How Many Times Should We Put Our Best Foot Forward?

It’s the age old question – how many takes should you do for each audition? Well, the answer’s easy…when they tell you explicitly in the audition notes. If they ask for three takes, give them three takes! Simple enough. 

But what if they don’t tell you how many takes to submit? And even if they do, exactly what sort of takes should I give? How do I put myself in the best position to get booked?

First of all, being asked to give an audition in the first place is a GOOD THING – treat it like a gift! This is your chance to show the client how great their script would sound with you behind the mic. This is a big opportunity you’ve been given. Every audition is!

As Stephanie Ciccarelli says in her article for Voices, “You are giving the client something greater than just a sample of your voice reading copy…you are giving them a taste of precisely what their voice-over will be like”. For many clients who work off of a “I’ll know it when I hear it” mentality, this piece of the process is crucial in their process of determining who is right for the role. When you walk into your studio to record that audition, go in knowing how valuable it is that you are bringing a piece of their script to life for them.

Ok. So now we’re in the booth, ready to showcase our skills and put our best foot forward. Let’s talk about what we need to do next.

1. Exactly how many takes should I give?

How many auditions do you normally submit?

We need to start by reading the audition description. Do they explicitly say they want a certain number of takes? Triple check that they do or don’t. If they do, do exactly that many. No more, no less. If you do more than what they’re asking for, it’s clear to a client that you aren’t paying close attention to their needs and might not be good at following directions. If you do less, the same may apply, but more importantly, you’re giving yourself fewer chances at landing the gig. Follow directions!

What if they haven’t told you how many they need? If that’s the case, let’s go with two. There is also the rule of thumb that the smaller the audition sample script, the more takes you can give. If it’s just a sentence or a tagline, maybe you give 3-5 takes (but never more than 5, unless asked). If it’s an audiobook or another piece of narration with a very lengthy audition script, you can feel confident giving one excellent read.

If I’m only giving two takes, am I only recording two takes? No! Take as much time as you need! Usually voice actors on the newer side will do several versions of the script and narrow it down from there. As you gain more experience in the industry, that number will most likely  go down.

2. What sort of takes should I send?
In short, you want to send 2 (or 3, 4, 5) unique takes of the audition script. Don’t send multiple takes that sound more-or-less the same: this is your chance to show the client your range and ability, and give yourself several unique chances at being selected for the role.

If you can come into the booth with multiple versions of the script ready to go, then great! For others who are newer to auditioning, maybe you need to record once and then step away. Approach the script later on with fresh eyes and a fresh voice – figure out a new way to interpret it or emphasize different parts. Or give multiple very different versions of your voice itself! This is especially important in character work. A combination of these things can also be quite powerful.

Above all, what you want to do with each and every audition is be yourself. Use your intuition, bring your personality into the booth with you, and give every audition your very best. The unique voice you bring to the table is what clients are looking for, so give it your all!

Finally, a piece of advice I got from a coach long, long ago: go into every audition giving it your very best, and then walk out of your studio and forget it ever happened. There are so many gigs out there and so many auditions you will do during your career. Don’t let yourself get hung up on gigs you didn’t book, and know that you delivered excellence every time. 

Check out our free PDF with pro-tips from real working voice-over actors here!

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