Sound Advice: Tips for Doing Voice Auditions that Won’t Annoy Casting Directors

Voice acting is a tricky gig. On one hand, your good looks won’t get you the part. On the other, you can be a smashing success…in sweatpants. Here at Foth, we work with lots of voice talent; and ergo, do plenty of voice casting. If you dare try your luck in the VO industry, here are a few tips ‘n tricks for putting your best voice forward.

Respond quickly. In the manic ad business, we deal with lots of tight turnarounds. That means we usually have to find our voice actors quickly, in between twelve other projects and feeding the office fish. Often, that means auditions that come in soon after the casting call goes out are more likely to get the role. So, respond to calls ASAP.

Mind the quality of your recording. We know you can’t always get to a studio, and may have to audition with your phone outside of your kid’s jiu jitsu practice. But we still need your tryout to be clear enough to understand and play for a client. I’ve heard auditions that sound like they were recorded at a Bieber concert, if the Biebs was performing in a bat cave 60-feet underground. Find a quiet place (above ground/no Biebs) and show us what you’ve got.

Get right to it. For every call we put out, we receive hundreds (or even thousands) of auditions. So do us a solid and get right to the read. A quick mention of your name (and maybe your talent agency) is helpful, then roll right into your audition. By the time you state your desired role, social security number, zodiac sign and first pet’s name, you’ve lost us.

Words matter. Be careful with pronunciation. If you’re auditioning for “American Florists” but call them “American Flautists,” that’s a problem. Clients are sensitive to that sort of thing (especially when they can’t play an instrument but have always wanted to) and we won’t be able to share your audition. Also, this may seem obvious, but don’t swear unless it’s specifically scripted. If you cuss in an audition for a family-friendly client, you’ve just won an all-expense paid trip to file 13 (that’s the trash).

Give us variety. If you do multiple takes during your audition— which we encourage—switch up your read. Change your delivery, accent, pacing, etc. with each take. If we’ve listened that long, it means we want to see what you can do. Sometimes we’ll mix and match parts of various takes to “sell you” to the client, too. Show us you have range!

Be memorable. Listening to hundreds of voices reading the same script can become monotonous. So, it always catches our ear when a read starts off slightly different than scripted. For instance, a quick “Wow, listen to this!” or similar will grab our attention and make us want to keep listening. Throw in a funny ad lib or two. Make us smile. Please.

Have a recent, easy to locate reel. If we like what we hear, we’ll want to hear more, so we need to be able to find your reel quickly. Keep your website active and up-to-date, preferably with multiple reels for different types of roles (commercial, character, narration, etc.) Make sure your contact info (talent agency/agent, etc.) is a cinch to locate and current, too.

Keep your head up. If you don’t get the part, don’t worry. There are a million reasons we may have gone in a different direction. It could totally be an “It’s not you, it’s us” sort of thing.

The good news is, you never know what other opportunities might come up. Many times, we’re going through auditions for several different roles at the same time. So we may hire you for another part or keep you in mind for future opportunities.

Thanks for auditioning, and keep on keeping on!