A colleague of mine once said to me “The job of a Voiceover Talent is to wake up every day and voiceover audition.” Well, I’m terrible at my job. I do not audition often. My career as a voiceover talent has never been about auditioning. It has always been about marketing, personal relationships, and internet sales. But I do voiceover audition from time to time. And I do land some of those auditions. This was one of those times.
Sometime in May (2019), I auditioned for a voiceover for Publix. I have auditioned for Publix many times in my career. I have landed one and been put on hold for several more. As with all auditions, I recorded it in my home studio and forgot it. A few weeks later I received an email from my agent in Atlanta, Jeffrey Umberger, that I was on hold for the job. (On hold means that they are considering multiple talents that may fit what they are looking for.) I let Jeffrey know my availability and again went back to marketing and promoting.
Auditioning is very different from the style of marketing that I do. While some talent have found success in both auditions and marketing strategy, for me, who is not much of a multitasker, I prefer marketing. I feel more assured when I can speak to people and find out exactly what they are looking for as opposed to sending my voice off into the interwebs and hoping that what I said and how I said it was exactly what they want. Auditioning is a guessing game and a numbers game at the same time. It’s definitely a competitive sport also, except in this competition, my livelihood is at stake.
Also, I have always thought of what I do as a business and not just me being a freelance talent. 95% of the work I have gotten in my career was based on business and not doing some voiceover audition or relying on agents. Had I had to rely on agents, this voiceover thing may have been reduced to a hobby. I guess that’s why I never felt comfortable betting on auditioning, in spite of the fact that I am a talented capable voice actor.
My 7 Step Voiceover Audition Process
When I do audition, I have a process. I have shared this process in classes that I have taught but I will share some of it here for free. I start with a dry read. Having never seen the script before, I read it out loud. Having done voiceover for 15 years now, my dry reads are pretty darn good and usually have no errors. Also, my experience in live announcing also helps. For me, the purpose of saying it out loud for the first time is just to get it out of my head without prejudicing myself about what it should sound like. At this stage, there is no perfection.
My second read is to iron out any kinks in my dry read. It’s kind of a dry read but better. Throughout this process, I am recording these reads and I listen back to all of my reads as they get better. My goal is to reach 7 reads before I take any of them seriously. On the road to the seven reads is the 3rd and 4th which I use to help me memorize the lines.
Memorizing The Lines In The Audition
Memorization helps me feel that I am doing more than just reading lines. When you don’t know the material, it shows in the read. By my fifth read, I remember the lines and give it another try and I often have what I call an “AH HAH Moment.” This is not to be confused with a “Haha Moment.” The Ah Hah moment is when you have a realization about the script. It’s when you start to see the interpretation of the script differently.
My Ah-Hah Moment
My sixth read is where I lay down my Ah-hah moment read. It’s where I play with the words. After memorizing it and seeing it differently, I begin to own the copy and inject my personality into it. By the 7th read, I perfect the audition. This is the one I should go with. Sometimes I do more than seven reads though. Some scripts are more difficult than others. Other times I have more playing to do with the copy and have even more Ah-hah moments.
And sometimes I just project myself with different moods. Maybe a sad mood read or a read where it is really outrageous sounding. It’s not that I think they will pick that read, but they will see that I can read copy well in case they need to make changes in the script when we do the real record.
Don’t Obsess Over Your Voiceover Auditions. Edit & Send
From there I start editing. I don’t second guess myself in the editing process. Whatever I have already recorded is what I am going with. My process does not include re-recording. I only edit at this point. I use some lite compression and other tools that clean up the sound a bit but never anything that is too noticeable.
There is a lot that goes into voiceover auditions and the number of steps for me is just one of them. Figuring out how to connect with my target audience is important too. But this kind of thinking is how I landed this voiceover audition and others in the past. It probably doesn’t hurt that I have a great voice too.
Listen To The Voiceover Audition That Got Me The Job Below —–>>>