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What Do I Include In A Casting Site Audition Proposal?

Whether it’s sending an email or writing a note through a casting site platform, few things seem to confound the working voice actor more than trying to figure out what to say… which is kind of ironic, don’t you think? Guess we’re just too used to working off scripts!

I’ve had so many voice actors reach out to me for help with email marketing that I actually made my email templates available for purchase. It makes life easier when you can basically copy and paste. Takes the guesswork out.

But what about casting sites? What are you supposed to include in the little box that allows you to write a proposal with your audition?

Consider the Audience You’re Writing To

First things first… keep in mind audition count.

What I mean by that is, if the audition is unlimited and there are 200 voice actors submitting (not uncommon), what that translates to is, the voice seeker is going to have 200 of those messages waiting for them to be read.

Put yourself in their shoes. Would you have time to read 200 messages? Do you want to read 200 messages?

Your audition proposal needs to be short.

Read that again.

Your audition proposal NEEDS TO BE SHORT.

In your audition note, address the most important questions a client wants answered. #vopreneur
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What To Include In Your Audition Note

Length: If it’s more than a few sentences, I guarantee you it’s not getting read. Your note doesn’t need to resolve all the concerns of the entire project. That can (and will) happen after you book it. So don’t include every last detail and don’t write your life story.

Delivery: The most important question on a clients mind (perhaps only next to budget – which are often set already) is, “how fast can you turn this project around.” Answer this question. Briefly. Can you deliver same day? Within 24 hours? Do you need 48 to turn it around? In one sentence, give an accurate estimate of your delivery time.

Budget: If the project asks for quote, include it. My preference is to just give them ONE number. I’ve received auditions in the past that line list expenses. I don’t care. Most voice seekers don’t either. “My quote for this project is….” That’s it. Say no more in the audition note. You can break it down more thoroughly later, if necessary… after you book the job.

Retakes & Revisions: Clearly and concisely outline your policy for retakes and revisions. “I do not bill for retakes that are due to my read. Revisions as a result of script changes after the final recording will be subject to additional billing based on the scope of work required.” If you’d like to copy and paste that, feel free. That sentence answers the question enough for the sake of an audition. You can dig in deeper together… after you book the job.

Thank You: Call me old fashioned, but I still think it’s a sign of respect to show a little gratitude. It’s something I see happening less and less and that makes me sad. “Thanks for the opportunity and your consideration. I appreciate it.” Something like that is often how I end every note.

Be Thorough | Be Brief

It’s possible to do both. Answer the most important questions the voice seeker is likely to be asking. That’s being thorough. Do it in a couple sentences. That’s being brief. All the rest of the information you want to include, like details about your studio… sorry… but nobody cares. Unless they’re specifically asking for Source Connect or ISDN. In which case, you wouldn’t audition if you didn’t have it. Which means it’s assumed you do have it. Which means you don’t need to tell them.

In other words, just give them the necessary information THEY care about it. Leave the other details to discuss later…

After you book the job! 😉

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Pro Tips for Using Voice123 SmartCast

It’s no secret how I feel about casting sites. If you’re going to use them, they should be ONE tool in your toolbox. Not the WHOLE toolbox. If you really want to build a sustainable business, you’ve got to do your own marketing and build your own client base.

To succeed in online casting, you need to understand how it works. Nobody understands this world better than J Michael Collins! At least a couple times a week I’ll get asked about how to use SmartCast on Voice123. Part of me thinks it’s one of life’s great mysteries… you know, like the Caramilk Secret! However, if anyone can help us better understand the feature, J Michael is that individual. I’m so happy he agreed to share some of his wisdom with us!

Understanding SmartCast

Since Voice123 first arrived on the scene about a decade ago, their proprietary casting algorithm, known as SmartCast, has perplexed and bedeviled the voice talent community.

SmartCast was designed with the intent of avoiding the cattle call phenomenon that befell most other online casting sites, requiring talent to use their auditions wisely in order to achieve maximum benefit from the site.

While the details of the algorithm have evolved over the years, one fundamental principle remains: SmartCast is meant to discourage you from auditioning too much, so that jobs aren’t saturated with unqualified auditions, and so that each talent has the opportunity to book work through Voice123.

What does “too much” mean? Voice123 representatives have repeatedly stated that talent should audition no more than a handful of times per day. In extreme cases, SmartCast has dramatically reduced the flow of auditions to talent who were doing as few as 3-4 auditions per day. Most talent report being able to submit 4-6 daily without running into trouble. Exceed that number, and the system is likely to reduce your access to opportunities.

You can also track the feature in “My Stats” that shows the percentage of auditions you have submitted compared to similar talent. If this number rises over 200%, you are likely to see fewer auditions from SmartCast.

SmartCast does take other factors into account, such as the feedback you receive from buyers on your auditions, (the star rating,) and your bidding practice, however these are negligible. At VO Atlanta 2016, Voice123’s chief stated that audition ratings account for 2% of the algorithm. In other words, it is all about quantity. Do too many, and you’ll be shut down.

There are two workarounds if you find SmartCast too limiting. Voice123 offers a Platinum membership level for $4,950/year, payable in three installments, which turns off SmartCast and allows you to audition as much as you like. It also gives your priority in searches done through the site.

