NowCasting.com/Actors Ink readers from all over the country continue to submit great questions about the VO business. This month’s queries ask about auditioning dialogues, resumes for VO demos and VO support groups.
Q: Hi, Marc. Love your advice. I’ve got to record at home and submit for a voiceover audition. There’s a dialogue between my character and a female character. Can I just read the female parts too or skip over them? Or do I need to get someone to read with me. If possible I’d prefer not to have to get a reader. But is that ok? –Joe F., St Louis, MO
A: If it’s from your agent, ask them what the protocol is. Usually, if you have to send in your audition for a dialogue, you just send in your part, which sounds a bit awkward. When I get these, I email the script to a female colleague and have her record and send me her lines, and I just edit them into my lines. Or if they can come over to my home studio, I have them record with me. Or I’ll have my wife help me out. Either way, it gives clients a good idea as to how you’re able to work a dialogue, timing-wise and character-wise.
Q: I’m ready to send out my new VO demo, but someone in the business told me that you should send a resume along with it. The thing is, I haven’t done any commercials before. Everything on the demo was made up. What do I put in the resume then? –Sally B., Torrance, CA
A: A well-respected voiceover instructor, Susan Berkley, has some great answers to this question, Sally. She advises:
-Don’t sweat the resume. Most producers could care less. Your demo is your resume. Instead, send a personalized cover letter with every CD. Never send a CD without a personalized cover letter.
-The cover letter should include a summary of your experience (if any), a brief description of your voice type, and something to indicate that you have done some research about the company you are sending to and that you really would like to work for them.
-To research the company, go to their website. Often you’ll find press releases and samples of their work. Then, GOOGLE “the person you are sending the demo to”. Type their name into a search engine and see what comes up. Have they won any awards Spoken at any industry events? What are some of the recent productions they have done? Sometimes these will be posted on the company website and you can comment about them intelligently when you speak with the prospect. Remember, getting ahead in voice-over and in life is all about building relationships with clients and prospects. Be interested in them and they will be interested in you. With this attitude you will also really stand out from the crowd of wanna-be’s clamoring for attention.
Here’s an example of a cover letter a voice talent with no experience could send:
Ms. Joan Barnes.
123 Main Street
My name is Pat Voice. I’m a voice talent here in Anytown. I thought the commercials you did for the Anytown State Fair were really creative and hilariously funny and I would love to read for you next time you are casting. My voice type is wry, quirky 30 something. By the way, congratulations on the award Goofball Productions got from the Ad Council. You must be really proud. My demo CD is enclosed and you’ll find more about me on my website at PatVoice.com. I’ll check in with you again in about a week.
Warm regards, Pat Voice
By the way (and this is important), NEVER say that you are a beginner. If your demo is good and you sound professional over the phone they will never suspect it. But if you do admit that you have never done this before they’ll lose faith in your abilities before they even give you a chance.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Q: I subscribed to Voices.com and paid the complete amount for the most expensive package. It’s been over a month and I have received numerous auditions, sometimes as many as 15-20 a day! The dilemma is as follows: I do many auditions but don’t receive any calls or email responses telling me that I am who they need. As much as I love doing auditions, it is a painstaking process to do so many with nothing to show. If it sounds like I’m frustrated, then you hit it right on the money. I was wondering if there are any support groups for aspiring VO artists like me that would like to be connected and receive connections in the process. If you know of any, you wouldn’t mind letting me know where and when? –Andre Y., Los Angeles, CA
A: Andre, VO support groups are ubiquitous! There are multiple groups on Facebook and LinkedIn alone. Plus you’ve got VO Universe, VoiceoverXtra, plus innumerable tips on auditioning, home studios, VO demos, meetup groups, training, etc. that you can find on the Internet. Just do a little research and you’ll find a ton of support. Break a lip!
Marc Cashman © 2013
MARC CASHMAN, President and Creative Director of Cashman Commercials/L.A., creates and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television. Winner of over 150 advertising awards, he’s a guest speaker at Ad Clubs and Broadcasters Associations throughout the U.S. and has been interviewed in trade magazines, newspapers and on radio and television programs. As a voice actor, Marc was named one of the “Best Voices of the Year”—three times—by AudioFile Magazine. He also teaches voiceover at California Institute of the Arts, through seminars at NowCasting’s iActing Studios and instructs all levels of voice acting through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in Los Angeles, CA, as well as world-wide tele-coaching. Marc has been the Keynote Speaker and Master Class instructor at VOICE 2008, 2010 and 2012, the only international convention for voice actors. He recently presented at VO2013 ATLANTA ( http://vo2013atlanta.com ). He can be contacted at 661-222-9300, email@example.com or through his website, www.cashmancommercials.com.