Blog Auditioning Etiquette

We’re going to go ahead and get this out of the way: auditioning can be intimidating! You have to find the right voice for the right character, make sure your audio quality comes out clear and crisp, and ensure you present a respectful front. Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult to endear yourself to a casting director as you might think. A great first impression comes from acting with the utmost politeness and professionalism.

People may turn in the most show-stopping audio the casting director has ever heard, but entirely destroy their chances if they do not behave with proper etiquette. At Closing Credits, we want you to excel not only on the creative side of your art, but the business one as well. The secret to voice acting success isn’t much of a secret at all!

Follow Directions

First impressions mean everything in voice acting. Go over every casting call with the precision of a fine-tooth comb before and after you sit down the record. Most will have information about file type, number of takes, whether or not they accept demo reels, preferred equipment, how much editing they’d like to see on your files, and other requirements.

Your auditions are where you’re supposed to exercise your creativity, yes, but not following directions signals to the casting director that you may not be an especially reliable hire. Voice acting is a business as much as it is an art. Treat it with the same level of care and professionalism as you would any other job.

One question we get a lot here at Closing Credits involves whether or not voice actors should correct any grammar and spelling errors they find in the script while auditioning. The answer is always no. No exceptions. Unless you’ve explicitly been hired as a proofreader or editor, your voice acting responsibilities do not extend to script changes. Read the given script.

If you’re having technical issues—for example, a form not working—then you may reach out via the provided contact information (usually an email or Discord handle) and inquire about alternate methods of getting your audition to the appropriate ears. Unless stated otherwise on the casting call, do not send your files to the provided contact information unsolicited.

Meet Deadlines

This advice falls under the “follow directions” header, but it’s so crucial it warrants its own section. Do not turn in your files after the deadline. It doesn’t matter if the role hasn’t been cast yet. The casting director set the date they chose as the deadline for a reason. The ability to meet deadlines falls under basic professionalism and professional courtesy. If you can’t get your files in on time, don’t send them in at all. Not hitting a deadline signifies that you may not be relied upon to turn in your final lines if cast.

With the increasing popularity of remote recording, some voice actors may be confused by a deadline’s time zone. International time zones are especially intimidating! We recommend using timeanddate for converting time zones to make sure you hit the correct deadline, no matter the casting director’s location.

In the event no time zone is listed, contact the casting director via the listed information for specification.

Stay Positive and Gracious

A bad attitude is the number one way you can tank your chances not only with a project, but a casting director who might otherwise consider you for future projects—maybe even an entire studio. Extremely poor behavior might get you blacklisted from the industry entirely. Whether in public or in private, refrain from criticizing the talents of other performers and the judgement of casting directors. Gossip is right out.

Never, EVER, insult the project you’re auditioning for! If you have problems with the characters, artwork, plot, dialogue, genre, medium, etc., then don’t try out.

Remember that other voice actors are not your competition. They’re your friends, your coworkers, your fellow artists. The only person you ever need to be better than is yourself from the previous day. Negative behavior and talk neither uplifts the community nor furthers the art of voice acting. Only offer constructive feedback on how other actors can improve when explicitly solicited. If you’re not directly asked for your less-than-positive opinion on a fellow actor’s performance, then your role is to build up the community, not break it down.

This degree of positivity and graciousness extends even when you’re at the top of your game. While you should celebrate your successes, you should also extend gratitude to the directors, audio engineers, fellow actors, composers, and everyone else involved in the project. No voice actor achieves their goals in a vacuum. Respect all cast and crew involved in the process. Others see how you treat the people who have helped you just as much as they see how you treat those who have not.

Don’t Inquire about Your Status

We get it. You spent a lot of time recording and editing your audition to perfection. You followed the instructions. You met your deadline. It makes sense that you want to know the status of your audition.

Casting directors are incredibly busy people, digging through hundreds—if not thousands—of recordings. Sometimes it takes months to find the right voice for their project. Sometimes projects get cancelled in the middle of casting. Respect their time by not adding to their pile of responsibilities by contacting them about whether or not they’ve gotten to your submission yet. Chances are, you won’t even receive a rejection notice once the casting process completes.

This also extends to inquiring about feedback for your audition. Unless a casting call explicitly states that the casting director will proffer their opinions regarding your performance if asked, assume you won’t be receiving any feedback, either.

Don’t Inquire about Other Performers

Under no circumstances should you ask a casting director who else auditioned for their project, especially any roles you may be up for as well. It’s both invasive and disrespectful of their time. Remember, other voice actors are not your competition. Getting hung up on who else auditioned accomplishes nothing for you as an artist.

Treat Sides Like NDAs

Do not share any casting calls that aren’t public! Many studios want to keep their current projects private until they’re ready to roll out announcements and marketing. Even if you haven’t signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), professional courtesy dictates that you treat any audition sides, materials, and resources as such. Leaking scripts get actors blacklisted quickly, as you establish yourself as untrustworthy and unreliable.

Thank Casting Directors

Always make sure to thank casting directors for their time when sending in your audition. Their time holds equal value to yours, and showing acknowledgement of and appreciation for devoting some of it to your efforts. It doesn’t need to be a drawn-out display of gratitude—in fact, it shouldn’t be, as it may come off as fawning and disingenuous. Keep it short. Keep it kind. Keep it genuine.

Yes, thanking them also includes if they send you a rejection notification. Show appreciation for their time and consideration, and for taking the time to communicate. You may not be working with them now, but they’ll remember that you accepted their decline with grace. A simple “Thank you for your consideration and time.” works, along with any other information they may request in the correspondence.

Learning the Ropes with Closing Credits

The Closing Credits curriculum dedicates itself to training the next generations of creatives, and this includes guidance on proper audition etiquette and other professional protocols. It’s present in every course we offer, and instructor John Wang also offers a dedicated Business of Voice Acting class. If you’ve got questions on how to make sure your auditions read as polite and professional, our friendly student, alumni, and instructor community is available to provide advice.

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