Win more voice over auditions – Four tips with Alyson Steel - Carrie Olsen Voiceover

Win more voice over auditions - Four tips with Alyson Steel

Tip 1) Audition specs and attention to detail

So the first thing you have to do is read what you get—from the email, from your agent, or production house. Read it thoroughly because many of the times it's going to be a long email (sometimes it’s not, but sometimes it is). 

All of the information on the email is really important because they want everything done just so. Just like being in school many years ago, you have to follow directions and it's the same exact thing. So if they want you to read, look at the specifics or instructions.What are the specs? So the specs are, what are you supposed to be, what kind of attitude you're going with? Are you going with a 25 to 35 year old happy, excited, energetic or do they want somebody 35 to 40 year old who is relatable and conversational? Those instructions will be what's going to inform your read.

The second part of this is you want to label everything correctly. So much of the time, everybody has their own way of labeling and don’t worry as they're going to show you. For example,  what I do is I will copy and paste. Don't rely on your memory. A lot of times the agents and the producers will say “ We want a space here and underscore there, a dash here.” Just copy what they want, paste it, and then you can add in the rest of what your information is. 

Those who audition are definitely throwing away their shot because they aren't able to follow directions, which leads me to follow the directions.

Follow the direction because you will get an instruction sheet which tells you all about the specs—gender, accent, job type. It will give you all of this information and you will learn how to cull through that stuff. You have to read everything, it's really, really important. 

If you don't know what you're reading for, google it! That's what Google is about, you want to find out—What is this product? So you want to google and get as much information as you possibly can.

So the first thing is to get everything in order—read and cull through the information so that you know what you're talking about. 

Tip 2) Rehearsing: Beyond the script

So your second tip is firstly being prepared

  • Are you mentally prepared?
  • Are you in the head space to do auditions?
  • Are you feeling good?
  • Is everything correct in your mind?
  • Are you physically prepared?
  • How is your body feeling?
  • How's your voice feeling?
  • Are you emotionally prepared? 

I know that when I have an audition and I'm not feeling very emotionally happy or just feeling kind of blah, the auditions do take a toll. It doesn't sound as good. Are you really ready and present mentally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally prepared? 

The next thing is, rehearse.

Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.

Now you don't want to over-rehearse, but you do want to go through what we learned on the specs and go through it and rehearse. If you're just gonna rip and read it—you're ripping off from your computer and just reading it off your monitor—you're not gonna feel that that might be potentially your best job. 

So rehearse your copy. One of my agents used to say if you're not making $100,000 a year, you better rehearse and that to me is just getting it out of your mouth at least three to four times, maybe five times. You do start to feel different pieces of the copy and really get connected to it. Tell a story, who were you talking to? 

So rehearse rehearse and give it your best shot.

Tip 3) Delivering Multiple Takes

So if you've gone through your rehearsal and you've read through the information.Now you're ready to lay it down and you do a really good take.

Are you able to do a second take that's different? Or maybe shows a different side of you? Now if you're not, that's completely okay. Again, those specs on the copy might say we just want one take and that's it. So you just give them one take. 

But occasionally you might have another one in the barrel. So give them a second take as long as it's different. You don't want the exact same take with the same attitude. If it says do three takes, then do three takes. Sometimes you don't have to, it will tell you we want one take only or two takes and sometimes it doesn't say. But if it doesn't say and you happen to have an alternate take, go for it.

Related articles:

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How to find the right voice over coach

Tip 4) Slate it and forget it!

To slate or not to slate. Well, don't slate unless I absolutely have to but again, in the specs it might say slate before or slate afterwards, or don't slate at all. 

You have to go back to tip number one—read the directions. Absolutely follow what they want. If you don't you might have your audition trashed or you might have your agent replying back to you asking for your slate.

So you have to be very, very methodical. So to slate or not to slate, well if I have to I do whether it be in the front or the back and if I don't have to, I don't. I'd rather go right into the read if I'm able to.

Another thing is audio quality. Make sure audio quality is up to par. Now, on occasion, I will do auditions from my phone or my iPad without even a microphone. If I'm in a huge rush, not optimal, will I get it in on time? Yes, but of course it's not optimal. But there are plenty of people who win those auditions and it doesn't matter what the audio quality really is. But you should have good audio quality 99.9% of the time.

Finally, forget about it.
Don't think about the audition once it's done. Forget the audition ever happened, You're there to do the best job you possibly can, and then move on to the next thing. It's not your job to sit and worry about it because it's not going to do anything except drive you kind of crazy. So forget about it.

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Alyson Steel will be doing Facebook Lives each day from June 7th to 11th to discuss these tips in detail. Don't miss out!

Interested to learn more about Alyson?

Read, watch, or listen to Carrie's interview with her about how she coaches voice actors.

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.

Carrie Olsen Voiceover