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Make These Eight Mistakes To Lose
Voice Over Clients And Auditions ...
January 21, 2016

By Rick Lance

Voice Actor

We have all been there before, where we said or did something that had us asking ourselves, "Why on Earth did you say/do that!?”

And while those foot-in-mouth moments are certainly cringe-worthy, they’re not the end of the world.

Still, you’ll want to avoid them wherever possible, and the best way to do that is to be prepared.

Here are some of the top mistakes that voice over artists make, and what you can do to avoid them.


1. Poor business etiquette.

In this industry, it’s all about who you know and how you treat them. The most successful voice actors are the ones who practice good etiquette when it comes to dealing with clients.

This includes being responsive, representing themselves honestly, being able to answer questions about themselves and their business (i.e., experience, rates, etc.), and practicing good manners in general.

2. Not following directions.

Both before, during and after recordings, it says a lot about a talent when they’re able to follow directions correctly. Coming prepared with whatever is asked of you, following audition guidelines, performing background research when asked, and taking direction/feedback/critique and properly applying are just a few of the ways an actor can make or break themselves in a client’s eyes.

Be careful with your emails that you communicate effectively and not succumb to all the hip, common email jargon out there. At least, not at first. Take your cues from how he/she relate to you and follow suite when replying.

3. Not taking their career seriously.

Many people get into VO as sort of a "back-up” career, or something on the side to earn extra money. And while this isn’t a bad thing, you can’t treat it as your back-up career, and you certainly don’t want your clients to see it that way.

If you do that, you’re not giving it 100%, and your clients won’t take you seriously. Even for folks who are 110% invested in voice over, it’s vital that your clientele knows this.

Take pride in what you do, and remember that sometimes, it’s the little things that people notice. Check for typos, call when you say you will, and most importantly, act like a professional!


4. Pitch is not steady.

The most important thing with pitch is to keep it steady, and within the requested or established range. Don’t "up-talk” or raise pitch at the end of sentences, and be sure to use your pitch to your advantage so you don’t sound monotone.

Use pitch, and not volume, to emphasize words or phrases. But be careful not to sound "sing-songy".

5. Tone does not match script.

Match the words in the script to your tone; I repeat, match the words in the script to your tone.

This is easily one of the biggest mistakes actors make, so be sure that your emotion is the one that’s best for the words you’re reading. Also, think about who will be listening - is your tone the best for appealing to that audience?

6. Tempo out of whack.

Not developing the right sense of timing for readings can be a deal-breaker for many clients. If your tempo is out of whack because you’re rushing your recordings or pausing in all the wrong places, the end result will be a sub-quality product.

7. Pronunciation not right for audience.

Where pronunciation is concerned, it’s important that you tailor it to your audience.

For instance, for readings such as tutorials or educational videos, the focus needs to be on clarity and accuracy, while more informal recordings should be read colloquially.

8. Inconsistent volume.

The biggest help in preventing volume-related mistakes is developing a benchmark for yourself that tells you exactly how loud you’ll sound behind the mic.

Another factor is in maintaining consistent volume; even though it may be tempting to increase your volume to emphasize certain words, don’t do it. Instead, use pitch and tempo to add emphasis.

And, of course, if you're recording yourself, check your levels for peaks and make adjustments accordingly.
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville’s music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I’m lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville.”


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Comments (4)
Teresa Kelly
1/26/2016 at 7:01 PM
Very good advice in whatever field one works in. And in general
also. I appreciate it.
j. valentino
1/22/2016 at 4:24 PM
Sorry, but shouldn't people that do voiceover work already know this? How else would they be pro vo artists? I mean "check your levels", "develop a sense of timing", "match the words in the script to your tone", "Take pride in what you do, and remember that sometimes, it’s the little things that people notice"...etc.

It would be great to get some actual useful info and tips for pros, rather than filler material. The majority of these articles seem like they are intended for people who have never done a professional voiceover. And then, you have comments saying "great information", "nice" etc. It's absurd. Sorry but I call it as I see it.
Adam C. Sharp
1/22/2016 at 11:19 AM
Great information to remind all VOs the little things that can make a big difference.
Joe Loesch
1/21/2016 at 12:37 PM
Nice article, Rick. Good advice. Appreciate you.
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