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How to audition for FUNimation

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DISCLAIMER: This guide is absolutely NOT a "how to get work at FUNimation" post. Getting an audition doesn't guarantee work. Hundreds of people audition for every show, and the final cast will only be a small percentage of that. You will be up against all the industry veterans along with other prospective talent. Think of all the people here who you consider rivals and assume that people as good as them will be there, too. This article is merely about the basics of how to present yourself professionally, and what you'll want before you try to take the plunge.

Getting on the list involves sending in a demo reel and a resume. The address you should send them to is actually on FUNimation's official website. And since I believe doing research is all part of the process, feel free to go find that for yourself if you haven't already.

When should I send in my demo reel?
When you're ready. What that means is that you should be ready to be in Dallas as soon as you're called. You won't be given much prior notice. Schedules shift a lot, so you'll be called in for auditions about a week ahead of time, and you'll have to be able to show up when they ask you to. If you don't come, you'll be written off as unreliable, and you won't really get a second chance. If you get a part, then inform them you can't come in, you'll be written off as unreliable. Likewise, if you submit a demo reel that doesn't sound very professional, you won't get much of a chance, either. Wait until your demo reel sounds professional and you're in a position to jump up and go in for the audition (or work!) as soon as they contact you.

How will I know if I'm ready?
If you have a teacher or coach, they can generally gauge whether or not you're ready. If you don't, wait until you've racked up a few paying jobs on the outside - indie games, local ads, or work on a site like Voice123 or before you submit. Anything that requires auditioning and getting cast by an outside source (volunteering to be a free voice doesn't count). Also make sure you're available to come in and actually record if they call you. If you get cast and you say you can't make it because you live somewhere else, you're going to be branded as unreliable, and probably never get a chance again.

What should I put in my demo reel?
You, of course. Show off your range of emotions and the voices you can do. Remember that directors want to hear YOU. It's great that you can sound like Chris Sabat, but FUNimation already has Chris Sabat. Your best impression of [insert character here] is the opposite of what you want. Make your script original. They're not looking for imitations, and they're not looking for rips from anime. In other words, no "Moon prism power!" It's strongly suggested that you get a professional demo reel done. A good sound engineer can make your voice really pop, plus having an extra set of ears listening while you record is always helpful. Remember the point of the demo reel is to show how professional you are and how serious you are about voice acting. If you only send in a half hearted demo reel, you won't be taken seriously.

What should I put on my resume?
Original work only. No fandubs, and no manga radio plays. Remember, you're applying for a job here. Illegal experience isn't exactly what you want to be showing off. You don't apply for a job as a pharmacist and include, "drug peddling" on your resume. Any sort of acting is acceptable, though. If you've got stage, film, or TV experience, add it to the list! You can also list any acting classes or workshops you've taken. Be sure to include who taught the class and when you took it.

Do I HAVE to send in a resume?
Teeeeeechnically no, but it's strongly advised that you do. Naturally, the demo reel is the big thing, but directors like to see that you've done this before in a professional environment. There's a huge difference between recording on your own and recording with a director, and if they can see that other directors were willing to work with you, that will increase your chances.

Does anyone actually listen to my demo reel?
Maybe. It depends on the director and how well you've managed to present yourself. As mentioned before, including a good resume increases your chances of getting called in. FUNimation receives (unsurprisingly) a lot of demo reels, so you're not going to get every single director listening to every single demo reel that gets sent in. So yes, some demo reels do get heard by some directors.

How long do I have to wait before I hear back?
That's a tricky one. Sometimes you'll get a fairly quick response, but there's really no real time frame for hearing back. Expect anywhere from a day to a year.

I have a new demo reel. Can I send that in even though they already have my old one?
If you've updated your demo reel and you feel it better represents your current abilities, it's okay to send it in again, IF they haven't called you in previously. Don't keep sending in new demo reels just to get noticed, and more than once a year is not recommended.

What are auditions like?
You'll be given a binder full of "audition sides." These are sheets of paper that have character images, a quick character description, and a set of audition lines. You'll be asked to pick out a few characters you're interested in (two or three, usually), and you'll record for those. The director will come to the waiting room to get you when it's your time. During the audition, they'll be looking for how to handle yourself in front of the mic, how professional you are, and how well you respond to direction. Once you're in the booth, they'll ask you to "slate" your name before you read your auditions. For that, just say "This is [name here] reading for [character name]," before you start reading the audition lines. The director may give you some changes that he or she would like to hear, and you'll re-record the audition lines. Then you're done! It should take about fifteen minutes at the most.

How should I prepare for auditions?
Auditions are job interviews, so dress like it. You don't need to come in three piece suit, but wear suitably nice clothing, shower, and generally be presentable. Make sure what you wear isn't too loose or noisy, and avoid jewelry, as that makes noise in the booth. You'll want to arrive about ten to fifteen minutes early so that you can look at the audition sides ahead of time and be ready when the director comes for you. Any earlier than that is probably too early, so if you do arrive earlier, it's a good idea to wait in your car and take the extra time to warm up. It's not necessary to bring along a resume, demo reel, or head shot.

Can I audition for a certain show by emailing in an audition?
No. You are only auditioning for a show if the director calls you in for the audition. If you want to be in a show, you can't record your favorite character's lines and email them in/post them on YouTube/anything else. If the director doesn't solicit your audition, it won't be considered.

