I have a question for you this week: How are YOU auditioning?
I am a relatively new voice actor, having just celebrated my first full year. Having started with just a few cheap microphones and interfaces, and recording in a closet to…well … having a few slightly more expensive microphones and interfaces, but still recording in a closet. I spent my first several months auditioning to as many open ‘cattle calls’ as possible. There were several portals I used initially to source auditions. (You can find my list of portals towards the end of the blog.) However these free auditions weren ’t yielding anything that was substantial, with the exception of Reddit. After a few months of playing, ‘should I?/ shouldn’t I?’, games I finally decided to take the plunge and sign-up for a couple of pay-to-play sites.
But one day, I took a class with a wise voice actress who showed me that the way to gaining work wasn’t just through portals, but rather through relationships. She used an analogy to describe streams of voice work as fishing poles. Each fishing pole was a different ‘line’ of work. Pay-to-play sites were the smallest line (around 5%), auditions from an agent or manager were a small line (around 10-15%), and direct marketed-relationship based work was the largest line (around 75-80%).
The light clicked immediately!
Voice acting is more like a sales job, which isn’t how I perceived it at all. I alway thought of it as a profession where actors got auditions through agents and managers. I mean, I’ve seen Entourage, and thought that has to be how it is. I want my own Ari Gold! Boy was I wrong. Luckily, I have a little experience selling things to people, and am decent at creating meaningful relationships, and then maintaining them. This caused me to think further outside my comfort bubble (my comfubble, if you will).
Because of the knowledge bomb she dropped on my unsuspecting head, I started reaching out to my friends about my fledgling business. You see, up until this point Voice Acting was my dirty little secret. I was embarrassed that someone would think less of me for trying something new. Again, boy was I wrong. My friends were very supportive and actually started suggesting to me people that they knew of who were looking for auditions.
This broke my thought process of only looking for auditions through portals, and allowed me to start doing what I do best. . . Talk to people. This led to me doing voice over for training videos for my employer, working on audiobook narrations with friends, and creating my own unique content.
I have continued to try my hand at some of the p-2-p sites, but haven’t had much success. Mostly, I think it’s the sheer amount of competition on these platforms. The best advice for these types of sites is to be ready for that audition as soon as it comes across and be one of the first 5-10% of auditions. This way the casting directors see (hear) audition first, and are likely to shortlist you quickly. Then it’s everyone else’s job to take the job from you, instead of the other way around.
- The problem with this method is that sometimes these auditions come at unsuspecting times. They come in the middle of the night, during weddings, funerals (morbid, sorry), or whatever.
- The other problem is that some of the sites you pay for have TIERS of membership. This means if you signed up for bronze level, you get auditions AFTER silver and well after gold tiers. You could be the 300th audition for the job, and that post may only be hours old.
Now onto the moral of my story! Where you audition is important to the success of your career and shouldn’t be placed into one single place. What I mean is, signing up for p-2-p sites and other free portals is only one place. So, if you’re only scraping for work in these ponds, there may be larger fish out there, if you are willing to do things like cold call, email, and go to in-person events and talk about yourself and your business.
- Should you audition for EVERY role that becomes available?
- I used to do this, thinking that the more darts I threw at the board, the more bullseyes I would hit. While this definitely wasn’t an exercise in vanity, it didn’t yield me the results I hoped for. It did show me where I excelled and where I lacked skills. That helped me focus on my strengths, and sure up my weaknesses. (I’m still suring them up, and will probably be an endless process)
Free Audition portals:
- Casting Call Club
- Voice Acting Club
- Behind the Voice Actors
- Reddit: /recordthis
- Reddit: /recordthisforfree
- Bodalgo – International clients, monthly price, 30 euros
- Backstage – Yearly commitment ($99 for the first year)
- Voices.com – $499 per year
- Voice123 – Has a free tier, but auditions are funneled to paying customers first.
Wise Voice Actress: Tawny Platis
Wise Voice Actor: Bill Schulenburg
Please post in the comments section your preferred auditioning method and let me know how it’s working out for you. I’m eager to hear from people who have been doing this longer than myself.
Also, if you have a good free portal or p-2p that you like, and I don’t have listed let me know so we can add it to the list!