9 things that annoy voiceover casting directors - and how to avoid them
Voice over casting directors: their pet peeves
Question: why aren't voice over casting directors very patient?
Answer: because of the cruel lack of time in a 30-hour day (casting director joke. I know, absolutely hilarious).
What annoys voice over casting directors most? Read the list below and you'll find out - and at the same time understand - what mistakes not to make, what codes to respect... and how to get on their good side.
1. We start with something that makes every self-respecting casting director's hair stand on end: someone who claims to be able to do everything. Let's be clear: they do exist, but statistically, they're not you. Or me. Don't think you can make a casting director believe anything. He listens to demos every day and has a pretty good ear. Playing him for a fool isn't the best approach, and you'll be wasting his time, which is very precious to him. And that makes him angry. REALLY angry. The result? You're on his red list, the one that says: amateur, never cast.
How can you avoid this? It's simple: don't put yourself forward for castings that don't suit you, and if you are contacted directly by a casting director who asks you if you can play a grandmother and it's not up your street (no pun intended), tell him or her. The casting director will appreciate your honesty.
2. When a casting asks for a female voice aged 40-45, and you're a man, why, oh why, do you think it's a good idea to send an email to the casting director saying that you know you're not right for the casting but that you'd still like to be considered because blah, blah, blah? It's spam, it makes you want to be slapped in the face and if you think the casting director will remember you because of your email... you're right: he will remember you. We never forget the people who waste our time and who don't understand the workings of what is supposed to be their job.
3. Nothing says 'great professional' like someone who contacts the client directly, bypassing the casting director. Yes, that's sarcasm. If you do that, you have the ethics of an old-lady purse snatcher, and the intelligence of a slug. I apologise to old-lady purse snatchers and slugs for that unfair comparison.
4. A 5-minute demo containing all the genres. Of course a casting director who has to deal with a hundred demos for a TV ad wants to hear your interpretation of the invitation to travel and your cartoon characters... No, not really, sarcasm again. Seriously, one demo per genre, max 90s. Thanks in advance.
5. Speaking of demos: A non-normalised demo is annoying. The first person to ask me what the normalisation... all he has to do is click to find out. And if he's not fluent in voice over linguo, I'll tell him to visit my little Voice Over Dictionary.
6. Still on the subject of demos - and auditions: if you're asked to name them according to a certain format, for example: yourfirstname-yourname-casting2015.mp3 and you have a file named demojeanmichel-pour-casting.mp3, rename it, or don't bother sending it, as the casting director will throw it in the bin. Why so much hate, I hear you say.
a/ because there's an organisational reason why files have to be named like that, and
b/ because your inability to follow simple directions does not bode well for your ability to follow a brief, or directions in a meeting. (more on this in A Question of Organ.
My advice applies to this as it does to everything else stipulated in a casting: follow the instructions scrupulously. They're there for a reason, not to annoy you.
7. Still on the same subject: if mp3s are specified, there's an excellent reason (their reduced size). Don't send WAVs. Do you really think we have time to convert them?
8. Being late. If you're going to the studio, don't be on time. Be early. So that once the niceties have been exchanged, you can start on time. If you're working from your own studio, deliver on time, or before. You can't imagine how much it annoys casting directors to have to call you back...
9. And finally, my favourite: rudeness, arrogance, smugness, not listening, interrupting... In short, a stinking attitude. There's a fine line between self-confidence and diva behaviour - you, me, everyone loves to hate divas. And on this subject, I heartily encourage you to read my article 20 Tips To Get Ahead In Voice Over.
Thank you for reading this article and if you've found it interesting, don't forget to share it with your voice over friends and colleagues. And remember to subscribe to this blog to be notified when I publish a new article!
Feel free to share your experience here and leave your comments, suggestions or questions. Don't hold back, I'll do my best to answer them.