VAM 041 | Interview with Juan Carlos Bagnell, Commercial VO Casting Director, Part 1

VAM 041 | Interview with Juan Carlos Bagnell, Commercial VO Casting Director, Part 1

Welcome to episode 41 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

For this episode, I’m going to be interviewing my good friend and commercial voice over casting director, Juan Carlos Bagnell. Juan is perfectly positioned to give some amazing insight on what it takes to be successful as a voice actor in commercials. He started working at Abrams Artists, one of the top voice over agencies in Los Angeles, and then became a casting director at one of the top voice over casting offices in LA, the Voicecaster in Burbank. Juan has worked with some of the most talented voice actors in the business and he’s fantastic at articulating his ideas and advice on voice acting. I’m honored to have him on the podcast, and I hope you enjoy hearing from him too!

One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of booking a voice over job is to understand the mindset of the people producing and casting a project. Juan has been part of that process thousands of times and has learned his lessons in the trenches. His knowledge of the current trends in commercials comes from hands-on experience. He also runs a fantastic blog on voice over at You should definitely check it out! In the next interview, Juan and I will address some common misconceptions about commercial voice over, and we’ll discuss some important ideas to keep in mind as you approach commercials.

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #41 Here (MP3)


23 Responses to “VAM 041 | Interview with Juan Carlos Bagnell, Commercial VO Casting Director, Part 1”

  1. Pat says:

    It’s nice to hear from the commercial side of things! I’ve seen you retweet Juan a bunch so I thought it was only a matter of time until he came on the podcast.

    Is your voice doing okay this week?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the interview with Juan.

      My voice is fine. Why do you ask?

      • Pat says:

        You probably have a better ear for it and certainly a better understanding of your voice than I do, but when listening I got the impression that you were reluctant to use the whole vocal range I’m used to hearing so often from other episodes, and when you dipped into it it sounded kind of phlegmy? I don’t mean to be critical or anything of the sort, I was just wondering if my observations matched up to yours.

        Are there a bunch of terms that people in voice-related professions like singing and voice acting use to describe the specific ways in which a voice might misbehave?

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I’m never “reluctant” to use my whole vocal range. However, if you listen to the podcasts back to back, you will hear my voice be in different places depending on where my voice was at the moment. Weather, tension, temperature and recent vocal usage all can affect how one sounds on the microphone.

          I’m sorry if you felt like my voice was “misbehaving” in the last episode. I hope it didn’t reduce your enjoyment of the episode.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Interesting interview so far, it is nice to hear from the other side as well!
    So I was wondering, when reading for narration, do you have any tips in order to read fluently or reduce mistakes? I have been reading aloud lately for practice and seem to mess up by tripping on words a lot so any type of advice would be helpful. Thanks!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      If you are stumbling over your words when you’re speaking, you’re speaking too quickly. It’s like playing piano. If you mess up the notes, you have to slow down and practice at a slower speed until you get the tempo right. Then, once you can play (or speak) at a slower tempo, you can increase the tempo to be able to speak the same material at a faster rate. Also, if you’re truly emotionally connected to the words, you won’t stumble. We tend to stumble when we don’t have any emotional connection to the words we’re saying.

      • Caitlin says:

        Okay, I’ll keep that in mind 🙂
        Thanks for explaining all of that too. It’s been a while since I had time to leave a comment so just wanted to say that every episode keeps getting better and still very helpful.

  3. Eric Rivera says:

    As I have mentioned before in this blog, I finished my Acting I class last semester, and I’m about to start Acting II class on Monday. I also finished my first of three Practicums which means I have to put in extra hours participating. Last semester, I auditioned for lots of plays and film productions, but didn’t get cast in any of them.

    My question is, if I don’t get cast should I view those auditions as experience, failures, or a waste of time? How should I feel about them? What should I do after a graduate in terms of my craft?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Congratulations on your acting classes! Sounds like you’re learning a lot.

      You can view your audition experiences however you’d like. If you view them as abject failures that prove that you have no talent and there’s no chance for you to succeed, you can do that. It won’t help you at all, and I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can do that.

      Alternatively, you can view them as opportunities to practice your craft and as opportunities to learn what you might need to do in the future. That’s how I prefer to look at audition opportunities. When I was in acting grad school, I auditioned for lots of plays that were written by the graduate playwriting students. Over the course of 3 years, I didn’t get cast in any of them. I could’ve decided that I was an awful actor and that I had no future. However, after getting some perspective on it, I realized that it wasn’t my acting that was bad, it was that I didn’t understand the character types they were looking for. I didn’t understand my own character type and how to cast myself appropriately. Once I understood that part of the equation, I was able to greatly improve my chances of getting cast in a project.

      I’m not sure how to advise you on what to do after you graduate. It depends on what you’d like to do. Do you want to act in Theater? Film and TV? Voice acting? It totally depends on what you’d like to accomplish after you’ve graduated.