If that’s too rich for your blood, you can always open multiple Premium accounts in order to have more opportunities. This is not an exact science, but some talent have reported success, and it is not against Voice123 policy.

Bottom Line? Use SmartCast wisely for best results. Even if you limit yourself to 4 auditions per day, that’s 20 per week. Top talent book 7-10% of the time, quality everyday full-time pros book 3-5% of the time, and talented newcomers book maybe 1%. If you fall into one of these categories, you’ll book some work over time. It may not be much in terms of quantity, but as we all know the real money from online casting is made by building relationships and generating repeat business, so even booking a few clients per month should lead to sustainable income in the long run.

Happy Booking!
J Michael Collins

With over twenty years as a professional voiceover artist, J Michael Collins has worked with some of the biggest companies, brands, sports leagues, and organizations on the planet. In addition to his work in the classic, agency-based world of VO, J. Michael has established himself as the leading authority and top-grossing talent in the online marketplace, and has become recognized as an industry leading talent coach and demo producer as well.

J. Michael was the winner of the 2016 VoiceArts Awards for Outstanding Radio Commercial-Best Voiceover, Outstanding Political Announcement-Best Voiceover, and was the producer of 2016’s Outstanding Narration Demo.

For coaching and demo services visit

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Pay To Practice?

Help me understand this…

You’ve signed up for one of the casting sites.

You’ve handed them your credit card number to cover that $400 fee.

You’re just starting out in the business, and figure this is a great place to get exposure.

And practice.

Wait… practice? Did you say you’re going to use the casting site for practice?

Pay To Practice?

When a new voice talent asks me for advice on how to improve their skills, I’ll often refer them to one of several coaches I know and trust.

Often, as soon as I suggest they pay to learn, they lose interest and say they can’t afford it.

However, they’ve got their $400 casting site membership, and they’re going to audition for every job possible so they can practice.

In other words, they’re paying to practice.

Practice Before You Pay

If your Pay To Play strategy is to use auditions to practice… that is to say, you’re going to “practice” on actual voice over auditions, where clients are looking to hire actual talent and pay them actual money… well… you’re doing it wrong.

Before you ever invest a single dime in a casting site, if that’s how you plan to get started, make sure you’re 100% ready to start booking work.

Practicing on actual jobs is a pretty good way of making sure you’ll never book any.

Would you rather…

Spend a few hundred bucks on a few coaching sessions to practice before you play?


Lose thousands in potential work because you wanted to play first?

Looking for a good voice over coach? Email me and I’ll give you some recommendations.

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

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The Voice Over Victim Mentality

Recent changes made by Pay To Play casting sites have a lot of people really annoyed. Understandably. However, there’s a difference between voicing frustration, and blaming external factors for the challenges and struggles in your own voice over business.

Don’t let yourself fall into a victim mindset. It will limit your ability to succeed.

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Run Your Own Race

This last two weeks have been very interesting ones in our industry. A time of great conversations, a few heated debates and a little controversy, courtesy of the practices of a particular Pay To Play casting site.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to rehash all of that today. Although, if you’re interested in getting caught up, read My Thoughts on Pay To Play Casting Sites.

Instead, I want to share with you a few of the conversations I’ve had since this all started and offer an entirely different perspective on the matter at hand.

A Few Conversations I’ve Had This Week


…an influential voice talent and coach who has facilitated some great discussion (and debate) on the subject of casting sites in general. Together we discussed the issue and how to keep the conversations constructive and educational.

…an industry leader and talent about educational opportunities. Teaching and empowering voice actors to market their own business.

…a voice talent that has created a system to use the P2P’s to her advantage to find new opportunities and book new work.

…several voice actors who, in frustration, canceled their casting site memberships as a way of vocalizing their distrust in the new methods being adopted by certain sites.

…a voice talent who feels like they’re looked down upon by their peers because they use casting sites, even though they’re finding great success with them.

…a voice actor who has never used P2P’s and simply couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

…several voice actors who want to escape the Pay To Play sites and, as such, have requested to do some one on one coaching with me to help them develop their marketing skills and efforts.

Run Your Own Race

choose-your-own-pathWhat I loved about every one of these conversations is this… each person I spoke with was in an entirely different place from the others. Each one was working on their own business, doing their own thing, finding their own path, and doing it in a way that worked for them.


Regardless of what’s going on with this casting site or that casting site, here’s what matters most… run your own race!

My race doesn’t involve paid memberships on casting sites. Maybe yours does. Maybe that’s working great for you. Or maybe you’re union. Or you have a dozen agents. Or you make 40 cold calls a day. Maybe you’re a teacher or coach helping new talent find their way. Maybe you’ve been in the voice over industry so long and you’re so well established that you simply laugh at people who engage in these current debates.

All that matters is you run your own race.

Figure out what works best for you and your business and go with it. Don’t worry about what everybody else says to do or not do. What works and doesn’t work. What’s right and what’s wrong.

Educate yourself, for sure. Find a coach. A mentor. Take a class. Read. Learn. Grow.

Then run your own race.

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.