You’ll never get a 100% job from a 50% Audition

Nice try, Small Fry

Free photos of Anyika onuora

Used by permission from lubhz via Pixabay


Hedging your bets

When we audition, do we count on actually being cast in that role?  Is it something that we really want?  Or are we just rapid firing across multiple auditions so that we’ll maybe get something here or there, hedging our bets as it were, so that it will kind of work out for us one way or another?

I recently had a conversation with a colleague and they were telling me that they don’t ever really give their "all" during an audition; they save it for the actual read.  I had to scoff at their logic, for obvious reasons.  I literally made a scoff sound, which sounds something like a cross between a gag and a profound urge to pee.

Heh?  Saving it for the actual read?  Mon ami, you’ll never get to the actual read without giving it your all to get there.

You can’t get a 100% job from a 50% audition.

The Producer’s Chair

Let’s look at it from the Producer’s perspective for a moment.  You know they’re developing audition fatigue as they go through the onslaught of submitted auditions.  You know they’re losing the will to live as they next-next-next their way through scores of them.  Is it reasonable to assume that you, appearing in their lineup with your half-baked and noncommittal audition, are going to make the slightest impression on their casting choice?

They say there’s a lead line.  Michael Bell says the following:

One thing I’ve learned is that your VO audition must capture the casting director’s attention in the first 10 seconds or they will not listen to the rest. They simply don’t have time.

And he's right.  If you don't, you’re a goner.  Literally, you’re dead in the water, and the producer will never even remember your name.  You’ll never even get to the money line before you’re shot down.

But how about this.  How about if you, with all of your muster and all of your luster and all of your bluster, can take that audition, supercharge it, and make such an impression that they have no choice but to remember you?

Your goal is to knock ‘em dead.  Not to knock ‘em somewhat sleepy.

It’s all or nothing

Armageddon.  Lord of the Rings.  Mission Impossible.  Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Empire Strikes Back.  Cujo.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Taken.  Tootsie.  Aliens.  Meet the Parents.  E.T..  Finding Nemo.  Star Wars.  Blair Witch Project.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  The Goonies.

Name ANY movie, and you’ll instantly recognize that there’s a plot. A goal. A mission. The protagonist(s) in any movie has a mission that they must accomplish, and they must go on a journey of self-discovery in order to get there. They must change and grow and learn. And they're committed to their goal(s) and their mission(s).

Just because you’re not in the movie yet, should your audition be with any less feeling?

It's Sam saying, "No, Mr. Frodo. But I can carry you! Come on!" And then Sam takes him all the way up the mountain.

Half-baked food doesn’t taste very good.

And half-assed attempts don’t resonate with anyone.  If your goal is to get in, why would you be content with just quietly knocking at the front door?

There’s so much more to say on this – but is there?  Is it really necessary?  This is my first “well, duh” blog.  It’s simple. There’s no getting around it.  You can’t almost your way into a role.  You can't kind of do it.  You intend your way into a role.  Otherwise, you intend your way into frustration.

I have a lot to give.  Here’s a little bit.

Every role, every time, in every way requires everything you’ve got.  You’ve paid that membership to that P2P.  You’ve contacted that client and swore that you could do something marvelous.  So live up to your investment and promise.

Chew on these examples:

  • Baseball’s heavy hitters don’t swing for the infield, hoping to lazy lob one.
  • Football interceptors don’t race across the field, craving to stop in the midfield.
  • Basketball players don’t charge down the court, wanting to just stand under the hoop.
  • Politicians don’t run for presidency just so they can increase their Twitter followers.
  • Top chefs don’t strive to make the best Top Ramen.
  • Tourists don’t go to Rome and hope to avoid the Coliseum.
  • Fishermen don’t cast their line out, wishing for minnows.
  • The Beatles didn’t take their music to America, desiring only to return home penniless.

Voiceover artists don’t hope to do a mildly acceptable job.  Is it risky to give your all and put yourself out there? Sure.  But the cold truth?

You have more to risk by not risking.

It’s called giving your all.  It’s called going the distance.  They call it 100%.  Jesus isn’t wrong when he says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.”

There’s no such thing as conserving your energy in voiceovers.  The audition maketh the job.

Go forth therefore, and give thou in all thy fullness!

*disengages King James mode*


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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire
[email protected]

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