How to Ace the Audition #7
Exclusive interviews with voice-over pros for VoiceOverXtra.com subscribers
'Find Voice-Over Work
That Resonates With You'
Voice Talent & Producer
By John Florian
Living outside a major metro market for voice over production sent Bob Souer online for income.
Souer has been voicing for over two decades … well, actually 32 years if we count his first gig:
"I was the proverbial poor-as-a-church-mouse college student, putting myself through school. And I wanted to get married, but needed $75 to buy a setting for my fiancée's family heirloom diamond.
"By chance, the company where my fiancée worked needed somebody 'with a nice voice' to read something – and they hired me. The session paid $50 an hour and ran 1-1/2 hours. I got the exact $75 I needed and was able to get married!"
A voice actor happily ever after.
Fast forward to today. From PBS to US Airways, eLearning courses and more, Souer's voice is heard in documentaries, training and marketing videos, web sites, audiobooks, radio programs, and TV and radio commercials and imaging. Plus, he finds time for a (mostly) daily blog with helpful advice for voice actors (see address below).
CHOOSE AUDITIONS TO CHASE
All this is done online from his home.
Yet Souer cautions that joining casting services to receive audition notices can glue you to the computer – an addiction to avoid. So he puts these casting notices through a three-part test before responding.
BUT BE FLEXIBLE
"Most projects don't fail the third test," Souer explains, but some have. For instance, he once turned down a job after he'd won it.
"I auditioned, got the job, and then they sent the entire script. I discovered that the last part of it was about positive thinking on how to seduce people you are not married to. I wrote back to the fellow and said, 'Keep your money.' "
Yet Souer can be flexible on pay. "I am willing to compromise on my rates in order to do something I think is really worthwhile," he says. "For instance, for a non-profit organization I believe in, or want to support."
Moreover, the three-part test is a way to "eliminate the stuff that's going to be a distraction and a time-waster," he says.
"Find work that really resonates with you because then you have a better chance of delivering a performance that will resonate with the client."
FIND CORE MESSAGE
About that performance, Souer follows advice he got years ago from coach Marice Tobias:
"Good copy has a single idea at the core. So find that core message and construct your entire performance to deliver it."
For a commercial audition, he'll typically record two or three takes, but only send one to the client. In the text portion, he'll tell the client why he's interested in the job, or about his qualifications "beyond what my voice sounds like here."
Then he submits it and forgets it.
"If you stress over getting jobs it'll twist your life into knots. You'll lose your mental health in a matter of weeks."
DON'T SWEAT IT
Neither should you stress over online notices to which many others have already responded.
"It's very tempting to say, 'Oh, I'm not going to bother responding' " when you see that hundreds of others have already auditioned, Souer explains. "But I can point to two times when I got the job after the client had already listened to 200 or more other auditions. One of those paid over a thousand dollars.
"If you really believe you're the right person, and it's a job you want, then audition for it."
To contact Bob Souer: