The Voiceover Casting Process
Adventures with chocolate and kitty litter
So… you want to be a working voice actor, eh?
First: You have a pro home studio.
Second: You’ve vetted your sound and delivery
Let me walk you through from my perspective of your perspective on how you get picked for the big jobs.
It’s a simple and little cheeky, but what are we if not entertaining!
First, some fancy producer posts a casting call on the internet (or via a platform, or from a casting director, or agency, or direct email, or, or, or) for their next blockbuster thingamabob.
“Seeking sultry female voice able to sell chocolate as if it was made of gold!”
Hordes of voice actors (this would be you) clamor for the chance, polish up their gold chocolate voices, and send in audition files (MP3s only); it’s a voiceover Hunger Games out there!
The casting director (or project owner or agent) reviews the auditions and picks their faves to send forward for consideration. If you make the cut, woo hoo! Party time! No? Just me? Moving on then… 🙂
Directors, producers and the client join the judging panel for this round. It’s gettin’ real now!
Judges debate and finally choose their golden ticket winner. The lucky voice actor gets a lifetime supply of… the role! Ka-ching!
Time to sign contracts and finalize logistics. Don’t let your agent (in your C-Suite (see my book: https://tinyurl.com/LBBofVOLizdom) negotiate you down to a single chocolate bar payment; just don’t!
Alright, now go dazzle them with that silky voice in the real recording session! This is your big break, baby! Be nice, professional, and on-point – you definitely was repeat work!
Deliver the files and pray to the voiceover gods they don’t ask for too many revisions. Some of us still have our dignity. But if they do – if excessive – demand more pay!
Your sultry tones are now immortalized in the project.
Sit back and wait for that sweet chocolatey fame and fortune!
From the Perspective of the Project Owner/Casting Director, and in this case, ME!
I get up at the crack of dawn because my dog must pee. She has a doggy door, but that doesn’t matter. I beg her to sleep a little longer; she ignores me.
After coffee, I check my email to see if I have any new VO casting requests. Oh, who am I kidding – I have my phone on high alert and respond within minutes – even if it’s 2AM.
BOOM! There’s that request!
First, I get the details from the client. “I need a voice that can make kitty litter sound exciting!” Whoop! From here I get as much clarity as I can for the sound and mood of the voice. I also typically help to negotiate the rate (see additional detail on the next page). And deadlines – don’t shoot the messenger – it’s out of my hands.
Time to post the casting call! I sign-on to CastVoices (it’s the only platform I use) and set-up a project. I decide if I’m going to post through Agents or Platform matching. This time I opt for Platform Matching.
I describe the role as requiring a “warm, trustworthy voice” to avoid scaring away talent.
Gotta trap them first <insert grin>!
I actually give as much detail as I can pull from my clients and then some. I also make sure all of the specs and rates are locked and loaded, I add the copy, and then hit “INVITE.”
Now I wait for the audition files (MP3s only) to roll in – usually within minutes – but I leave it open long enough to get 400 auditions per roll.
And then the listening begins… Half sound like late night hot tub commercials. Delete! I guess not everyone has a “kitty litter voice” . Seriously – email yourself one of your auditions and listen to it on your laptop without earphones… WHY? Because that is how MY clients are listening!!
After going through a mountain of questionable auditions,
I pick the great options (normally 100 or so) for the client.
The talent get all eager thinking they have a shot. Poor naïve souls… I KIDD! I KIDD! Truth be told, there are some mighty fine talent on CastVoices who are literally sitting in there studios banging out auditions as they roll in. And this is not just CastVoices. These actors are on MANY platforms. They are winning because they are FAST and GOOD!
The client and director join the next audition review. You’d think they were judging American Idol with all their bickering and dramatic pauses. All this for kitty litter!
Finally, they decide on Sue The Magnificent. I let Sue know, connect her with the clients directly, and I bow out.
Sue signs the contracts quickly before they change their minds. Smart gal. The session is booked and happens with the style and grace that only Sue can muster; she’s goooooooood!
And that’s a wrap! Another star born; another kitty litter commercial ready for fame.
Sue can thank me later when she wins her SOVAS or OVC or Telly or, or, and!
Meanwhile, I let the others down gently by never returning their calls.
Ghosting is the only way!
OK, OK – I’m not usually so harsh – but there is some truth in the ghosting. Unless there is TIME (and there normally never is), I don’t give audition feedback. If I DO give feedback, it is 99% for one of the following two responses:
- Your sound is bad (41% of the submissions are);
- I asked for an audition, NOT your demo.
Other reasons you will get automatically swiped left:
- You changed the copy.
- You translated to another language not requested.
- Your read was not what I was looking for.
And then I chill. All in a day’s work for this casting director!
All kidding aside – I hope this is helpful.
If something is not clear – just ask and I’ll do my best to explain.
I seriously want you all to win!
Because it matters!
VO Casting director