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Shameless Hollywood Auditioning Tricks!

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

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Join Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley as he divulges some "Shameless Tricks" smuggled straight out of Hollywood from some Tinseltown's greatest citizens. Learn how to make your auditions stand out, be more creative, and give the impression that you're working from a world-class facility with your own engineer.

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Pat Fraley, Pat Fraley Teaches, PatFraley.com, Hollywood, Auditioning Tips, Slating, Auditions, Voice Overs, Voice Acting

Transcript of Shameless Hollywood Auditioning Tricks!

[Opening Music]

Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else.

This week, Voices.com is pleased to present Pat Fraley.

Male: And rolling on, take one, Pat.

Pat Fraley: Hi. This is Pat Fraley with a five-minute lesson on shameless voiceover tricks. Over the years, I've collected from mentors and brilliant colleagues' mindsets, agenda, skills, techniques, methods and downright shameless dirty tricks. It's a way I can carry my mentors around in my hip pocket. Some of these advanced my abilities to deliver the goods, others give me a slight edge over the bone-crunching competition and address my audition to booking ratio. So what do you want to hear? Methods, mindsets - I'm thinking downright dirty tricks.

So here goes. How about the Oscar-winning pause? This is a shameless trick. If you bump into an unusual or powerful or even just plain weird key verb or noun, don't gloss over it. Take a pause before you say it. This gives the listening audience the impression that it was your choice and you thought of it in the moment. Now, this one is called the "busting thyself" trick and it comes in reaction to getting the note from a director to flatten it out. Chances are you're being busted for sounding phony and sounding over expressive. When the director wants you to flatten it out, what they really mean is, "I'll take flat of what he's giving me." What you must do is bust yourself. Let them you felt really phony with the take in question and ask if you can solve it in a different way. Lower your energy a bit, commit to the action and then you better hold for an Oscar-winning take or you're back to flattening. At least you have one more shot.

Now here's a trick on slating. Personally, I slate different ways for different auditions. There are no rules, just notions. If you slate in character, the producer is less aware that you're using a pretend voice or being a different person but here's the trick. Don't slate in character without playing an action or without intent. In other words, don't slate in a character that's an empty shell. Fill up the way you say your name and the name of your character with a good solid acting choice. If you are to audition for an old grumpy guy, be grumpy from the moment you open your mouth to slate. Let me demonstrate.

Say I've chosen a voice like this. Don't slate with just a voice like Pat Fraley is grumpy old man. Do it playing an action like to intimidate, like this.

Pat Fraley is a grumpy old man.

Here's another slating trick. This is called the opposite character slating trick. This comes from famed director Robert Altman via voiceover talent (Pamela Shelley). Altman's advice is to slate or come in to an audition with an emotional state the exact opposite of the characters. That way, when you begin your line, the producers and casting people are blown away by your ability to perform character. For example, if I'm auditioning for a character who is described as a large, gruff, bully with a little voice, in a higher, clear and almost hesitant or shy tone, I slate my name in character. I take a beat and blast them with the character - maximum impact.

All right, here's another slating trick. This one I call the "mother country speaks". Now don't ask me why but it sounds really cool to have a Brit or a performer doing a Brit accent slate your demo. With all kinds of demos flying around the internet, it's important to have your name at the top of the demo and perhaps, a tail slate as well.

Why not have a classy voice? Of the opposite gender, introduce your efforts. My agent Pat Brady loves this and mentioned that it gives the impression that the talent has an agent or did have an agent. In the past, this slating of the talent at the top of each demo was only done for agency house reels. I have a Brit slating me on my character in commercial demos. Now, here's Anthony Hansen's demo and he had DB Cooper do her stellar British accent to introduce him.

Female: Anthony Hansen.

Anthony Hansen: It's amazing, you know. This is the closest I've ever been to earth.

