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           August 2015

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”                     – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The Art of Mastering Your Auditions

Auditions are an art unto themselves. Ideally, the more of them you do, the better you get.

The fact is, no one is all that keen on auditions, producers and talent alike. It’s nerve-racking for both sides of the production process; those casting are worried you’re better on your demo or in the audition process than you will be on the job, and talent are just plain worried about what it is they don’t know.

On one hand, some talent become expert auditioners but can’t deliver when ultimately put to the test. They often harbor the erroneous notion that once booked they are expected to deliver a flawless performance in one single take after which the entire studio will explode into spontaneous applause and then they can go home. The only real difference between the audition and the session is the number of takes. A booking may require 5 takes, or it may require 55 takes. (It varies dramatically from job to job, and from director to director.) Whereas on the audition, we usually get only one or two takes regardless of the project, regardless of the medium.

Still others are only good once they land the job, but bridging the gap from unemployment to employment remains the eternal dilemma, and demands they master the art of the audition.

Beyond your voiceover demo, your auditions are your best form of promotion. They aren’t (and should never be) the sole form of promotion, due to the simple fact that relying on a single talent agent from a single region to supply you with enough auditions is not a viable option.

Statistics dictate that it generally takes about 200 auditions to book a job. If you’re only getting two to three auditions a week from the one talent agent, then it’ll take you more than a year to land a single job! Which is why you have to increase the odds in your favor. One of the great benefits of voice-over is that you can (and should) secure numerous talent agents in a variety of regions across the country. With consistent, targeted promotions driving traffic to your voice-over demo Web site, you can effectively be cast directly off your demo. You’ll increase your odds by a significant margin if you do.

The more auditions you do, the more you make yourself known, the more familiar you’ll become to those most likely to hire you. The more likely you’ll secure work.

The more you expose yourself to auditioning opportunities, the more comfortable you’ll become, and the more realistic your expectations, the more you can be your most conversational and communicative self during the audition/interview process, increasing your likelihood for booking the job.

So, if your audition skills need sharpening, prepare to deliver your very best at a moment’s notice. Give us a call and schedule a couple of ‘tune-up’ coaching sessions that will jet-fuel your approach by daring you to push the edge of the envelope. As coaches, we feel our job is to make you feel as safe as possible free falling.

Call 323.464.0990 today to schedule. œ

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How To Strengthen Your Cold Reading Skills

One of the greatest assets you can develop as an actor is to become a strong cold reader. This skill requires attention and practice.

The best way to develop your cold reading skills is to read anything and everything out loud, and with great frequency. When you’re given a script for an audition, be sure to read it no fewer than six times through—OUT LOUD—just to discover what the script is trying to say. Of course, the degree of difficulty will vary from project to project, but it’s imperative you animate the read fully. Read it slowly. Over-enunciate, especially during your first few reads. You’ll be creating something of a muscle memory not unlike an athlete. Over-animate your read in these first few read-throughs. The object is to expand your performance playing field from the very start to offer the best possible performance options. Then drop this pretense and simply—deliver.

Avoid giving yourself too long a runway by ramping up into your performance. This can occur when you (unwittingly) find yourself attempting to craft only one ‘perfect take’. Far too often the unfortunate effect from this approach is a stiff, affected, robotic delivery, which can be extremely difficult to break out of after a few takes.

Your goal as a talent is to offer a handful of honest, appropriate options within the perimeters of the project. The result will be uniquely YOU, which is the most valuable thing you can play.

All the more reason to schedule a tune-up with us a few times a year and coach with the express objective of sharpening your performance muscle; otherwise, these skills will atrophy.

If you’re already a strong cold reader—wonderful! Then, the primary caution is becoming too set in offering the same repetitive performance option again and again and again with no room for discovery or play, or addressing the unique attention each script demands.

In most circumstances we’re required as voice actors to get the script on its feet as soon as possible while offering our own unique point-of-view, sincere interest in what we’re talking about, and plenty of room to simply play. There’s nothing but discovery and joy in it when we do. This is especially true when the text is dull and lacking any imagery. We’re paid to have a pulse. Keeping on top of our performance skills insures at a moment’s notice we’re sure to supply one. œ

One Of The Most Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Voiceover

Will you tell me if I can’t do this?

There are plenty of people of varying degrees of expertise who are more than happy to quickly tell you “you can’t”—sight unseen, without ever testing your mettle.

At Sound Advice, we’ll tell you if you’re not applying yourself. We’ll let you know what you should be doing and how to apply yourself in nearly any situation in this field.

We’ll even back you up and be there for you many years after we’ve trained you and produced your tracks. We’re in this for the long haul and expect you are too. In fact, if we invite you to do a demo it’s because we believe in you and that you will take what you’ve learned from us and run with it. If we produce your demo tracks, in many respects we are endorsing you, so we want you to represent us well. That’s vitally important to us, because this is precisely how it reads to the industry and our professional colleagues.

But, if you’re asking, “Will we tell you whether or not you can join this ‘very exclusive club called voice-over’?” No, we will not.

NO ONE has the right to tell you whether you can or cannot have a career in this business—or any other for that matter! It’s elitist. And, to be perfectly honest, you don’t have to take that form of browbeating from anyone. Ever.

Granted, a great many people are not all that forthcoming with information in this industry, they hold their cards very tight to their chest. It could be they’re afraid you may discover how little they actually know about the subject. Or maybe they view you as a threat to their livelihood. Perhaps they are under the misconception that there is not enough work to go around and you might cut in on their business. To add to this, these individuals may not know as much as you know after simply reading this book or taking our Sound Advice one-on-one Orientation.

Frankly, there’s plenty of room in this industry for everyone—provided you’re trained and prepared to deliver your best. There’s been more than a 900 percent increase in the amount of voice-over being produced annually than there has been in years past. This can easily be attributed to the rapid expansion and melding of media through Netflix, Hulu+, the relatively recent addition of more than 2,000 standard channels available on cable, on the Internet, games, animation, commercial and corporate demands, and assorted new media. These varying channels are now considered commonplace in the entertainment industry—all of which require voice-over of some form or another.

Besides the fact, you’re the only one of you. No one does what you do quite the way you do it! This is a great deal of what makes you so valuable, as a person and an artist. œ

Copyright © 2015 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.