Beginning voice actors spend a lot of time learning technique, which is important, however, very little time is spent on learning how to “act” in a voice-over audition.
The personal impression we leave on casting folks is just as important as the talent we display. In a tense professional studio situation, or on set, nerves can spiral out of control, and the last thing we want to do is leave them with a negative impression.
When I’m nervous, a lot of crazy things can fly out of my mouth!
What do you do, when you get nervous?
Getting control of ourselves at an audition, and learning what to say, and what not to say is imperative.
I’ve compiled a tragically humorous list of some crazy things people have done at auditions below. Try not to be one of these people!
I don’t like this script; I can’t relate to it. Never share your feelings about a script. Your job as a voice-actor is to analyze the script and make the words your own.
I didn’t have much time to work on this. Everybody is busy – including casting folks. This kind of comment will just make them angry. Jump in and do your best.
I’m really nervous. Casting knows this is a tense situation; in fact they are sizing you up as to how you are handling it. Saying you are nervous implies you need hand-holding – not good.
Joking around a lot. This doesn’t show how funny we are, it is irritating to casting, because there are time deadlines and lots of people to see.
Showing up late. Just don’t do it.
Saying that your take “sucked.” I’ve heard this one time and again. Voice-actors are compelled to criticize the work; don’t fall into this trap. After your take – stay quiet and wait for the director’s comments. They may have loved the take – don’t ruin it.
Saying “I’ve never done this before.” Don’t ever admit you’re a newbie.
Engaging in extensive conversation. Saying “hi” and “how are you” or “nice to meet you” is great; anything else is unnecessary.
Sending gifts after an audition. Your “gift” to casting is your great performance. All the champagne in the world won’t get you a gig if you aren’t right for it.
Showing up with a negative attitude. You would be surprised at how often this happens. Often voice actors buy into the “I should be booking more” trap and start to get bitter when they haven’t booked in a while. Don’t be the guy who says “I probably won’t book this” to the other actors. Look at each audition as a fresh start.
Not being familiar with the product/client. Take a few minutes to Google the client/product as well as the casting company. Nothing is worse than not knowing anything about what you are selling.
Disagreeing with the direction given. If you do this, you will probably never work with this person again.
Putting the casting/agency on your email list without asking. I have had this happen to me, and it’s a real turn-off. Perhaps ask the casting assistant outside of the room if it would be ok to do this.
Calling after an audition to find out if you “got it.” When they want you, wild horses can’t drag them away from you.
Calling after an audition to find out why you didn’t get the role. Just don’t.
Asking the casting person out on a date. Security may take you away.
There are many more real-life examples of what not to do at auditions or in studio, and the point is, they all stem from being nervous and insecure. We are always going to feel out of control in these situations, and my best advice is to practice the old adage, “Less is More.” Or, alternatively, “Be Pleasant and Present.” Practice being fully in the moment and enjoying the opportunity to audition. When you book the job, it is very ok to say “I am so excited, thank you so much.” It’s fun to tell someone they’ve booked a job. Let casting know you’re happy!
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Listen to the audio version of this article recorded by the author Nancy Wilson.
Nancy Wilson is a producer and coach at Such A Voice. She is a busy voice actor and environmental writer, as well as a member of the SAG/AFTRA Radio Plays committee.
Check out the video below to learn more of the do’s and don’t’s of a voice-over audition.