How to Nail Voice Over Auditions

Voice over auditions are the gateway to the growing number of lucrative voice over jobs available in today’s world. Below are five important tips to keep in mind during voice over casting calls.

Whether you’re an actor trying to break into voice overs or exclusively interested in voice acting, these tips should help you get commercial voice over jobs as well as book voice overs in cartoons, video games and more.

1) Acting Skills

Approach every voice over audition like an acting audition and you’ll get good results. If you don’t have any acting training, consider taking an acting class to learn some basic acting skills, like how to be truthful under imaginary circumstance and how to create a character.

Whether you’re auditioning for a voice over in a commercial or for an animated character in a video game, acting skills are even more important than the quality of your voice.

If you want to get voice over narration jobs, it’s also a good idea to spend a little time everyday reading aloud from a novel or newspaper, so reading aloud can become second nature.

2) Script Interpretation

Knowing how to quickly break down a script is what will make or break your commercial voice over auditions. Often, commercial voice over copy is very short, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Actually, the one line auditions can be harder to nail then an entire page of promo.

That’s because you need to look for clues in the audition script to know what the advertiser is trying to do so you’ll know how to deliver the line. A good commercial voice over class will teach you how to analyze a commercial script and when to use a hard-sell or soft-sell voice.

You can also watch the short video below where Yuri Lowenthal, an experienced voice actor and co-author of the book Voice Over Voice Actor, shares tips on what you can do to be ahead of the game at voice-over auditions.

Another way to practice for voice over auditions is to start analyzing commercials you hear on the radio or see on TV. Also, if you can get your hand on some commercial scripts, just start practicing cold readings everyday. The more you do it, the easier it becomes!

3) Variety

If you audition in a studio, remember that the casting director is here to help, so really listen to direction and don’t be afraid to ask questions (especially if you don’t know how to pronounce a word). Being able to take direction is an important part of being a successful voice actor. That being said, sometimes people don’t know exactly what they want at voice over castings. If you sense that this is the case at a voice over audition, you’ll be ahead of the game if you have an inner checklist of things you can try with your voice to present the client with options. You can play with different voice modulation techniques like pitch, volume, tone, accent, pacing, pauses and dialects. If you’re auditioning for a job online from home, you can record a few different takes to show your range in voice overs.

4) Microphone Techniques

If you’ve never worked in a sound booth before, you may want to take a voice over workshop just to know exactly what your voice sounds like when picked up by a very sensitive microphone. You may find that you need to work on your plosives or that your voice sounds particularly good when you approach the microphone from a certain angle (what is known as the “sweet spot”).

To get started, watch this short video where Yuri talks about the distance a voice actor should be from the mic and shares other tips about working in a recording booth.

If you can’t practice in a real booth with a professional microphone before your first voice over auditions, don’t worry. You’ll learn microphone techniques as you go. Just make sure you’re not making popping sounds and avoid wearing noisy clothes or clinking jewelry.

5) Vocal Quality

Some voice over auditions can consist of just one word, so the quality of your voice is very important. Do everything you can to have your voice in tip top shape on the days you have a voice over casting. Make sure you are well hydrated and try to avoid foods and beverages that will dry out your instrument. The main offenders are cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, citrus, dairy and very cold drinks. Learn and practice relaxation techniques to avoid tension in your voice and make sure you are not holding your breath during your audition. Finally, do a few vocal warm-up exercises if you can, especially if you’re auditioning for a narration voice over job so you can have proper placement and your voice won’t get tired as you read the copy.

I hope these voice over acting tips help you nail your next voice over audition!