DEE’S TOP 6 VOICE OVER NEWBIE MISTAKES:
Newbie mistake #1: Talking over some one else’s read. Especially in animation, don’t step on other’s lines (don’t talk until they are finished)! Make sure to leave a slight space in between the other actor’s performance and yours for the sake of editors and over sea animators. This doesn’t apply to commercial records, where some overlap is usually okay.
Newbie mistake #2: Not acting. If you are asked to give multiple takes, switch up your read each time– don’t just repeat one read. If you’re working a particular line, you can often give three takes, one after the other. More than that can be cumbersome for them to sort through.
Newbie mistake #3: Wearing scents, crunchy clothing or clanging jewelry to a recording studio. Don’t! If it jingles or creaks or rustles, lose it before stepping up to the mic, or better yet, before you leave home!
Newbie mistake #4: Talking or clicking around on your smartphone or other electronic device while another is performing. If it’s silent and doesn’t interfere with the record it’s okay, so long as you don’t lose focus.
Newbie mistake #5: Forgetting to silence your cell phone’s ringing and buzzing. Silence your cellphone completely and keep it away from the mic, as it can cause interference and kill a take.
Newbie mistake #6: Page turning while recording. This kills the take. Separate your pages before each take so you don’t have to turn them in the middle of someone else’s performance. If you must turn pages during a take, do so silently. In fact, if you gotta do anything, do it silently.
Other do’s and don’ts for auditions and gigs:
Arrive looking put together. “Going to work in your bathrobe” is a myth. How you appear can affect how you are cast!
Don’t piss off everyone in the studio by showing up sick (they can pick you up later) or smelly (they’ll never forget you and tell everyone).
Face the mic and keep your distance as consistent as possible for the engineer’s sake. You don’t need to look your scene partner in the eye during a take either– it’s not on-camera! If you’re going to get suddenly loud or very soft, let the engineer know of the volume switch up, otherwise you’ll need to re-record it.
Bring a light jacket or sweater in case the studio’s a/c is cold.
If you are late, call and let the studio know you are on your way and your ETA (or have your agent do this for you). Don’t freak out or bring your freak out energy into the session.
Arrive on time.
Don’t be a slob. Pick up after yourself before you leave.
Never ever tweet or post cast info, in studio photos or script details without approval– this includes audition cast list! This could get you in big trouble.
Familiarize yourself with the script (if provided ahead of time) but don’t over prepare, as you need to be ready to switch up your performance in the session. You may be called back for one thing and asked to do something completely different. Copy and character descriptions may well change!
Roll with it and be a good sport always!
Don’t negotiate money or terms. That is not your job! If there is a question refer them back to your agent. If there is something not right let your agent deal with it.
Make sure you bring your driver’s license and social security card or passport to each gig in case you need to do start up papers in addition to your contract. Make sure your agent has up to date copies of this info, as well as up to date bio and promotional materials.
Don’t wear a Nickelodeon shirt to a Disney gig (or any variation of this). Don’t dress like a college student if you are auditioning for a super villain (or any variation of this).
If you must wear your baseball cap, the bill must face behind you.
Keep your between the takes chit chat to a minimum.
It helps to know the credits of the creator of the show you’re reading for. If you can, view a few episodes so you know the tone of performance you’ll need to deliver.
Don’t brag about your credit until the project airs and you’ve confirmed it with your ears. You may find out upon viewing that you’ve been replace. That’s showbiz!
Finally, appreciate those on your side in the studio:
This includes the sound engineer recording you, the sound mixer, the casting assistant, and especially the voice director. These people work hard (often invisibly) to save you time and voice by translating the show creator’s vision into “actor speak” and capturing your best take the first time. Earning the trust of casting directors and show creators is key to getting auditions as well as gigs.