First of all I want to thank all you wonderful talented people who do not do any of the following. You make sessions click and when everyone works as a team to accomplish the best results with the least issues, it's GOLD! I am writing this because I am faced with many of these issues as a director and casting person, and I will offer better solutions when applicable.
1. Please don't tell me "I read your audition notice and it looked like too much homework for me. Just give me the lines you want me to do and tell me the voice you want. I don't want to have to look at context, or pictures. That's too much work." If this is work, you have no idea how much more work I have done trying to get as much info out of producers, including more info about age, how loud the line should be read, how the script should be altered so it reads better for the character, if there can be an accent, and much much more. The more you know, the better your chances of landing the part. When I am casting a part or a whole game, I have a small talent pool I depend on, and I'm doing my utmost to make sure we nail all the roles. I am not part of a spam voicebank casting brigade, nor do I take a percentage of the talent fee and I AM OFTEN NOT EVEN PAID FOR CASTING.....so I direct auditions, spend my weekends and nights and 16 hour days to bring work to other actors. The least they can do is read through an email and return my calls.
We all know how frustrating it is to do what the audition asks for, then they hear their desires and change their minds anyway. Often this is because the script sucks so bad, so I'll either change the script for the audition, or tell people to talk about themselves in character and read part of the character description in a conversational tone. Many times that lands the role better and even if you say something funny.....producers often appreciate a sense of humor more than a prima donna.
2. What really makes one voice actor better than another is an ability to conjure up something befitting a part. Maybe you do two takes. One is what they ask for, and the second is something you invent. This is true for all auditions you get, even for commercials.
EXAMPLE: The Affleck Duck audition notice specifically said "We are not looking for a Gilbert Godfried sound alike" But what did they end up using? Exactly that.
3. This industry is not very considerate of our life, our time and our well-being. We get last minute auditions that have to be done right away, regardless of how you feel that day or if you would rather be doing something else. In sweltering heat, I have no AC so I have to turn off all fans and sweat to record auditions. Not fun, but it's what we have to do if we want to throw our hat in the ring.
As any theater actor will tell you....the show must go on. Whether you are sick or hung over...we are actors, so we have to "act" well enough to do those auditions if at all possible.
So this peeve is about people who tell me they will call me at a certain time so we can either talk about the audition or I can direct them. Then I don't hear from them. I have sacrificed my time and life to accommodate each individual in my talent pool, so it's not much to expect a courtesy call if you can't make our "date." The excuses run the gambit...."I overslept." "I have to take my kid to the beach." "I don't feel good because I drank too much last night." "I know it's a day later than the cut off, but can I do the audition now? I got distracted and forgot I was supposed to call you."
"I felt you probably already had enough people trying out that were better than me." "I didn't want to hurt my voice." "My back hurts and my allergies are kicking in"
I understand and empathize with all the reasons why auditions are a pain and aren't fun to do.
However-----in my specific case, I depend on my talent pool to at least respond as I don't go through other casting agencies, Voice 123, Voice.com or VO planet to cast talent. If all you have to do is record one or two lines, and I'm willing to do them at your convenience, the least you should do is give it a try. Then go to the beach, or back to sleep or lay down or go shopping. I'm juggling people all over the country at their conveniences, so I really appreciate cooperative actors.
Believe or not, I hear horror stories about actors who have been cast, are scheduled and don't show up or even call. This happens with local talent and even those who have been paid to fly into a location. No calls, no texts --nothing and everyone is waiting around in the studio losing money and valuable time.
Or there are cases where someone calls at the last minute and says "I've got another audition I have to go to, so I'll come in Saturday instead." Or "I can't record full session today because I landed another commercial after you cast me and they can only record today."
As a pro talent you need to commit to a booking and show up on time, already warmed up, with whatever special green M & Ms or beverage you require in hand. Of course it's nice when the studio has goodies, but always come prepared. If you're like me and need Diet Coke, and they don't have any.....I may not do as well with water. Doesn't hurt to have nasal spray in case you get a stuffed up nose, your glasses in case you have to watch a screen you weren't expecting, tissue in case you have to blow your nose, and if your back hurts...please take a pain reliever before you come into the studio.
Don't get me wrong. I have brought tons of snacks, drinks and lozenges to sessions, but everyone has such different needs or wants, it's best to at least make sure you come with what you require.
That's enough for now. Let me again reiterate that I really appreciate people who at least try.
If I ask someone to do a certain voice, I don't expect perfection at the onset. I never know what will come out of my mouth until it does. But the fact I can try something and say, "Wow that was weird...let me do that again.".......or if I direct someone and tell them they need to come down in pitch at the end of a sentence and they keep doing it monotone, if I play it back for them and they hear their issue and then repeat the same mistake.....IF THEY LAUGH and say "geesh I did it again." ----That is wonderful. It shows me you are listening, you understand the issue and are a good sport about trying to fix it.
Expect more tips and tricks soon. Best of luck to all!
Thanks Kevin. I wish this biz was full of nothing but good times and rewards, but hopefully all the silt will sift to the bottom eventually and the good stuff will rise to the top where it belongs!
These are some very good points. :)
I thought managing a shop full of tech was bad, or making Portfolios for pre-Madonnas was bad! :-p
Good advice here. How does one get to be part of your 'talent pool' since you don't go to those other agencies?