The Art of the Audition:
Relax - Have Fun With It!
By Kevin Delaney
Voice Talent & Coach
© 2009 Kevin Delaney
I have a deep, dark secret to confess. I love to audition for voice-over.
It's true. I can't get enough.
Call me an oddball, but it has never occurred to me that reading for a role could be anything other than an enjoyable, career-enhancing opportunity.
What could be better than going up in front of successful industry people, who are producing cool projects and controlling large amounts of cash, and demonstrating to them that you're the talent they've been waiting all their careers to meet?
Perhaps my ability to enjoy the process of auditioning has something to do with my being able to work full-time as a VO artist in Hollywood, succeeding, and having fun on a daily basis in the toughest, most competitive market in the world.
RELAX - ENJOY YOURSELF
Every audition is a performance - usually an unpaid one. But so what? You didn't get into this kind of work just to make money, did you?
When you give yourself permission to relax and have fun with your auditions, you open up your creative mind: you invite your audience into your world and give them a reason to enjoy listening to you.
A person who likes his or her work comes across as confident and secure. Others can't help but admire and respect you.
That's no guarantee that you'll get a part, but it sure doesn't hurt.
CASTING AIN'T EASY
Anyone who works in Human Resources for a large company will tell you: every position advertised usually results in a torrent of resumes from qualified, capable applicants.
Rarely does one candidate stand head and shoulders above the rest. At least several people could do the job well, but only one can actually be hired.
The final decision often comes down to a matter of individual, subjective preference - or eeny-meeny-miny-moe.
SHED THE STRESS
To be selected for a VO role doesn't mean your competitors were awful. Likewise, if you aren't picked, it doesn't mean something is wrong with you.
Let the producers and casting people stress over who's going to be chosen for what role.
Casting is a tough job, best left to professionals. Your mission is to step up to the mic, deliver the most outstanding performance you're capable of, then walk away and forget about it.
HARSH & LIBERATING REALITY
No matter how incredible you are, the great majority of your auditions will not result in paid work.
That's OK. If you were the mythical "booking machine," you'd never have time to enjoy yourself and work creatively on growing your business.
Knowing ahead of time that you most likely won't get the gig can be very freeing. It's useful in being able to detach from the outcome.
When you're not obsessed over whether or not you'll succeed, you can't fear failure.
Fear is the great career-killer; it keeps talented artists stuck in mediocrity and in boring, dead-end day jobs.
"VOICES" DON'T BOOK GIGS
Your ability to book VO work depends ultimately on your ability to make exciting, dynamic choices when you perform, and to put yourself across at all times in an interesting and memorable way. Nobody hires, casts or represents "voices."
I'm not a "voice actor" - I'm an unusual, somewhat eccentric guy whose main product is his personality and his unique sense of humor and fun.
What makes me valuable isn't my ability to talk, it's the emotional impact I can have on people.
If you can capture somebody's attention; if you can motivate a person and get him to care - about something, anything - if you can inspire, entertain, make people feel good about themselves, at least for a little while, then all other things being equal, you can book work in voice-over.
The last thing the VO industry needs is another voice. But it might just need you. Are you ready to step up to the mic and show us that you're the answer to all our prayers?
ABOUT KEVIN ...
Kevin Delaney is a voice-over artist and coach whose voice-over credits include Looney Tunes, KidsWB.com, ESPN, The NFL Network, and countless others. He's the voice of Captain Marvel in the videogame Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Other videogame credits include World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, The Matrix: Path of Neo, Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, and Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action. He runs the blog Voiceover Ninja, which contains podcasts about the business of voice acting.
Voiceover Ninja Blog: www.VoiceoverNinja.com
Art of the Audition Online Workshop: www.ArtOfTheAudition.com
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success