How Not to Get Hired for Voice Work

The whole thing about getting hired is LISTENING.  Listening to what the clients want and giving them what they want.  Or at least trying to give the client what she wants.  Sales—and, actors, you are selling yourself—is about listening, not so much about talking.

 

Allow me to relate some stories of casting for voice work and of the actors whom I did not hire; along with the story of one whom I did.

 

  • Casting notice  1 says, “Casting a 6 to 8 year old girl’s voice.”

Actor A, a 40+ year old woman, calls me on the phone and says, “I am very tiny—about 4′ 2”—and I am often mistaken for younger than I am.”

 

  • Casting notice  2 says, “Please email a link to your online voice demo.”

Actor B emails thusly: “I don’t have a demo, but my father is a well-known radio personality and my voice sounds similar to his.  You can listen to him on the morning commute slot.”

…

Yes, his daddy.

 

  • Casting notice  3 says, “Casting for a non-paid experimental short.”

Actor C writes, “Send me your copy and I’ll send you a rate sheet.”

 

  • Casting notice  4 requests a “deep voiced narrator.”

Actor D sends a headshot.
Yes, seriously.

 

  • Casting notice  5 is casting for “two senior actors to voice an elderly married couple.”

Actor E sends me a link to a very 20-something voice demo.

 

  • Casting notice  6 specifically requests, “Web links only.  No demo tapes.  This is a rush job.”

Actor F calls to query, “But, Michelle, what if my demo is not up on the web yet?  I can get it up there next week or so.”

 

  • Casting notice  7 asks for, “East Indian accent, male, 20s to 60s.”

In response to this Casting notice , I receive the voice file of Actor G, who speaks through one of those holes cut into your throat when you have lung or throat cancer.

Yuck.

 

  • Casting notice  8 is non-specific, only seeking, “a range of voices for future projects.”

Actor H leaves me a voicemail: “Oh, god, I need to talk to you.  I really want to talk to you.”

Hmmm…what about what I, the client, need or want?

 

  • Casting notice  9 desires: “Business man or woman with a confidence-inspiring, ‘leadership’ voice who can handle multi-syllabic pharmaceutical product names.”

Actor I actually sends me a link to 3 voice snippets in which she is

o   explaining a ridiculously complex chemistry process

o   selling a molybdenum-vanadium knife

o   telling a parent of a sick child about bovine spongiform encephalitis

Holy crap.  I gots me a listener.  You are soooo hired, dude!

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