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Business of VO – Auditions

Awe yeah – it’s time to talk Auditions. In this episode, the boss ladies not only let their Northeastern accents come out to play (hear all about voiceover AWE-ditions) but they’ll leave you awe-inspired with how they handle the auditioning process. Ready for this AWE-some episode? Hit play!



Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Some people (even agents) say auditioning is your job as a voiceover actor.

  2. Auditioning doesn’t have to rule your day.

  3. You can and should prioritize your auditions based on who they come from.

  4. Sometimes voiceover auditions are abusive and ask too much of us or become too specific about delivery.

  5. You should not spend loads and loads of time preparing a single audition.

  6. Direct inquiries and bookings are a far more effective use of time than just blind auditioning with Pay to Play.

  7. Building relationships with clients cuts down on auditioning and gives you better stats.

  8. Auditions should not consume so much of your day that you are unable to run your business.

  9. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

  10. You can designate specific times of the day to audition, making exceptions when necessary.

  11. If you can be submit 20 or more auditions at a time – that’s great as long as you are efficient.

  12. Editing skills are detail oriented. Precision only comes with thousands of practice hours.

  13. Auditions should be clean and presentable and free of mistakes – not over processed/complicated.

  14. Auditioning less and booking more is achieved with networking.

  15. Clients will book you directly if they are impressed with your website and what they see.

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. The Best Auditions have the best audio. Make sure your auditions are Audition Ready with VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets

Full Episode Transcript

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my amazing bosstie-bestie, VO BOSS Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: [laughs] Hi, Anne.

[both laugh]

Anne: Gabby, I –

Gabby: I love the way you intro me.

[both laugh]

Gabby: Makes me feel so good.

Anne: Because I love ya, I love ya.

Gabby: I love you too.

Anne: You know, Gabby, I was, I was – you always make fun of me, but I was late, a little bit late this morning because –

[both laugh]

Gabby: Because?

Anne: I had some auditions to finish.

Gabby: Oh, that’s important, yeah.

Anne: Yeah, I know, and it’s, but you know what? It made me start to think, there’s a lot of talk about auditioning and –

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: I want to know like, I audition for my agents, I audition for other jobs that come in, you know, through my email. Gabby, sometimes it feels like I’m auditioning all day, and some people I have heard say, you know, it’s your job. Auditioning is your job. So I think we should talk about auditioning. How much is too much, or how much do you do?

Gabby: Yes. Oh gosh. Yeah.

Anne: What are your thoughts on that?

Gabby: To be fair, we have to look at like all the, the opinions or thoughts on this, and you’re right. I’ve heard over the years a lot of people, some of them even agents, say, “you know, your job is auditioning.” Basically that’s where our efforts should primarily be spent all day. The entrepreneur in me has a little bit of a problem with that.

Anne: Ah yes, Gabby. I’m so glad you said that.

Gabby: Yeah. Yeah. The entrepreneur in me, the business owner is like “umm yeah, that’s basically working for free.”

Anne: Yeah, when you talk about – yeah. When you talk about money, your money in and money out [laughs] comparison, you know, where does that stand? And I, you know look, I understand if I get auditions from my agents, and there’s a little, I think there’s an extra step in there, number one, because I want to think that my agent of course thinks I’m capable, and therefore the audition has been passed on to me. So there’s a little bit, there’s a couple of people involved in that, and I feel like, “oh, I should honor that.” You know, and let’s audition for that.

Gabby: Yes.

Anne: And some of these auditions, Gabby, I don’t know if you want to talk about it now, but you know there’s pages, and you know, sometimes people expect that whole audition to take place, and that’s not just a second of work. That’s like, you know, audition, process, edit, and we’re talking sometimes people expect over a minute. Oh my goodness.

Gabby: The truth that you are speaking right now. I had an audition this morning –

Anne: Right?

Gabby: It cracked me up. I look at the script, the script is huge. And I’m like, I literally, I think I read about a minute and a half, and I went, “that’s all you’re getting.” [beep] And I walked out of the booth.

Anne: And you know, and you’ll see specs too. It’ll say, “read both, read all the way through.”

Gabby: No, no.

Anne: And then directions, “on one mp3 or two MP3s,” I don’t know. That to me just, it [laughs] –

Gabby: It’s being taken advantage of.

Anne: I – yes.

Gabby: Seriously. I believe that.

Anne: I get a little bit like, hair raised on the back of my neck.

Gabby: As do I.

