree that it would be nice to know if you are in the running for a job or not, because it would save the talent time when it comes to selecting what jobs to audition for. I would also appreciate it, if more of the clients actually listened to your auditions. It seems that the % of clients that actually listen to auditions is pretty low. Which to me means that they have already decided before the job is posted who they're going to hire

                          Posted by:

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