The number one thing you need to do is FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve read over the years from casting directors who state they immediately reject auditions where the talent has not followed the instructions given.
For instance, if the audition file should be named and/or formatted a certain way, you should name and format your file EXACTLY as specified. Following instructions is a test. If you can’t pass this test on an audition, how can the casting director trust you to correctly submit an actual project?
Never submit your VO demo for an audiobook audition! Don’t even submit a sample from the same genre unless the instructions explicitly state this action is acceptable. Anyone casting an audiobook wants to hear how you interpret and perform the actual words from the book.
Thanks to project manager/director Tina Dietz for her permission to republish this information that she originally posted on Facebook.
From the Director/Project Manager’s Desk: 10 ways to get yourself cut from the running for an audiobook narration job
- Sound like you’re in a fishbowl, tunnel, or cavern
- Have the first sound you make be a mouth noise (still twitching)
- Don’t read first words on the audition page (even if it’s “Chapter 15”)
- Be nasal
- Manage to sound both acid and flat at the same time (like a day and a half old cup of coffee)
- Send an audition reel or set of samples instead of the actual audition script
- Email the rights holder/project manager over and over again asking for updates
- Narrate at the speed of being chased by a pack of wild dogs
- Submit an audition that’s clearly the first time you’re reading the copy out loud
Author Josh Steimle wrote the article How I Chose A Narrator for My Audiobook. Thanks to narrator Paul Heitsch for his permission to republish below his analysis of that article which he originally posted on Facebook.
The salient points for me were –
“In some cases I could tell within five seconds there was no way I was choosing a certain narrator.”
Takeaway – if the audition script is longer than 5 minutes, pare it down to sections that reflect what’s most likely to matter to the RH’s decision (see below). They won’t have time or the inclination to listen to dozens of 20-minute auditions looking for that nugget of wonderfulness that only you can create.
“Some of the voices were fine, even great, but the technology they used put them at a disadvantage…. I felt bad for these folks, because my rejection had nothing to do with their talent, and everything to do with them not using the right equipment.”
Takeaway – Does anyone still think that doing their physical space and signal path on the cheap is a clever strategy?
“There were other narrators who were “eliminated” because they never auditioned. They sent me questions through the ACX system but I didn’t have time to answer them so I never received their auditions.”
Takeaway – Never wait to audition when you see a title you think you’d be good for, and that meets your other criteria. If you have questions you can follow up later, but get that audition in their hands ASAP.
“I did not reject anyone due to price or gender. The winner was actually the most expensive…”
Takeaway – Don’t worry about being underbid. Bid what you’re worth. If the client disagrees, they’re not who you want to be working with.
“The winning narrator came close to making me feel as though I were there with Seth Farbman and the other CMOs, hearing their real responses. It felt natural, friendly, authentic.”
Takeaway – Read the audition script, and tease out which aspects are likely to be most important to the RH. And commit to performing *everything* as authentically as you can.
Other resources on this topic:
- Narrator Jeffrey Kafer’s definitive article 8 Reasons Why You’re Not Landing ACX Audiobook Gigs
- Work with a coach listed in the Welcome Center.