There was once a time when voice talent had to drive from studio to studio in order to audition for voice acting jobs. With the advent of online marketplaces such as Voices.com, the whole audition process takes place entirely online, with hired voice actors delivering their completed recordings to clients without ever having a single face-to-face interaction.
In the Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting, we offered a comprehensive introduction to submitting auditions for voice acting jobs from the comfort of your own home. In this guide, we’ll take that up a notch and deconstruct the particular strategies that a professional can employ in order to ensure that they audition for the right jobs, make the best use of their time, and achieve the most success in their voice acting audition endeavors.
Although working in the voice industry requires a certain amount of artistry and the ability to bring creative angles to your script reads, it is equally a business. Whether you’ve auditioned for 10 gigs or 1000, it is important that you adhere to standard business practices and leave your ego at the door. If you want the best chance of getting hired, you should approach each voice acting audition with the know-how of a pro, and unbridled enthusiasm.
When you’re auditioning for a voice acting job on an online marketplace, your voice likely won’t be the sole element that clients will be considering. During the submission process for your audition on Voices.com, you’ll also have the opportunity to write and submit a proposal, which basically functions like a cover letter.
Just like you would when applying for any job, be professional, courteous, and to the point. Address the client by name, and briefly demonstrate why you have felt drawn to this particular project. If you’ve completed any similar voice over work in the past, let them know. Reaffirm your quote for the project, and confirm that you can meet the deadlines and tech specs that they have outlined.
If you re-read your proposal and notice that every sentence begins with “I,” rephrase them to instead begin with “You.” The goal of your written proposal is to let your client know what you can do for them and why you are the prime candidate to solve their problems.
Within the Voices.com job posting, clients will often include a script that they would like voice talent to read from for their audition. If this is the case, then send them a custom read of a portion of their script. It doesn’t need to be long, 30 seconds or so is plenty for a longer script.
Make sure to follow any stylistic guidelines or direction for the read that may have been listed in the posting, while, if possible, showcasing your own strengths and putting your individual spin on the read. Recording a new, job-specific custom audition is imperative if you want to stand out and be considered for the role. Too often, voice actors will forward a generic demo as a result. Do not do this.
Some of the client-provided scripts, especially ones for TV or radio spots, may be so short that your audition will necessarily include a read of the entire script. If you’re uncertain whether the client could steal your audition without compensating you, then you may consider adding a subtle watermark to your file. The classic beep and whispered background noises have largely gone out of style, so it is best to embed a watermark that is on the subtler side. The last thing you want is for it to distract from your read.
No matter the quality of the recording you submit, the primary criteria for sending out an audition for a job should be defined by this question: “When the clients listen to my delivery, will it be possible for them to imagine me on the spot?”
Spend a couple of hours each day auditioning, with the goal of working your way up to auditioning for 6 voice acting jobs an hour. As a professional voice actor with a designated space where you go to record takes, you should learn to treat your studio like your office, and limit your focused work hours to the time that you enclosed yourself in there. This will help you distinguish between the focused work hours and time off.
Tip: Get more statistics on how professional voice actors audition and organize their time in our report, How To Become a Successful Voice Actor.
One of the benefits of online voice acting marketplaces is the ability to submit auditions from dusk to dawn. While this may appear like the ideal method for getting considered for the maximum amount of jobs, this addictive behaviour will wear you out, and won’t result in the best job prospects. Audition only for jobs that you are truly qualified for, that you truly want to do, and that you think you have a good shot at getting hired for.
Here at Voices.com, we tend to say that you have your best chance at landing your first job within the first 100 auditions.
Voices.com is also equipped with VoiceMatch, the special feature that compares a talent’s profile to a client’s job posting in order to recommend whether a talent’s voice would be suited to a particular job. If you submit an audition and VoiceMatch has found that you would be a strong match based on attributes such as language, accent, age, or gender, then your audition will be presented to clients before voice talent who have been deemed less of a match.
Answers to this question can vary. The voice sector doesn’t have any absolute fixed rates, but we can make deductions based on collected data and industry standards.
Voices.com is in the unique position of being able to view not only what talent are quoting for a given job, but also which quote served as the winning “bid,” so to speak. Although there are always myths circulating that suggest clients will hire the actor who charges the least, this is simply not true.
Said plainly, if you quote at the lowest end of the spectrum, it may suggest that you are desperate to land the job. The client may naturally conclude that you are new and inexperienced, and as a result, they won’t even give your audition the time of day.
So what does matter to clients? Research shows that these are the top 5 qualities that clients are listening for when reviewing voice over auditions:
- Forms an emotional connection
- Adds personality
- Matches the brand voice
- Reflects the sound of the target audience
- Sounds aspirational to the target audience
Price didn’t even come in as part of the top 5 and was ranked lower.
When setting a bid for a job, understand how your quotes factor into the voice actor salary you’re trying to earn. Always bid what you think your time and talent are worth.
Above all, do not quote below the minimum budget. Try to think of your voice in terms of buying a luxury vehicle for bargain-basement prices. If you stumble upon a luxury brand but it’s severely discounted, then you may start to wonder what’s wrong with it.
When it comes to longer form projects, you’ll likely want to employ a formula that calculates rate per word due to the time commitment the project will demand.
Here, you’ll need to estimate how much time you’ll be dedicating to the job, which will also be pulling you away from other job auditions.
Here’s one formula that may help guide you:
Word Count / Words Spoken Per Minute (average is ~145) = Total minutes it will take to record.
Total Minutes / Length of an Hour (60) = Total hours it will take to record.
Price per hour x Total number of hours = Your total quote.
When you grow ‘audition weary,’ it will come across in the sound of your voice. If you lock yourself up in your booth and your mouth is constantly pressed up against a microphone, then you’ll eventually lose your enthusiasm.
In this industry, it’s very important to take periodic breaks from auditioning to give your voice a rest. Besides, running any effective business requires marketing, accounting, networking and more. Every once in a while, force yourself to take a break. Your voice will thank you.
Here’s a summary of all the audition strategies compiled in one concise list:
- Produce a job-specific custom recording.
- Quote within the job’s provided budget range.
- Follow all artistic direction featured in the job listing.
- Confirm that you can meet the technical requirements and deadlines specified.
- Keep the recording as succinct as possible.
- Audition early: try to be within the first 50-100 applicants.
- Audition well: deliver high-quality auditions.
- Audition often: aim to reach a point where you are auditioning for 6 jobs per hour.
- Be professional.
- Submit a generic demo.
- Audition when you know you aren’t the right fit.
- Disregard artistic direction.
- Have a conversation within the audio recording.
- Put out over-the-top self-promotion.
- Lowball or highball your quote.