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Boss Performance: VO BOSS – CastVoices – First Listen

Our VO BOSS Cast Voices contest is underway. After receiving 73 auditions, “Anne of Aspercreme” and Liz Atherton are listening to each entry and providing comments via dropbox. Auditions were also opened up to our listeners for comments. This special episode gives you a sneak peek into the real-time process of casting. Listen to Anne and Liz’s thoughts so far, an in-depth critique of one audition, and then stay tuned next week for our shortlist of finalists!

PLEASE NOTE:  Thanks for playing! Our Audition is now closed!  Feel free to give a listen to our entries for a limited time here: . You can listen to the finalists and vote on your favorites and stay tuned for our casting decision.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. VO BOSS and Cast voices created a public audition for “Anne of Aspercreme” in our first-ever VO BOSS Cast voices contest

  2. The VO BOSS Cast voices audition contest received 73 auditions

  3. We opened up comments to our listeners, and have received valuable feedback in dropbox

  4. Listeners had to listen and comment on all 73 entries, to have an idea of the casting process

  5. Liz likes to give verbose feedback. In-depth feedback can be a lengthy process for the casting director – in four hours, Liz is less than a third of the way through!

  6. Casting directors get busy. When it comes down to creating a short-list, you’re slammed and must use a method of culling the herd quickly

  7. First step: possibly eliminating auditions with errors

  8. Beyond that first step, each casting director has their own methodology

  9. Some casting directors only listen to the first 10, and others listen to every audition

  10. For this contest, Anne and Liz are listening to EVERY audition. This is a hugely time-consuming process!

  11. Anne’s method: start by listening to the first auditions, and as I go on, I put good auditions on the shortlist. If this were a real casting, I might complete my shortlist before listening to all auditions, due to time constraints

  12. If you’re a casting director and trying to cast four projects in a day, you’re going to power-through and have specific rules for creating your shortlist.

  13. If you’re amongst the first auditions submitted, you have a better shot at being listened to by the casting director.

  14. Talent agents get frustrated when files aren’t named a specific way. It takes time to rename files. This could get your audition thrown out!

  15. If a voice caught her ear, Anne didn’t necessarily throw their audition out if the file wasn’t named correctly. However, she was annoyed in the back of her head, which could impact her decision later on

  16. Different casting directors have different technical expertise, so don’t make their jobs complicated by failing to follow directions

  17. If you can’t follow directions in your audition, it could be a sign that you aren’t directable in a session

  18. When going through these auditions, Liz will look up a voice actor for more information on who they are, as well as peruse their social media channels

  19. Giving two reads is great if you can give two completely different reads

  20. Adding in humor when appropriate can keep a casting director listening

  21. Great acting and a confident style makes a casting director believe that you are directable into any type of read

  22. What gets you the audition may or may not be the real spot

  23. Your audio quality has a big impact on if you make the shortlist, especially while we are all recording at home.

  24. Tune in next time for our shortlist, feedback, and your chance to help us pick the winner!

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Find out more about Cast Voices
Bad ass editing by Carl Bahner
Recorded in Anne’s custom made booth by Tim Tippets
Recorded on ipDTL


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS. Now let’s welcome your host Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host Anne Ganguzza, along with the bee, the Queen herself, Miss Liz Atherton. Hey, Liz.

Liz: I will never, ever tire of those introductions. They make me giggle. I’m sorry, I say this every time, but it’s the truth. Hi Anne! How are you?

Anne: I love calling you the bee.

Liz: Oh my God.

Anne: The bee. The queen bee. So Liz, we did a really cool thing.

Liz: You know, Anne, we did. I am so impressed. We have like 73 people that auditioned, and we have –

Anne: We do.

Liz: – this amazing group of people that have gone in and given very helpful and constructive feedback.

It’s been really cool!

Anne: Yes. For those of you that are just joining in on this episode, just to let you know, last week Liz and I created a mock audition so that we could educate our listeners, and everyone that wanted to partake in it, in the casting process. So we had a public audition that went out. We had a great response to it. We had 73 auditions that came in, and we invited people to get in on the casting side of things by allowing them access to the files and to be able to listen and make comments. Our specific rule was look, you can’t just make comments on one of the files or one of the auditions. You have to go through all of the auditions. And so that way you can really get to know what it’s like to go through the casting process.

