How many auditions do you imagine it takes to land a single voiceover job? Five? Ten? Twenty? There must be an average. There is, but it’s likely to be a great deal more than you might think.
Your professional reputation as a voice talent and as an actor is built by consistently delivering exceptional auditions. Lots and lots and lots of them. Which is why persistence and tenacity are required if you hope to succeed in this, or frankly, any business.
Never underestimate the fact that a bulk of your job as a professional talent is auditioning. Your auditions are your greatest form of promotion, however, they shouldn’t be your only form of promotion, which appears to be the case for a majority of talent out there. Without persistence and promotion, it’s not likely you’re going anywhere.
Granted voicing all those auditions may seem like a numbers game, rigged in favor of someone else, but not you. You may be invited to audition a project or two prior to investing in a proper demo, but you can’t go for very far without training and professionally produced demos if you hope to secure a steady stream of audition opportunities with any consistency.
Voiceover demos, by design, audition for you PRIOR to being considered to audition directly for a project, whether that be through a talent agency, a casting source, or an independent contractor. However, simply having a demo or two won’t score you work. They only drive employment, if you drive them.
And, for the record, demos are not a resume of what you’ve done, but rather a professional demonstration of the work you’re best suited to land. Even the most talented, skillful and experienced create work specifically for their demos to illustrate your greatest strengths. Demos are expected to sound like the real thing: nationally broadcast union commercials and narrations. They’re meant to seamlessly advertise your very best abilities, and define where you belong to encourage auditions from multiple streams.
Which is why you can’t under estimate the importance of momentum and its impact on whether you have a career or not. The problem is so many talent lean back rather than double down directly following having their voiceover demos produced. Careful. You can create a habit out of starting and stopping your career, which only serves to undermine your confidence, and derail your career before it’s had the opportunity take root.
But, before you throw in the towel, convinced auditioning is a numbers game, consider a few key stats from SAG-AFTRA and the US Department of Labor and Statistics:
– There’s been a 900% increase, in recent years, in the amount of voiceovers required to be voiced.
– It takes an average of 200 auditions to book a job.
– There are approximately 9,000 union (SAG-AFTRA) voiceovers produced every month across the country.
– A bulk of voiceovers both in and out of the US are non-union.
– Of all those auditioning, those most likely to book the project are consistently narrowed down to about 10%.
– About 90% of all those auditioning for the average voice job aren’t even considered to book the job for a variety of reasons, including:
a) The talent didn’t follow the basic specs (direction) of the audition
b) The talent delivered the least they could possibly do and nothing more
c) The audition was submitted too late or poorly recorded
d) The talent doesn’t understand basic professional standards and expectations
e) Or, the talent simply lacked the ability to self direct, and failed to deliver a quality performance when they are perfectly capable of doing so
Okay, technically I ball-parked that last stat from my own professional experience as a talent, producer, and casting director. But it stands to reason because when casting we typically weed through an extensive pool of talent to determine the very best submitted within the timeframe allotted, and we only seriously consider about 10 to 15% of all the auditions submitted. Again, for all of those reasons previously mentioned and possibly a few that we may have missed.
So, what does this tell us? For one, the best audition doesn’t necessarily land the job, but one of the best of those auditions does. Of course, your objective is to deliver your very best on every audition. Your reputation depends on it. With the client, your agent, as well as your self! And second, you only have your self to compete with. Its imperative you continually challenge yourself to be better than your last audition.
Auditions are meant to test your mettle. 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, genre to genre, and from one director to the next. Whereas on an audition, we usually get only one or two takes to deliver our very best, unless we are auditioning from home, which comes with it’s own learning curve which all talent must master if they hope to work.
Certainly auditions are an art unto themselves. Ideally, the more of them you do, the better you get. But even the most-experienced talent require coaching a few times a year in order to improve your technique, break bad habits, and sharpen your skills. As the saying goes, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
And the more experienced you are, the greater the expectation, and the higher the yardstick. Not the other way around.
Copyright © 2019 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.