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Yes, Online Audition/Casting Sites 
CAN Help Your Career – Here’s How
 
Note: The author presents workshops on success with auditions and how to use online casting sites. Coming soon are Audition Olympics, May 17, in Houston, and Business of Voiceovers / Winning on the Internet, May 30-31, in Dallas. Please check here for details: www.VoicesVoices.com.  Also, click here for a brief audio about the May 17 workshop.

By Bettye Zoller
Voice Talent and Coach
VoicesVoices.com
 
“An online presence is a necessity today for voice talents. In addition to having a web site of your own, you must belong to multiple online audition/casting – or pay-to-play – web sites.”
 
I posted that statement recently on an online forum. It drew many responses, including from voice actors who are disgruntled with the online web site services they have paid to join.
 
Well, my follow-up is this:
  • Not all online pay-to-play sites are alike.
  • Know how each operates, how to “play” successfully, and what to expect.
  • Never depend on only one web site!
  • And, you should not only be a presence on U.S. sites, but also worldwide, taking advantage of Internet opportunities - if you know how to find them.
Following is how to do all that.
 
HOW IT WORKS

The goal of an online casting site is to match the talent of a voice actor with the specific need of a voice seeker client.
 
The online sites eliminate the “middleman” - the voice-over agent - and save voice seekers valuable time, too.
 
When applying for membership, the voice actor will specify the type of voices that he or she can provide, along with types of projects desired (commercials, audiobooks, only jobs that pay above a certain amount, etc.), and production services.
 
The audition notices are sent by email to voice talent who have joined the casting site. And, the site might offer a variety of membership options – at varying fees – for increasing levels of service (such as more profile details, posting more demos, more prominent notice at the site, an online forum, etc.).
 
When receiving such an audition notice, the voice talent decides whether to go for it.
 
If “yes,” the voice talent records the audition script at his or her home studio, and then electronically returns it to the casting site.
 
BIG DIFFERENCES

Some casting sites automate the process and send audition notices to many members whose profile match the particular project need of the voice seeker.
 
Other Internet sites might send just one audition to a member talent, because the job fits that talent perfectly, or because the client has listened to that talent and has requested that talent to be included in the audition.
 
And you’ll find some services that do both.
 
PAY VARIES
 
Many audition notices arrive with the voice seeker’s proposed pay for a project – or perhaps, a budget range.
 
On some sites, the pay ranges can be quite large, perhaps from $50 to $3,500 or more. Other sites post mainly big money jobs only, such as a $1,900 job and even a $9,500 job!
 
Also, some Internet job auditions demand things such as “you must have ISDN in your studio,” or “you must offer phone patch.”
 
BUNDLE FEES

Certain jobs might also require post production services (adding music or effects under the voice read). Some ask how many years a talent has been in the voice business.
 
Note: All of the Internet sites advertise auditions and jobs with a price that COMBINES doing the voice-over and the recording and editing of it.
 
That’s why the voice talent must consider carefully his or her time commitment when deciding to reject or to audition for a particular job.
 
LOOK WORLDWIDE

Sites operated overseas can be valuable, too.
 
Google "voice-over online booking sites in Germany" or "England voice-over agents and online" etc., and you'll begin to see how you can make a presence outside of the U.S.
 
A client who came to me several years ago for a new CD demo alerted me to opportunities in England. I had not investigated it before, knowing the preference there was for a British accent.
 
But I learned that Great Britain also has a place for non-British English speakers. So does Germany, Austria, France, South America, Mexico - just about everywhere that most adults are bi- and tri-lingual.
 
They grow up speaking multiple languages, so these are required for many types of voice jobs.
 
PICK AND CHOOSE
 
It’s wise to pick and choose among the notices for what’s worth your time.
 
For instance, do you want to:
  • delete all auditions paying less than $500?
  • try the lowball-pay jobs because you're brand new?
  • delete all auditions from an online site where more than 25 other talent have already auditioned?
But you have to weigh these decisions. Maybe the job where 25 have already auditioned is actually perfect for your "grandfather voice." Or maybe you are a pro at doing a certain type of animation character and doubt that anyone could do much better than you.
 
So give those a shot.
 
TARGET YOUR EXPERTISE

By doing an audition that pays only $200 you might become known to a corporate producer who would use you for a training narration in the future because you happen to know a lot about his business sector.
 
See? What are your expertise areas? Do you have some legal or medical knowledge? If so, always audition for jobs in those areas.
 
Do you perform post production in your studio? If so, show the voice seeker what you can do, and audition for that job.
 
REJECT OR NOT?

I read the job descriptions on all auditions from the pay-to-play sites and reject the ones that sound "fuzzy" - telling me the voice seeker is really not very knowledgeable or perhaps confused, or that he's going to be a bundle of headaches.
 
Are there misspelled words? I reject these instantly. Maybe this is a wrong decision, but it just hits me the wrong way.
 
Does the voice seeker use terms incorrectly, showing that he or she does not know very much about recording or voice-overs? No amount of money is enough to deal with a troublemaker.
 
I also reject auditions or jobs that are too time-consuming for the money offered. My time is better spent elsewhere.
 
Yet it's worth remembering that while some sites only send auditions that fit me perfectly, this occurs just a few times per week or even less often.
 
SET YOUR RULES

Bottom line: If the job fits you, or you see an opportunity for the future, or it's something you know you're particularly good at, go for it.
 
Delete the rest. Set your parameters. Have rules and guidelines.
 
Don't audition for every job! Pick and choose so you don't waste your time.
 
JUST ONE INCOME SOURCE

Also remember that online auditioning is only one source of income for professional voice actors.
 
Auditioning online alone is not a full-time career. You also need voice-over agents in multiple regions - many countries - who book you.
 
And consider marketing yourself, developing clients in your hometown.
 
I am often contacted by voice talents who tell me they are only listed on one Internet site as a voice talent, and that they are discouraged because they seldom win jobs from it.
 
That is a one-track career, and those never work.
 
If you manufactured window shades, would you sell those only one way? No! You would hopefully market them to vast numbers of potential buyers and diverse geographical regions.
 
Gotta go now. There are voice-over auditions and jobs to do today! Wishing you all the best. Remember: you’ve got to play if you want to win.
 
Bettye Zoller, owner of VoicesVoices, is one of the nation's best-known voice, speech, acting, and voice-over coaches, and is a winner of ADDY, Clio, Golden Radio and Audie Awards. She holds advanced degrees from three universities, has served on university faculties for 30 years, is the Feagin Artist Guest Professor at Tulsa University, and presents workshops sponsored by Women in Film and Television, VASTA, ATHE, AFTRA, and other organizations. Her home workshop location is Dallas, but she teaches worldwide by invitation, and via telephone by appointment. She is also a professional audio engineer producer, owns a recording studio in Dallas, and is a Simon & Schuster audiobook author and reader.
 
 
 
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