The Usual Voice-Over Audition Mistakes That Make Casting Directors Cringe

For a craft that reaches such a broad audience, voice acting is a field people haven’t heard much of. When you turn on the radio and hear an ad, it might not cross your mind but you’re listening to the work of a voice actor. Voice actors are the “invisible” actors, whose voices give life and emotion to TV commercials, radio and digital ads, animated films, documentaries, video games, cartoons, anime dubs, podcasts, and audiobooks. 

voice-over actor
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There has never been a time like now, when opportunities to land voice-over jobs are literally everywhere. However, this industry may prove to be hard to break into for newcomers. How do you make sure you’re doing your auditions and submissions right?

Common Voice-Over Auditions Mistakes to Avoid

Here are the common voice-over auditions mistakes that may have ruined your chances.

Your slate

voice-over auditions mistakes to avoid
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When you slate your name at the beginning of your audition, use the same tone appropriate for your read. It’s awkward hearing a serious introduction immediately transitioning into a comedic or cheerful reading of the script.  

Not following instructions

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Casting agents painstakingly included every requirement in the casting call they announced or in the casting breakdown they emailed, so read all the details carefully. All that text is there for a reason. Nothing is more frustrating for a casting director than listening to a submission that doesn’t meet requirements or follow directions.

No variety in delivery

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If the entire audition is less than twenty seconds, offer three takes in varying approaches on the same slate. Avoid repeating the same exact tone in each take or submission. That only defeats the purpose of offering two more takes.

Late submissions

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Auditions are opportunities, so it’s your job to make the most of those opportunities. Again, follow instructions! Submitting on or before the indicated deadline technically means you have more time to submit for other auditions, and more agents may rely on you for your eagerness and punctuality. Note that clients typically start casting the project well before the deadline. The later you submit, the less your chances are of booking the job.

Poorly recorded submission

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Yes, auditioning for voice-over projects means that you should at least have knowledge of what a good recording sounds like. And if needed be, you’ll need to have an audio editing software or perhaps a friend who knows how to do the job. Is the volume in your recording painfully not uniform? Is the quality bad? Do you hear static? Address these issues before you even think of submitting.

File format

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At minimum, all submissions and audition files need to be in MP3 format, not WAV, in order to ensure they play back. Ideally they should be at a bit rate of 128 kbps and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. These settings strike a good balance between compression and sound quality. Also they should not be in stereo but mono. If your submission won’t play or is incompatible with most players, the casting directors might not even ask you to redo your audition. There are simply too many submissions to review that actually play and sound nice.

Conclusion

Statistics dictate that it takes about 200 voice-over auditions to book a job. So if you’re not hearing from anyone the first time you submitted, worry not. Almost everyone else is in the same place as you. Never stop the first time you’re rejected. That’s simply not how the entertainment industry works. Like all careers, you start by chasing opportunities, not the other way around.

Good luck!

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