Living Out Loud

The Voice Over Journey of Cat Smith

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A lesson in directions (TGIFF returns next week)


Welcome to another edition of Thank Goodness It’s Friday Favorites!  A place where I share my favorite of the submissions from the Saturday Sketches as well as my favorite links from the Twittersphere!

We’re going to derail a short moment for a lesson on auditioning.  As I’m getting your submissions, it becomes clear that if these were auditions, half of them wouldn’t make it to the listen pile because they didn’t follow directions.  This is an exercise, and I will never not listen to any of your character voice submissions.  Well, maybe if I get famous, no… I jest… and digress… anyway…

I realize that many of the people who are submitting voices are either new, or simply just exploring the world of voiceover at this point.  AND THAT IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!  But, should this turn in to a real audition on that your going for in the future, I just wanted to take a moment to point out a few mistakes that I received in submissions this week.

This is by no means to call anyone out and I won’t use names.  It is simply a tool that you can put in your box for future auditions.  (Again, my Saturday Sketches are simply for fun and exercise.  Not auditions for anything.)  Also, I am in no way an expert at this point.  If you really want to know how to Avoid the Audition Abyss, download that webinar from VoiceActing Academy and learn in 2 hours how to avoid the 50 most common mistakes.

Mistakes I’ve noticed just in Round 3 submissions:

  1. Not reading through all of the instructions to see that you should be submitting 2 different takes on the character.  This breaks down into two problems for a casting agent:If you send one and I asked for two, I’m going to move on to someone who followed the instructions.

    If you sent two almost identical takes, not voice changes, just different emphasis, you’ve wasted my time.

  2. I asked for two separate files.  If I’m a casting agent and I receive one audio file, depending on how many I have to go through, I may just assume you didn’t follow the directions based solely on that and move on to the next person.
  3. Incorrectly labeled.  This is almost the same thing.  I gave a very well worded instruction on how to label your files that you send me, but they still came in several different ways.  Thinking like a casting director again, when I see that and think about the time I have for completing my project, I’m going to look for someone who labeled correctly to know they can follow my instructions.
  4. Getting chatty at the beginning of your audition.  A few of you chose to tell me hello or that this whole thing is really fun.  I will admit, I enjoy that!  Hello back!  But in a real audition, they have so many people to listen to, they don’t want anything extra.In fact, there are two schools of thought on whether or not to slate your name at the beginning of the audition.  This means simply saying your name, pausing, and then reading the copy.  Some people are for it, some against it.  There are various reasons, but usually, an audition will say specifically which way they want it.  For example, I didn’t say either way because I don’t care.  That is something you will need to research on your own.  However, if the audition says “slate” or “don’t slate” and you do the opposite, you may go in the junk pile.  Be aware!

Bottom line, we all make mistakes.  I make tons.  I just try to train myself every time to watch for that error next time.  Please continue to submit character voices for my Saturday Sketches every week and I will continue to listen.  We’re all having fun and I don’t want anyone to not submit because they’re afraid of making a mistake.

For now, I just wanted to congratulate Glenn Higbee on being Saturday Sketches 3′s spotlight voice.  The picture is below, voice one was based solely on that image.

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After that he was asked to take these 3 things into consideration and then record again:

  • He’s known to break out in song.
  • He’s from Baltimore.
  • He is not an old-time saloon employee but rather current in 2013.


I really like how different these takes are and how just after considering some facts aside from the picture, he came up with a completely different voice.  Great job John!  I hope this inspires you, and I hope no one feels singled out as it’s not my intention at all.  I simply want to help you all get the best of your voiceover journey as I go through mine!  Check back tomorrow for Saturday Sketches 4!


Author: Administrator

Cat Smith is a voice over actress in Northern, CA. She has been a popular radio host of several shows on Sun FM 91.3 KSVY Sonoma, including the award winning Mornings in Sonoma, Girls Night Out, The Mix Tape, and more. She is also the voice of Skip, a puppet in Eco Beeps with Skip & Molly, winner in the category Independent Short Ages 2-5 at the Kids First Film Festival (Episode 1, Plastic Bags).

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