Voice123 Meet the Customer Success Team Chris Govender Customer Success Associate Profile Photo

If the name Chris seems familiar to you, it’s probably because she’s communicated with you at some point through Voice123’s Customer Success support. Being on this team means that she spends the better part of her day helping voice actors on Voice123 with questions, doubts, and concerns that are often related to voice over jobs.

‘How do I send my voice over audition online? Should I send processed or unprocessed files? Can you please check the audio quality? Is there something wrong with my voice acting audition?  she’s heard it, researched it, and answered it. Now, she’s sharing it because while Voice123 is a marketplace, the company’s core purpose hasn’t changed; connect voice actors to clients, which ultimately happens through a voice over audition.

Regardless of whether you’ve just signed up for a voice actor profile or have had one for decades, one of the above questions is bound to have crossed your mind when looking for voice over work. That’s because the simple truth is that doing a voice over audition is no longer what it once was. Project requirements have changed, deadlines are shorter, and rates need more negotiation.

Auditioning is a ‘one shot, one chance’ stage that requires acute precision and careful execution.

As Covid-19 safety protocols limit the parameters that clients have to work within, and the number of new voice actors entering the industry increases, a greater need to ‘think twice, act once’ is vital because there is no second chance when you audition online. 

If you mispronounce a word, submit the wrong file or worse, fail to deliver the brief, there’s no going back. Auditioning is a ‘one shot, one chance’ stage that requires acute precision and careful execution. 

How to make that one online voice over audition count in 2021?

So, how do you make that one voice over audition online count, especially in 2021?

A) Read the description, hit the studio, and record the script?

B) Read the script, hit the studio, and record the script? 

Neither option would be wrong if your goal was simply to record and submit an audition. However, what if your goal was to record an audition online that ultimately left the client with only one thought? ‘This is the voice we need.’

Then, you should choose option C. 

C) Study the project description, analyze the client’s requirements, think about the end goal, read and practice the script, then record.

What does this mean for voice over jobs?

Harness your art and hone your craft.

One of the main reasons why we become voice actors is because it truly is an art; the personification of raw talent. We might have heard a few people say to us, ‘Wow, you’ve got a great voice,’ and we believed them. So, we channeled our inner creativity and vocal talent into a career by applying for voice over jobs. But did you remember to turn it into a craft? 

Voice acting is talent and nothing can diminish that in its truest form. However, when you add a key ingredient, it elevates your performance and increases your chances of being hired. That key ingredient is skill coupled with a systematic strategy. 

Art + Craft = You’re hired! 

Recipe for a polished voiceover audition

Balancing art and craft in voice over auditions

Let’s objectify the voice acting audition process by stepping into a client’s shoes. The two auditions below have the same length and script, but that’s where the similarities end. Listen to each audition and see if your first impressions were the same as mine.

When you listened to this, were the first words that came to your mind rushed, inexperienced, noisy, unprepared, and dare we say awful? 

It’s evident that the voice actor didn’t create that voice acting audition with a balance of art + craft, which is why a client’s first impression would be, ‘delete.’ 

In fact, believe it or not, when our QC team evaluates voice actor profiles, they often come across auditions with some of the problems in this audio; hiss, noise such as from a fan or AC, lack of preparation, mouth clicks and plosives. Most of which is a result of recording in a noisy environment, too much saliva in the mouth, and recording too close to the microphone. 

Let’s try it again. 

Did you notice the way the voice actor paused, emphasized the key words, and used a good balance of pitch, pace, and modulation? It’s clear that a great deal of thought and preparation went into the reading and preparation of the script, the equipment, recording location, and the audio post production. 

The takeaway from this is that a lack of preparation, devoid of character, hesitancy or uncertainty in your voice coupled with audio noise, hiss or distractions will ruin your chance of being hired in a fraction of a second. 

However, knowing what a voice acting audition should sound like and actually being able to make your audition sound like that are two different situations. So, wouldn’t it be great if you had first hand advice from an experienced voice actor on how to structure and prepare for an audition online? 

We thought so too, which is why we sat down for a virtual interview with two seasoned and talented voice actors; Courtney Greer and Gwendolyn Carter. 

Courtney Greer Voice123

Courtney’s been a member of Voice123 since Aug 2, 2013, and currently ranks in the top 10% of voice actors. She has been a professional voice actor for eight years and has the gift of being able to snap into the character.

Gwendolyn Carter Voice123

Gwendolyn’s been a member since Nov 11, 2018, and also ranks in the top 10% of voice actor profiles. Gwen has been a professional voice actor for 3 years, and has the gift of being able to empathize with the character.

Together they have a combination of 11 years of professional, successful, and helpful experience related to voice over jobs, which they shared in the interviews below. 

As you listen to their comments, think about the tips that you can glean and use to improve your auditions for any voice over work.

How do you improve your next voice over audition?

For Chris, providing support to voice actors and clients simultaneously means that she interacts on a daily basis with both sides of the industry. So, she understands that while it’s helpful to know what goes into a pro voice actor’s audition, it’s also beneficial to draw back the curtains into a client’s mind and create a voice over audition that hits the brief, grabs the client’s attention, and secures your next booking. 

In Customer Success, we often hear clients referring to their busy schedules and rushed deadlines in the voice over audition stage, which means that receiving an audition online that’s ‘nailed it’ or ‘almost there’ makes their day, as it means less work and less revisions. 

In fact, a client was once so impressed with a voice actor on a Voice123 direct booking, he mentioned, ‘He got the job done in one take!’ 

