Voice Acting: The Audition
Ok, so you are lucky enough to get an audition. Fantastic. So now what? Well, here are a few tips on how to make this as painless as possible while still putting your best foot (not in your mouth) forward.
First of all, show up on time. The casting person has scheduled you at that time for a reason. Most casting sessions are a full day if not longer, and if everyone showed up at the same time it would be a mess; so honor your call time. Obviously, if you were given a time that won’t work for you, you can ask (nicely) if there is any other time you can come in. However, if you do that too many times, you go on “the annoying list”. I have a few of those from my many years as a casting director. Trust me.
Second, when you arrive sign in, take a look at the copy/script, and take the time to look it over. You may see some familiar faces in the room, some other actors you know. Yes, you can say hello. Be friendly, but then get to work! You won’t be given a lot of time to look over the work, and many (I mean many) actors like to distract other actors so they don’t have time to study. Don’t think that happens? Trust me yet again.
If there are a few things on the script you want to mark (for pace, inflection, pronunciation) fine, grab a pencil (NOT a pen) and make your road map. [Note: Some actors like to mark scripts incorrectly and leave them behind to mess up other actors. Yup, dirty pool.] Work in pencil so that when the director gives you direction you can change things.
Third, when you get in the booth, ask the casting director if they would like you to slate. In the audio world, they can’t see you. Having an audio slate helps make sure they know who they are listening to (and hopefully want to book). If you're new to auditioning, a slate is simply “This is take one, John Smith” followed by you reading the script. Some casting directors want a slate, others don’t. Better to ask.
Forth, make a vocal choice and remember what it is! I can’t tell you how many times someone has read for me, and failed to remember what they just did! Maybe I liked it and wanted a slight tweak (i.e., faster, slower, etc.) and they changed the whole vibe on the second take into something that was like a different actor/character. I would much rather you made a first choice that was ‘wrong’ so I could tell you not to do that again, than having you not know what just came out of your mouth.
Fifth, when they tell you they have what they want, say thank you and leave. Unless you have worked with these people before, don’t ask to try a few other ideas. Yes, you may have a better read. Yes, you may actually have a better idea than they do. But, be professional and don’t be pushy. You have to gauge this very carefully. There are certain casting directors that ask me for anything I would like to try... but remember I have been doing this for over 25 years. People may know I do a bunch of different characters, etc. even so, I don’t volunteer my ‘better’ idea unless it feels like the right situation.
Sixth and the most important, when you walk out of the audition, forget about it. If you think about the potential bookings, and if they will call you back, you will drive yourself crazy. Just let it go. If you get a call in a week or so and they want to book you, great. I found myself saying things like “What thing was that?, “Did I read for that?” If you can master this step you will maintain a slight bit of sanity in the insane world of voice acting.
Break a leg.