Working with amateur voice actors part 2
Hello, welcome to part two of my working with amateur voice actors series.
So you've held auditions and you now need to cast. I'll briefly talk about, this though in the end it's up to you. But if you're still stuck here are some pointers:
The person fits the character – if you're sensible your audition had example lines that will help you pick out who will portray the character the best. Rarely will they be exact, but this the whole core of casting, this is the thing you want. Here are some things to think about.:
The person's voice type matches ( e.g high for cute anime schoolgirl).
The person's accent – in some cases this is important, does their accent fit your character's background.
- Does the voice actor sound the right age?
Recording Quality – Is their audition up to standard? Treat the audition as an example of the best quality the person can muster, don't cast them then expected them to buy a £500 micrphone.
Do they fit with the other cast members? You're casting a whole production, make sure voices relate and siblings don't have totally different accents ( unless it's part of the plot). Will the voices you cast gel together?
Do they seem like they will be fun to work with? If they sound rude or arrogant in their audition e-mail it's probably a bad sign.
When you cast send an email asking cast to confirm, it's also OK to cast people as understudies which they should then confirm.
Managing your project
Plan ahead as much as you can, in your audition post make sure to state when the deadlines will be if cast. Be sure to emphasise this again, when you send out the script. If you're doing something episodic, I recommend sending out scripts by episode with a link to further eps so voice actors can look ahead without you pressuring them.
Sometimes a first take isn't perfect, the actor sends you lines with mistakes or when you hear it aloud the script sounds wrong. Again it's OK to ask for retakes, be polite, give another deadline to get things done. Make to include clear instructions on what to change, and be sure to thank the VA for their time. Don't ask for retakes just because you can, ask because you need them!
Sometimes people don't meet deadlines, for whatever reason. You can help nudge things along by sending a reminder say a week before deadline, and again if they haven't replied on deadline. Most people are good about sending producers emails if their situation changes and they can't meet a deadline, in this case you can think about setting an extension. If a VA contacts you like this it normally means they want the part and they really can't do it in time.
On the downside people sometimes just don't do their lines. This is something I struggle with. But in the end if they don't do the recordings you may have to recast. Be sure to be fair, wait until after the deadline then send them an email reminding them their lines are due, then set a deadline for their response and politely tell them if they don't respond you'll have to recast. Then if the deadline goes by and they haven't replied, you can recast guilt free. If you had an understudy listed, they are your first port of call!
Try to keep track as much of the project as you can. Everyone does it differently. For example recently I've started using google docs to track progress of a podcast pilot I'm working on. All the members of the cast can see and edit it:
You can see that it has spaces for all the casts to check in when they've watched the anime due for that cast, as well as space to make notes and schedule recording sessions.
In short keep to your own deadlines as well as imposing them on others. Leave and plenty of time to get stuff done! Don't cast and then expect to have everything done in 24 hours.