Auditioning Dos and Don’ts: Knowing What You Can Control

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    With so many different factors at play, it’s crucial that voice artists focus on what they can control in order to make the most of every single audition opportunity. Voice over artist, Bev Standing is successful because she is selective with the auditions she sends. That said, Bev also believes that the number of auditions you submit directly correlates to how successful you will be. In this episode of Voice Over Experts, Bev shares strategies for how to maximize your opportunities while still taking care to only present yourself for the jobs best suited to your voice, technical skill and studio capabilities.

    Links from today’s show:

    Bev Standing
    Bev Standing on Voices.com
    HowJSay.com

    Your Instructor This Week:

    Bev StandingSurrounded by media her whole whole life, Bev Standing has since stepped behind the microphone and put her voice to work. As the daughter of an Advertising Executive, and spending many hours in studios as well as critiquing commercials with her Dad, she understands the power behind the message and the dynamics of the delivery of words. Having spent a number of years in the CBC studios as a production assistant in Radio Drama, Bev gained the experience that taught her to respect the importance of professionalism and timing. Add to that nine years in marketing and now a professional home studio.
    Some of Bev’s many clients are Kraft, Revlon, Clarins, Kingsmill Resort, Joss & Main, The Tampa Bay Times, Hellman’s, The National Diamond Store, Olay, Kellogg, Water Babies and Jamiesons. She has voiced for TV and radio, iPad apps, YouTube videos, instructional videos, e-Learning / training videos, Corporate presentations and awards intros, just to touch on some of the many projects she has worked on.
    Bev Standing received training from VoiceWorx, Second City (Toronto), Pirate Radio, Impatient Theatre (Toronto), and the Toronto Academy of Acting. She has also trained with Elley-Ray Hennessey, Pat Fraley, Joan Baker, Mike Kirby, Tracey Hoyt (in no specific order) as well as numerous courses and workshops with such greats as Kim Hurdon, Susan Hart, and Jessie Thomson. For a few years, Bev volunteered for VoicePrint (now AMI) in the Toronto studios recording various articles and stories for the visually impaired and is now on AMI’s roster for described video. Bev also taught improv at SCNTV for producer / director / teacher – Christopher Healy.

