photo © 2008 vagawi | more info (via: Wylio)Back Stage, the online version of the paper magazine and Call Sheet, usually caters to on stage/on camera acting, and very heavily in the New York and Los Angeles markets. But each year, there is an issue that concentrates on voiceover. Last week, the online mag had an article titles “What Do You Listen for in an Audio Reel?” that should be of interest to anyone looking for representation in the major markets and has an animation work jones.
Representatives from CESD Talent, Imperium-7, Sutton, Barth & Venari, and JE Talent talk specifically about what they listen for when they receive an animation demo reel. These companies have cast actors in shows and movies like “Archer.” “American Dad,” Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” “Futurama,” and many more, so they know what they are talking about.
One interesting thing I caught out of the article is the contrasting methods between these agents. Cathey Lizzio at CESD says this about the demos they receive:
We listen to all actors’ demos sent to us, solicited and unsolicited, to decide if we want to represent a particular actor. When we listen to a demo, we usually want to hear some degree of versatility spread among a range of characters, accents, and even languages spoken.
On the flip side, here’s Cynthia McLean of Sutton, Barth & Venari:
Normally, I only listen to a submission reel when someone in the industry who I trust refers a performer to me. If the first 10 seconds has captured my attention with an original, intriguing, fully realized character in the middle of an interesting action, I keep listening.
These quotes point out two things. One, various casting companies and agencies do things differently, and there is no cookie cutter process available for getting this kind of representation and work. Two, you had better get your act together before you submit. In March, I talked about five mistakes aspiring voice actors make, and I think this points directly to the issue of rushing your demo. Without knowing your “money voice,” the one that is right up front you want to sell on, you are not going to be considered, especially in the hyper character world of animation.
Go check out the whole article. If nothing else, you can get an idea of what the decision makers on your career are thinking, because what these top level agents do is not so different from the smaller organizations you may work with. Keep it in mind as you move forward in your career.