I was thinking about this during a recent hangout while listening to other voice actors talk about their fears when it comes to auditioning, and I started thinking about my own feelings toward the audition process.
There are times where I do get pretty weirded out and have to talk myself up…but those are few and far between. Usually, it’s those auditions that I understand are bigger than anything I’ve tried before. And it’s not that I’m afraid to audition (yes, it is); it’s more that I’m awestruck by the project (the people behind it, really) and having to quiet the voice telling me to walk away because I’m playing in an area too advanced for little old me.
More often than not, though…I really don’t. It’s just an audition. I sit down with the script. I figure out the voice and the context. I give it a few shots (no more than five, because if I can’t get it in three, I really don’t have a handle on the project.). I walk away (sleep on it if I can get away with it), and come back later and decide if it’s sendable. If it is, I do. If not, I take one more stab at it. It works for me, and I have heard there are others do something similar.
Last night, listening to the others, I started wondering why I’ve pretty much always dealt with voiceover auditions this way. And then I realized it’s because of how auditions were handled in the various ballet programs I was in. When I was little, auditions were just that. You walked in with your group, you learned a few combinations and performed them a few times, and then you left. It was like a really short center class. The older I got, the more auditions became master classes. The choreographer for the project (or someone close to them) came in and taught an extended class where the center work turned into the audition combinations.
We all knew we were in an audition, but we were also in class, in our studio, just doing what we did daily. And those were some of the best classes because you got to see some aspect of dance through a new set of eyes and then someone told you what roles you would be working on in rehearsals for the next two or three months.
This practice of “class as audition” was something I lived with for a pretty decent chunk of my childhood and young adult years. And so I think that’s how my brain sees voiceover auditions. Yes, it’s an audition. I’m showing someone how I’m interpreting their copy and what I can do with it so they can figure out if I fit into their vision of what they’re creating. But at the same time, I’m experimenting and figuring out for myself what I can do when put on the spot. It’s their audition; it’s my play time. And as such, when I complete an audition (because I work remotely), I add it to my practice files for future review and inspiration.
Like I said, I know I’m not the only one who does this. But I think viewing the audition process as an opportunity for personal growth rather than getting tied up in anxiety over whether or not you’re going to be picked is probably a bit healthier and ultimately leads to better results.