For the vast majority of voice actors and their clients, the industry as they once knew it has fully migrated to the world wide web. It is now common for voice actors to audition online, get hired, and complete the entirety of their voice over jobs from home. Launching your voice acting career in today’s industry is more convenient than ever before.
Founded in 2004, Voices.com was a pioneering online marketplace for the voice over industry, offering voice actors convenience, control, and an incredible number of job opportunities. There is no other source that provides close to the range or number of opportunities that Voices.com offers.
Auditioning is essential to get in front of clients for voice over jobs. Just because you’re now able to record voice over jobs from the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean that it’s an effortless experience.
If you want your auditions to be met with success, you need to learn how to read a voice over script, how to rehearse before even stepping in front of your microphone, how to clean up and convert your audio files, and how to compose a brief proposal that introduces you to the potential client.
Reading a Voice Over Script
As soon as a client sends you the script for a new voice over project, your first order of business should be to read the script in its entirety.
It’s important to get a full, thorough read of the script out of the way before you submit an audition or commit to a read. Reading the script from front to back will give you a full understanding of the work, and whether it’s a suitable project for you to pursue.
Once you’ve become practiced in how to read a script, you may find that your initial read-through produces an instant gut reaction about how you ought to perform. Starting out with a defined sense of where you’d like to take the script is a fantastic feeling, and when you blend this with some creative direction to stimulate your interpretation of the content, you’re doing the mandatory work of an actor and are off to a great start.
When the information within the script isn’t as specific as you would like it to be, or the artistic direction is lacking (or not included), your script interpretation and the rehearsal process will allow for a period of experimentation that can inform the direction you take.
Rehearsing a Voice Over Script for Auditioning Online
Once you’ve thoroughly examined the content of the voice over script and its interpretation, then you’re ready to begin practicing. You should rehearse your script multiple times to make sure you’re comfortable with how it reads and the notes that you’ve made about your delivery (either in your head or in the margins).
The more rehearsal sessions you put in, the more prepared you will be when it comes time to record your voice over audition.
The best time to rehearse is when you have the most energy. Due to this, many voice actors opt for diving into a recording session directly on the heels of a rehearsal session, so that they’re already in the right mindset to record that piece. At the same time, while it is important that your voice is properly warmed up, you don’t want to be tired out before you’ve even begun your audition.
Once you believe you’re ready to step up to the microphone and record your audition, run through this checklist and pose these questions to yourself:
- Who is meant to hear this recording?
- What does its message truly mean?
- Why is the message relevant to the audience?
- What specialties can my voice bring to the project?
- How can I best communicate the project’s message?
Recording Your Audition
After you’ve completed your vocal warm up routine, reread the client’s directions, then reread your own notes and directions. Perform your read in the same fashion that you recorded your demos.
If the audition is required to have a certain duration, time your read to ensure that it meets the mark. If the length of the recording runs over or under, reading the script faster or slower is a simple solution to fit within the parameters. Practice the script a couple of times until you’re comfortable with the flow and timing.
The time of day when voice actors prefer to record can vary. As a general rule, your voice is at its best early in the morning (about an hour after waking), when you don’t yet have a whole day of gabbing and wearing out your voice behind you. This means that, for a lot of voice actors, the worst time to record is late in the evening. Of course, depending on your preferred workflow and your signature voice, you may find that your voice is better suited for recording at different times of day. The benefit of auditioning from home is that, as long as you’re meeting your client’s deadlines, you can work at whatever time of day you want.
To keep your voice in tip-top shape throughout the day, stay hydrated. Drink lots of room temperature water or weak tea. It’s a wise idea to avoid alcohol, caffeinated, and carbonated drinks prior to recording, as these will dehydrate you and affect the quality of your voice.
Offering Read Variations
Most talent will seize the opportunity of a voice over audition to submit a handful of different takes of a client’s script.
As previously mentioned, it’s in your best interest, and in the interest of time, to read only a portion of the script. If you’d like, you can read it in a couple of different ways to present the client with options to choose between.
If you’re auditioning for an animated project, then you should make a firm decision on the character’s voice before recording and committing to it. If the script will take considerably longer than 60 seconds to read, you can single in on a 60 second excerpt that you believe will best show off your range.
Make sure that the voice you audition with doesn’t hurt you to produce. Imagine booking a job with a character voice that hurts to perform or diminishes the quality of your voice for the rest of the day. That would be awful! Always submit auditions with a voicing style that you can comfortably maintain for long periods of time.
If you are auditioning for an audiobook, however, it is encouraged to read for slightly longer. It’s important to remember that, no matter the project, clients will typically only listen to 15-30 seconds of an audition before deciding whether the voice is right for them or whether to move on.
If you do decide to give your client a few different takes of an audition, always place your best one at the very beginning.
Writing a Voice Over Job Proposal
When you audition from home, we recommend that you attach a proposal to your submission. Your proposal, which functions as a cover letter, should be professional, courteous, and to the point.
Start off by addressing your client by name, and demonstrate what has drawn you to this particular project. Detail your voice over experience and whether you can point them to any past voice work that resembles the project you’re applying for.
Here is a sample proposal outline for you to follow:
Sample Proposal Outline:
Hello [Client Name],
Thank you for reviewing my audition submission. I’ve had over [x] years of experience recording [type of recording]. Some of my past [type of recording] clients include [Company A], [Company B], and Company C].
I’d be interested in working with you on your project because [cite specific reason] and I can have your recording done in less than 24 hours. If you are also interested in working with me, please click the Hire button to get started.
P.S. If you don’t feel that I’m right for this project but may be right for future projects, you can add me to your Favorites and reach out to me later!
Final Tips for Recording Voice Over Work From Home
- Make sure to carry out your vocal warm up routine before you start recording.
- Go over any creative direction provided in the job posting, rehearse, and time your read before you begin recording.
- Rehearse your copy standing up, while speaking at the same volume you’ll be speaking when recording.
- If the particular audition that you’re recording requires a lot of energy, read standing up. Use your hand and arm gestures to enhance your performance.
- If the spot is, on the other hand, relaxed and laid back, feel free to sit comfortably on a stool or chair.
- Audition early and often, but have the discernment to recognize when a project isn’t right for you, in which case you should move on to another audition right away.
- Unless you’re performing a read of a shorter script, read only a portion (about 20 seconds) of the script.
- Keep your voice fresh by staying hydrated and maintaining good vocal health habits. Have water in your booth at all times and properly hydrate an hour before your session.
- Convert your audio file to MP3 and label it correctly.
- Be honest with yourself. Only audition for roles that you and your voice are truly suited for.
When you’re auditioning, you only have one chance to make a good impression. Try not to rush things. Don’t settle. Audition with confidence. Become the inspiration behind the voice actors. Even though you may be a beginner, refrain from telling the client how you’re inexperienced. It’s important to present yourself in the best possible light by following these guidelines so your audition will truly shine.