Sending Auditions: flat or compressed?

Sending Auditions: flat or compressed?

Besides making the major decision on how you are going to deliver the style, energy, tempo and inflection,  I find the next biggest factor to consider when voicing an audition is whether you want to send your session flat, or compressed.

For some projects, it’s a no-brainer.  If you are sending it to an established studio and you’ve been requested to submit an audition, there’s a good chance they have already listened to your demo or you’re already part of their talent pool.  To me, that indicates they already know what you sound like and have an understanding of your versatility and potential.

“We should get Bob Loblaw to audition for this – he might be a good fit.”

Nothing better than opening your email and getting a request from your agent or a producer inviting you to audition a script.  Whether you get the gig or not, it’s the chance to show off what you have practiced countless hours trying to develop: YOUR sound.

Send your audition flat.  No compression.  No filter.  If you get the gig (yay!) and have to voice it from home, they will know your home studio sound limitations – if any – and will most likely work with you to adjust or arrange for you to be recorded at another location.  You’ve won them over with your talent.  If you are busy and can only record your audition into your smartphone while sitting in your car somewhere quiet – go ahead.  Just know that there are others out there that are investing a lot of time, doing multiple takes, trying to capture not only the perfect read, but the perfect sound before they fire off their audition.  You know what they say about first impressions…

P2P site auditions:

Different animal here.  Many factors to consider.

Check to see who is requesting you to audition.  If it’s a 60 second $300.00 a/v voice over project from Louise – marketing director at Capital Plumbing – chances are they are not affiliated with a recording studio, know little about post audio production and are going to be more impressed by your audition if you add your own compression to your voice and give it a rich, full sound.  She’s probably going to listen to a couple of dozen voice talents, and if your genuine and trustworthy delivery impresses her, she’ll be even more enticed by how good your voice sounds.

On the other hand…

If you notice the project is posted by Louise – project coordinator from Awesome Marketing Solutions,  chances are she has done this many times before with other clients and subcontracts a studio to put projects together.  She may very well be sitting with an audio producer and the client listening to the auditions.  If you have tricked out your audition with ballsy compression and filtered out an air conditioner quietly humming in the background, your audition will most likely be flagged for poor sound.  Chances are, this person (or persons) is looking to hear the voice talent recorded flat and is more concerned with whether you are recording on a cheap podcast microphone or a high quality studio mic.  Think about it:  you’re living on the opposite side of the country from where the client is located.  They are not going to arrange and pay additional fees for you to go into a recording studio in your city just so they can have YOU on their $300 a/v project.

One other thing: if you do not have the knowledge to properly set your compression levels, find someone who does.  You’d be amazed at how even the best voice over talent in the country will rely on an audio engineer to tweak and set their processing for them.  I’ve been recording since commercials were sent via reel to reel tape and I still have difficulty setting those levels on my voice.

I have two audio freaks I connect with that have ears as acute as a German Shepard:

Ryan Ghidoni at runs a full service  production company that puts out high quality audio/video content for clients across Canada.

Many of the projects on my demos have been with Ryan, coaching me from the other side of the glass.  You can hear his stuff daily on any of the many Stingray channels across the country.  His latest venture is capturing sky high video content and b-roll film using drones!

Larry Hennessey at is my friend with genius talent and credits waaay too long to list here (check out my JACK UP THE 80’s blog for more on Larry).

I bug him regularly for advice on getting that optimum sound.  From voice overs and radio broadcasts – to recording and mastering music in analog and digital, Larry has done it all.  Good gawd! Check out Larry’s amazing microphone collection!  He’s got a story for every one!



A last word about sending auditions flat or compressed:

You may think you sound better processed to the hilt.  You may think you’re going to hit the sweet spot with a client sending it flat.  Ultimately, it’s the talented gift you project from inside you that will win them over.

Dug Joy is a voice actor represented by The Characters Talent Agency in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.


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