Because those involved in casting are counting on you for an excellent delivery, they need to feel that they can trust you with the job.
In most cases, there’s a lot of money and people involved in an advertising campaign. By the time it gets down to hiring the voice talent, almost all the creative work has already been done. It’s now up to you to honor the writer’s intention in the script, and bring something new and inspirational to your read.
There’s a lot riding on you as the voice talent and some folks buckle under the stress.
Casting directors look for someone who can remain focused and friendly, and be able to take direction under pressure. They also want to know that you will bring something more to the table than just simply saying the words correctly. They want you to elevate the copy!
The only way you can reassure casting that they are making the right choice by hiring you is to have true confidence in yourself. There are no shortcuts in this process, just a lot of hard work.
How do we become confident in our abilities as a voice actor?
The more we audition, the more confident we get. Ironically, it doesn’t matter whether or not we book most of the time. We just need to be working our craft! Believe me, if you keep doing the work, the bookings will come.
First, we need to know the copy inside and out. Do the comprehension test before anything else: you need to be able to provide a quick summary of what you are about to say. If you can’t do this yet with the copy, you aren’t ready for the next steps of script analysis.
Once you can condense the copy, look for clues in the writing as to who you are in the script and how the writer wants you to feel. Jot down all the clues that come to you.
Now, look at how the sentences are constructed: are they short and to the point, or long and flowery? These are clues as to who you are in the script! Short and to the point often means no nonsense, while long and descriptive sentences may mean an easy-going character.
See how much you can use your imagination to make a fun or interesting story out of the copy. Take creative liberties with the copy. Don’t just read word for word. Think about how you can put a fun twist into the situation.
Always ask yourself, Do I care about what I am about to say? Asking yourself this questions is a good test to see if you’re connected to the copy. If you don’t care about what you’re saying, you’re disconnected from it. You have to find something you care about in the copy, this is also called finding your nugget of truth.
Know and acknowledge that you might be nervous at your voice-over audition. There is no getting around it (if you tell yourself not to be nervous, it will just be worse). Remind yourself that you are very prepared with the copy and you have taken it to the next level that many others have not: you have elevated it with creative choices that reflect who you are.
Be ready to let go of your choices if the casting director asks you to perform the copy in a different way. This doesn’t mean you did anything bad; they just want to see how directable you are. Redirects are a good thing!
Go into your voice-over audition with fun as the number one goal.
Finally, consider this truth: the job doesn’t always go to the best voice actor; it often goes to the person who is really good at voice-over and also seems like they will be easy to work with and are a whole lot of fun to be around.
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About the Author
Nancy Wilson is an Audition Mastery coach and West Coast demo producer. She is also a voice-actor and a member of the SAG/AFTRA Radio Plays committee.