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Three Types Of Voice Over Auditions: Home,
Agency, Casting - What To Know About Them

By Christian Rosselli
Voice Actor

No matter how you look at it, the voice over auditioning process has gone through a wee bit of change over the years. Dramatically. 

Well, basically everything went online. And the sheer volume of work continuing to head in this direction has sent one or two tidal waves throughout the industry.    

Go ahead. Admit it. There are times when you take auditioning for granted. We don't realize the work it requires and the realities setting into place. 
  • 'Ah, they'll love me. All I have to do is lay down some money reads and it's a given,'. Or,
  • 'Gonna lay down a few bangin' reads and send it out.' 
Kudos to you for the confidence! But were you also aware that there are a few layers to the process?  

Essentially it breaks down into three different categories, or what I like to call The Three Tiers of The Voice Over Audition. It's really quite simple.    

Whether we like it or not, auditioning from home is the new norm. And it's probably going to be for a while.

What's not to like? You're in the convenience and comfort of YOUR own digs with YOUR cozy studio. You make YOUR own schedule.

The audition probably has a deadline in a few days. You might immediately send it out, do a little dance and brag about it on Facebook (Oh Glorious Audition!), or put it aside until the last minute, scrambling to get a few reads together, until you realize you misread the deadline and the project has already been cast. 

Chances are, you're going to want to get it out to your agency or casting professional ASAP, as others will be piling in and you risk not being heard.   


Yes, there's a downside to all upsides. Of course, a major factor in this is 'Will you be heard at all?' It's obviously beyond your control. 

Most of these are usually from online casting sites, or the mass Voicebank auditions that every agency in the country is going to pounce on.

Note: I'm not stomping on Voicebank, as they're a great way for people to get noticed and amp up their careers! Though more often than not, you may not even be right for the project, yet your agent had to respond because 'times are difficult.'  You might want to reconsider that agency's role in your voice over career.    


The problem with the home audition is really the whole gamble of it all. The uncertainty. Yes, auditioning in general is one big gamble, duh!  

When looking at it more closely though, everything seems to not be in your favor. On our own schedule, it may seem like a real privilege. However, home auditioning locks us into our comfort zones and perpetuates the anal self-director in all of us. 

For the newbie, this may mean using headphones and getting distracted by the sound of their own voice. Or the pro doesn't trust his or her instincts, and does 5 or 6 takes and accidentally winds up in a whirlwind of pointless editing, forgetting completely what the message is.  


Without someone on the other end directing or suggesting even the slightest adjustment, we may not increase our chances of booking anything.

To me, this confinement stifles any kind of career progress. At some point, you need to ask yourself these questions:   
  • Am I really getting the creative feedback I need, whether it's from an agent, casting director or producer?  
  • Is auditioning from home helping me or hurting me?  
  • Am I being challenged?   
  • What are the pros/cons?    

To have one or not have one? To have 10 of them. 

Agents are our advocates. Some may send us 20 auditions a week, some may send us 20 a year. Either way, they are in one form or another a bridge to potentially getting heard more often and regularly.  

And, sometimes, by a real person. Remember those? 

Many of us have agencies all over the world, some of which are obviously not down the street.   We may not always have the luxury of an in-person audition. It's not terrible. It's not great either.


However, if your agency is local and you can just walk in, what's stopping you? 

Agency auditions can be pretty cool too for a number of reasons.
  • For one, they get you out of the confines of your apartment.
  • Secondly, it's a great way to build a working relationship with someone. 
  • And what's more - they're in the flesh!   
One of my local agencies usually gives me the option to send a few reads from home if I can't make it in for some reason. But I almost always decide to come in.

Why?  Someone else is hearing you in real time. Telling you what you’re doing right or wrong, or asking you to make the slightest change in tone that could make all the difference in the world.

Yes, my agent may be sending my read out into the abyss, but the difference is, I'm not flying solo.  


The drawback? In the rare instance that the audition may be an office cattle call, you might get the sense that they're just too busy to spend every precious moment with you. It's never personal. They have deadlines - um, like, yesterday? 

Unlike casting directors, where they seem to have more time to work with you (or at least it feels that way), feeling rushed is inevitable on those days and we might feel our agent is more concerned with getting us in and out of the booth so others can be heard.  

So it's your responsibility to be prepared and make their job easier for your agent, if you can.  You've just gotta go with the flow. 

Unfortunately this often results in not being challenged. I've definitely heard, "Ok, that's great. See you later!" one too many times. 

And you just know that wouldn't fly with a casting director!  

In case you didn't know, Casting Directors still exist. They're incredibly hard working women and men, and they ARE directors. 

Although some might say their role in the voice over industry is dwindling, that statement couldn't be any further from the truth.    

These days, being sent out to a casting office doesn't happen as often as I'd like, though it is by far my favorite type of audition. To be heard by someone closest to the client, to be challenged by hearing a fresh perspective, is an opportunity for which I am truly grateful. 

In that moment, casting directors are not only your advocates, but your best friend on the sidelines rooting for you. Ultimately, they want you to succeed, book and return to their office!   


What is the casting director, if not the second brain of the producer? 

Casting works closely with the client day in, day out, and has tremendous experience in hearing talent from a rather vast and competitive pool.

They know first-hand what the client likes and loathes. And, by the way, they aren’t going to take any of your drama. There should be more of them.   


When you're 'sent out' on an audition, something magical happens. I can't really describe it. It's a moment when another person's opinion matters most - not yours, not your agent's, but the client/producer's trusted partner.     

You walk into the office, sign in, give the copy a few glances (not obsess over it), put it down and smile. 

Sometimes I have complete confidence in my read and the casting director destroys me.  By this I mean the direction could be:
  • ‘I don't buy it!’ 
  • ‘Did you actually read  the specs?!’ or
  • ‘You're sounding too methodical - get out of your head!’
All true instances. 


Then the reality light bulb goes on, ‘Oh man, that's probably why I'm not booking as much’ or ‘Yeah, I do that, don't I?'

Other times, I'm nervous beyond belief, struggle through the copy and then in the room, that magic happens and I just get it. Here I am getting the opportunity to refine my auditioning skills and develop more confidence as a voice talent.   

Either way you look at it, being seen by the client's right-hand woman or man, is positive reinforcement for your career. 

Let’s be honest here - you don't get that at home where, as far as you're concerned, those three takes showed enough range and variety. There are always areas for improvement. And in reality, the casting director isn't going to send three reads to a client, they're going to send one - or none.     
Christian Rosselli is a voice over artist based in New York City who specializes in commercial, corporate and industrial narration, promo, explainer videos, and award show-live announcing.  He has worked with a wide variety of companies including AT&T, Bic, Boeing, CA Technologies, M&T Bank, Premio Foods, Ruby Tuesday, Tiaa-Cref, USA Today and many more! He is also an avid photographer, coffee drinker, and jazz connoisseur.


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Comments (1)
Dan Price
5/7/2015 at 6:29 PM
Good article,and yes I'm a newbie, I hope to use my voice like you do. The every man, storyteller. The article covers a lot of good information, about a chaotic, and uncertain industry. I picture myself; a concert goer... Trying to be seen or heard by the stage manager,to get a back stage pass!

My only question is, what do I wear to these auditions: I live in Central Florida, the standard is cargo shorts, a saltlife T- shirt, and flip/flop's. Nah, I'll just wear something casual.

Thanks Dan Price.
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