Anne: Really? Like –

Gabby: As do I. When we all know that statistically people listen for less than 15 seconds on average, the idea of requesting any audition over a minute in length and getting super specific about its delivery [laughs] it’s abusive. I believe it is.

Anne: I – yeah.

Gabby: I won’t honor that unless it’s like you said, it’s coming from an agent, if there’s a very specific source, if they’re asking for a special circumstance, mm yeah, OK. I’ll do that.

Anne: Yeah. Me too.

Gabby: But not just any old rando that decides to send me a script.

Anne: Oh my gosh. If it comes from anything, any other source – I mean, unless it’s a direct email, right, that’s asking me for, and I know the person and they’re asking, like you said, it’s a special circumstance.

Gabby: Right.

Anne: But if it’s just an audition that comes in, let’s say maybe from a pay-to-play, or you know, that kind of thing, maybe even a referral, and there’s a page or two, I’m only giving a few [laughs] you know, like maybe 20, 30 seconds at most if that, what I think will be able to grab the gig as much as I need to do. Other than that, no, I, I do feel that it’s abusive.

Gabby: Such a fascinating conversation, and I know we’re going to piss some people off with this, and I’m all right with that. [laughs]

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: There are many coaches, many voice actors who, when it comes to pay-to-play, they talk about auditioning 20, 30, 40, I’ve heard upwards of 60, auditions a day.

Anne: Yeah, yeah, me too.

Gabby: That’s insane.

Anne: Personally for me, Gabby, that’s not my style. You know, hey, to each his own, but here’s my thought on it. If I can have direct inquiries rather than me having to go and audition and spend that time auditioning, editing, submitting, if I could have direct inquiries about jobs – let’s say, “I’ve got, you know, a page of this. How much would you charge?” – hell, I’m going for that method [laughs] before I’m going to spend money, my own, my own time in the booth like half of my day, because I’m actually negotiating money rather than taking a chance on somebody even listening. So for me, it makes better business efficiency sense to accept direct inquiries, and do whatever it takes to make my business searchable, right, and findable, so that people can submit those types of jobs to me.

Gabby: And it’s why you and I stress the relationship piece, so much, about building relationships and, you know, production housing, and casting directors, agents and even direct clients because that’s what it affords you. It cuts down on so much of those jobs that are maybes.

Anne: Right.

Gabby: And significantly increases the booking ratio from your auditions.

Anne: Exactly. Your stats are better.

Gabby: Yeah!

Anne: Especially if you’re good and efficient, sure, if you can do 50 or 60 a day, that’s fine. Go ahead.

Gabby: I wouldn’t be doing this, seriously –

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Like I wouldn’t do this for a living if I had to do 50 or 60 auditions a day.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: No. I’m out.

Anne: You know, there’s too many other things that I, I need to do for my business, and here’s the thought. Again, it’s not just – OK, when your business is to that point, right, where you can outsource everything, but what you’re doing in the booth, right, I think that’s great.

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: But you know, in terms of until you get to that place, right, I need to make my time as efficient as possible. And being in my booth auditioning all day is not necessarily the best use of my time in terms of growing my business and growing my relationships with clients so that I can get more business or growing my web presence, growing my marketing presence so that I can have more opportunities at my fingertips or at my voice, so to speak. [laughs]

Gabby: [laughs] At my microphone.

Anne: At my microphone, yeah, there you go.

Gabby: What about the stress factor? Every time I talk to people who are like slaves to their pay-to-play and the auditions that are coming in, they’re so stressed out, and they’re so, just, they’re wound so tight by the process that I am “like, man, that’s not going to make for some good auditions.”

Anne: But here’s the deal. I think the process of working yourself to a place, and here’s where I’m going to give some props maybe to that style, is that if you are doing a ton of auditions a day and you get really good at it, there’s a certain, there’s certain skills that that helps develop. It will help you to develop your ear quicker, and of course your editing skills will probably get pretty darn quick, if that’s how you want to do that. But again to get to that space and get to that place, I think it takes a long time. And for me again it’s not necessarily my choice of how to do that. it’s not to say that I don’t audition. That’s not it at all. I just am very particular. I will, I have like a level. Auditions from my agents are first, always.

Gabby: Priority levels. Yeah.

Anne: Priority levels. It stems from that. And then other than that, I have certain things that I need to do to keep my business running smoothly and efficiently, and it’s not to say I’m going to stop what I’m doing to audition, but I’m auditioning late at night sometimes. So.

Gabby: I have designated times.

Anne: Yeah. Of auditioning?

Gabby: In my workday, built in, yep.

Anne: Oh nice.