I heard there's an audition going on soon! How can I get in on that?
If you haven't been called in, chances are the director isn't interested in hearing you for this round. There could be plenty of reasons for this, most of which are probably out of your control. Relax and devote your time to becoming a better actor. Don't ask the coordinator for an audition - she doesn't have the power to give you one. Don't ask other actors for an audition - they can't help you either.

So what do I do after the audition?
Thank the director for his or her time, then leave the building, go home, and forget about it. Don't stick around or try to chat up other people in the building - it's still an office with people who have work and deadlines. Don't worry about making a follow-up call or contacting the director elsewhere (please no facebook messages asking how you did). There's nothing you can do now to improve your chances, but there's a whooole lot you can do to ruin them. Don't do those things.

How long do I have to wait to hear back about auditions?
After auditions, it's generally not a long wait to hear if you've been cast as one of the leads. It takes longer to hear if you're being called in for walla or a minor role. If you're not cast, they won't notify you. Several hundred people audition for every show that goes through FUNimation, and they don't have the time to let people know they haven't been cast.

Wait, what's walla?
Walla (not voila) is basically a session where you and a couple other voice actors crowd into the booth and make background noises, crowd sounds, etc. All the background chatter cheering, chanting, cities of people screaming, monsters growling, etc. are walla.

Can I talk about my audition afterwards?
Not really. Honestly, you shouldn't be talking about the audition beforehand, either. You may not say which show you auditioned for, who else auditioned for it, or any other information you learn while there. If you hear someone chatting in the hallway about a cast for a different show, you may not talk about that, either. Leaking information is a fast track to making sure you never get invited back.

The site says I can send in a demo reel, even if I don't live in the area. Does that mean I can also record for open auditions or shows in my own studio?

Really. You will have to come to Texas, just like all the LA voice actors do. (Read: Kyle Hebert, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Vic Mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, Patrick Seitz...)

How not to Audition

Updated 07-13-2013 at 08:03 PM by topleka

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  1. Sukisho's Avatar
    This is awesome
  2. TriPredRavage's Avatar
    Very cool! Thanks for posting!
  3. Seymour's Avatar
    Topleka, you just keep earning gold stars

    saving this for my future endeavors
  4. Apatheria's Avatar
    Good stuff, Topleka. c:
  5. Subaru-camui's Avatar
    oh~ super awsome!
  6. Chrisiscool86's Avatar
    Epic this will help a lot of people. Only thing auditions DO cast for a show. The one I went to was casting for a new show, so yeah. But the rest of this is legit
  7. Refi-chan's Avatar
    Ah, too bad it did work this nicely when I lived in Texas (mostly referring being able to email a demo) But it's good to know, thanks for sharing. I'll have to remember to send in a nice demo when I can travel again!
  8. BloodRedOath's Avatar
    Oh so cool. Thanks so much! *Bookmarked*

    @Chrisiscool86, I think the point of an open audition is to get a look at potential new talent as well, where as the point of a casting audition is to cast for a show. Perhaps if they happen to find someone they really like among the open auditions they'll cast them then and there, but I don't think one exception means she's wrong.
  9. topleka's Avatar
    If they were auditions for a specific show, then they weren't open auditions. You probably did go to casting auditions, seeing as I don't think FUNi has held open auditions recently. Trust me, I'm legit. ^_-
  10. Midnightmoonproductions's Avatar
    Cool thank you. I'm going to a closed audition but they sound about the same as the open audition except the directors call you in. I can't say what show I am auditioning for but I look forward to posting about it when I get home
  11. Kuro630's Avatar
    Awesome vary informative. I know this is one of the things i want to do for a living so searching for info like this is hard to find thank you for posting this.
  12. Midnightmoonproductions's Avatar
    lol Seems that for closed auditions they give you 1 to 3 days worth of notice now. I got an email today and the auditions are tomorrow and Thursday. So definitely be prepared to be up there at the drop of a dime
  13. Kendal Cobb's Avatar
    I have something to add, when you audition, don't apologize for messing up. Just stop and start the line over. Also, focus on the acting and not the voice. The director at my audition asked me to show off my voice at the end, so until then don't go crazy with your voice. My resource is my audition, and before that, the direct advice of Eric Vale. Hope this helps anyone who reads this!
  14. James Larabee's Avatar
    Thanks for this information, definitely will help. All my VO instructors also stress the importance of being able to take direction. Seriously, write short notes if you need to, not going up in pitch or pausing when they said not to can show that you are an amateur. I go in on Tuesday, I am totally jazzed but nervous.
  15. TheTimeMaster's Avatar
    This is really helpfull. Im planning on this when I get older, though Im still in Junior High it's good to have an idea of what you want to do right? Anyway, this answered a lot of questions that I had.It's my dream to work at Funimation and I already planned on majoring in theater. Thanks for the information it was a big help.
  16. RevolutionarySamurai's Avatar
    Great advice, not just for FUNi but for professional auditions in general, especially if you're not int the States (like myself) =D
  17. NothingButZero's Avatar
    This may be a stupid question but just wondering how can you work for Funimation if you live in Canada and have no voice role experiences but did vocal training with an acting coach? Do you also need an talent agent or you can give them whatever contract you have for them to call you.