Preparing for your voice audition
No matter what type of voice audition you have, the information below will help ensure you do a great job! For examples of voice demos, go to http://www.joshuayoung.com/voice-artist.html
For samples of audition reads, CLICK HERE
For samples of audition reads, CLICK HERE
Rehearsing for your Audition
- Record yourself. You have no idea how you sound like until you play it back. This goes for everyone. I could go on about the vibrations in the human skull and the slowing and filtering of voice through systems before it translates to speakers...but I won't. You need to record yourself and play it back during your rehearsals so you hear exactly what they hear. You can use your computer, a Smartphone, an old tape recorder. Just have the ability to record and play it back.
- Be prepared to sound slower and less interesting. Most people do. It's because what we think we sound like and what others hear are very different. So normally you will have to speak faster and be more colorful with your voice (use inflection). There are some people, very few, who don't sound slower or less interesting than what they hear. But they are the minority. Have someone listen with you if you aren't sure.
- Imagine this ISN'T a voice audition. Many actors focus so much on their sound, they forget there is often physical movements to characters you are putting your voice to. So if you don't imagine the environment your character is in or imagine what they are doing, you will miss out on some important information. For example: Lets say you are doing a cartoon audition and your character is waving to some friends. There is a big difference between saying "Hi" and not waving versus saying "Hi" and waving your arm. Do it now and record yourself. Do you hear a difference? And remember that your character is in a world whether we the audience see it or not. So imagine what your character would do in this world. How they would emotionally react to it. How they would move in it.
- Facial expressions have sounds. Do this right now: Record yourself saying the line, "I want to pick up some groceries at the market.", with a blank facial expression. Then say it again with a smile. Do you hear the difference? Your facial expressions do affect how you speak and we can hear it. Make sure you ask yourself what facial expressions your character is or should do. Sometimes you don't even have to change your delivery. All you have to do is change your facial expression and the delivery has changed enough in the right direction to produce what you want.
- Remember your breath. This is a killer in auditions. Imagine a singer who is taking his/her breath in-between each line in her song. That would sound distracting right? Same for Voice acting. In general a Voice Actor should be able to easily get through thirty seconds of dialogue at a slow pace without needing any more air. And the read would sound natural. So be sure not to take a breath before every line of dialogue. Now if you have one line and then another character speaks, that's the moment you'd take a breath. But if you have more than one line of dialogue, give yourself plenty of air to work with for that. BUT don't breath in while facing the microphone. Turn your head away, breath in quietly and then face the microphone to deliver your lines.
- No two lines should ever sound the same. The only exception to this is if you intend for them to sound the same for comedic purposes. But in my 12 years, I've never seen it asked for and I've never seen two lines performed the same. People want variety. It might be done with inflection, varying your pacing, increasing the level of emotion...but no matter what, make sure each line gets its own attention.
What you will need to RECORD Your Audition to send to a Casting Director
- MP3 - This is the audio file format that is accepted by everyone. Never send an audio file to anyone in the voice industry that isn't an MP3 audio file unless they specifically ask for it.
- Audio editing/recording program. The free one for both PC and MAC is Audacity (Click Here to download) If you don't know how to use it, go to YouTube and watch tutorials. Here are two: How to Record using Audacity and How to make an MP3 using Audacity.
- Quiet room with little to no echo. Preferably you have a room with sound blankets or sound dapening equipment. BUT if you do not, head to the closet. The reason the closet works so well is that it has layers of clothes in it. That will ensure sound doesn't travel or echo. It is a perfect, quick sound booth. If you don't have a closet or it is too small, take some clothes, pillows and set it up in your smallest room. The key is to surround yourself, front, back, sides and on top, with clothes, pillows or other fabric that will absorb your voice.
- Microphone. This is very, very important. Have a decent mic. What is a decent mic? It is one where you hear little to no "static" sound. Even Smartphones have been successfully used for auditions because the microphones on them are better than they have been before. The best microphone for a decent budget that plugs right into your computer I have found has been the ATA 2020 (Click Here) If you are in Halifax, go to the music store Long and McQuade. They have great rent to own options and rental options. But if you have a limited budget, even a Smartphone like an iPhone would work. Just be sure you have a quiet room (see the note above).
What you will send the Casting Director
- Your audio file. This is very important. It is the moment you will either stand out in a positive way or not. Many people, when done will muck up this part so pay close attention. NAME YOUR FILE. Some Casting Directors will supply you with an example. But here is one if you do not know: Lets say my character's name is Melvin. Here is the name of my audio file: JoshuaYoung_Role_Melvin.MP3 . You can use spaces instead of underscores. But do you see how easy that is? And you must include your FULL name and the name of the character.
- Your contact information. This is your full name, e-mail address and phone number (the best phone number to reach you at).