Providing an Opening Day Experience in Voiceovers

Jim Kennelly, GM of Realtime Casting and founder of Lotas Productions, writes for voice actors inspired by major league baseball’s opening day

opening day in voice overs

“Put Me in Coach

John Fogerty in his classic hit “Centerfield” sings…
“We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field!”

I love that song. I love Opening Day. I love the Yankees. I’ll never play centerfield in the Bronx, but I did play centerfield in the Broadway Show League in Central Park for 20 years! I was on a championship team, The Kettle of Fish and I was on a team that won 1 game all season.

For over 30 years, I have been casting voiceovers at my company Lotas Productions in NYC. Three years ago, I began developing the only free SAG-AFTRA voice casting site online, Realtime Casting. What are the most common questions voice actors ask me:

  • ”How do you cast”?

And after they’ve auditioned…

  • ”Did my audition get heard”?

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today”

Yankee great Joe DiMaggio once said, “You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” That’s what I think when we get new auditions. New voiceover copy, like a new season, offers endless possibilities!

“You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride”
After reading the copy and specs, I always reach out to voices who are “Down the Middle”. Voices that are a perfect pitch, who I believe are going to be an easy hit…really fat.

But, I like to add a few choices which are, to quote Bob Uecker, “Just a bit outside”. Someone who is “off the plate”. I do this because, specs change, even after a script is in play, and specs are often  interpreted differently. What does conversational, non–announcer, really mean? I don’t know? Third base!

I love throwing in a few curve balls too. At Lotas Productions and Realtime Casting, we know our voices and members. We appreciate their unique qualities and interests. We know who is a chef, a yoga instructor, an avid gardener, do they root for the Nationals or Phillies or those stinkin’ Mets, who volunteers for the Red Cross, or coaches their kids teams. I reach out to cast and audition voices who really “get the script”. To me, that’s conversational, non-announcer; the REAL deal.

“Just to hit the ball, and touch ’em all”
To answer the question, “Do your auditions get heard?”. At Lotas Productions and Realtime Casting, I promise you they do. Each and every one.

If I asked you to audition, and you take the time to read my notes and send an MP3 back to me, it would be unprofessional to not listen. I will be honest, after 30 years, I listen very quickly.

I know what I want and I know what I think will get the job. I want to successfully cast every project that comes in front of me. I want to win that audition. I want to make every client glad they trust us and the voices we suggest.

“A moment in the Sun”
True story: Lotas Productions sent a Schneck Medical Center radio spot to 6 top NY agents; for a female, 30’s “real”. I suggested a few actresses I like, but we trust the agents to fill in with some new voices and suggestions.

We received over 50 voice auditions. I listened to the beginning of each audition and eliminated 25 files immediately because of poor audio quality in home studio recordings, and/or talents who were off the spec.

This “Moment in the Sun” for each voice actor took me 20 minutes. I am telling you decisions are made that quickly. Everyone is busy.

“It’s a-gone and you can tell that one good-bye”
We sent the auditions to our client and the producer said, ”Home Run!”. We have someone very talented, a Realtme Casting member, on hold next week!

Joe DiMaggio said, “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best.” Well, there is always some new young producer who may be listening to your audition and read for the first or last time, and we all owe them our best!

Have a great voiceover season everybody!

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