Auditions- A Necessary Evil

by | auditions

Here are highlights of a free teleconference call presented this evening by James Alburger and Penny Abshire of Voice Acting Academy.  The topic was the “almighty audition”.  While there was a lot of talk for new people to the business, there were also some good review points for the seasoned pros, which are posted here.

James & Penny also said that there are many aproaches to auditions, and there is no hard and fast way which will guarantee booking. Marc Cashman stated that everyone wants a “quick fix”, and there is none. Practice is key. It is a numbers game.

Audition Basics
Remember that auditions are judged very subjectively, for sound or tone of voice, attitude of the read.

Set aside a time daily to do your auditions. Submit on a regular basis.

Steps to better auditions

Woodshedding– break down script to determine the best possible delivery. Remember your audience, backstory, etc. You need to know who you’re talking to. Think about the big picture beyond the words on the page.  Mentally visualize the scene, and make it real. If you have a copy of James book, revisit the “Seven Core Elements”.

Performing– Follow any instructions, specs, kind of sound desired, area of country where it will be played. These are all clues that will help you get heard. Make sure your file is named correctly, and in format requested. It’s all about being a PROFESSIONAL! But always respect the writer!!!!

Do not just “read the words”.

Don’t read the entire script either, unless required. Protect yourself as an actor. If you must record entire script, change the client’s name, or phone number, and it cannot be used elsewhere.

Record as many takes as needed, edit as needed to get the best performance. Submit only 1-3 auditions, based on the length of the copy. Remember there are many other auduitions that must be listened to.

Before you hit “send”, take a moment to listen. If you do 2-3 takes, let the listener know, in your slate.

Slating- No hard & fast rules…but, your name, agent, and part name in spot

Audio Processing–Don’t use EQ, special efx, compression. Normalizing is OK.

Special guest was LA Voice Coach, producer and voice talent,  Marc Cashman.
On following directions, if you cannot follow directions on the audition specs, file name, the producer may feel like how can you follow direction in an actual session. You can always try to find a better way to stand out. Add a pause, or elongate a word, add mood and attitude.
There was discussion about slates, and whether or not to use your own voice for a slate. Marc personally felt the use of someone else’s voice to slate your name was impersonal, like an “avatar”.

The Whoa Factor

Come up with different ways  that is a viable alternative to approach the read. Get attention with the first line to grab the listener, as sometimes, you’ll only have 5-8 seconds. The first sentence is crucial. Allow a bit of a space (pause) before the next sentence. Words can get  in the way of believability.

Try to memorize the first line of the message, which can help you “set up” the character, which will carry the read throughout the remainder of the read.

Actual Auditions  of jobs not booked were played

James described the look of some of the wav forms, one of which looked like a flat line. (NO BUENO) 
Always have your name in the file name.  Act like a real person, bumped up slightly. Don’t be too announcery. Of course the copy may not always lend itself to a conversational read.

The first time you say the client’s name in the script, showcase it, or billboard it

Flat Reads- monotone reads Still remain invested in the copy and what you’re talking about

The reason someone gets the job over someone else, it is generally because there’s a fit for every single part. Once again, the selection process of auditions is very subjective and arbitrary.

What started as a 90 minute call ended up at nearly two hours. Not bad for a freebie. There was some good stuff for everyone, and I wanted to share here. Many thanks to  Marc Cashman at and to James & Penny at


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