How to win voiceover jobs part 2: Don’t overdo it – Carrie Olsen Voiceover
how to win voiceover jobs

How to win voiceover jobs part 2: Don’t overdo it

In Part 1 of the How to Win Voiceover Jobs series, we talked about how increasing your emotional intelligence helps you be a better voice actor. Today, we’re talking about the danger of overthinking and overdoing.
Becoming a successful voice actor isn’t easy, but putting unnecessary extra time and energy into auditions doesn’t always result in more jobs. You need to give it your best effort and remember that a more relaxed approach sometimes leads to a more impressive performance. Here are some tips to land your next gig by stepping back and letting things flow.

Don’t Over-Rehearse

Few voice artists want to record an audition cold, yet reading it through too many times can make the text sound robotic. You’ll be in your own head if you get too obsessed with getting it right, and it will show in the recording. To keep it fresh, step back from the audition text and return to it with a new frame of mind.

Don’t Get Too Stuck on Punctuation

It’s important to respect the client by adhering closely to the script, but don’t get so obsessed with accuracy that you forget to bring emotion to the read. Like any actor presented with a script, you want to demonstrate your ability to bring the words to life in a way that impresses on tape.
Don’t be afraid to read a period as if it’s a semicolon or comma, especially if it flows with the character you’re choosing to create. You may surprise yourself at how allowing genuine feelings to come through has a lasting effect; always leave room for those surprises.

Don’t Obsess Over Client Expectations

You don’t know what the client is looking for in your read. Playing that guessing game, especially when it goes against your strengths and instincts as a performer, will not only drive you crazy — it won’t necessarily get you the job. Bring your own take to the read. After all, they wouldn’t have asked you to audition if you sounded like everyone else.

Don’t Record Too Many Auditions

Like any actor, you have to try out for many roles to find the best work. Yet to avoid reaching the point of diminishing returns, make sure you focus on the auditions that are a good match for your voice. You’ll get better results overall and you’ll make it easier to develop your personal brand as a voice artist.

Do Visualize the Scene

Your read is better the more you can immerse yourself into the scene. But it’s not always possible to create a recording environment that lets you fully imagine the world of your audition script. In your prep time between auditions, develop a few go-to characters that will help you enter the mindset of a particular type of read. It will save you time and give you a few more skills you can present on a moment’s notice.

Do Trust Your Instincts

You are a professional voice artist, so you know what makes a strong recording. You won’t know what’s in the minds of casting agents when they send out a call for auditions; therefore, use your training and instincts to bring the right emotion and intonation to your performance. Being true to your own interpretation of the script will make things even easier when you get the job.

Do Have Fun

There’s an old saying that you should smile when you’re on the phone, because the smile will come through in your voice. The same is true with voiceover work. If you’re not having fun, you can bet the casting agent will notice. Even a dramatic and sorrowful scene is enhanced when the actor is engaged with the text.

Do Let It Go

You’ve done your best and sent off the audition. Now let it go! Remember that you can’t change it now, and agonizing over your performance won’t help. Always keep moving forward — the next audition is just around the corner.

Make It Habit

When you’re auditioning, there is a lot to keep in your head all at once. So I made a quick checklist version of this post that you can keep near while you’re auditioning to help you make awesome auditioning habits.

Carrie Olsen

I'm a full-time professional voice actor and voiceover business coach. I have done work for Taco Bell, REI, BNSF Railway, Bank of America and ESPN to name a few. I dreamed up this community of voice actors to connect, grow, learn and get mentorship from each other. We're the most dedicated group of voice actors on the net, and we're here to help each other build and sustain profitable voiceover businesses.

  • ROYAL JOINER says:

    Great insight Carrie…. Regarding your internet issue during your blackout – you ever thought about using your phone as an internet backup? of course you have to have an unlimited data plan but in a pinch and with a back up battery hooked up to your computer – you can still deliver your projects – as long as the cell tower is not out too. I’m just saying –

    Take care
    RWJ

    • Carrie Olsen says:

      Hi Royal,

      I’m glad you appreciated the notes! Re: using my phone as a backup, yes, that’s exactly what I did! I also recorded some jobs in my car using the car’s lighter outlet to power my laptop. All the workarounds you can think of, I did them! And yes, all of my clients got their files; it was just more stressful than I would have liked. Five days without wired internet isn’t ideal for those of us who work from home and are online constantly. And of course, directed sessions via Source-Connect and the like were out of the question. So, fortunately, I was able to record from my favorite studio when I needed to.

      Thanks for the comment, and all my best!
      Carrie

  • Hello Carrie, I am having a really tough time learning my home studio. I am frustrated because I never did my own editing. When I recorded my audio book, or my video, someone else did the recording, editing and put together the professional package. I am using Audacity on my Windows 10. I have a pro module , Mic and headphones. I just can’t seem to get this edit down to broadcast ready material. There’s always clicking, an under tone hum, cutoffs… I don’t know what to do. I can’t pay my studio guy to keep recording me for auditions that I may or may not get the job. Any advice, what do you do?

    • Melinda says:

      You could hire your audio guy to come to your studio for an hour and help you tweak it. There’s a guy that does that over Skype I think it’s George Whittaker. He was highly recommended by many folks at voatlanta convention

    • Carrie Olsen says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for the comment. Melinda has some great suggestions about hiring someone to help you. Your audio guy or someone else in the industry like George Whittam would be great.

      Also, the first thing to make sure of is that your recording environment is quality. Of course it’s important to know how to edit, but ideally, your environment is set up in such a way that you don’t have a lot — if any — noises to edit out in post. Your mic technique, how hydrated you are, and even how much air you let out of your mouth when you say certain words all factor into how clean your recording will be without having to edit.

      If you’re getting a weird buzz, here is one of my favorite troubleshooting articles to help you find the culprit: http://support.presonus.com/hc/en-us/articles/210043493-Why-am-I-hearing-noise-in-my-studio-monitors-.

      If you’re cutting off words, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a quality set of headphones when you edit so that you can hear everything you’ve recorded. I like the Harlan Hogan voiceover headphones, but most headphones will do the trick. https://www.amazon.com/Harlan-Hogan-Voice-Over-Headphones/dp/B009W37D4W

      And of course, keep practicing! Editing audio for voiceover is one of those things that can be really intimidating when you first get started, but once you learn it, it feels like second nature.

      All my best,
      Carrie

  • Elle Boone says:

    Carrie! I simply love your blog posts. And I really admire your tenacity in that very stressful situation. I would’ve given up.

    You are a such a staple and a huge inspiration in this industry.

    Keep swingin’ sister!

    • Carrie Olsen says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Elle! And I’m so glad you’re getting value from the posts 🙂

  • jill says:

    i would also add that there are a TON of audacity how to videos on youtube to check out. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE anytime you have downtime.

  • jill says:

    oh and also, if you can’t afford george whittam (who is the best), there are other engineers at edge studio (where he works) who, for $75 will work with you remotely to figure out the culprit.

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