Liz: And in that vein, Anne, I got to be honest here, I waited until today, which was the deadline for everybody to start listening. I did that kind of on purpose because my feedback tends to be verbose, because “ohh I got to tell them this, and I got to think about this.” And Anne, I’m behind. I don’t have them all done yet.

Anne: Well Liz, Liz, I’m even more behind than you because I’ve not yet started to comment. However I will note that yes, I think this probably happens more often than not, that as casting directors, we all have schedules, and we get busy. And so therefore when it comes down to the line, and we have to create a shortlist or listen to them all, it becomes whoa, okay, let’s get this done. Similar to me, I was slammed for the past two days, was not able to take a listen to any of them until this morning, and when I did, I had a particular methodology that I used in order to get myself quickly through them. I think maybe that would be something that I could share, and you as well, Liz, because it will give people the idea of what it’s like to be on the casting side from our point of view.

Liz: For sure. I mean, if we just started with errors and things like that, that would be one thing. But for me, just to give you an idea, Anne, so far, so far, I’ve spent almost four hours listening to auditions. And I’m less than a third of the way through.

Anne: I spent two hours, and I didn’t write any notes yet. However I took down a list of my shortlisted people for each audition.

Liz: Yeah, and see, you know what’s interesting about this, we’re both trying to find the right voice, and we both take different methodologies to do so, as does anybody that’s listening to a set of auditions to hire. Some might listen to the first ten, find four voices that are great and move forward, or some might listen to every single audition because you just don’t know what you might miss if you don’t. Given that this is an exercise, I’m going through and listening to every single audition, because I feel like I need to, I just need to do that.

Anne: Yep.

Liz: But Anne, I did not take into consideration just about how much time I was going to need to do that before you and I have scheduled. So I’m begging permission to move our shortlist to the next time. But I’d like to take a moment to kind of go through maybe at least one this time, so that people can hear this and go listen to that one, or maybe still listen to them all. And just kind of know where I’m coming from and maybe where you’re coming from. What do you think?

Anne: First of all, let me go through my process and tell you what I might say that can help our listeners in going through the casting process. My methodology was just to listen to them all quickly. Based on what I consider to be fairness, I wanted to listen to the ones that had submitted first. So I started in ascending order from the first person that had submitted, and I went down the list until my time was up. And of course then I delayed our meeting today because I wanted to listen to them all. Just so you guys know, I listened to the first person that submitted. I started to create my shortlist from there. And so, had I really not had enough time to listen to all of them, I would have stopped my shortlist, favoring those people who had submitted earlier that caught my ear. There were a couple things that, you know, we had specific things on naming the file, we had specific rules on auditioning for only one role. And I found that there were a couple of things that I took into consideration when I was trying to get through these quickly, deciding whether or not I would put them on a shortlist.

Liz: That’s fantastic. Anne, that’s a really good way, especially if you’re a casting director, and you’re trying to cast four projects in a day, you’ve got to power through it and have specific rules. And those are valid rules to do. My approach, I also did it in ascending order. I started with the first submission. I even noted on that one, I was like, you know, you’re the first one in, which is awesome because it means you were putting your audition time in at the front of your calendar, if you will. And it’s also a guarantee you’re the first one in, everybody is going to listen. It’s not even just the first one, the first several. I have done these before where the program, the old VoiceBank days, we would listen and provide feedback. I’m just writing up a storm on all of ‘em, which again is really time-consuming and probably not in keeping totally with the objective of this project, but I can’t help myself. If I hear something and I want to share something, or an idea, you know, the old fingers start a-tapping.

Anne: All right, so I have to plead my case over here. Liz is writing a novel for each of you. I think that’s amazing. I have yet to start writing. And so I will absolutely be giving feedback to you guys. Keep checking up on those things. I may not write quite as much as Liz, but my heart is there. I’m going to give you as much feedback as I possibly can. But there’s some interesting things, Liz, that you know surprised me. Because we had rules about the naming conventions, I can imagine if this went through a talent agent that was shortlisting before it got sent to the client for selection. And I think talent agents, which are constantly saying please follow the directions, please name your files in a specific way, I can understand their frustration when files are not necessarily named a specific way. Because of the time factor in renaming the files, if they have to store them in a particular way on their system, right now going through the method that we had, going through Dropbox, they all were in the same place. I can’t imagine if I had to save them off into another place and then rename the files, because I don’t have time as it is. So it really does help to name files. So I will say that if the voice fit what I heard in my head as being, you know, fitting for the spot, I still kept them and put them on my shortlist. However I did kind of in the back of my head, you know, somebody should really be telling them that your next auditions, please follow the directions. Because the least amount that you can annoy your casting directors, the better. [laughs]

Liz: Or the filter, the filter, either your agent, or your casting director, your manager, whoever. When I was an agent, renaming files especially in our old programs was… ex-haus-ting…

Anne: It is!

