Ask a Casting Director

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Ask a Casting Director

I've cast hundreds of computer games and directed thousands of actors. Voice acting is much more demanding than voice overs. Happy to help anyone interested.

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Get Skype, Yousendit and FTP

Started by Lani Minella. Last reply by Lani Minella Jan 31, 2012. 2 Replies

Character demo for games, cartoons etc

Started by Sini Manner. Last reply by Lani Minella Nov 15, 2011. 5 Replies

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Comment by Lani Minella on September 13, 2011 at 1:30pm

Pamela, Yours is a good question about agents. I feel a lot of agents really don't do a lot of work to find work. They expect you to do it and bring the money to them.  Many just pass along voicebank auditions and if we have a question about them, they don't want to bother the client to clarify anything to increase our chances of landing the job.  Also some agents will hire you to take you off the competition roster from their favorites they push all the time.  It's really tough.  I was told to try the smaller agencies first and that might be ok.  Good and bad.  Good because you're apt to get more attention, help or less internal competition, bad if the agency doesn't receive the bigger job casting calls because they're not high enough on the radar list or maybe they aren't known yet for having the best talent.   I think you should get to speak with the agent and ask blunt questions.   Do you tend to pigeon hole talent into categories you feel they're best doing, or will we get an opportunity to stretch and expand?

What does it take to be added to your pool and actually receive the maximum number of auditions to show my range?

There is no fool proof way to weed out the proactive ones from the ones who sit back and pass things back and forth.  Best way is to not sign an contract, go for test drives with agencies and get a feel for them as you go.  It's tough but nothing is perfect out there

Comment by Pamela Mitchell-Almand on September 13, 2011 at 10:04am

Hi, Lani,

Seems like everyone's a vo coach these days, and most prey on new wannabes who've been told they "have a great voice!". I actually got an email a few months ago for a seminar touting "Making Money Doing Seminars" from a well-known voiceover coaching/demo "guru"! :-)

And several years ago I had a demo made with the promise of signing with a West Coast agent...who simply put my first name and a single demo on his website and I've heard nothing since...after repeated emails, he finally admitted he usually only promoted local talent.

I have a couple of regional agents who actively promote my work in Europe and Asia, but sure would like an agent who really works for me, not simply adds my demos to a website and takes a cut when you're booked!

I've been working steadily, but don't have access to as many national spots or SAG work as I'd like to have! How does one weed out the proactive agents from the passive ones?!   

Great tips, BTW, Lani, for both newbies and pros!

Comment by Lani Minella on June 28, 2011 at 10:51pm

Time to posts something useful again. Happy Summer everyone.

Let me make a point about demos.   First don't send demos to anyone without being asked or introduced via someone, like a fellow talent, who also has the agent you're interested in getting.

I notice a lot of people have character demos and it doesn't really impress me because you can tell it's the same person trying to sound different, but all they do is basically different reads or slightly different dialects but in the same pitch and texture.  This won't fly in the game world because you really have to sound different when doing different characters, at least in my castings.

Don't go back and forth between two voices.  If you're pretending dialogue between characters, we only need to hear each voice once.

And most of all, don't add so much reverb or effects we can't tell what the heck you're saying.

I plan on offering a slam bang intensive coaching seminar in a month or so.  Meanwhile I do individual coaching but my time is limited. 

Best to all and good luck for sure!

Comment by Lani Minella on September 15, 2010 at 5:19pm
Hi everyone. Hope you are experiencing an upswing in business and things to smile about. I am not trying to solicit here, but I've been asked about information about my coaching. Here is a link: Lani's Coaching
I don't make a living coaching, but I will guarantee you will learn the max you've ever learned, in a sort time from a bona fide casting director that wants to add good people to my talent pool... But I do not do paid auditions so you don't have to have taken a class to work with me. However with a money back guarantee, you will continue to learn as you work with me and you'll end up getting paid for it, should you be part of my pool. Again--I am not trying to pitch coaching here, but I've been asked for the link. Also I am known to go well above and beyond the call of duty...giving you a lot more time for your money than the fees indicate. Thanks and best to all!
Comment by Chip Joel on September 8, 2010 at 4:13pm
Hi Lani,
Just want to give an update, the Video Game "The Shoot" is due out on Oct. 1, 2010. It is for the PS3 Motion (wand). I did a number of different voices on this one.
Comment by Lani Minella on September 8, 2010 at 3:59pm
Hi Chris, I'll keep you in mind! Thanks and I hope everyone is doing well.
Comment by Chris Dixon on August 29, 2010 at 5:23am
Hey Lani! I've been and checked out your big scary Spider Queen! Very nice indeed, I'd love to get into some video games, it looks like so much fun... if you ever happen to be casting for a nice sounding male British voice, then look me up!
Comment by Lani Minella on August 21, 2010 at 4:11pm
Hello and happy summer to all. I am not soliciting anything here, but have been asked to coach again. Since my time is so limited, I'm considering or possibly private coaching, but I tend to give away tons more time than I charge for and I teach techniques that are instantly capable of getting you in different accents, textures, pitches, etc that are actually in demand. So let me know, anyone if you're interested and maybe we can do a group thing or individual.
On another note as far as mouth noise...sometimes you actually have to crane your neck, tilt your head, push your cheek in closer to your teeth or close your mouth more like a ventriloquist to get those clicks and other annoying noises to disappear. The biggest mistake people do is guzzle down whatever they're drinking thinking that this helps. Remember you only need to swish syrupy liquid around in your mouth and coat your teeth, tongue and cheeks. Your throat or esophagus is not what's producing the noise.
Best of luck to all and keep the pipes flowing!
Comment by James Eastman on July 24, 2010 at 10:19am
Thank you, Alexis! ---- How did I get cgi/animated movie gigs? I "put myself in harm's way" as though it were. I got out there and met those who were doing it utilizing personal contact and the web. Everybody was very supportive and welcoming. I was offered a part and took it. I was noticed and I've been doing it ever since. Thanks! ~ James
Comment by Alexis Serrano on July 24, 2010 at 2:04am
Mr. Eastman,

Can you tell us how you got the cgi/animated movies gigs. My brother got one from Craigs List, any other suggestions

Alexis
 

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