Podcasts Voice Over Experts The 3 Q’s: Maximizing Audition Success with Jesse Adam
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The 3 Q’s: Maximizing Audition Success with Jesse Adam

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Geoff Bremner
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Jesse Adam, featured coach for the month of February, shares tips on how to land more work in the voice over industry. He discusses the three “Q’s” for success: Quality in your setup and gearQuality in your reads, and Quantity of auditions. Jesse emphasizes the importance of eliminating echo and reverb in your recording space, as well as minimizing room noise. He also talks about investing in decent quality gear and using proper recording techniques. He encourages voice actors to take the time to examine the client’s brief and give them a read that fits with their desired style, rather than rushing through auditions. And lastly, he stresses the importance of auditioning as often as possible. 

Learn more about Jesse: https://www.jesseadamvo.com/

Participant #1:
Hey there, and welcome to Voiceover Experts, your monthly educational podcast helping you bring your voice acting career to the next level with insightful lessons presented by Voices voiceover coaches, this is Jesse Adam, your Voices February featured coach.

A little bit about me. I began my Voiceover career back in 2015, and I have loved every single minute of it. Before I was doing Voiceover, I was doing video production and marketing, which I know actually really helped me in Voiceover. Some of the clients that I've been lucky enough to work with include Google, Amazon, Disney, Coke, Marvel, Starbucks, Nintendo, and of course, as a Canadian, Tim Hortons. The cool thing, too, is that all of those clients actually came through Voices. So, yeah, that's pretty awesome.

This month we're going to be diving into how to land more work with the three cues. So let's jump into it. So the three cues are quality, quality and quantity. Number one, quality in your setup and your gear. Number two, quality in your reads. And number three, quantity of auditions.

All right, so let's dive into the first queue. Quality of your setup and your gear. Now let's focus on setup. Your setup is really important. You need to make sure you're eliminating any type of echo or reverb right away. Now that's when you are recording into your mic and the sound waves of your voice, they hit your mic, but then they continue past it and they'll hit a hard surface like a wall or a desk, and they bounce back, and a microsecond later, they hit the mic again and it creates that kind of echoey sound. If you've ever talked loud in a bathroom stall or something, you get the idea. You know what that is? That is a job killer. If a client hears that in your audition, they're going to move on to the next person right away. Okay, moving on. So you need to eliminate that.

The other thing you need to watch out for is things like room noise. If a client can hear a fan running, like a computer fan, or maybe the furnace, or for you guys down where it's warmer, the air conditioning going, that's going to eliminate you as well. Yeah. So those are kind of the main things in your setup. Wherever you're recording, whether it's a closet or you've got a custom studio space, you want to eliminate echo and reverb. You want to eliminate room noise. That's kind of the most important thing. Now you don't have to use really expensive acoustic foam. You don't have to have a professionally made booth. Really? Like when I started, I just had blankets. I had layers and layers of blankets to deaden the sound, to deaden those things. I moved my computer outside of where I was recording so that the fan didn't kick in and get picked up by the mic. It can be quite simple, but a lot of people miss it when they're starting out. And so it's one of those things where people start, they have great reads, but they're missing one of those things and clients pick that up and they just move on to the next person. So we don't want that to happen to you. We want you to have success in this. So making sure your setup is solid is the great first step. So that's quality in your setup and then gear is the second half of that first queue. So gear is important.

Now you don't have to spend again, you don't have to buy the most high end stuff gear wise, but you do need decent quality. You know, buying a cheap $45 podcasting USB mic on Amazon might work great for a simple podcast or for talking with family or friends on video calls, but it's not great for auditioning. Clients are going to be able to tell the difference between a $45 USB mic and a higher end mic. So, again, you don't have to break the bank, but you do need something somewhat solid and decent quality. Just do your research into what kind of mic is acceptable, what kind of mic is a good place to start and go from. There another couple of gear things that you'll need. Make sure you've got like a wind filter or a popper stopper on your mic. You just don't want your harsh consonants to be popping the mic. That's another thing that clients, if they hear that, they're going to move on to the next person. So that's important.

