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AUDITIONS
Six Tips To Help You Win
More Voice-Over Auditions
June 28, 2018

By Rob Marley
Voice Actor

I have always said that doing the job is the frosting on the cake: it's winning the job that's the actual work.

The audition is your chance to convince the voice seeker that you are the right voice for the project.

There's a lot that goes into a winning audition, but there are a few things you can work on that will help you to deliver a quality voice-over that can tip the odds in your favor of landing the gig. Here are six quick tips to keep in mind when doing an audition. 

1. HYDRATE

It seems that humans are always in a constant struggle to stay hydrated. If you live in a dry environment, you're dehydrating just by breathing. The tissues in your mouth need to be hydrated. If they start to dry out, you start forming little spit bubbles that can be heard as pops and clicks in your voice.

The trick to fix this is not just to sip water while you're doing the audition, but to be DRINKING water at least 30 minutes before you even step in the booth.

Give your body the time it needs to absorb all that fluid and put it to use. Yes, you will need to take pit stops more frequently, but at least your mouth won't be clicking like a toy train set.

2. WARM UP

More than just your vocal cords, the muscles around your mouth that are responsible for your lips forming the words (called articulators) need to be stretched and warmed up, too.

Doing tongue twisters, humming, motorboating, or my favorite - the Announcers Test are all great ways to make sure your mouth is limber and ready to record.

3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

This is one of those things that can get you into trouble pretty quickly. It's the details that show whether or not you're paying attention.
  • Does the client want the file as an MP3 or a WAV or AIFF?
  • Does the agency want you to slate your name at the beginning or the end of the audition (or not at all)?
  • How do they want the file named?
I know several agencies that are very specific about how the files need to be submitted. A file labeled with an underscore instead of a dash, or a dash instead of an underscore, can mean the difference between your audition getting picked to do the job or it being deleted the moment it arrives.

4. BREATHE

It goes without saying, but breathing is kind of important. Knowing how and when to breathe in the middle of reading copy can sometimes be a tricky task.

When doing your script analysis, it's sometimes helpful to note on the copy exactly when you can catch a breath. Before you start to record, take a deep breath to oxygenate your body.

One trick that I've used is to inhale for a count of 5, then exhale to a count of 8. Then take one big cleansing breath and begin your VO. This works all the air out of your system and gives your body a rush of oxygen that can help you to get through particularly long run-on sentences (much like this one) without sounding like you're gasping for air by the time you get to the end.

Use your diaphragm and fill your lungs completely. Learn how to breathe the right way and your voice will improve. It also helps you relax, which is another key trick to sounding natural.

5. BE PROFESSIONAL

In everything you do, always.

Reply to the client in a friendly, but professional manner. You may have worked with a client for a long time, but they aren't your friend. They aren't your buddy. They are someone you hope will continue to pay you for your voice.

Remember your manners. Be courteous, and don't forget to say thank you. You'd be amazed at the number of people who don't even think to say thank you after the work is done.

6. BRING LIFE TO THE CHARACTER

Consider the person that's responsible for listening to all the auditions that get submitted. Someone has to sit and hear the same lines over and over and over again - and chances are the majority of them are going to sound exactly the same.

Ask yourself: what can you do to stand out from the rest of the people?

The answer is: bring life to the character and make it your own. Don't just read, ACT.

Connect with the material. You have to believe what you're saying. You have to be able to say the lines in such a way that it sounds like you just thought up what to say a moment before you say it.

It has to sound like you are speaking, not reciting.

In your script analysis, figure out the answers to these questions: "
  • Who is the person speaking?
  • What does that person look like?
  • Why are they speaking?
You don't need to create a whole backstory to the character, but "fleshing them out" a little will really help to create a believable sounding person.

The best way to master auditioning is to do a lot of them. The way to get to the "yes" is to get through the "no's" faster. The more you figure out your process of cold-reading, analysis, markup and rehearsal, the more comfortable you will be when you record that audition take.

Confidence in your ability is crucial. Why would you expect others to believe you if you don't believe in yourself?
------------------
ABOUT ROB
A Los Angeles native, Rob Marley is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the hill country of Austin TX.


Web: www.MarleyAudio.com

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Comments (3)
Kathy Prentkowski
7/2/2018 at 9:01 PM
Thanks Rob! Even after years in the business, Sometimes you just need to be reminded.
J Wegmann
6/28/2018 at 1:16 PM
Yeah, these recommendations are very basic and should be self-evident.
j. valentino
6/28/2018 at 6:52 AM
Nice article for someone who has never done a voiceover before! For anyone who's a pro, this is kind of obvious, no? lol. "If your mouth is dry, drink!" "Breathe." "Be a professional." "Bring the character to life." I don't mean to be mean, but is this a serious article for voiceover pros, or is this a gag?
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