Auditioning is stressful. There’s no getting around it. But that doesn’t mean auditioning is bad!
On the contrary, auditioning presents us actors with the type of stress that’s actually kind of good for us - it’s an invitation to think about the copy we’re presented more deeply to deliver a product that’s more effective to become better versions of the artists (and business owners) we’re wanting to be.
While it would be wonderful to be hired for every single project we audition for, that’s just not realistic. So when auditioning, we each have to call upon our unique strengths, coaching, training, and insights to help us deliver the very best product we can for our potential clients.
Here are a few tips for mastering any audition confidently (from a Voice Actor’s point of view).
When we’re given the opportunity to audition for a project, the first step for any audition is to understand what is being asked of us as the talent. It’s nearly impossible to give a decent audition if we’re not sure what someone wants, which is why we’re usually given a project description and some notes.
No matter if you’re auditioning on a casting site where project descriptions are usually pretty thorough or if a potential client reaches out to you directly via email, you will usually be given information about the project and some notes for what the client is looking for from you for the piece.
Take some time with the project description and read over the copy a few times with that direction in mind before you hit record. If you’re still unsure what’s expected of you, set up a phone call with your client or send them an email asking for clarification or examples.
Each time you record, be sure you’re offering up a sample of what you can actually deliver the client. If you try too hard to make yourself sound like what the client is asking for versus being able to naturally provide a certain type of voice, chances are you aren’t a good fit for the project they’re casting. And that is totally fine and normal and honestly, good. There is competition in this industry for a reason - diversity is good and needed. It’s our job to figure out which styles and tones we can best represent and show up with what’s in our wheelhouse when the time comes.
We each bring a unique take on a piece of copy, so be yourself and give them what you’ve got.
Options are always good and I’d say that’s even more true when you’re competing with multiple voices for the same spot.
As Voice Actors, we’re usually given an idea of what a client wants for a project but I find that sometimes the copy doesn’t always fit how I personally think the copy should be read.
It’s not because I’m ‘right’ by any means, it’s just an indication to me that the client is thinking about the script in one way and I have an opportunity to give them a unique take in a different way.
So my recommendation to any Voice Actor auditioning for any role is to give each potential client one take based on what is being asked in the project description and then a second take based on your individual interpretation of the copy and direction.
This provides the client with options when reviewing multiple auditions and shows that you can provide variance for the read. This also provides a great opportunity for you to stand out against the other voices.
One thing I’ve learned in my voiceover career is that it’s never good to assume a client means or wants something they don’t outright ask for.
That’s not your job.
For an initial audition, it’s best to go off of what you’re told, and if a client likes the way you sound during your audition, they’ll reach out with any further wants or needs and you can ask specific questions at that time.
Don’t assume they want a reassuring and professional tone if they straight up ask for a real and believable voice, even if the copy dictates so. Go back to the last tip and give them:
1. What they are directly asking for
2. Your interpretation based on the copy
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s proven to be pivotal in my career.
I recently heard an actor say, “Audition until it’s no longer special.” This has been very helpful for me each time I step into the booth. It doesn’t mean that I find my profession boring or that any single audition doesn’t mean something to me, it’s just the opposite: it means that if I want work and I enjoy what I do, I should be auditioning every day to the point where it is a normal part of my routine and not an exception to it.
When we feel too close to any one thing in our careers, it can be devastating when that one thing (that one gig) doesn’t pan out. So approach each audition as a new opportunity, be excited about it and glad for, and then move on. If you get hired, great! If you don’t get hired, great!
Even though auditioning can be stressful and sometimes daunting, it’s the life blood of any actor’s career. Auditioning provides endless opportunities when we decide to keep putting ourselves, and our work, out into the world. It’s the chance to showcase our individual styles, interpretations, and creative processes. You truly never know what can come from any single audition!