Voice Acting Auditions
Voice acting auditions are something that voice actors absolutely have to get used to in their careers. Voice actors breaking into the business certainly have to audition constantly. Established voice actors, however, usually have to keep auditioning throughout their careers as well. Laura Bailey, the famous anime voice actress, still goes to auditions and is still turned down from time to time!
Note that there are different ways to audition in the voice acting world. There are online auditions and there are auditions which are done in person. Nowadays most auditions take place online though there are auditions to be had in person for the more high profile jobs. A voice actor should prepare for both. We’ll look into these types of audition and provide you with tips to achieve good results.
This post has been updated in August 2021.
Online Voice Acting Auditions
One of the great things about new technologies is that they have allowed voice actors to audition from home. Indeed, not too long ago, voice actors had to live in a major city and be constantly auditioning in person, even for small jobs and parts. There are some specific things to take into account if you are auditioning online:
- Set up a home mini-studio: To make sure samples are of excellent quality it is important to have a mini-studio at home. To this end, try to set up a quiet space which is soundproofed and has a good microphone, pop shield, XLR cable, mixer/interface, computer and recording software.
- Learn the technical aspects well: It is important that you practice recording and sending files. Make sure you understand this technical aspect and don’t have to fret and worry when a big audition finally comes up.
- Training: Many people have good voices but don’t know how to use them effectively and safely in voice acting. To learn technique, there are many different possibilities such as training programs. If these are not affordable, try reading books on using your voice safely, watch YouTube videos for singing technique, join a choir or community theater, take improv classes or act in student short films. Practice makes perfect.
When you get the Audition
- Prepare your lines: Know the script. If there are words you do not know, look them up. Even if it is a short script, try to understand it well before finally committing to recording it.
- Practice first: Recite your lines with a friend or even coach, if you have one. If not, try to record yourself saying the lines and spot where you might be able to do better. If you prefer to read the lines in front of a mirror, then do that. The great thing about online auditions is precisely that they afford you the possibility for trial and error until you get the right sound.
- Don’t Overwork Yourself: Practicing is necessary but be sure not to exaggerate and tire your voice.
On the Day of the Audition
- Be Rested: Online auditions permit you to schedule your time more effectively. If you are tired before recording, rest. You can always record and submit your audition after a short nap.
- Warm-up your voice: Don’t tire your voice but make sure it is warmed up to be able to use safely.
- Time: Try to record your audition in the morning, before you have been speaking long and thus have tired your voice. This is a personal choice though; some voice actors find their best moment at other hours of the day. Try to find yours too.
During the Audition
- Follow Instructions: Different clients will have different instructions. Follow them carefully.
- Slating: Don’t forget to state your name and the part you’re reading for and only then, start your audition. This is standard unless the instructions state otherwise.
- Write a Proposal: Often you will have to attach a cover letter (or proposal, as it is called in the industry). It basically addresses the client personally and tells them who you are, and why you are the right choice for the part, as well as a quote of your services. Unless instructions state otherwise, it may be wise to write one. Use your judgment.
- If appropriate submit multiple takes: Sometimes it will be appropriate to submit different takes of a script. Consider using this system: One take for scripts of over 30 seconds; two takes for scripts between 15 and 30 seconds; three takes for scripts under 10 seconds. Remember to fully edit the tracks.
- Time frame: If there is a mandatory time frame, make sure you time yourself in practice runs and then are able to send a sample respecting the time limit.
- How much to read: There are different versions of this. Many point out that if a script is longer than 60 seconds, only a portion of the script should be read and recorded for the audition. Perhaps aim for 15-30 seconds, so about a paragraph should do.
After the Audition
- Turn in auditions fast: The key is to be auditioning and sending these online auditions as soon as you get them. Keep on Trucking!
In-Person Voice Acting Auditions
As mentioned earlier, some jobs will usually demand in-person voice acting auditions. This is especially true if the job is larger and higher profile. Auditioning in person will require many of the same abilities acquired by auditioning online. There are some things which are specific to in-person auditioning and tips to succeed in this field:
Before the Audition
- Getting an Audition: One of the biggest hurdles in a voice acting career is to get those first auditions. A resume and demo reel, as well as robust networking and use of social media will help a voice actor get those first few crucial breaks.
- Practice cold reading: Sometimes you will have a script beforehand, at least partially. Other times though, you may be expected to cold-read. This means you will be given a script in the audition and expected to voice act almost immediately. Like other skills, you can practice this one. Take a script and do a cold read and understand the problems you encounter. Do this over and over again with different new scripts to understand what a cold-read is all about.