Liz: One of the things about Dropbox that is frustrating is like just say you’re a casting director and you want all the files, the naming conventions to start with the name of the character. Right? The reason they do that is so maybe if they’re having several characters roll up into one, then all the man characters are together, you know, the other female characters are altogether by name.

Anne: Exactly.

Liz: Unfortunately in Dropbox, Dropbox adds the name of your computer to the front of the file. And so for all the naming conventions that are correct, Dropbox still adds the name of the computer. So it’s LizAtherton-mancharacter-whatever I would be. The naming is really, really important.

Anne: You know, that’s interesting, Liz, that you say that. That did not happen on my Dropbox.

Liz: Really?

Anne: I did my Dropbox through the web and I also have it on desktop. So good thing that you brought that up. So everyone out there who is not naming, just know that there can be whole different types of computers and all different casting directors that have different experiences with it. So if you add to the complication by not following instructions, that’s just another thing to keep in mind.

Liz: That is really interesting, Anne. When we’re off-line, I got to figure out how you did that. Because that, I don’t know if I can say this or not, that’s a real pisser for me because I wanted – if I want them named a certain way, I want them named a certain way, and I want it to come in a certain way.

Anne: Okay, so that was the file naming conventions. If people auditioned for both, I then took it a step further in my thought process and I said well, they really didn’t read the instructions. Then that had a little more effect on whether or not I was going to put them on the shortlist, only because I felt that if they were that inconsistent in terms of reading directions and following directions, I thought well, if they get the gig and I need to direct them through the session, it might be difficult.

Liz: I want everybody to hear this too because this is a very valid way of weeding, weeding the list if you will to a shorter list. And not to contradict you, I don’t know if I’ll automatically weed them because of that.

Anne: I didn’t automatically.

Liz: Okay, cool, cool, cool. Right, but it’s part of your decision.

Anne: It’s part of my weeding out process because right now I have a short list for each role of seven people which I need to narrow down even more.

Liz: Man, you’re good. I’m not there yet which is again part of the reason I’m begging forgiveness so that – and actually I think that’s probably good because part of the reason I kept my feedback off of there is I did not want my opinion to persuade other people’s opinion. And that’s something else I also did. As I’m listening through it, I know there’s a name in there, and I may or may not know that person, but I try to put that in the back of my mind. Also if I have something to say that’s not necessarily totally positive, what I do is I go and I look that person up. And I’m like, am I missing something here? Now granted in a real audition, it’s highly unlikely that a casting director would do that, but it’s something I’m doing just because I want to see how experienced they are, maybe they did it on purpose, or if I need to reach out or something. But that said, let’s pick one that we kind of talk about, and Anne, if you don’t mind, will you play it? And kind of give people an idea of – by the way, guys, the one I’m picking is not shortlist on my end yet and Anne is not necessarily going to share her shortlist, so it’s just someone that we’ve picked out that’s a seasoned professional, that their audition is something to listen to. Are you cool with that, Anne?

Anne: Yeah. Okay, so Liz and I have chosen one person out of the group of 73 auditions that we wanted to play on air and offer our thoughts and suggestions on. And that person is Rick MacGyver. So let’s roll it.

>> Rick MacGyver. AsperCreme is odor free so you can have maximum pain relief without that Walter smell. AsperCreme, no pain, no odor. AsperCreme is odor free so you can have maximum pain relief without that Walter smell. AsperCreme. No pain, no odor.