And a good set of headphones is really important too. Again, you don't have to break the bank on those. You don't have to go buy the $5600 pair of headphones. But, you know, spending $100 100 and 5200 bucks on a good pair of over the ear headphones is highly recommended. So that's the first queue.

The second queue is quality in your reads. This is very important as well. What I mean by that is when you go to audition, are you taking the time to actually read what the client is looking for? Or are you just rushing through auditions to get as many done as you can? But everything about the boom, I've done. Learn from a professional, kid. Are you giving them a read that fits with the brief? If they're asking for casual conversational, are you giving them casual conversational or are you giving them business very stiff and uptight? Or are you giving them overexcited and over smiley and not as real? It's amazing actually, how often in talking with casting directors and clients who hire on a regular basis, how often they get auditions where it seems like the talent just hasn't even read the brief, hasn't even looked at it. They just jumped on it quick, gave a read and it was not even close to what they were looking for. What is this so quality in your read? What that means is take the time to read the brief, look at it closer. Do some research if you need to. If you're not 100% sure how to pronounce the client's name, do some quick research. Find out how to say it properly, because that's something that might throw them off. If you say their company name wrong, it's something that's near and dear to them. So take a few minutes and find out how to say it. Quality in reads, too, also means showing some diversity.

A lot of people ask, how many reads should I give when I audition? And typically it's funny, when I coach people, I find out that most of them only give one read. And I am against that. I think you should give more than one read. I think you should give at least two. Probably not more than two. Most often the odd time, maybe three. But give at least two reads. And there's a couple of reasons for this. In the olden days of voiceover, you would actually have to go to a studio to audition, right? Or you'd send in a tape. But more often than not, you'd actually have to be by the studio. You'd go in and you read live in front of a casting director. And so the first read you give, they'd maybe give you some direction. They'd be like, okay, we want this to be casual conversational, kind of upbeat. And so you'd give a read based off that and they'd listen and then they'd say, okay, great, we actually can you bring up the excitement about 10%, whatever that 10% means. So then the next read you gave the second read would actually be much closer to what they were looking for. And then if they wanted a third read, they'd say, okay, that's great, we've got that. Now give me one that's way more casual, way more chill, way more relaxed, and you would give that third read. So in those three reads, in that live read with the casting director, you'd get much closer to what they're actually looking for. So that was actually one of the benefits of the old way of doing things, is you got live direction. The benefits of online auditioning is that we don't have to live by that studio to go do a live audition. We can get in front of clients instantaneously from anywhere in the world, which is awesome. The downside to that is that we don't get that live feedback anymore. And so why is it important to give more than one read? Well, because maybe to you, casual conversational means this, right? But to the client, casual conversation means this a different type of read. So if you give a couple of reads and you change them up, one that is kind of what you think the client is asking for, and then one that's maybe more what you think casual conversational would sound like. Hopefully somewhere in those reads you're hitting on what the client is looking for. So that's important. And also a couple of reads, as long as you change them up, you don't want to give the exact same read two times. That's just wasting your time and theirs. You want to give different reads. In those different reads, you're showing that you have some range. You're showing that you have the ability to be a little bit more excited or a little bit more serious. Or you can change the inflection on the end of a sentence. Sometimes you're going to go up on the end of a sentence and sometimes you're going to go down. You know, you're, you're, you're able to show that if they get into a directed session with you or they give you some direction, you'll be able to take it. So, quality of your reads entails probably giving more than just one read and also making sure you understand the brief and are giving solid reads.

One last thing on quality of reads, you want to make sure you're eliminating things like mouth noise, pops and clicks. You really don't want those to come through as well. So that's where going back to your quality of gear, having a good set of headphones, a good pop filter is really going to help you eliminate those things.

