Last summer, my former voiceover coach, Marla Kirban, launched Ready4Air’s first-ever voiceover series Gimme The Mic. The three-part series took readers behind the scenes of what it takes to do voiceover work and become a successful voiceover artist.
Marla is back this week with more for your arsenal. If you are already working as a voiceover artist or want to work more in the field, Marla has outlined a few ways to ace that audition you can now submit from home.
By Marla Kirban
“With talent being so plentiful, it is important that people get out of their own way.” – Linda Weaver
Play the numbers game
One is the loneliest number.
One of the realities of the voiceover industry right now is that you’re likely to be recording your auditions at home and emailing the mp3 to your agent, casting director, or producer. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. You have to work against the impersonal aspects of the industry by making sure you get some face time with your coach and your colleagues, and when you’re offered a chance to be directed on an audition in person, take it. These experiences build your ability to work by yourself without sounding like a robot or getting lost in perfectionism and insecurity.
When you’re recording an audition, follow the instructions of your agent, casting director, or producer for the project. They will tell you if they want you to state your name for each take. They will usually ask you for three takes. Make sure the takes are different from each other, or you’re wasting your listener’s time.
Two hours? Are you kidding?
If you find yourself taking two hours to record a thirty-second audition spot, you’ve just destroyed every probability that you’ll get the job. You’ve gone into the realm of “trying to make it perfect.” There’s actually no such thing as a perfect read. If you’ve tried to edit out your breath and small imperfections, because you’re a Pro Tools maven and you can, then you’ve probably also taken the heart and the meaning out of the read. It should take no more than about twenty minutes to get your three takes.
As a voiceover performer, you probably never thought you’d have to be a director, too! Remember that this is not a finished spot, and the casting team can often tell within five seconds whether or not you will be in the running for it. Sometimes, sorry to say, they can even tell by how you state your name. Please don’t indulge or torture yourself just because you have the time and equipment to do so.
Related Post: Gimme The Mic: Training Your Voice For Voice-Overs
Years ago, as an in-house director at ICM, talent was lined up outside my booth. Each person spent one minute recording a 60-second spot (with a bagel in one hand and a coffee in the other), did the audition, and left went about their day. Most of the time, when I’d call and tell them they’d booked it, they’d say, “When did I audition for that?”
Don’t put all the weight on the result. It’s a numbers game now, so quantity is almost more important than quality. Don’t put ALL your energy into one spot. Your team needs it as soon as possible. If you’re not there by the second take, it’s not going to be getting any better. My students call my office when they’re in doubt about what to submit, and I can give some direction on the phone.
Distinguish yourself from the multitudes.
If you’re a pleasure to work with, and deliver your auditions FAST and professionally with decent audio quality and with respect for the schedule and integrity of your agents, casting directors, or producers, they will hang in there with you until you book.
What are your pet peeves and favorite parts about self-directing your auditions and submitting from home?
Marla Kirban has a BA in Theater Education and Speech from Emerson College. After working as a theater teacher and raising a family in Connecticut , Marla started her second career in Los Angeles, working for ICM as their in-house Voiceover Director with talent such as Jane Lynch (Glee, Best in Show), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), and Jim Cummings (voices of Winnie the Pooh and the Tasmanian Devil). Marla has coached voiceover talent from her studio in New York City for the last 20 years, and has done audition coaching for Meg Ryan, Harvey Keitel, Julia Stiles, Frank Langella, and Val Kilmer.
To contact Marla, you can find her here: Marla Kirban Voiceover Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/MarlaKirbanVoiceover
Marla Kirban Voiceover on Twitter https://twitter.com/MarlaKirban @MarlaKirban
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