VAM 083 | How to Work Successfully with Producers and Casting Directors

VAM 083 | How to Work Successfully with Producers and Casting Directors

Welcome to episode 83 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:

In the last episode, I talked at length about agents and managers. Specifically, I explained how to build a fruitful relationship with an agent by understanding what is their responsibility as your representative and what is your responsibility as their client. I also discussed the differences between agents and managers to ensure that there was no confusion among my listeners about the different jurisdictions and approaches of these two kinds of professionals.

In this episode, I’d like to talk about how best to interact with Producers and Casting Directors. I want to help you understand the mindset of producers since they are the ones who usually have the final say about who does and does not get hired to play a voice acting role. This may come as a surprise to some aspiring voice actors who might think that this decision gets made by a show’s voice director. While a voice director’s creative input is definitely considered during the initial casting stage, it is almost always the producer who finally decides which actors will play which characters.

Sometimes, producers will hire an industry professional known as a casting director to help with this process. A casting director can save a lot of the producer’s time by helping them narrow down the number of auditions submitted by actors. The casting director serves as a filter, listening to hundreds of submissions and bringing the producer only a final few to be considered for each available role. Even though it has become more common recently for producers to approach actors’ agents directly in order to solicit auditions, a good casting director can still play an important role in bringing actors and producers together.

Both producers and casting directors have a problem, one that only you can solve! Check out the episode to learn how best to help them!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #83 Here (MP3)


16 Responses to “VAM 083 | How to Work Successfully with Producers and Casting Directors”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Good episode. I realized a long time ago that everyone works hard enough as it is. Don’t make anyone’s life (especially a producer’s) by being “that guy.”

    Thank you for your time and wisdom.

  2. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Great episode! It’s always great to hear more wisdom from you, Crispin!

    Thank you and can’t wait for the next one!


  3. Meghan (Meg) says:

    Great work, Crispin. Thank you so much for sharing your important advice and wisdom. I understand it’s a very hard work- I’m glad I’m still working on with my speech therapy and done couple VA classes with you. I know I still want it to do more sessions until my communications, mental health and learning difficulties are problem solved. Thanks again and can’t wait for the next one ^_^

  4. Flor says:

    Hi Crispin!

    Thanks for some more great insights to the business of voice over. As you were talking about the characteristics producers are looking for in the talent, I was thinking about the episode you did a while back on confidence, particularly focusing on building it.

    The other characteristics you noted (I wrote them down to make sure!) were reliability, professionalism, and comity (being easy to work with). Oh, and talent, lest we forget. These are so obvious in the professional world it seems like trying to break them down is like trying to describe the wetness of water. And yet… I would love to see episodes on what constitutes those first three characteristics. (I think everyone understands talent, and also you frequently talk about how to build the skills that bolster talent).

    Basically, this my request for future topics on professionalism etc. On the one hand it seems easy to understand always be on time, make yourself available, maintain a pleasant attitude. But on the other hand, unlike an office job where you work with perhaps a dozen people and the sense for the social environment doesn’t change much, as an actor your environment is constantly changing and you have to quickly get to know the expectations of a huge number of people. The sarcasm that one casting director may love may not be welcome in another director’s booth, etc. I’d also love to hear what you think makes up being easy to work with beyond simply leaving the negative attitude outside the studio. Also, how does reliability apply once you’ve gotten inside the booth on time?

    Bonus: How to recognize when these aren’t coming together (ie casting directors aren’t necessarily going to tell an actor he’s acting like a diva), and how to course correct without making it the CD/director/producer’s problem.

    Thanks yet again!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You raise some interesting points Flor. If I’m interpreting you correctly, you’d like me to do an episode where I address how to conduct yourself in a professional manner in the world of voice acting.

      I tried my best to do that in episode 30 (How to Think and Act Like a Professional) and episode 31 (Professional Booth Etiquette). Did you not find the information you’re looking for in those episodes?