In fact, Gwen herself mentioned that, “ I’ve gotten jobs and they liked the audition so much that they didn’t even need me to really redo it. They used my audition, which is great!”

Now, these kinds of voice acting auditions in the field of voice over work don’t happen automatically. Rather, they’re a combination of art + craft. Courtney summed this up perfectly when she mentioned, It’s a matter of comfortability and reading the content and digesting it in a way that when you go and get behind the mic, you’re not reading it. You’re exchanging information in a conversational manner, the kind of conversation that needs to be had when determining your listener base.”  

To this effect, we’ve made a voice over audition checklist that combines experience, research, practice, and client feedback. 

Voice over Audition Checklist

Read the project description carefully.

This will give you a glimpse into the client’s mindset, especially if you read with a purpose! Gwen mentioned that she looks at each voice over audition, not just as an audition, but like she’s doing a job. So, in the same vein, ask yourself:

  1. What does the client want?
  2. What is this going to be used for?
  3. What is the client trying to achieve with this voice acting audition?

Study the project script.

Write down the descriptive words that the client has included in the description such as friendly, warm and passionate. Plan where you’re going to smile, laugh, shout, or whisper. Think of it as if you were planning the pit stops for your next road trip. The destination? A polished voice over.

Strategize.

This is where the ‘skill + strategy’ component comes into effect. In the same way that you wouldn’t pitch up at the office the moment you roll out of bed, don’t record when you’re not ‘feeling it’, when you’re unprepared, and when your voice is worn out or not warmed up.

Add a creative edge to your voice over audition.

Take some time to think about where you could increase or decrease your pitch and pace, or change the drama to provide something that would make the client think, ‘Oh that’s interesting!’ And don’t wait for the middle, juicy parts of the script to showcase your best range. Most clients can get the feel of an audition in the first 10-15 seconds, so that’s where you need to grab their attention and keep it!

Don’t reinvent the wheel!

It’s not about whether the client knows what’s best or not. It’s about whether the client wants something or not. So, if the client said ‘don’t sound like a sales pitch,’ then to state the obvious, don’t sound like a sales pitch! It can be hard if you feel like this is what the script lends itself to, but remember, your job is to act the part that has been given to you. Speaking of acting, don’t be afraid to throw yourself into the script. Persuade. Convince. Comfort. Take on the role that the script requires and become the narrator, explainer, or whomever is needed to make your audition online a success.

Be proactive.

So, you’re not sure if by warm they mean friendly and caring or friendly and compassionate. Well, offer two takes in the same audio file. Yes, we said earlier that the client is sold in the first 10-15 seconds, but if they’re sold, naturally they’ll come back to finish the read and wonder, ‘what else can this voice actor do?’

Hydrate before you hit the studio!

A sip of water can go a long way to soothing your voice before and during your recordings. Did you know that eating a green apple before recording also helps to avoid mouth clicks? Also, don’t forget to find a warm up exercise or routine that suits your voice.

Test, test, test.

Once you’re in the studio, test your mic and recording equipment to make sure everything is in pristine condition before you hit record.

Protect your voice over work.

Slating, watermarking, leaving out a word, or changing a word is a personal choice and depends on the individual project. So, be sure to check the project description in case the client has specified a preference.

Check. Double-check. Triple-check.  

  1. Did you listen to the audio to make sure it was clear, professional and without errors? 
  2. Did you check that it was the right file? 
  3. Did you check if the client wanted an .mp3 or .WAV? 
  4. Did you remember to add a note? As Courtney mentioned in the video above, it’s similar to a cover letter and introduces you to the client before they hear your audition. 
  5. And if the client didn’t ask for music or additional editing services, then keep in mind that unprocessed files are always the best way to go.

Those are certainly 10 powerful tips to help you create polished voice over auditions that include art + craft, which is why we’ve also created a free downloadable PDF fileWhy not save it in your voice over resources so that you can refresh your memory before your next audition? All in all, to say that a career in the voice over industry is competitive and challenging would be an understatement, but to also say that it’s fulfilling, rewarding, and an outlet for your voice acting passions would certainly be the truth. 

There’s never been a better time to become involved in voice acting work than the present. In fact, Gwen and Courtney both agreed that the pandemic has certainly led to an increase in jobs. And although it’s created a challenging global situation, the pandemic has actually empowered us with inspiring life experience. 

Courtney Greer Voice123

Courtney described it as, “if anything, it’s increased the amount of voice auditions that I’m seeing. I mean the shift, of course, in what we’re putting out has changed or what, you know, advertisers are putting out has certainly changed with what’s going on, you know, not just in our country, but the world.”

Gwendolyn Carter Voice123

And Gwen highlighted the powerful impact this has had on voice overs when she said, “The good part is, I can really relate to it. So here’s a script. It is about the pandemic. And sometimes I’m doing a job that I don’t know anything about. But knowing that I’m living this, my child is working online too, and I’ve had to change my work. So the pandemic has helped me to really be able to tell other people’s stories while telling my story.”

All in all, to say that a career in the voice over industry is competitive and challenging would be an understatement, but to also say that it’s fulfilling, rewarding, and an outlet for your voice acting passions would certainly be the truth. So, if you’re just starting out, we know that these insights will enable you to create polished voice overs that appeal to clients and lead to successful projects. And if you’re an experienced voice actor, we trust that like everything else in life, we could all use a powerful reminder. Now, head on over to your booth to create your next voice over audition.

You always want to stay true to your authenticity. That's what makes your voice, your voice.

- Courtney Greer

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