Common Mistakes to Avoid When Recording VO Auditions

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There has never been as many opportunities to land voiceover jobs as we have today. Yet, as bitter a pill it may be to swallow, statistics dictate it takes about 200 auditions to book a job. Considering a majority of your auditions for voiceover are done from home, here some of the most common mistakes to avoid in order to increase your booking potential.

1. Your slate should match the tone of your read. Slating your name at the top of the audition should match the volume of your take as well as the “feel” or emotional tone of the piece. For instance, if the audition requires a somber approach from you, it would be odd and inappropriate to offer a slate that’s overly cheerful and a complete departure from your overall performance. (Unless your intention is to be funny in real life.)

Here’s a brief audio sample of what a proper slate should sound like that would open a standard voiceover audition. Every audition and producer has their own set of demands and requirements. (The same can be said for each individual talent agency, when it comes to naming each MP3 and their desired slate.) Audio sample:

2. Follow directions. It’s surprising, really, how only a few talent will read the details the agent painstakingly included in the email pertaining to what’s needed and wanted from you on the audition—myself included. I embarrass myself at least once or twice a month by either reading too much, or even worse, not enough, into the all-too-often simple instructions. When, where, and how to define one project to the next, always matter with potential clients, regardless of the industry you’re in.

3. If the audition is only 20 seconds or less, be sure to offer three takes on the same slate. (If you’re only happy with two takes, then submit two takes on the same slate/MP3.) Audio sample:

4. Do your homework. Confused as to what the product or service is? Not sure how to pronounce it or any of the other terms used in the text? Look it up!

5. Submit your auditions well before they are due. The quicker you turn around your auditions, the more your agents will come to rely on you and therefore include you in more projects—even when the project might be something of stretch for you! Auditions are opportunities. It’s your job to make the most of those opportunities. Besides, even if the specs state you have two to three days to turn the audition around, waiting till the eleventh hour could very well cost you the job. Clients typically cast the project well before the designated deadline originally given to you. Keep in mind, their objective is to get the project produced, approved, and shipped—and move on! That should be your objective as well.

6. If you consistently submit poorly recorded/edited auditions, you will not instill confidence. Audio sample:

7. Don’t submit a dull read! You must self-direct and remember energy is interest. If you are interested you are interesting. You’re paid to have a pulse. Remain creative!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Kate McClanaghan
Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, and founder of both Big House Casting & Audio (Chicago and Los Angeles) and Actors’ Sound Advice. She’s a seasoned industry veteran and actor who has trained actors and produced demos for more than 5,000 performers over her 30 years in the business.
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