Voiceover Auditions...Details, Decisions, Delivery and NO DOUBTS -

12 January 2012
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Voiceover Auditions…Details, Decisions, Delivery and NO DOUBTS

By Dan Friedman

Happy 2012! What better way could there possibly be to start a new year than with new opportunities, auditions and more voiceover work? Auditions are like a job interview, and it is important to get them right. Everyone approaches their auditions differently, but I’m guessing that if you are going to take the time to audition for something… you are hoping to get the job. Obviously you want to do anything you can to increase that possibility, but more importantly… do nothing to decrease or eliminate that possibility entirely. Here are some tips to help ensure that you are providing exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.

Provide one or two takes (under some circumstances 3 takes) of your best interpretations of the script. Some people submit auditions with numerous takes, sometimes as many as six or more, often without any significant variation in the delivery. This is not a good strategy. Casting directors, engineers and clients do not have time to sort through those takes with the hope of finding what it is they are looking for (not even if they like your voice or delivery). Very few decision makers are willing to listen to more than a few seconds of an audition, much less take after take of either wildly unlikely deliveries or worse, the same delivery over and over again with just a few changes in inflection.

Making a decision on a delivery is an important part of being a voiceover pro. It shows that you can follow the road map the script provides. Offering an alternate delivery shows that you can travel a different direction, but still reach your destination. Submitting lots of different reads or submitting lots of reads in the same style… indicates  that you are probably lost.

Next is the issue of sound quality. Why should any prospective client trust that you are going to be able to provide great sounding audio, if you didn’t do so in the audition? Its been my experience that the requested turnaround time for getting an audition out to an agency is usually around 24 hours (at least). This amount of time should allow every VO pro to take a few minutes to record an audition properly. I don’t believe that you should sacrifice quality in an effort to get an audition delivered quickly. Quick delivery of a poor sounding audition does nothing more than allow decision makers to pass on your submission faster. Unless you are instructed to do otherwise, send voiceover auditions in mono. You are a single source of sound, therefore mono is preferred. Stereo is simply unnecessary, as is the larger file size.

Follow all of the instructions carefully. Preferences about slating and naming conventions vary a little from place to place, but these instructions are always provided and should be followed exactly. Also, be sure that your contact information is included if it is not already well known to the person or agency sending the audition. How can you do the work if people are unable to contact you?

Finally and most importantly, believe in yourself. My friend Terry Daniel mentioned this in a recent facebook post:

“When auditioning, if you think you’re not going to get the gig, you probably won’t. One of my agents told me that when she receives submissions, about one out of every four talents reply back saying, “I’m sure I won’t get it but here it is!” Buck up and believe that you are going to get the job, every time!” 🙂

You do not have to audition for everything that comes your way. There are many reasons why you may not be the right voice for a particular job; if the specs don’t suit you, you lack confidence in your ability to deliver a certain message or style, or perhaps you just aren’t connecting with the script. Whatever your reasons, if you have doubts they will usually be reflected in your audition. While you don’t necessarily have to believe in every product, person or position that the message of a script is communicating, you do have to believe in yourself and believe that you are the right person to be delivering that message.

Good luck and best wishes for a successful 2012!

2 responses on “Voiceover Auditions…Details, Decisions, Delivery and NO DOUBTS

  1. More great advice, Dan.

    Most of those I receive audition notices from are very specific: they want no more than two takes, and usually they will require the second take to be submitted in a separate mp3 file. Instructions for both slating and naming of the file can also be very specific. Following instructions is something we learn early in school, and those requesting auditions will simply toss them out if their instructions are not followed. And, as for audio quality, yes… it has to be professional quality.

    When I receive an audition notice with style parameters I feel are a good match, I’ll give it my best. But I won’t agonize and constantly second-guess my take(s). However, when I receive notices for auditions that are not quite my ‘speed,’ I will not submit. To do so would be a waste of time, for everyone involved. For example, one audition notice requested a Chicago accent. With a bit of practice, I could probably come close… perhaps. But there are plenty of Chicago-based voice actors who wouldn’t have to practice, and who would obviously be the better choice.

  2. Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re always right!

    You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s true in life and true for auditions. If you doubt you’ll make the cut, why waste your time doing the audition in the first place. Lack of conviction is never convincing.

    Beginners have the tendency to audition for everything that comes their way. If you don’t get the part, it’s still great practice, right?

    Wrong!

    You practice to audition. You don’t audition to practice.

    My advice: audition less but when you do, make every second count.

    Great stuff Dan.

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