    Transcript

    [Opening Music]
    Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
    Bev Standing: Bev Standing – not a great introduction to a podcast but an appropriate slate when auditioning. I’ll talk about that in a minute.
    Hi, I’m Bev Standing, and I was honoured when asked by Jennifer at voices.com to create a podcast about auditioning. Every voice actor auditions, a lot, quite often in person, but more and more at their home studios and that’s what I’m here to talk about. I’m not here to teach you how to be a voice actor or improve your acting ability; I’m here to tell you some of the dos and don’ts that I have learned about auditioning.
    For example, when referring to [pay to play sites], I’ve heard numerous people say too many people have already responded, there’s no point. Well responding promptly is good, it’s not the end of the world if you’re not in the first few. In fact I have been number 174 and booked the job. My thinking is in that case, one, the client simply not found what they were looking for, so they kept listening. Two, some clients listen to every audition and even state that they’re going to. And three, the client has the time and feels that by listening to all, they might find exactly what they want.
    Something else I’ve heard; I’ve auditioned a number of times but I haven’t booked anything, I don’t know why – this from seasoned voice actors and those new to business as well. Understand that no-one can really say why you don’t book a job; you read it clearly and you certainly met the range of what they’re looking for, so why didn’t you book it?
    It could be that you sounded too much their ex. Or you sounded just like the last person they hired and they wanted a different tone this time. Things like this happen all the time, for which you have no control over. But it could also be for a number of reasons you can control.
    First and foremost, read the description. Did you give a conversational read when they asked for a corporate one, or vice versa? Did you read only part of the script when they clearly asked for a full read? Did you read a 15 second script that timed out at 20 seconds or perhaps even 10?
    When the client takes the time to provide times, character, range, etc, I would suggest you take note. What they write is as important as getting the script correct. This also proves you can follow direction. Learn to be proficient when auditioning. Auditions can’t take up your entire day. When you first read the script, you have a short time to make it your own, as they say. Make sure you are understanding the text and making it make sense to the listener, especially technical verbiage.
    This may require some research; there’s great sites out there. For example, if they use the company name, go to their website, look up things on YouTube, or [howjsay], plus many others, too numerous to mention, where you can find the correct pronunciation of a word and, even more important, the company or product name. It only takes a minute to check but well worth the effort.
    I touched on slating at the beginning of the podcast, possibly one of the most important topics, although I never hear other people’s auditions because, well that’s what I do – I’m a voice actor and I only hear my own auditions. But I’ve heard time and time again at training courses I’ve attended, conferences, webinars, etc, that so many people slate with a story, like hi, I’m Bev Standing and I’m going to read the script for the [explain a video] you posted. Thank you for listening to my audition and I really hope we can work together. Have a great day.
    Most times the client just hasn’t have time for this, so they simply think, (sigh) no, next. So they never even get to hear your fabulous read. As I did at the start of the podcast, just say your name at the beginning, leave a one to two second gap of silence, and start your audition. Rather than continue on saying things that perhaps you shouldn’t do, let me instead share with you what I do for every single audition.
    First I read the description, for example middle-aged, friendly, not salesy. Next, I read the requirements, the timing, their deadline, what file format they want and if they want a phone patch capability, and decide at that time if I would like to pursue the job. If I can provide all of the above, then I read the script. My method is to quietly read it out loud, quickly, almost mumbling, to make sure I can pronounce everything. See if I have to look something up first or not. Then I go to the mic and hit record. When I find the read I like best, I then edit out my breath, the dog barking, mistakes, well you know the stuff you don’t want the client to hear. I listen to it while double-checking the words against the script, then listen one more time for sounds I might have missed in the background – mouth clicks and such. Then hit send and forget it – it’s done. You can’t change it, so go to the next one and repeat the process.
    The number of auditions you do I believe correlate to how successful you’ll be. If you only audition for two or three jobs a week, then your success rate may well be very low. I audition a lot – it lets me practice, try things differently. I sometimes submit two takes – if they say middle aged and/or young adult, I give them both. Remember to add that to your slate, in other words, Bev Standing, two takes. Let the client know that if they don’t like what they hear immediately, hang on there’s another read coming. That’s the only change to my slating rule, unless of course there are directions on exactly what they want for a slate.
    Auditioning is great practice. The very first voice over workshop I attended many years ago stressed that voice actors should read aloud every single day. This system works for me. Auditioning is a huge part of voice work – the more you audition, the better you’ll get at it, the more jobs you’ll book hopefully, and the more fun you’ll have at this amazingly exciting career.
    I’m Bev Standing and I wish you all good luck and thanks for listening.
    Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts Show Notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.

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    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

    5 COMMENTS

    1. Thanks Bev! I am a huge fan of yours….I’ve been at this a long time, but when you started showing up in “Recently Hired” lists, I thought….hummmm, she’s great, and she’s going to be successful! I just KNEW it!
      You hit the nail on the head when you said to audition a LOT. Sometimes I can’t, especially when I’m up to my neck in a 5 hour medical e-learning project and I miss a full week of auditioning. But, when I really kick in and dedicate my time to auditioning, I inevitably get a hire through Voices.com.
      You can’t get hired if they don’t hear you! I notice that you are very popular with the folks from Voices.com Professional Services. I haven’t had the pleasure to work for them yet, but I am trying so hard to get that first hire from them.
      I have heard some people complain that you have to be in “The Club” but, I don’t think that is fair. I know they get a lot of auditions and I know it’s a difficult decision for them to decide who to choose.
      The one BIG takeaway I did get is to audition for the project, even if there’s over 100 auditions in queue. I normally give up after I see 50 auditions, but now, thanks to you, I am going for it, even if there are 174 auditions. If it’s calling my name, I am going for it!!!
      Thanks for your positive and thought provoking podcast. It was very helpful.
      Best wishes and continued success Bev! And thank you Voices.com for highlighting this podcast!
      Warm Regards,
      Lauren Holladay

    2. Honestly, I listened to this really to help with my auditioning, period. And boy, did it ever! She hit the nail on the head in regards to really paying attention to how one presents oneself, how unnecessary small talk can eliminate you from the competition, etc. Thank you Bev, as a singer, I’ve been guilty of all of the “Don’ts.” Now, I will audition more to become more confident and comfortable auditioning. It really is the little things that make a BIG difference in our success!
      God bless you,
      Paula Newberry
      Soprano

    3. Thank you so much for this podcast full of useful advice. I think I have become a little hung up on over analysing why I haven’t been booked for a particular job and forgetting to ‘let it go’. I also tend to not audition if there have been loads before me but I will persevere now. Thanks again.

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