Liz: One of the things I really liked, and I’ll just read you what I have written down as my feedback for Rick. The slate caught my attention and then you used that same voice for your first read. I would leave your reads in the order that you did, but change up your slate to use the clean voice and then go right into your audition with the gravelly voice. It just showcases your range right off the bat. I also think you did great job of adding humor and personality to your read. I didn’t want to smell Walter either. And what I mean, you know, because he added some, just some nice inflection to the words smell Walter, and I thought that was really cool. And I said, I didn’t want to smell Walter either, but don’t be afraid to punch that even more in the more charactery read, which is his first one. It will make the listener smile and keep them listening for more. Excellent audition. And I really did think it was an excellent audition. I’ve got a bunch more to listen to. But I thought from listening to it was good, the feedback was just to go ahead and give him two voices, the listener two voices right off the bat. It was just a really good read.

Anne: Well, I have to say I agree with you there. He’s definitely, it was an attention getter, and I think after listening to, you know, 75 auditions and having it take me a good couple of hours, having something like that stand out really does, it really does make a difference. But I’m going to caution that people make sure that it fits with the context of the audition and with context of the copy, that you could do something such as a character read like that. And I love, if you can ever grab the humor, which he was able to do, and that’s what I loved about it, is to grab the humor of the spot and approach that with confidence in your read, that makes all the difference in the world, in terms of getting my attention. As a matter of fact, I listened to every submission. Anyone that really came at it with a confident read are the ones that perked my ears up because those are the ones that I felt I would be able to direct into any type of read that I wanted afterwards.

Liz: I totally agree. I’m going to kind of reference a previous podcast that you and I’ve done about the acting side of it.

Anne: Yes.

Liz: I felt like Rick, he stepped into that role of talking about Walter. And I just thought it was a really good, strong read.

Anne: Absolutely. I like that you brought up the actor part of it, because that’s what made me believe that he would be directable to be any type of read that I would have wanted. So I’m going to say, for me, that was a super strong read, and again I caution everybody just going to some character, if it’s not appropriate, or maybe not in your wheelhouse. I will say that I found a number of good reads also in my shortlist that were just being themselves but came at it with a very authentic, very confident style that led me to believe they could be directed in multiple directions. Because a lot of times, let’s face it, folks, what gets you the audition may or may not what ends up being the real spot.

Liz: Absolutely. That’s an excellent point. Anne is coming at it from the perspective of can I direct you, can I teach you, can I do that with you, which if you’re a producer, if you’ve been a producer in the past, and you’ve got clients sitting at a table with you, you know that they can change their mind about what they’re looking for on the spot.

Anne: Yeah. Absolutely. Okay, guys. So I hope you all had a chance to go in there and listen and critique, and go through all of them. Not just one or two but go through all of them because I think it’s a really valuable lesson, and it can really help us to be better at our performances, better at our auditions, because we now know what it’s like to go in and cast for multiple roles with a lot of auditions, and what is it that catches your ear? What is it that made the audition stand out for you that can actually help you perform a better audition?

Liz: Be sure to tune in next time because Anne and I will both have our shortlists there for you to listen to and some feedback. We encourage you to jump in and help us make our decisions for who is going to win this challenge.

Anne: I’m so excited about this. This has been such a great experience, Liz.

Liz: Agree. I love it and I think it’s been real eye-opening for a lot of people, because keep in mind, Anne, we may have 20 or 30 for Walter and 20 or 30 for Hopscotch and maybe some both in there, but when you’re a casting director, you might have 400 for one role.

Anne: Absolutely.

Liz: And you just need to be aware that the better you follow the directions, and you are giving it your best foot forward, that will help make you make the shortlists.

Anne: Absolutely. I’ll mention one other thing right before we leave. That’s because I’m coming to you from my lovely custom-made booth designed by Tim Tippets. Your audio makes a big difference, your studio makes a big difference too in terms of how long people will listen to you. It’s always something that I think, if you have not addressed it now, it’s something that could be addressed in the future for you, that will help you in your auditions. Make sure your home studio is up to snuff and that you can get a good sound out of that. And if you don’t necessarily know if you’re having a good sound, there’s lots of wonderful people out there that can help you to do that. All right. So with that being said, thank you so much to our sponsor, ipDTL. We love you, ipDTL. It allows us to connect with you guys every week, and Liz, thanks so much.

Liz: Always.

Anne: Everyone, have a great week. Yeah, and we’ll see you next week.

Liz: Take care, everybody. See you, Anne.

Anne: Bye!

Liz: Bye!

>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host, Anne Ganguzza, and take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.