Production in Voice Over Auditions: How Complex Does it Need to Be?
For many voice talent, interpreting a script isn’t a problem… it’s wondering what else to include in the recorded audition!
There are some key considerations to keep in mind for your recordings. What you submit for an audition is actually quite different from a demo in terms of how ‘produced’ the end product is.
Auditions: Dry Voice or Full Production?
Recording your voice for an audition is one thing, but adding tracks with music and sound effects as a way of learning the art of production, is another.
It’s important to know that it is not recommended that your audition contain any production elements (e.g. music or sound effects), as the audition needs to highlight your vocal ability only.
Here’s what you need to know about the difference between ‘dry voice,’ and ‘full-production,’ including when it’s best to use each.
Voice Over Auditions: Dry Voice is Best
The term “dry voice” is the industry’s way of saying an unadulterated sound. When you are required to record a dry voice track, all you should be doing is providing your read, nothing more. That means no music, no sound effects, no effects on your voice… you get the picture. When you audition, you should be supplying a dry read. The reason is simple, it’s 100% you.
Voice Over Demos: Full Production is Best
Adding music and effects to your voice over track is a completely different animal. Whenever something is produced, it means that production elements were used, such as music, sound effects and so on. Usually in this instance, you are multi-track recording and might have a separate track set aside for your voice with an array of tracks for music beds, sound effects and the like.
If you’re having fun with production and you’ve created an amazing track that highlights your vocal skills, you might consider using this as one of your demos. And if you’re interested in building the best online voice over profile out there, we have resources for that too – like this post on How to Create a Great Voices.com Profile.
As a rule of thumb, whether you decide to do dry voice exclusively (for auditions and demos) or dabble in production, always make sure that your vocal choices with regard to interpretation are unique and demonstrate how you would best serve the client.
What’s Your Auditioning Style?
How do you approach the audition process? We’d love to hear what has worked well for you, including how you tackle auditions and demos differently!
Personally I only provide dry voice. From my experience most sound engineers request no effects, as after you’ve provided the recording they will final mix with the client. Recording dry voice also means you have nothing to hide. Using effects to mask a voice’s lack of ability or poor acoustic installation won’t keep you in the business for long. Arguably unless you’ve been specifically asked to ‘boost’ your voice then don’t do it!– Marc
Your auditions not only gives a sample of your artistic abilities, it also gives a sample of your audio quality. If you produce or mask your audition, subsequently land the gig and are asked to submit the final recording dry, then what? As a seeker or sound engineer I would feel deceived.
Basically, if you feel the need to make-up your auditions in order to compete, then you have a problem somewhere you need to fix instead. Don’t add EQ if your mic sounds too thin, get a better mic instead. Don’t add noise gating if your audio has noise, or are having acoustical problems, fix the noise or the acoustical problems instead– Jacob
Join the conversation in the comments below.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
P.S. Thanks for Elizabeth Webb Sosner for the inspiration to write this post.