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So Many Audition Directions! Yes, But
Look At The Way They Are Laid Out ...
August 15, 2014

By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach

Voice Actor: 

"They say they want ‘conversational real’ and then I hear the spot and it sounds announcery and just like every other commercial. What's the direction even for? So, I just ignore it.”

Don’t just ignore it.  

They (writer, producer, whomsoever is making the media) put it down to consider, and a part of our job is to navigate it. So, I believe we ignore the direction at our peril.  

But I do have a theory. Most direction comes in lists. And when people make lists, they tend to put the things that are most important to them first.  

"Warm, friendly and genuine. The voice should break through with authority but also be relatable. The tone of the read should feel like a friend is talking to you. Some Southern accents as well.”
Those are seven separate thoughts (more or less) going on in a single read. Several of which feel very similar to each other. And one of them (Southern), seems to be optional.  

But look at the way they are laid out.  

There are three adjectives in one sentence (warm, friendly, genuine) that are similar, and THEN the wish list of ideas moves on to authority, relatable, talking to a friend, Southern etc.

Concentrate on the early adjectives first. They were the ones that sprang to mind first when whomsoever wrote them. Then look at the similarity of ideas.

See them, perhaps, as one or variations on a thought. And finally allow the later direction ideas to color those first impulses.
Hugh P. Klitzke is studio manager and voice casting director for a leading bi-coastal talent agency, who has directed more than 85,000 auditions for all voice over genres. Based in New York City, he is also a coach specializing in teaching voice over for actors, and writes VO4TA, a twice-weekly blog with helpful voice acting tips.


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Comments (1)
Tom j Dolan
8/15/2014 at 5:01 AM
Some good points made here. After working for more years than I ever thought, it seems to me the Director-Producer-Client can’t actually or accurately describe the “voice “ they really really want…but they know it when they hear it. So,

As Hugh sez, listen to the Direction-Wish list, then do your very best interpretation of ‘you’ as what you think/feel they really really want. You can try to be someone else…

"Ok Tom that’s good, now make it more like Robin Williams…got it?”

Yeah right. Reality in the biz is that frequently the choice is not what was described to you…which is where you listen to the spot later, the one you missed, and one phrase pops in your head: What the hell!? That’s ok, Go on to the next one and remember: no one gets all the work. Enjoy.
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