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Voiceover Casting - Navigating A Mine Field

By Alan Shires. Published Feb 16, 2024.
Filed Under: Business


Embarking on a recent project, I found myself in the unique position of seeking out a diverse array of voice talents to bring a project to life. The challenge was not in the shortage of talent—far from it. My usual go-to actors were a fantastic starting point, but the specificity of this project necessitated extending my search. Partnering with talent hosting companies, I braced for the influx of applications.  In the whirlwind of sorting through over 500 submissions, a few insights crystallized, shaping my approach and expectations for future casting calls in these avenues. Here's a lighter look into the world of voiceover casting, punctuated with some of the lessons that stood out.

Unnecessary Voiceover Samples

One aspect that continually surfaces is the tendency for actors to overshare, particularly when it comes to voiceover samples. Occasionally I may send out a simple question about their recording setup or accent, hoping for a straightforward answer. Instead, I'm often met with lengthy responses and unsolicited samples. While enthusiasm is appreciated, clarity and brevity are paramount. The lesson here? If a sample is requested, by all means, send one. If not, resist the urge. It's about keeping communication efficient and focused, ensuring that inboxes remain manageable and the casting process stays streamlined.

Sticking to the Voiceover Casting Brief

Another surprising observation comes from the submissions themselves. Despite clear instructions in the brief for multiple recordings, some talents would bundle their auditions into a single file. The expectation for me to separate these files is a misunderstanding of the casting director's role by the talent. My aim is to connect the right voice with the right client, not to edit submissions. The takeaway for voice actors is clear: adhere to the specifics of the brief. It's not just about showcasing talent; it's about demonstrating an ability to follow directions and respect the casting process.

Voiceover Casting Questions

Questions are a natural and necessary part of any project. They can preempt misunderstandings and refine performances. However, the relevance and brevity of these questions are crucial. Odd or off-topic inquiries not only divert from the project's focus but can also strain the actor-casting director relationship. A good question is one that clarifies the brief without veering off course, allowing for a smoother casting journey.

Voiceover Casting Directors On The Clock

In the fast-paced world of voiceover work, deadlines are tight, and efficiency is key. Opening a file only to be greeted by silence can be frustratingly time-consuming. Similarly, questions about slating—whether or not to include a brief introduction in the recording—should be resolved by referring to the brief or, if in doubt, asking. These seemingly small details can significantly impact the workflow, emphasizing the importance of clear, concise communication and adherence to project guidelines.

Following Casting Instructions

A notable challenge arises with submission instructions. For instance, specifying that applications should be emailed directly, only for a percentage to respond through a different channel, illustrates a fundamental oversight. Such actions not only disregard the casting director's guidelines but can also lead to automatic disqualification from the project. The message here is simple: read and follow instructions carefully. This not only demonstrates professionalism but also ensures that your submission is considered.

Professionalism Above All

Lastly, the issue of professionalism—or occasionally the lack thereof—can be startling. This industry is built on trust and mutual respect. Renegotiating or disputing agreed-upon terms post-selection not only undermines this foundation but can also lead to burned bridges and missed opportunities. In closing, the voiceover casting process is a dance of logistics, talent, and communication. From unnecessary voiceover samples to misinterpretations of the brief, each challenge offers a learning opportunity. As a casting director, my goal is to facilitate a process where talent can shine within the parameters set forth, fostering an environment where professionalism and precision lead to successful collaborations.

Voiceover Casting - Navigating A Mine Field by Alan Shires

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