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How To Ace the Audition #1
Exclusive interviews with voice over pros for subscribers
'Present Yourself Professionally'
James Alburger
Voice Talent, Author, Coach & Producer
By John Florian
James Alburger literally wrote the book on voice overs.
His The Art of Voice Acting text book is considered one of the best in the field. Also credit him with 11 Emmy Awards over more than 25 years as a voice talent, engineer, producer and director, based in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.
Today, he offers a range of voice over services, including workshops and seminars. For many years, he was also also co-executive producer of the annual VOICE conferences - the industry's largest gathering of voice talent.

So from Alburger's multi-level perspective, what's the key to winning auditions?
"Present yourself professionally," he says. "You're the professional performer. The actor. A part of the team."

First, a professional establishes a "conversational rapport" with the casting director or producer/director.

"Casting people are really on your side," says Alburger. "They'd love to see you get the gig. So if you ask questions about the script, they'll help you. For instance, maybe you aren't sure how a certain word is pronounced, or you're not clear on the concept or the flow of the story."

Conversely, a professional does not "go into an audition thinking that you are God's creation to voice-over," Alburger warns.

"Leave the ego and inhibitions outside. Come in ready to work, ready to perform, ready to look at the script and do your best job. It's all about what you can do with the words to convey the message effectively."


Online auditions carry the additional challenge of self-direction. You can't ask questions. But as with in-person auditions, the goal is to know the script's "big picture."

"Look for the character" in the script, says Alburger. "Who are you? Who are you talking to and responding to? And what's your objective? Knowing those core elements is key."

Then give the words life. "The dynamics of the performance – facial expressions and body language – reveal what happens when the words are spoken in real conversation."

Putting all those elements together "creates reality for the word."

And unleash your own unique reality! "Ninety-eight percent of the people auditioning will interpret copy basically the same. It's their gut instinct. And that's fine. But think how you could do it differently.

"The professional will look at the script and say, 'Hmm, maybe I can change the nuance here, or the subtext of this part a little bit. Or maybe I'll respond a bit differently than what's expected. The way you think about how the words are applied is what makes the difference in a performance."

In the end, consider the audition a learning experience. Don't "kick yourself" afterward when you leave and "immediately come up with another 25 ways to have done it better.

"If you get the call, great," says Alburger. "But if you don't, consider it just another audition where you've learned something."

To contact James Alburger:
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Comments (26)
William Adams
5/7/2022 at 12:34 PM
Thank you for this information. I only have one book and a weekly project under my belt so far in the last 8 months, so anything I can learn to improve is really appreciated.
Yolanda Quiroz
5/19/2020 at 9:10 PM
Excellent article, I love it! Thank you for sharing. I am a Female Spanish Voice Over and VoiceOverXtra reports and announcements are helping me a lot. Thanks
Herbert A Snowman Jr
2/24/2019 at 10:41 AM
I appreciate this professional advice, thank you! I am a retired music educator. I am excited about my new career!
D Brown
10/18/2018 at 9:16 PM
I have just found this site and joined. I am amazed at the ease at which you have inspired me to do what appeared an insurmountable task of "breaking into the industry." I feel I may have found the resources to succeed here..
Thank you,
D Brown
Jason Leech
9/25/2018 at 7:49 PM
The Art of Voice Acting was the first book I read when I dove into this crazy world, it was invaluable and it gave real insight into the business.
Joe Vollano
6/14/2018 at 8:08 PM
Great info very helpful!
Joseph Valentinetti
6/12/2018 at 2:24 PM
I just took James' PIE workshop. Well worth it. Class size is small and you get much attention and mic time as well of recordings of the sessions.
Courtney Greer
8/10/2017 at 3:39 PM
As someone on both sides - hiring talent and a voice talent (in the making) myself, I am always looking for ways to glean insights on how to make my voice over experiences better. Great nuggets. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Janessa Cooper
4/25/2017 at 11:40 PM

Totally amazing! When I first began with Voice Over work, this book was transported EVERYWHERE with me! I enjoyed the scripts inside, and also the highly valuable advice because I was also a director and producer and I could see both angles very clearly!

Thank you so much Mr. Alburger for this book! Totally a GREAT READ! And it taught me a TON!

Janessa Cooper
Pro Voice Master Voice Over Artist
John Florian
7/2/2016 at 8:05 AM
HI Jim,

Thanks so much for subscribing to VoiceOverXtra info, and congratulations for investigating voice over! As you'll learn, the "sound" of your voice is not as important as your skill at voice acting. And of course, having a home studio that allows you produce professional-sounding audio. But your concern about vocal health is good, and I suggest that you review the titles of our articles on that here:

Many of our vocal health articles are written by speech specialist Ann Utterback, and you might want to connect with her, as well:

Best wishes, and stay in touch!
Jim Gillman
7/2/2016 at 12:20 AM
Sound advice to professionals in many fields of endeavor. I've been told I have a good voice, although I don't really care for the sound of my recorded voice, it sounds fine hearing it live.

