VORG #30 Jan-Feb-Mar 2000

Producing? Creating VO Casting?

Working in voiceover casting and directing in Los Angeles is like being a gazillionaire in Las Vegas. Wherever you turn, you run into new riches. Even if you lose an actor to another booking, you’ve still got plenty of resources. So with all this talent, why do so many spots sound the same?

Of course, it starts with the script. Let’s assume you’ve got a script with some potential for comedic or dramatic interest. One could argue that a well written script would leave few choices of just what type of voice should perform it. After all, if it’s crafted that well, wouldn’t the character or kind of announcer pretty much suggest itself? In some cases, yes. A few writers I know start the process with a specific actor in mind. And some product categories are still in a genre, like cancer research facilities, where everyone expects to hear a certain delivery and voice quality, so that’s what gets cast.

Now, just as we’ve finally broken out of the stereotypical announcer sound, we can also get out of the same old character rut. One simple thing you can do is keep up with the agents’ house reels. If you really want to hear what a diverse choice we have in casting, keep agents’ reels in your car as you drive. Hearing demos when you have no particular spot to cast is really kind of fun. This exercise can be useful the next time you write a spot or need a voice.

If you’re using a casting service, don’t be shy about adding your own performer suggestions to the list. If you wrote the spot, you certainly have a performance in mind. You might bring an unexpected twist to the process. If you’re producing, ask the creative for more complete picture than the usual “male – female – 30’s – adventurish – somber.” Another tip is to think outside the expected age of the character or gender.

Inspired casting can truly change a Radio or TV spot into something great. All it takes is just a little more thought and a client who will allow you to be creative in your casting.

- Julie Prendiville Roux, Owner / Creative Director, Radioville