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Are You Still In The 20% That
Does Not Follow Instructions?
August 7, 2014

By Marc Scott
Voice Actor

Have you ever built Ikea furniture? If you like jigsaw puzzles, then you probably think building Ikea furniture is the greatest thing ever.

On the other hand, if you don’t like building jigsaw puzzles, well … you probably wish you knew someone who did. So you could hire them.

The trick to building Ikea furniture is to first read the instructions. All of them. All the way through. From start to finish. Oh, and then after you’ve read all the instructions, follow them.


I’ve done casting for more than a few voice over projects, via both Pay-2-Play and direct email invitations.

In each of those experiences there is one thing that never ceases to amaze me: the number of voice over actors who are incapable (apparently) of following very clear, very simple directions.

Recently I posted a message on Twitter and Facebook. Simple enough, right? Apparently not.

Despite the fact that I provided what I thought were very, very clear instructions, what resulted was something entirely different.

20% IGNORE 'EM ...

Let me begin by saying that 80% of the respondents did follow my simple instructions: a quick note with a link to their demo. Just like I asked.

But then came the other 20%. These individuals messaged me with novels. Literally. Novels! They included a history of their professional voice over careers. They name-dropped every major client they’ve ever worked with since birth.

No less than six to eight links to various and assorted demos were included. Some included links to everything BUT their explainer video voice over work - which I originally asked for.


These individuals completely missed what I was asking for, tried too hard, and as a result, their names were not included in my referral list.

If they can’t follow my simple two-sentence instructions, I would never assume they can follow instructions of a client. And I’ll never give my clients names of voice actors who can’t follow simple instructions.

Just like your Ikea furniture, if you want to succeed - if you want to get it right the first time - read the instructions all the way through, and then begin the project.

Otherwise you’ll finish with disaster.
Marc Scott has been involved in broadcasting and voice over since 1995, including work in radio and television, and hosting the number 1-rated Afternoon Drive show in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. "When I’m not recording my latest voice over job you can likely find me at the fire hall: I’ve been a volunteer firefighter since 2000, or playing with power tools."


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Comments (1)
8/9/2014 at 12:34 PM
If 80% are complying your requests I would say that's a pretty good return rate.

On the other hand, you will have talent buyers post auditions with paragraphs of obtuse directions, multiple links to YouTube vo references, requests to do 2 or 3 reads in muiltiple styles, character voices, 3:00-4:00 scripts, oft times of technical nature, foreign terms, etc., and in a lot of cases the final produced result (if any) turns out to be nothing like what they asked for.

In the real world, it used to be (or should be) that the talent was compensated for demo or "spec" recordings. Some of us do 30 auditions daily. On the road, in the car, on name it. Let's give those that are trying to make a living at this VO thing a break

Here's my advice for those frustrated talent buyers who aren't getting people to follow their directions. Any one of these three options should be enough for casting purposes

1) Post :15 of copy and a description of the project and request talent give it a go with an MP3
2) Most VO peeps have websites with all of their exemplary work, bios, etc.. Just ask for a link to the site.
3) Have them send a 1:00 example of their best work.
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