Once you've gotten the hang of editing your own audio, auditioning is a great next step to start gaining experience as an actor. Even if it takes you a while to start bookin work, auditions are where most of us go to keep our skills fresh and it's a great stomping ground to try new things. All actors, no matter where you go, will tell you that auditioning is something you will always need to be ready to do since work very rarely comes directly to you. In fact, it's something that routinely takes up a tremendous majority of our time. Even for full time professional actors who work regularly, it is not uncommon for them to audition for over twenty projects and book only one.
There is a lot of great information out there on how to audition from an acting perspective. Many of the resources I cited in my first Crash Course Online Voice Over article include audition tips and tricks that I still continue to utilize. But again, I really want to narrow down this series to focus on how online voice over differs from the others. If you were working through an agency in a traditional setting, they have a different method of submitting your auditions to clients, but as an online actor, you have to know how to fill that role for yourself. While acting tips and tricks can transcend any situation you find yourself in, there are some unique perspectives to keep in mind when working as a remote voice actor over the internet.
RIght away, if you're not familiar with what auditions look like, let's go ahead and take a look at an audition document for a pretend project I've named "The First Audition." I just created this as a fairly generic sample, but it is based on the format that most casting directors I've worked with tend to use. These audition forms will be broken down into the following elements:
One thing we can see right away is that auditions tend to be everything you need to know to successfully audition broken down as simplistically as possible. Everything the casting director needs from you as an actor is laid out as clearly as they can make it. The guidelines provided are required and should be followed perfectly every time you audition without exception. Following directions is the number one way to be remembered by a casting director. Even if you are not cast right away, most directors will be happy to send you further casting calls because you make their experience in casting a project easy. If you can follow directions in an audition, they'll know you can follow directions if they choose to cast you.
If you have a question for a casting director about their audition guidelines, most are very willing to clairfy your questions for you, though I recommend trying to figure out as much for yourself by doing some research before sending them an email. If you do have questions, be sure to thank the casting director for their time in responding and let them know you're planning to send them audition and want to make sure it meets their requirements. Try not to send more than one of these emails, or it can give the impression that you need a lot of handholding, which is something most casting directors don't have the time or ability to help you with, even if you're new.
To clear up some questions up front, let's break down the requirements on this project:
You should always include a standard cover letter with your auditions, regardless of how you're sending your audition to a casting director. A cover letter should be formal and quickly communicate your qualifications, your availability to perform the work required, and your flexibility to respond to a callback if the client wants to see you try something different with your audition - all within a few sentences. Fortunately, you can usually develop a template for this type of letter and edit it as necessary depending on the project you're auditioning for.
Here's a pretty standard example of an email I would send out, customized to meet the specifications of the project I put together as a sample for this article (and if we were to assume that I am male):
And that's about it! If you feel confident in preparing your audition to meet whatever standards and requirements the casting director requires, then there is very little hindering you from sending out successful auditions that will help you practice a variety of roles and eventually lead to gaining further experience in voice acting online. Auditioning gets easier with practice, and booking a job, no matter how small, can be a nice boost to keep going!
If this seems like a daunting amount of information to keep in mind auditioning, let me leave you with this: when auditioning for online voice over projects you're almost always going to be caught up in a cattle call of voice actors who come from wildly different backgrounds and professional standards. The internet is a great tool that can allow you to break into the industry no matter where you are and what your skill level is, but that also doesn't prevent other amatuers of various talent levels from doing the same. Online markets are flooded with a lot of amateurs who don't take the time to read or follow directions and who make the job of a casting director highly frustrating. One of the biggest advantages you can use to advance in the industry and set yourself apart is your ability to follow directions. Your acting ability is still vitally important to nurture, but your professionalism is ultimately what will carry you towards success.
For anyone who is interested in getting started with ProTools First as a voice over tool, I put together a casual tutorial on the basics of setting up, recording, and editing. I hope to eventually do another on using basic plugins, automation, and routing!