When you get the Audition
- Research the director: It is important to understand who it is exactly that you will be auditioning for.
- Research the genre: Each genre of voice acting has its own set of particular characteristics. If it is anime, for instance, the particular requirements will be different than those for a live-action film. Try to study the basics of each genre when preparing for an audition.
- Prepare the character: Although sometimes you will be given a partial script, see if it is possible to have a full script. Understanding your character’s arc will provide material for a fuller, better performance. It is also important to give the character a particular style, which will make you stand out in the audition. Think about how to show the entire reality of this character through its voice.
The Night Before
- Control your nerves: If you are nervous, try to do some very light exercise (too much exercise might cause problems in going to sleep later). Drink a hot beverage. Have a hot shower. Try not to cram in last-minute practice and rather focus on other activities like watching television, deep breathing or listening to music.
- Rest: Have a good night’s sleep, hopefully, eight hours at least.
On the Day of the Audition
- Eat well: A good breakfast is the perfect way to start your important audition day. Remember to eat well during the day too. If the audition is in the afternoon, a good lunch is necessary, though make sure you don’t overstuff yourself. Pack some sort of high energy snack with you for later.
- Hydrate: Drink enough liquid throughout the day. Also pack some water to the audition.
- Dress comfortably: Dress professionally, but be comfortable. Wear shoes that are comfortable too. No need to call attention to yourself with bombastic clothing; your voice will, quite literally, do all the talking!
- Clear your schedule: Plan for enough time to arrive early and leave late. Don’t be in a rush. Prepare for delays in the audition process.
- Get there early: Better to get in there early than to have to rush and maybe not make it in time at all. Be sure to account for traffic. Check-in with the people holding the audition when you arrive and let them know you’re there.
During the Audition
- Improvise: When in doubt, improvise. The last thing you want to do is to freeze.
- Be You: It sounds cliché, but it is true. The best thing you can now do is showcase your abilities that only you bring to the table.
After the Audition
- Be Patient: You did your best and now it is time to let go. Getting the part or not getting it is fine. If you get the job, congratulations, but if you don’t it was still a learning process that will serve you well later.
- Keep going: We need to turn ‘pro’ in our chosen fields. This means to keep going, win or lose. There will always be a new battle ahead to prepare for. Auditioning is a voice actor’s job.
Troubleshooting Voice Acting Auditions
In both online and in-person voice acting auditions, it is normal to be auditioning a lot and to be succeeding in only a few auditions. Nothing to worry about there. However, if you are losing out on too many auditions, perhaps consider the following possibilities:
- You’re too nervous: Perhaps you are having trouble controlling your nerves and it is showing. Try to handle your nerves better before the audition. Know that the outcome of the audition is secondary. What’s important is simply doing your best. There will always be another one.
- You incorrectly assume a particular style or tone: Perhaps you think that a particular take on the script is warranted but are not quite getting what they might really be looking for. This is absolutely normal. Communicate better with the people looking to hire and get to know their expectations of you.
- You’re not following directions correctly: Be sure to understand the instructions given to you, particularly in online auditions, where there is no immediate feedback. If it is in an in-person audition heed their advice and instructions as best you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that might help you give a better performance.
- Stay professional: Be punctual and courteous and be sure to thank everyone involved.
- Don’t lose your temper: Even if the audition does not go well, stay calm. These same people may very well hire you in the future.
- You don’t have a practice space set up: Remember that practice makes perfect. It is a great idea to have a practice space that is as professional as possible. It will help you practice for in-person auditions but will also make your samples for online auditions have great technical quality.
- You don’t understand the script well: Try to go underneath the dialogue. What do the characters want? What is the purpose of this scene? Find the obstacle that is blocking the character from getting what they want. Remember that voice acting is, first and foremost, acting.
Voice actors audition constantly. This is true of new actors but experienced voice actors must constantly audition as well. In many ways, auditioning is a voice actor’s main job. There are online voice acting auditions and in-person voice acting auditions. The former are perhaps the most popular today, though high profile and high paying jobs will still audition in person. A voice actor must strive to master both.
There are several things an actor can do before, during and after voice acting auditions to aim for success. The main one though is to be patient and keep going, never taking rejection personally. If there are perhaps far too many rejections a voice actor is well advised to take a look at certain sticking points we described here, but the main premise remains: Keep on trucking and you will get there!
Are you ready to start you voice acting career? Hop on to Bunny Studio.