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Why Would You Want To Turn Down
A Voice Over Audition? Let's See ...

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

Do you receive notices about auditions for voice over jobs that you don't want to do?

Me? All the time.

I get auditions from my manager, multiple agents and regular clients pretty much every day - and I often turn some down.


1. The rate is too low.

Most of the time I just delete it,  but if the rate is outrageously low (like for a national chain) sometimes I'll make mention.

BTW: Often the voice seeker adds a note in the casting notice like,
"We know this rate sucks but it's the best we could negotiate. If you don't wanna submit for it we understand."
Notes like that have shown up more and more over the past few years.

2. I'm not right for the role.

Recently I got two casting notices and the voice references were Michael Clarke Duncan, Ving Rhames and Dennis Haysburt.

These guys are wonderful but they all have VERY deep voices. If I try to mimic them I sound like a 19-year old trying to get served at a bar.

3. I'm not comfortable with the terms.

Stuff like:
  • The exclusivity may be too constricting (e.g. all cars)
  • I may have conflicts with work I've done in the past (I'm the voice of Coke and I get sent an audition for Pepsi)
  • I don't like the usage (too long, covers too many media venues, too many lifts/cutdowns, etc.)
Honorable Mention #1:

Sometimes I'm too busy recording actual voice over bookings and I don't have time to do some of the auditions that come my way. A good problem!

Honorable Mention #2:

I'll get auditions for cartoons or video games that will wreck my voice for the rest of the day, so I just don't do them.

That may sound like sacrilege to you who dream of booking those genres, but tough choices have to be made sometimes. Yes, I try to save them until the end of the day, but sometimes I'm gassed out after a full day of recording and I just can't do the required exertions.

Honorable Mention #3:

Sometimes I've had political objections with the company the voice over is for: which causes they donates to, candidates or values they support, etc.


If you get auditions that you don't wanna do, don't do them.

Should you let the voice seeker know that you won't do certain auditions they've sent you? It depends.
  • If the audition was algorithm-ically generated from an online casting site, you don't have to say anything because a human didn't send it. (If you feel the need to apologize to a computer and explain why you're not doing the audition, get help.)
  • If it's an audition from representation, drop a quick note but don't waste their time. They don't need a paragraph-long explanation. "Sorry, I'm not comfortable with the usage. Next time!" or something like that should be fine. Note: If you find yourself turning down a lot of auditions from certain reps, those reps may not be right for you. 
  • If it's an audition sent directly from a voice seeker, a more detailed explanation may be called for. For instance, if you have an issue with the rate or usage, take the opportunity to explain the nature of the issue. Send them your rate sheet or perhaps the GVAA Rate Guide. Who knows, maybe they'll increase the rate!
Over more than two decades, Tom Dheere - AKA 'The VO Strategist' - has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, a coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.


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Comments (3)
Bob Hutchings
5/9/2020 at 9:02 PM
Great info! I’d like to share your link and info with those I train- basic voice over skills with emphasis on post production skills... editing, mixing, processing. My students are aspiring VO talents wanting to get into the business! I’m a 40 year voice over veteran/ old-time radio guy/ forte in studio production skills, commercials, on-hold programs, IVR-(19 years voice of HP/Compaq IVR voice), training video soundtracks. Just sharing- so you know that I appreciate your info. Please put me on your mailing list. my site: Thanks! Bob Hutchings
jay valentino
5/8/2020 at 1:40 AM
This is helpful info for those looking to break into the business. But professionals should already know this, stuff, no?
Russ DeWolfe
5/7/2020 at 1:05 PM
Thanks for the advice Tom. I needed this!
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