Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing
How to audition for FUNimation
byon 09-19-2011 at 09:50 PM (9293 Views)
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 sent them to is actually on FUNimation's official website under the FAQ. 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.
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 only going to get eye rolls. 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 from them?
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.
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 within a week of being 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. 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 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 Voices.com before you submit. Anything that requires auditioning and getting cast by an outside source (volunteering to be a free voice doesn't count).
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). You got your audition, you went in and did your best, and there is literally nothing you can do now to improve your chances.
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) stands for "with all actors." It's 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 anything 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
For further reading on professional work and how to impress a director, check out my post Taking Direction.