  4. Angelican Marcos says:

    This is a very well put podcast interview with Juan Mr. Freeman. I’m impressed that he was doing this career since he was 8… correct? Well I can’t wait to hear part 2 of this interview with Juan. I always wonder who Someaudioguy was til now. But thank you and I’m also very sorry about the criticism I had made in the 40th podcast those weren’t my exact words. But I know that apologies are too late now and if they weren’t I did mention that I’m very sorry. I actually teared up after your response of my accidental critique. But I’m fine now I suppose… have a very nice safe day Mr. Freeman. 🙂

  5. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Wow, so the famous someaudioguy makes an appearance. I was wondering when he would get his chance to be on the podcast.

    I was really surprised when he knew what he wanted to be when he was 8. That’s a bit of a leap of faith when you’re so young. I wanted to be a fireman when I was 8. Ahaha~

    I’m enjoying the interview, can’t wait for the next!

  6. Meg says:

    Hi Crispin- How are you? I’m so happy that I finally heard this podcast, because I was trouble to downloading this episode from the itunes, but it work 🙂 Thank you very much for this interview. It was very fun to listen with Juan’s stories. I have a question, is it true that doing a voice acting commercial and/or also live acting commercial while you’re hired can be very difficult for the brand/advertising of a company? I learned something from my advertising class about most commercials of each company are good/excellent, and some were super funny to make viewers impressive. For example, a guy who did voice over from the Kraft’s Mac n Cheese dinner commercials were terrific 🙂 However, other commercials that it shown at ‘TruTV’s World’s Dumbest Performers’ were terrible because of very poor acting and worst special effects. Thank you so much for your time and have a lovely day 😀

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I don’t understand your question. What are you asking exactly? Are you asking if it’s difficult to be hired for both the on-camera aspect and the voice over aspect of a commercial? Depends on the commercial. Sometimes the on-camera commercial actor is also used to do voice over, but often there is someone different doing the voice over so they can have some contrast.

      • Meg says:

        Yes – you’re right. That’s the question I was gonna asked. I’m really sorry that my English is not doing well 🙁 thank you so much for reply and I’m really looking forward for the next episode 🙂

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          Not a problem. Is English your second language? Are you listening from somewhere outside of the U.S.? I’m always curious about my international listeners.

          • Meg says:

            Oh no- not at all. I’m just American with expressive language disorder and mild cause of autism since toddler.

  7. Terance says:

    Hey Crispin I’ve noticed in anime voice over after years of experience and getting roles many anime voice actors go on to do ADR Directing and Script Adaptation as well. I’ve noticed even you have done this. Is this the natural progression most anime voice actors make in their career over time or do you have to fulfill certain requirements such as having a background or degree in directing or writing? Also what is the process like for adapting a script?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Some ADR voice actors do expand into directing and script adapting. It totally depends on the actor and whether or not they are interested in pursuing that field of work and if they have any talent for it.

      There are no “requirements” to being a successful artist. You just have to be good and have people trust in your abilities. A degree or certificate has no currency in the entertainment industry. Producers in the entertainment industry want results, not credentials.

      Adapting a script for ADR is a time consuming process. You must take the raw translation, make it speakable English, translate the cultural references, and make it match the lip flap of the characters on the screen. It is not an easy task. Usually it’s done by ADR voice actors because they have a clear sense of what an actor needs in terms of an ADR script for a recording session to go smoothly.

      Hope that helps.

  8. amora raven says:

    happy new year and um mr crispin freeman thank you for your podcast but im kind or an cross rodes right now you see i am in 10th grade hidh school right now and i have not prefomed since 6th grade acting and music period and have been having the ich prafom agin but i have this block that stops me but i shall persaver (oh um sorry about the rely bad spelling it run in the famly ) ok so latly i have been looking at differnt schools for acting and keep geting the feeling the teachers will just ridacul me as soon as they see me idk maybe its just the horrer storiys i hear from the drama and music majors from my school that get me thinking this (oh i go to a magnet school for the arts in tampa florida its called hwblake highschool ) an i am of the visual arts section which is located in a hideway hallway by the gym of the school. man im sorry i talk to much any way hopes for your next podcast your fan sence five amora raven bye for now (>.<)(ummm as you have asked)

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not sure what to say. If you’ve already decided that studying acting will be a terrible experience, I’m not sure I can change your mind. In addition, I don’t really feel like it’s my responsibility to do so. You have to feel inspired to pursue an acting career. No one can give you that inspiration.

      Your desire to become an actress, expand your artistry, portray different characters, pursue your dream and get paid to do it have to outweigh any fears of being criticized, ridiculed or embarrassed. Once your desire is stronger than your fear, then you will progress towards your dream.

      If you spend the time to think rationally about your fears, you’ll realize that they are usually not rooted in evidence but in expectation and hearsay. We build up our fears in our mind much larger than they tend to be in real life. If you can relax those fears, you will make much quicker progress towards your goals.


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