As a voice actor, your audition is often the first and only chance to make an impression with a casting director. That’s why nailing the audition is essential if you want to book the job. Here are five tips to help you do just that.
Know your Type
The first step is knowing what kind of roles you’re suited for. There’s no point in auditioning for a teenager if you’re middle-aged, or vice versa. Do some research and find out what kinds of characters are right for your age, gender, and range. That way, you can focus your efforts on auditions that are actually within reach.
Do your research.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people show up to an audition without knowing anything about the project or the company they’re auditioning for. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the project requirements and the company’s style before you go in for your audition. This will help you tailor your performance to what they’re looking for and give you a leg up on the competition.
This goes hand-in-hand with doing your research. Once you know what’s expected of you, take some time to prepare before the audition. If the role requires a specific accent or dialect, practice speaking in that accent or dialect until it feels natural. If there are particular lines or scenes that are giving you trouble, run them by a friend or colleague until you have them down cold. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be in your audition.
Make Good Copies
Before you even step foot into the room, make sure you have clean and accurate copies of your scripts. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a messy page full of crossings-out and coffee stains. If possible, type out your lines beforehand so that they’re easy to read. And if you’re given sides at the last minute, ask for an extra minute or two to review them before starting the audition.
Warm Up Your Voice
This one’s especially important if you’re doing a cold reading (i.e., reading the lines for the first time). Take a few minutes to do some vocal exercises to warm up your voice and get rid of any nerves. Even something as simple as humming or singing scales can make a world of difference.
Put yourself in the right mindset.
Auditions can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to try and stay calm and positive going into it. Approach each audition as an opportunity to showcase your talent and expand your network, rather than as a test of your skill. If you walk into an audition feeling confident and ready to give it your all, chances are good that your performance will reflect that positive attitude.
Make a connection with the material.
When you’re reading for a voiceover audition, it’s important that you connect with the material on a personal level. This way, you’ll be able to deliver a performance that is both genuine and believable. Take a few moments to really think about what the script is saying and what it means to you. Then, let that come through in your audition recording.
Put yourself in the shoes of the character (even if it’s just a narrator).
In addition to making a personal connection with the material, it’s also important that you put yourself in the shoes of the character you’re reading for. This will help you understand their motivations and better bring their story to life. Again, take a few moments to really think about who this character is and what they’re going through. Then, let that come through in your audition recording.
Use your body and face to express emotion.
Your voice is not the only tool at your disposal when auditioning for voiceover roles. You can also use your body and face to express emotion and convey meaning. For example, if a character is sad, you might lower your voice and furrow your brow. If they’re angry, you might raise your voice and clench your fists. By using your entire body to communicate, you’ll be able to give a more dynamic and compelling performance.
Find the right tempo and pitch.
The tempo and pitch of your voice are also important considerations when auditioning for voiceover roles. In general, it’s best to speak at a moderate pace so that listeners can easily understand what you’re saying. As for pitch, each character will have their own unique way of speaking—find what feels natural for the role you’re reading for and run with it!
Be Open to Taking Direction
The ability to take direction is key in voice acting, so be prepared to adjust your performance on the fly if the director asks you to change something. Again, this is where having done your research beforehand comes in handy – if you know what kind of character you’re playing, it’ll be easier to make adjustments on the fly without throwing off your performance entirely.
Rock That Audition!
Remember, nailing your next voiceover audition is all about making a personal connection with the material, putting yourself in the shoes of the character, using your entire body to express emotion, finding the right tempo and pitch, and deploying sound effects sparingly (and only if they actually enhance the recording). So go out there and give it your best shot—you never know where it might lead!
M. Bruce Abbott is the Creative Director/Partner at Radio Lounge. Bruce has over 30 years experience as a voice actor, casting and production director, as well as extensive advertising, marketing, and podcasting experience.