I am a working voice talent. I make my living doing this. And as with most voice talent outside the major markets I find that I rely more and more on my own abilities to self-direct. Especially at the audition phase.
As someone who has been doing this a long time, I have lots of repeat clients, referrals and direct leads from my website – most of which don’t ask for an audition because they know me, or they simply like what they hear on my demos and don’t ask for an audition.
But, oh those auditions…
It is true that the booking to audition ratio is getting worse. More agents receive the same copy – which means many more people end up auditioning for the same spot – where in the past one or two agents would submit just a few of their talent. This is ancient history. And if you are on any of the Pay-2-Play sites, you will find that in some cases the producer asks for 100 auditions.
Today your auditions have to stand out with at least three things to help land you the job. They have to be Quick. They have to be Different. And they have to be Right.
Quick – in delivery, because of the sheer numbers of auditions being submitted. At some point the producer will hear something that catches their ear and stop listening. So, the quicker you get the audition in the better.
Different – because many auditions will have a similar feel. People will read a piece of copy at the same pace with the same inflections, stopping in the same places. Now, the bigger the project, the less this happens, because the quality of the talent is just – well, better.
Right – this is one of those intangibles in some respects (and is actually related to being Different I suppose), because you may be giving a fine performance that stands out, but you simply are not the voice in the producer’s head this time around.
So, how do you deliver an audition that grabs the producer by the ears in a timely manner?
This is actually on my mind quite a lot these days, because I have noticed a trend in what I am booking off auditions.
The stuff I do every day for my repeat clients, referrals and direct leads is the bread and butter of our industry these days – the corporate pieces, websites, eLearning, marketing, company communications. (My last blog post highlighted a couple of these pieces.) I have worked for some of these clients for more than 10 years – a few for much longer than that. A few are new clients who heard my demos and made the leap. I don’t have to audition for those jobs.
The irony here is that in looking at my auditions this year, when I have to audition for the type of work I do all the time, I am not booking the jobs.
What I do book off auditions are dialog roles for radio spots or eLearning projects. Wives, teachers, moms, grandmothers. Some funny. Some caring. But always a real person delivering realistic dialog. Not crazy characters, but ordinary people with a point of view.
But these are not major market spots that will pull in the “pay off the mortgage” dollars. They are fun. They are almost always ISDN which means actual people on the line having fun with you. But they are almost always regional spots with a limited shelf-life.
The eLearning dialog is also lower on the pay scale because the roles are usually small.
So, time for a tune up – a kick start. Time to trust one of the most trusted coaches in the industry to help me figure out how to find my voice for the endless opportunities in corporate narration and the once in a while high dollar commercials that come my way – and Quickly produce a read that is Different and rings Right to the person making the decision on who to hire for the job.