Dylan Tishler, recording engineer at Lotas Productions, talks voice over studio etiquette
Humans in the Analog World
It is becoming less common in this digital era, but every now and then we experience human interaction in the voice over studio. Most Realtime Casting members have had, and maybe miss, this experience of auditioning in person. It is great for voice actors. Someone else is recording and directing allowing you to focus on your delivery, while you learn, get paid, get feedback, and see the people you are working with.
Here are some things to remember to make a good impression:
1. It’s a Team Effort
Whether you‘re at a studio or an agent’s office, keep in mind that everyone around you has a role. A studio manager may be scheduling, printing out scripts, and greeting voice talents. The director is helping the talent understand his or her vision, and the engineer is making sure every performance is captured well.
Making a good impression for the director is paramount, but you will likely come in contact with the studio again in the future. Simple phrases like “hello”, “please”, and “thank you” show that you appreciate the help and maybe go a longer way than they did years ago.
2. Don’t Touch That Dial
Many home studio voice talents have become skilled engineers, and as you know, audio gear is expensive. You might be capable of adjusting a microphone stand, but your studio engineer isn’t aware of your home studio experience.
Let him or her take care of all things microphone-related. When you’re finished, gently place the headphones somewhere safe.
3. Ask Questions
Do not be afraid to ask questions. In fact, asking questions can show that you’re interested in the project. Unsure about something in the script? Your director is happy to answer.
Need a pencil to write notes? Just ask. Are there several talents waiting to audition after you? If yes, it’s OK to still ask questions, but try to keep the questions focused on the job and brief. If your first read is off the mark, your director will guide you.
This may be tricky, as you want to increase your chance of booking. Just keep in mind that your director or engineer may have a tight schedule.
4. Make Life Easy For Your Engineer
It’s hard to gauge the skill-level of your audio engineer at an audition. Who knows? Maybe you can teach him/her something, but do not act like it. The skills you deal with can range from “top-notch engineer” to “person who only knows how to press the record button”.
Flubs and misreads happen all the time, but it may be wise to say “pickup” and leave a small pause to make sure any engineer can make the edit.
5. Clean Up Time
Home studios are great because…you’re at home! No one knows how messy the room is or that you’re in your pajamas, and that’s great! When you’re requested to audition somewhere else, though, it never hurts to show your best manners.
It’s not an on-camera audition, but looking clean and presentable is always a good idea. No one ever went wrong by being over-dressed, but things can go wrong being less than presentable. If you’re noticeably sick and probably contagious, there is no need to share too much information. If you bring water, food, or tissues into the booth, think of your peers and clean up after yourself. The last thing we want to do is clean up after others.
6. It’s a Pick and Choose Industry
There are many voice actors out there. Clients often have multiple choices and usually prefer to work with someone they like. We all do, but get this…Sometimes the client will allow the studio or casting house to make the choice.
You never know who’s making the final decision and what’s being factored. Realtime Casting’s advice?
Be nice and courteous to everyone!