So the third cue is quantity of auditions. Now, this is pretty straightforward. It means how many auditions are you doing a day, a week, a month? So imagine you wanted to be a fisherman. You liked the idea of being a fisherman. You wanted that to be a career. You wanted it to help you make ends meet, to feed your family, to feed yourself. And so you go and you do a bunch of research. You find out where to go fishing. You find out the equipment you need. You even get some coaching from a wise old fisherman on the wharf who tells you you need this, this, and this, and this is where you go. And here's the technique. So you go and you buy the gear, you buy the boat, you get out. You got all this gear, you got the coaching. You row out to the spot where you're going to start fishing and begin your fishing career. And you get your rod and you cast it and the lure drops down into the water. You wait a second and then you reel it back in and you didn't catch anything. And you put your rod down and you row back home for the day. Now, what are your odds of becoming a fisherman if you only cast your line once a day? It's pretty low, right? Like you're probably not going to provide for your family or for yourself by only casting your line once a day. But if you go out to that spot where you know there's fish, you have the gear, you have the training, and you cast that line 2030, 4100 times a day. Your odds of landing fish are going to go up, your odds of becoming that fisherman are going to greatly increase.

Now, it's the same with voiceover. We know where the jobs are, we know where the fish are, right? So you can go to the spot where the fish are, where the jobs are voices, and you can have the right training. You can give quality reads, you can have quality in your gear and your setup. But if you're only auditioning once a day, twice a day, your odds of landing a job are quite low. If, however, you go to that spot where you know there's lots of jobs and you audition or cast, let's say 10, 15, 20 times a day, your odds of landing a job go way up, just like the fisherman. So quantity of auditions is so important. Once you get the two qualities down, quality in your gear and set up quality in your reads, then quantity becomes the key component of finding voice over success. So most people ask, okay, well, what does that mean? Like, I'm just starting out or I'm not able to do 20, 30, 40 auditions a day? That's totally fine.

Typically what I suggest is people try to aim for five to seven auditions a day when they're starting. Now, that might take a full day for some people when you're starting out. It took me a full day to submit that many auditions. When I started, I probably put in way too much time on each edition because I just wasn't sure of myself. That's totally normal and that's okay. But what I recommend people do is continue to try to increase that. It's like anything, right? The more you practice, the better you're going to get at something. And so the more you're auditioning, the better you're going to get at it, the quicker you're going to get at it. But if you're not auditioning on a regular, steady basis, it's hard to get good at it. It's like riding a bike. If you only try to ride a bike when you're learning and you do it once a month, it's going to be hard to get good at riding a bike. But if you're doing it every day, multiple times, you're going to be riding that bike in no time. And then pretty soon you're going to be getting better and better, and pretty soon you're going to be doing jumps and flips and all these things. I wanted to be a BMXer when I was growing up, but I never got that good.

So these three cues, quality in your gear and set up, quality in your reads and quantity of auditions, they are the three key components to landing voiceover work, to finding voiceover success. It's vitally important that you have these three cues. If you're missing any one of them, it's going to be really hard for you to land, work and find voice over success. So that's it. Those are the three cues. If you combine those three things again, I'm going to guarantee you that you're going to start to see more shortlists and most likely, you're going to start to see more work. So put those together, make it happen, get out there and start landing more work. Thank you guys so much for tuning in today. If you want to find out more about me or want to connect for some coaching, head on over to Jessie Adamvo.com. That's. Jessie adamvo.com.

I offer one on one coaching to help you build your voiceover career and nail that next edition. Personal one on one coaching sessions is what I emphasize. I love just being one on one, really addressing whatever it is you're looking for, whether that's how to break into the industry, how to properly audition, how to give modern conversational reads that clients want, how to edit and deliver professional files. There's insider tips and secrets on the online voiceover world, how to set up your home studio, anything else that you're interested in in Voiceover, I'd be happy to connect on and help you out with. So check it all out at Jessie Adamvo. Also, make sure to subscribe to Voiceover experts for free wherever you listen to podcasts and grow your career today. Thank you all so much for listening. Have an awesome day.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
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