Pat Fraley: Also, make sure that the audio file of your demo is titled with your name. When casting people and producers download it from your website or receive it directly from you or your agent, they need this reference. Unless your name is short, I suggest you title it with the initial of your first name and last name with no spaces. Don't bother including the word "demo" in the title. You need to keep it short.

Now this next one is called the virtual studio slate trick. I use this trick early on when I was producing commercials out of my apartment bedroom. In order to give the impression that I was working out of a proper studio, I had a friend record the phrase, "Rolling on, take one, Pat." Listen to this.

Male: And rolling on, take one, Pat.

Pat Fraley: Sound familiar? Beginning of this lesson? Think about it. Think I was in a proper studio? No. I'm in my bunk house in my robe. This can be handy even when delivering auditions. It's just the trick to give you a bit more profile especially if you're recording out of your closet.

This is called the "first read audition trick". It's a sneaky little trick that gives the listener the impression you are working off the cuff and incredibly (fazzle) at picking up a piece of copy for the first time and pulling the words right off the page. Here's how you do it. When you record your slate for an audition, say your name, then say the word "for", take a pause, rattle the piece of paper, your copy or script is printed on and then say the character for which your are auditioning. Let me demonstrate.

Pat Fraley for Commando Vortec.

This comes from an old trick that actor Marlon Brando and later John Malkovich used to pull. They'd memorize their lines but read with the other actors as if they were totally unfamiliar with the part. When the time was right, they'd launch into the scene and blow their fellow actors away, very sneaky.

If I piqued your interest about tricks, I'll be in Chicago in May for a workshop called 56 Slick Tricks for Voiceover where we explore the many ways of advancing your abilities to get the edge. If you can't make it to Chicago, I have a CD and companion workbook interestingly entitled 56 Slick Tricks for Voiceover. The information on both is available at my website, PatFraley.com. Thanks for listening.

Can I take that once more? Can we call that take one?

Male: And rolling on, take one, Pat.

What?

Male: And rolling on, take one, Pat.

Can you say that again?

Male: And rolling on, take one, Pat.

Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.

If you're a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes Podcast Directory or by visiting Podcasts.Voices.com. To start your voiceover career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.

[Closing Music]


Links from today's show:

Pat Fraley

Your Instructor this week:

Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley

Pat FraleyPatrick Fraley has created voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animation. He has produced dozens of award-winning audiobooks, such as, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Very Easy Death, and The Light in The Piazza. Pat produced and performed all 100 voices on the award winning audiobook, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which People Magazine hailed as, "The best yet of this evergreen." Patrick teaches events, workshops, and seminars on various aspects of voice over across the country, and has created a variety of instructional books and CDs, all available at PatFraley.com. He is a member of The Voice and Speech Trainers of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Acting from Cornell University.

Did you enjoy Pat's episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Related Topics: Auditioning Tips, Auditions, Hollywood, Pat Fraley, Pat Fraley Teaches, PatFraley.com, Slating, Voice Acting, Voice Overs

Comments


    That was terrific and very useful! Loved the "virtual studio slate trick" - brilliant! Pat is wonderful, and I can't wait to see him in person at the Voice 2008 convention in LA!

    Posted by:

      As a long time student of Pat's, I never miss the chance to listen to anything he has to offer. Even if I've heard it before.

      Pat's teaching is ALWAYS worth the price of admission.

      But make sure and buckle your safety belts, keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times... cuz you're in for a fantastic and joyous wild ride.

      Because of what I've learned from Pat, my booking ratio is light years better than it was before.

      Break a lip ya'll!
      DC Goode

      Posted by:

        It's always inspiring whenever I listen to Pat, or read his materials. I've just starting his "Critical skills to voiceover excellence," book...but these "Shameless tricks" are terrific ideas. Thanks Pat, and thanks VOICES.com!

        Posted by:

          Pat has a great way of boiling down great pearls into easy to get beta. I've been to a few of Pat's workshops and have some of his training material and he is just as solid in both venues.

          I love the way he maintains a business savvy sense w/o sacrificing a passion for creativity.

          Posted by:

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