Gabby: When I audition –

Anne: What’s your schedule like?

Gabby: So it’s first thing in the morning for anything that came in overnight.

Anne: Yes. I have that too.

Gabby: So I might have anywhere from like three to eight depending on the day, but it’s all at once. I get in the studio, I hit record and it’s boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. All in a row. And then chopping them up in postproduction. That’s morning. And usually it takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to 45. Immediately after that I move onto any jobs that I have to do that are paid gigs that are self-directed, and I do it again at like 4:00.

Anne: So let me just calculate this out. So eight auditions, right? You said anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. Correct?

Gabby: Yes. Mm-hmm.

Anne: So that’s two to six minutes per audition.

Gabby: Yep. Correct.

Anne: So I think that’s fantastic. And I know that people who say they do multiple, llike 10, 20, 30, 40, they’ve got the efficiency, you know they’ve got their process down so that they’re efficient, I think – how long did it take you to get that efficient at auditioning? That’s a question.

Gabby: [laughs] Oh my God.

Anne: Because I think, well, right? it’s, that’s a – and I think there’s where you grow your skills, so I say if you’re going to audition so you’re growing your skills, to develop a better ear, to be better at auditioning, to get quicker at editing, sure, I think that’s great because it’s all a learning process. But I don’t know that’s a business practice that after I got efficient, I would necessarily maintain or keep in terms of running my business because I am hoping that the time that you’re not auditioning, you’re spending time on your business so that you can get direct inquiries that are asking you for quotes on, you know, what it would take to complete a job for a client, and I think that that’s a good plan or a good strategy.

Gabby: Yeah, but I think that question of how long does it take to get there, I mean, – so once again, yes, than 10,000 hour rule, my God is that real.

Anne: Exactly. And some days it doesn’t apply because I’m my own worst critic, right?

Gabby: Production and audio editing, it’s so detail oriented, and it’s such a precise process that it does take people a really long time. I mean, I have been editing for 22 years now? Oh my God.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: That’s a loooottt of time invested.

Anne: Well, yeah.

Gabby: And please bear in mind I began editing with tape and razor blades.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Predigital, analog.

Anne: I’m the first to give Gabby props [laughs] because you are the editor that I am not. [laughs] You know, I mean, that’s – you do. As a matter of fact for the VO boss podcast, Gabby takes care of all the editing, and she’s amazing at it. And so I, I gladly give that to you because I am just not at that level. To be honest with you, I don’t desire to be at that level [laughs] but I’m at the level where I can submit auditions, but –

Gabby: Yeah. But there it is. it’s a desire thing. But you’re right, I mean in my case, you know, it’s cumulative years and years and years of doing it, with as a result, yeah, I can get my auditions out really quickly. But sometimes I also meet people – a student earlier this week I had a conversation with, he was spending so much time on his postproduction and preparing an audition. I am like no, no, no, no, no. Clean, out the door. Clean, out the door. You cannot nitpick, and stress, and process, and tweak, and treat that audio like it’s a final job. There is no time for that.

Anne: I think that there’s – ok, so there are some people that will say, you know, get your audio as nice as possible, right, as clean as possible in your audition because people are judging you on that. So what are your thoughts? About that? 

Gabby: I agree with that, but I think there’s a difference between clean and presentable –

Anne: Mm.

Gabby: – and what some folks are trying to do. Ok, so here’s the way I look at this. As a girl, this is the best analogy I have. This is, “I’ve got on a little bit of makeup, right, and I look decent,” OK, versus “I have a full face for evening with smoky eye –

Anne: I was going to say [laughs]

Gabby: You know, “like crazy lipstick and like, you know, I spent all this time.”

Anne: The day versus night, there you go.

Gabby: Yes!

Anne: Day makeup versus night.

Gabby: I still look good! I still – I’m not like the creature from the Black Lagoon right now, but [laughs] I see people do that with their audio all the time. They bypass just clean and easy in favor of a lot of bells, whistles, tricks, excess removal –

Anne: Music and production, sound effects.

Gabby: – processing, yeah. I’m like, stop all that nonsense. It’s just a waste of time. The thing that I really want everybody to remember is when it comes to these auditions, at the end of the day, you’re applying to be the voice actor. You’re not applying for a postproduction job.

Anne: True.

Gabby: So stop doing it.

Anne: Solid advice right there.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: Yeah, solid advice.

Gabby: Are auditions necessary? Yes, of course. Of course they’re.

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: But the ideal –

Anne: Are they part of our job, Gabby?

