How to Efficiently Read Voiceover Scripts For Auditions - Carrie Olsen Voiceover
How to Read Voiceover Scripts

How to Efficiently Read Voiceover Scripts For Auditions

How do you approach a script?

I want to start doing more auditions, and I want to get better at it. 

So, when you get a script, how do you approach it? 

Do you read it out loud just to get it out of your mouth? 

Do you read in your head? 

Do you do a few takes and then go back, listen to it, step-direct yourself, and make adjustments? What’s efficient for you?

It gets faster the more you do it. Regardless of your process, you'll get more efficient at it, just by the nature of practice. The more you do it, the faster you get.

Some people opt for the “rip-and-read” method. They grab the script, read it once, and that's it. Some spend hours laboring over every script.

Which is better? Whichever one is working for you!

However, it is important to point out that if rip-and-read is consistently working for you, it’s because you’ve already had a lot of training and practice. You might get lucky if you’re new, but luck isn’t a good business model.

No matter how authentic you are, if you’re new to VO, there are some things you need to know beforehand like technique, timing, and genre-specific rules. There are many things you don't even realize you're doing after you've been doing voiceover for a while—a lot of that stuff just happens. So it’s natural that a veteran voice actor will say, “I'm just doing this on the first take,” when subconsciously, there's a lot of stuff happening because they've already had that training and gone through it. 

When I do my voice evaluation classes, that's something that I talk about a lot because these people haven't had any training at all. And I can hear the difference between someone who has been doing this for quite some time (and processing scripts automatically as they speak) versus someone who is thinking about every syllable and doesn't know what they don't know yet.

In a nutshell, you learn those things. It’s a painstaking process, like learning tennis. You go through the learning process, which slowly becomes second nature. There are things that kind of just click.

My biggest encouragement for efficiency is to audition more because there are a lot of different techniques you can use. 

What I do now is think more conceptually. So I try to picture the entire commercial—I'm thinking about the music, the visuals, taking into account what the brand is, who the audience is, and how that will affect what the voiceover sounds like. Know what the purpose of the voiceover is serving—every line and word has a purpose. I'll go through it almost like a puzzle, thinking about where each line fits in, and sometimes it happens on a first read. Sometimes I get it immediately like I've seen this commercial before. I understand exactly the big idea and what the writer was going for when they wrote it. And then it's easier just to let that happen, and then other times, there's that odd line that just doesn't fit in. How am I supposed to say that? And in those cases, I have to think about how I would say it as if that is a natural thing or think about the backstory that would make that line make sense. What's the personality trait of this person that makes it so that a line that they would say? 

So, it starts with a big-picture concept. Sometimes, I may need to take it line by line, or there might be an odd line out that I need to think about where. How does that fit in? And then it is beneficial to listen back. 

There have been auditions I have submitted that I have Frankentein-ed together—I take the first part from my very first take, and then the last part is from the third take. That’s another approach I take right now. If you'd asked me a year or two ago, it'd be slightly different. So it changes. 

There also should be a balance between efficiency and quality. It's finding that balance of spending enough time on it to be good enough but not so much time on it. There is a law of diminishing returns where it's like if I've read it 20 times, take 21 is probably not going to be any better, and it's probably going to be exactly like take two.

Another way to be efficient in reading scripts is to select the right auditions to audition for, especially if you are doing auditions at casting sites.

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This clip was taken from the Voiceover Success Intensive monthly Office Hours calls. These monthly calls are just one of the many benefits of joining our membership program.

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