Auditions are a pain.
When a project calls for a particular timbre of voice with a distinct delivery style, the only submission the customer wants to hear is a custom audition of their script.
Fair enough. Even if the Demo Sample search is as detailed as ours, it can still be challenging to unearth the vocal sound you have in your head.
So whilst we still think it's best to cast voice actors using pre-recorded Demos, we will put out an open casting call to our vast community of voice-over talents if the job is of significant commercial value.
There are surprisingly many ways to audition for a project. It's daunting, and if you're a novice, you might think it's an opportunity to flex. Don't.
Following the 7 top tips and tricks below will ensure your auditions have the best chance of success.
1. Follow the brief
Oh hey! It's the same point I just made, but this time in bullet point form! The reason I repeat this is that it is the single most important rule.
Very often, when I request a significant number of auditions at once—such as a mysterious character voice that any number of people may be capable of—I will automatically exclude anyone who doesn't follow the brief.
Don't go there. Read the brief properly and follow the instructions. It's not hard, but so many forget, and it's crucial.
2. Only read the script
Don't say your name or waffle on with any pre-amble. Clients will always have to listen to multiple auditions, so get down to it quickly. If your audition starts with some variation on the theme of “oh hi guys, it's so nice to get the chance to audition here, I'm going to do three quick reads…” then a client (which also includes me for this point) will almost certainly skip over it.
Part of the reasoning behind Voquent's Demo Sample system is that clients want to make decisions quickly, usually within the first few seconds. Splitting a long and diverse Reel into individual Samples makes it easier to find the right voice immediately and discard Demos that don't fit the brief.
The same applies to auditions – get to the point!
Also, unless explicitly told otherwise, don't watermark your Samples either. We cannot accept watermarked auditions, Demos or Reels.
Keeping the audition itself brief and to the point will make you stand out more, or at the very least ensure you aren't immediately disregarded.
3. Send a single mp3.
This one is probably the single most specific and universally applicable piece of advice in this article. Mp3 files are considerably smaller in file size than wavs, and most people can't tell that much difference between them in terms of sound quality.
For auditions, the client will not be listening for audio quality and will mainly be focusing on more subjective aspects such as tone and character. Sending an mp3 means your audio file doesn't take up too much space, which will be maximally convenient for whoever compiles the auditions.
Remember: you want to be the most convenient choice!
Sending the audio as an e-mail attachment is also more convenient for the producer because having to click on a WeTransfer, Google Drive, or Dropbox link is an extra layer of difficulty for someone (like me) dealing with hundreds of auditions. Being able to drag an e-mail attachment into a folder is so much easier.
Of course, some agencies or platforms will require you to deliver the sample following their process. So this rule is specifically for Voquent.
4. DO NOT start the audition with any breaths, lip smacks, or mouth noises.
This links with point number 2 about “only reading the script”.
I know some of you may like to get in character by “acting” like the character with some ad-libbed breaths, lip smacks or mouth noises – but it’s gross!
Blustering, pompous, old British professor types characters often contain these sorts of noises. ‘Monster’ characters, too, often have people doing grotesque guttural ‘snorts’.
Unless these sounds are recorded exceptionally well, with flawless microphone technique, this will sound horrible and need a lot of editing to sound pleasant. Remember, if your audition starts with an unpleasant sound, then a client is more likely to skip over to the next one unless that unpleasant sound is actually in the script, of course!
5. DO NOT ask for feedback on the audition.
In almost every situation, a producer or client will be reviewing dozens (sometimes hundreds) of auditions, so they will not have time to respond to your e-mail chasing for feedback.
Someone will be in touch if you're chosen. If not, then chalk it up to experience and keep an eye out for the next opportunity.
We rarely get individual feedback from our customers, and the Voquent producers sadly don't have the time to get back to every voice actor individually.
6. Only reply to an audition request with your audition: NOTHING ELSE.
When you are auditioning, that is all you have been invited to do.
Don’t use the opportunity to ask about other work, send a Reel, or talk about how keen you are to work with the client in the future. That is irrelevant to an extremely busy client and is liable to irritate them because you are demanding more attention than they can provide.
I often get e-mails from people asking about the quality of the Samples on their profile or sending me a complete calendar of availability. All this is entirely irrelevant to the task at hand— audition for this specific project.
If you are shortlisted by other means for more work, we will contact you separately. This neatly brings me full circle to…
7. Follow the brief
This point may look suspiciously familiar, but it is the most important rule.
Following the brief is the bare minimum you need to do for your audition to qualify for a shortlist. Anything less will ensure immediate disqualification.
Also, if the brief contradicts any of the points made in this article, then follow that brief.
If you follow these seven straightforward tips, this will increase your chances of success here at Voquent and many other agencies.
However, please remember this is far from a guarantee of work. The decision to hire is entirely subjective and infinitely variable.
But if you follow these steps (unless specifically told otherwise), you will be optimally convenient to the producer or client and be far more likely to get through to the final stages.
Thank you in advance!
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