Pandemic Production- Voiceover Casting
This is part one of a series on audio production during this pandemic that I'll be posting. I'll be covering everything from casting through spot delivery and how actors and agencies alike can keep it "business as usual" while working from home. I'm proud to have setup my home above and beyond what my clients expected, and the workflow and problem solving for their projects has made their lives easier while making their clients happy. Thanks for reading!- FV
Voice casting just changed! The quality of what is being submitted matters almost as much as the read being delivered, and a bad recording setup can make or break the chances of an actor booking the job.
Actors have always had home studios in one form or another- particularly for recording and submitting auditions. Poor audition quality could always be forgiven when we knew they'd be in a proper recording studio booth on the day of the session (although I’ve always felt that low quality audio takes away from the read and hurts their chances).
I’ve been presenting webinars for the past few weeks to hundreds of voce actors. My biggest message has been “a home studio is NOT a USB mic and a laptop”. There are so many more factors to consider, and I’ve been working with them nonstop to evaluate their setups and step-up their home studio game. The adjustments are night and day, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together!
As an audio engineer that also handles casting sessions, I’ve not only been putting my ears to actors home setups- I have also been asked by clients to help them decide on talent they’re leaning towards based on the quality of their auditions. We have to assume now that what we hear on the audition is what we should expect on the day, and that needs to be broadcast quality.
Producers and actors that know me know that I have always favored in-person casting to self taping. In keeping with that, when casting, I’m using Source Connect and/or Zoom to give direction as if I were hosting a regular casting session at the studio. In the past, 99% of the time, my clients book someone from the in-person portion of the casting, even though I always include all of the people that recorded from home. This is because I am able to give immediate feedback on reads so the actors can adjust accordingly. I always let them “do their own thing” before I say a word, because sometimes an actor will deliver something unexpected and wonderful out of the gate- and I never want to ruin that moment. But actors reading on their own with nothing more to work with than the script in front of them and an often vague casting spec are flying blind.
In this crazy time, I feel that being an audio engineer that also does casting is invaluable to my clients. The quality matters, and being able to weigh in on both the read and the audio quality helps tremendously. I’ve also been able to offer some pretty creative solutions for actors who are not set up to record at home! More on that