For Audio Drama, Commercials and Documentary Auditions
Select no more than 8 pieces, each approx 1 minute long
Make sure they’re contrasting.
Make sure that they cover a range, including:
Something from Contemporary Theatre
Include a poem
And a Song if you wish
Include any accents/dialects with which you are comfortable.
Include something in other languages if you are proficient in them.
Each extract should start with the name of the play and role you are playing.
At the beginning it’s helpful to introduce yourself to demonstrate your natural voice.
I advise you to attach an accompanying email and CV – this is especially useful if you can highlight radio, theatre, film or TV credits. And timing is also critical: if you are about to appear on stage, in a radio production or on TV, it is possible to flag that fact and to encourage producers to see your performance first hand.
I also advise you to listen to as many plays and drama documentaries as possible. Make a note of who the directors / producers are and contact them with your carefully prepared voice reels. It will probably do no harm to praise a programme of theirs that you have heard, but don’t overdo this. Sara Davies of the BBC gives some excellent advice:
“I’m sure each department has slightly different needs, but in Bristol we find the most useful voice reel is one that includes straight narration, i.e. telling a story in the third person, preferably with a couple of bits of dialogue included, so we can tell how skilfully they can handle different voices in a story; a piece of monologue in something near to the actor’s natural voice and maybe one in character or with an accent; perhaps a dialogue with one other actor (but not a multi-character scene) and some poetry.”
I would add to this that you should never go on longer than absolutely necessary to show what you have to offer. Producers are extremely busy and tend to be impatient of repetition. 8 minutes for the entire offering should be an absolute maximum.
There is a wealth of useful information online. For example you can listen to show reels for commercials documentaries, voice overs and animation and learn from how other actors present themselves at Hobson’s Artists Agency
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