If you've been a regular reader of this blog, then hopefully you know that your computer is an excellent home recording studio, an you can record professional voice-overs (as well as music and any other audio recording projects) right from home. If you are one of the many voice-over actors on our list who daily answer voice casting auditions at Voices.com (or anywhere else), you probably also know that you have to be persistent. I've found that as with any acting job, you have to do lots and lots of auditions for every job you land. To quote Tom Hanks from the movie A League of Their Own, "It's the 'hard' that makes it good." But that doesn't mean you can't improve the odds. It is helpful to know that certain kinds of auditions get immediately thrown out by a client. Of course, it would also help if those weren't yours.
Why I (as a voice-talent hiring client) toss auditions
1. Non-custom audition
As someone who has both auditioned AND hired voice talent from Voices.com, I can tell you one thing for certain - sending demo reels with recordings that don't answer the specific need of the client is one way to get your audition ignored completely. When, as a client, I say in the job description something like "I need a celebrity impersonation of President Obama," and one of the auditions is a demo reel of cartoon voices and car commercials, I click the Stop button immediately and move on. Just take the extra time and record something that the client actually asked for. It's fine to send a demo that you already have if it matches the client's description, or if they don't really give a description. Otherwise, leave the demo reel for your profile page or promo kit.
2. Poor recording quality
Another thing that causes auditions to get set aside is a poor quality recording. See our tips here for getting the best recording possible regardless of what gear you use (that series of articles also tells you all about the gear!) - How to Build a Home Recording Studio: Part 2 – Four Tips For Preventing Noise . It is so inexpensive, gear-wise these days, that there is really no excuse not to spring for the $75 or so for a decent USB mic at the very least - if you're serious about making the voice-over thing into regular paying gig.
If you have the gear, but are just not happy with the quality of your sound, or time it takes to record demos and jobs, you can learn to fix both problems in our new home recording video tutorial course. Check it out here: The Newbies Guide to Audio Recording Awesomeness 2.
So now you know how not to have your auditions immediately thrown onto the garbage heap. If you're keeping track of how often you land a voice-over gig, this should improve your job-to-audition ratio greatly.
For another take on why voice-over auditions get chucked, check out this article by Derek Chappell: http://thevoiceofyourbusiness.com/blog/2012/09/27/why-do-95-of-demos-get-tossed/