Gabby: They are, they’re part of it. They’re not all of it though.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: And I think the ideal for any working professional in this industry is to get to the place where you audition less but book more.

Anne: Exactly. Audition less and book more. And how do we get to that spot, Gabby?

Gabby: Relationships. It’s relationship building.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: A lot of it, a lot of it’s relationship building, and it’s your profficiency as a voice actor so the client knows, “I can just book you. I don’t need to audition you. I just need to know I can hire Anne, and she’s got this.”

Anne: And I’m going go one step further and say again, it has to do with your business presence and our storefront, [laughs] right? So you know, get that storefront. So many people that think about their website, and their email, and their client communication, you know, as the very last thing, in reality I think you guys need to kind of shift those priorities so that your forward facing presence toward your potential client is professional, trustworthy, just something that people want to purchase, and [laugh] you know, lately this time of year when everything’s on sale, I have been shopping a lot. So I’ve been looking online at different storefronts. And you as a voice artist, you’re a storefront.

Gabby: I agree.

Anne: And don’t, you know, don’t cast aside the website, thinking that’s the last thing you need to do. It really needs to have more consideration.

Gabby: Yeah, you and I book all the time directly from clients who don’t know us yet, who haven’t developed personal trust, and they find us, and just based on what they see and read, they hire us.

Anne: Exactly. And that goes not just with the website, but for, you know, great content that’s on your website that includes like, you know, text written content about you, what you, who you are, what you do, what does your business do, as well as some really solid demos that speak to your audience. I think that’s important too. Demos can go, you know, that whole idea of, when people used to book off their demos, I still book off my demos.

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: And so I don’t think that’s a lost art anymore.

Gabby: No.

Anne: I have some demos that really speak to my audience, and I book off of them, and hell, I’d much rather do that than have to audition.

Gabby: Amen.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: Tell us what you guys think. We want to hear from you. We want to hear your opinion about this. Where do you guys stand on this debate? Is auditioning our job? Or is it just a portion? You tell us.

Anne: And how much? How much do you audition every day? We’d like to know.

Gabby: Email us, message us.

Anne: We’d love to know what you guys have to think. I’d like to give a great big shout-out to our amazing sponsor, ipDTL. You too can connect up with your clients like a BOSS. Find out more at ipDTL.com.

Gabby: And for all things BOSS, check out the socials, our website voboss.com, get into the merch store, get yourself a T-shirt, show some BOSS pride. [whispers menacingly] You know you want to.

[both laugh]

Gabby: Join the collective. And of course, you can find the podcast everywhere that you can find podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, you name it.

Anne: Google. [laughs]

Gabby: Thanks for joining us, guys.

Anne: Have a great week. We’ll see you next week.

Gabby: Bye!

Anne: Bye!

Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.

[outtakes]

1

Anne: All right, I’m starting my recording. I’m changing over my audio.

Gabby: You a sexy bitch.

Anne: [quiet laugh, then manical laugh]

2

Gabby: I’ve been in the goofiest [beep] mood all day.

3

Anne: I’m gonna grab my coffee.

Gabby: OK.

Anne: I’ve literally had one sip.

Gabby: Oh, I’m like on cup number seven, so. [laughs]

4

Anne: Blah, bla-bla-bla blah. Blah, bla-bla-bla blah.

5

Anne: “Take one is straight, and take two has an unacknowledged wink.” Who writes this? Not just a wink.

Gabby: Unacknowledged, yeah.

Anne: Unacknowledged. “I saw you winking at me, but I did not acknowledge.”

Gabby: “But I did not acknowledge you.” People just need to get laid. That’s my [laughs]

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: People in advertising just don’t get laid enough, I think that’s – and this is the result.

Anne: You know, that’s going into an outtake. Holy crow. Holy crow! [laughs] It’s all that training, 20 years, Gabby. 20 years working in a high school. 20 years of trying not to like swear and say “oh shoot. [laughs] Oh shoot!”

Gabby: I love we have like a bunch of people, and we’re together, and like you, you’re like “OK, people. [clapping] All right. This is what we’re doing.”

Anne: Like, like clapping. [clapping] “Come on, all right.”

Gabby: Immediately. And I love it.

Anne: “Attention at the front, please.”

Gabby: I love –

Anne: “Attention at the front.”

Gabby: I love watching you do that.

Anne: “I’m waiting. I’m waiting.”

Gabby: That’s a total personality shift.

[both laugh]

Anne: “I’m waiting.” Gabby, you’d just be like, “shut the [beep] up.”

Gabby: [laughs] OK.