For many years I had a fair singing voice, but the ravages of asthma, bronchitis, and strept throat seem to have damaged my voice.

How do you overcome obstacles of this nature and restore your voice to its original quality? I would love to become a voice-over talent!
Linda Hodge-McLoud
4/13/2012 at 5:39 PM
Hello James,
It's been years since I've done any voice over work, and after attending several workshops, I feel like a "newbie." Things are so different in the voice-over industry now. But I'm so glad for finding VoiceOverXtra and you (lol). I will read and stay current on all of the advice and information that you and other professionals in the industry have to offer. Thank you for such sound advice. Take care!
Jack Parnell
2/28/2012 at 5:42 PM
This is my first time to venture into here, but I already love what I've seen!
My 50+ years as a voiceover constantly tell me to go with the changes in
our biz. I've had to reinvent myself many times, and I look forward to
logging on here and learning even more!
James Alburger
1/13/2012 at 4:05 PM

Thanks for writing. Glad you found my article and interview with John Florian helpful.

As a "newbee" you've made a good choice in using as an information resource.

Before you even think about submitting auditions, you need to make absolutely certain you have your foundation in place - both in terms of performance and how you will be managing your VO business. There are lots of online resources for learning more about what to do:,,, and to name a few.

If you haven't had any formal training, you will want to look into that before anything else, unless you already have a strong acting background. Be careful of any workshops that encourage you to produce your demo before you are ready - and only you will truly know when you are ready. For more on getting started, go to and read the Training/Get Started pages of the site.

As for "getting auditions," this is something you will learn through reading books like "The Art of Voice Acting" and from workshops and other training. I could list several resources for online auditions, but those would be of zero value to you if you don't have the necessary performance training and an understanding of how the voiceover business works. My book covers most of the information you need.

You should also know that voiceover has little to do with your voice. So, even though you may be told that you have a unique voice, that will mean very little in this business unless you know how to use that uniqueness to tell a compelling story.

If you'd like to know more, just contact me any time:

James Alburger
Roger Campanozzi
1/11/2012 at 4:29 PM
Dear Mr.James Alburger,

This is the first time I have read your work. I'm a newbee to this industry and would like to thank you for your sound advice. I would like to ask you how to go about getting my first audition?
Respectfully, Roger
Ernest Paul Jones
10/18/2011 at 12:15 AM

I find your writing as well as your ideas relieving. I have been wanting to learn what is inside the minds of other voiceover talents. But, it is very difficult to find another one to talk to about what goes in the industry. I am very happy to make the connection. I am now more confident in which direction to proceed.

Thank you!
Mark Maurer
1/6/2011 at 12:35 PM

How true this is. Love the closing line. "If you get the call ...." In the words of an inspiration to me, John Garry, "Find out who your guy is, the real personality inside of me. Who is me inside."

Thanks so much for sharing.
Kind regards,
Wynette Johnson
6/29/2010 at 2:01 PM
Can you hear that advice too frequently? I think not. Glad to have the encouragement and sound adice. Thanks
John Florian
5/27/2010 at 8:28 AM
Hi Joshua,

Welcome to voice-overs! Indeed, VoiceOverXtra will be an invaluable resource for you throughout your career. For starters, check the blue tabs at the top left of this page and click on FOR NEWCOMERS. Follow the advice there. Persist, and with talent, you'll make it.

Stay in touch,
Joshua Burnworth
5/27/2010 at 2:47 AM
I am working on getting into the voice-over business and can use all of the help I can get. I hope this site will be able to help me in some way in doing this.
Neil Kelly
3/21/2010 at 3:16 PM
Thanks so much for this info. I too am new to this business and appreciate wise, experienced counsel like this. I'll be checking often for more nuggets.
Stephen Tutt
3/12/2010 at 3:25 PM
I am very new to this industry. This is the first newsletter that I have read from your postings. I want to not only say thanks for sharing insight and instruction, but also this info is already assisting me in my studies. Thanks again!!!
Tom Dykes
1/30/2010 at 9:16 PM
So glad I found you. This is very good info - I will be looking for more.
Thank You, Tom
Duff Johnson
1/28/2010 at 3:17 PM
Great Resource site. Glad I ran into you ... having been in the biz for over 30 years ... your guys are "RIGHT ON" ... Thanks - look forward to more.
John Florian
1/26/2010 at 11:28 AM
Good question, Dave. At the "About" section of their web site, they mention that this is currently an "experimental" phase, and they give an email address. Try it! But even now, they let you send big files without creating an account.
Scott Carr
1/26/2010 at 11:10 AM
I've gone through a number of telecoaching sessions with James Alburger (and Penny Abshire) from the Voiceacting Academy - and I have his book. He's one of the best in the business!
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