Voice over secrets: Improve your online casting success rate

Posted August 2, 2016 by

Being successful in the online casting world has many sides to it. And while your voice might be the most valuable tool in the box, it is not the only one.

You probably have heard that bodalgo never limits talents regarding the number of jobs they can audition for. This approach comes with a side effect that harms both the talent's and the buyer's user experience: Talents face more competition where customers end up with more auditions than they might be able to handle and take care of properly. Being selective about jobs solves both issues.

There is an important insight here: Unlike other voice over online casting websites, bodalgo does not accept amateurs, so the quality of the auditions posted on any given job is higher than with other voice over talent websites. And while it might be a splendid idea to audition for everything on those (because of the lower overall quality which makes your audio more likely to stand out), this approach will hardly work with bodalgo. If you have little experience in the field the buyer is looking for, your chances nailing the job are small.

Uploading vs. choosing from existing demos

Now and then I receive emails asking if I could add a feature enabling talents to select a demo from your profile to audition for a job (instead of uploading one each and every time). The answer has been consistent in the last eight years: no, this feature will not be added for desktop computers. And there is an excellent reason for this: bodalgo wants talents to audition for jobs because they feel they are the right choice. And not because it's as simple as clicking a button (N.B.: If you are using an iOS device, you actually can choose from profile demos as Apple's operating system for mobile devices prohibits audio file uploads).

Also, by "forcing" voice talents to upload a demo, bodalgo makes sure that they spend a second thinking about the right choice which results in more relevant demos. That's good for voice talents because it increases the chance of winning the job. At the same time, the clients receive better auditions.

There is more than your voice when it comes to being more successful in online casting: Being selective is one of them. And with bodalgo, there is an excellent reason for it!

Custom demos

If the job comes with a script attached, many talents will go the extra mile and record a custom demo as it doubtlessly increases their chances. There are a few things to say about this:

1. Set yourself a budget level a job needs to "deserve" custom demo. In other words: Only record custom demos for the higher paying jobs.

2. Do not slate your name, email or anything. Just read the script.

3. Many talents ask me: "How do I prevent the client using the demo without paying me?" Easy: Leave important words out. Or change company names. As an alternative: Add repeating sounds (like beeps) to the audio (audible, but not in the face), a process called "watermarking". The client will be able to judge your read, but they won't be able to use it unless you send the original audio.

4. Make sure the technical quality of your recording is flawless! Where this should go without saying, I tell you: It does not. I listen to auditions every day and sometimes the quality makes me cringe! Always listen to your recordings with decent headphones (beyerdynamic dt-770 pro are an excellent choice and all time classic widely used in the voice over industry). Listening using speakers is not sufficient. There must not be the slightest hiss, noise or room ambience in your recording. Period. If you need to use a noise gate (which you should not have to do in the first place if your recording chain is properly setup), make sure that it does not kick in like an axe at the end of words.

I can not point out enough the importance of flawless audio quality as this is an issue that is – although completely avoidable – a massive one!

Sell yourself in three sentences maximum: relevant and differentiating

Try walking in the buyer's shoes: Finding the perfect voice for a project is just one of the zillion other things their boss wants to be done by yesterday. They don't have the time to read long messages, in fact, they might not read your message at all. And certainly not when it is more than two paragraphs. Take my word for it.

So let's help them. Be precise about your price and stick to your rates! Avoid price ranges unless the briefing of the job is not clear (which should not be the case in the first place).

Finally, these are the things you include in your personal message to the buyer:

1. A personalised salutation
2. Relevant, differentiating benefit
3. Your contact details

1 and 3 look pretty obvious. Note, that bodalgo offers a signature that is automatically added to your auditions. In case you have not set it up yet, do so now (go to the dashboard and look for the section Signature & Templates). The signature should include all important contact details like email, phone and mobile. Postal address is not necessary.

Number 2, the relevant, differentiating benefit needs a bit more attention and care, but it is not rocket science: Relevant means that your message needs to take into account the buyers specific requirements regarding this particular job. A good example would be lots of experience in the area the client needs. So if somebody wants a hard sell pro and you already did commercials that put Steve Balmer's appearances in those very first commercials for "Windows" to shame (which is quite a task, to be honest) you should point that out in your offer. Look for modesty in different places.

 

Differentiating means that you offer something that (ideally) no one else but you can. Your unique voice is one of your strongest differentiating benefits you can provide, but there might be a few more: Those could include certified translation skills, mixing skills, ability to add royalty free music or sound f/x. Whatever it might be, always keep in mind that it needs to be relevant as well, i.e., telling a voice seeker about your singing skills is pointless when auditioning for an e-learning course.

Being relevant also implies that you should not use the same copy for every job as they will not be relevant anymore. So depending on what's being asked for you can build a set of templates you can choose from. Every time you send a new audition, you can tell bodalgo to save the message as a new template which you can use next time a similar job shuffles in.

No time to read the feature? Check out this summary: Improve your success rate by only auditioning for jobs you feel you are great at and pass on the ones you have not enough experience in. Your demos needs to be as relevant as possible. Bad audio quality is more widespread than you think! Use headphones(!) to make sure your demos are flawless. Your offer should always include a personal salutation, a precise rate according to your personal rate card and relevant, differentiating benefit.

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