      There is no formula for how to deal with directors and their different personality types. Some are nurturing, some are playful, some are sarcastic, some are demanding. The best thing you can do is to expose yourself to many different types of people and learn how best to interact with them. Much of acting is preparing as best you can and then being willing to change course based on the circumstances you find yourself in.

      Hopefully you find the episodes I suggested helpful.

      • Flor says:

        Hi Crispin,

        Thanks for the response. Revisiting those episodes helped quite a bit, especially the one on professional booth etiquette. I suppose I would like something more in the way of examples rather than an explanation of the optimal procedure. (I mean that you have given an outline to optimal etiquette, so repeating these points is unnecessary.) What do these rules of etiquette look like in the messy world of reality?

        How do you proceed when other actors or people in the studio are negative and try to engage you? Once you’re in the booth (on time!) what is reliability? How do you reconcile taking direction with following your own intuition in order to be brilliant? How do you suss out what one director wants if he regularly answers questions with only one or two words, and how do you hear what another director wants if her method is to answer each question with a long speech? I am asking specifically – what do you, Crispin, do?

        For myself, for now, until I find something that suits better, I lean on what I’ve learned from improv to create an amicable atmosphere, even outside of the booth. I’m still trying to read professionals and I feel like I fumble as often as not. So how do you take the temperature, so to speak, and adjust accordingly?

        Thanks once again for taking the time to do all of this. This podcast and the notes I take from it continue to be a significant part of my prep work. }:>


        • Crispin Freeman says:

          Everyone’s experience of the “messy world of reality” is different and much of how people react to you is based on the energy that you are putting out. That’s why I try to share principles of how to deal with situations so you can tailor it to your own experiences.

          If you’re asking for specific episodes, there are times when I’ve had directors act in ways that I found demeaning or negative. Sometimes I would just ignore them, sometimes I would stand my ground. It really depended on the situation and the inspiration that I felt in the moment. There is no hard and fast rule other than you have to learn to train and trust your gut instincts. You might make mistakes sometimes. That’s normal. The goal is to learn from those mistakes as quickly as possible.

          If other actors in the studio are being negative, I tend to just ignore them. However, if they become too disruptive, I may feel inspired to say something to them. Depends on the circumstances.

          Reliability is being prompt and capable: showing up on time, being ready to work and staying focused throughout your session. They called you in to play a character based on your audition and you should be able to deliver that character.

          Again, there is no hard and fast rule as to how to reconcile your own inspiration with direction from outside. This is art, not chemistry. Bring your own inspiration, but you do need to incorporate the direction you receive as well. It’s a negotiation, not a formula.

          What do I do? I follow my inspiration based on my experience working with lots of different directors, making mistakes, figuring out how to do something better and trying again.

          It feels like you’re asking me to give you the ultimate list of answers that will serve you in every possible contingency so you can avoid making any egregious mistakes. There is no such list. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to get things right. Your challenge is just to maximize successful choices and minimize less successful ones. You’ll never eliminate all mistakes, just do your best to lean towards success.

          Leaning on your improv experience is a good idea. “Taking the temperature” of people in a room is something you learn over time, it’s not something I can tell you how to do with a recipe. It’s called living life and being aware and sensitive to how your words and actions affect other people.

          There is no formula to collaborate well as an artist, just as there is no formula about how to paint a great picture. However, there are principles that you can use to your benefit just as there are principles of anatomy, perspective and color that you can use to help you paint a great picture. I try to share those principles with you in the podcast. It’s up to you to go out and try them and see how they work for you. Everyone’s journey is different. You have to find your own path.

          • Flor says:

            Thank you very much for your extensive response, Crispin! These are all points I’m working on and will continue to do so for a long time to come, so I really appreciate any light you can shed.

          • Crispin Freeman says:

            You’re very welcome Flor. Glad I could help.

  5. Anthony Berbey says:

    I fully enjoyed the episode Crispin. keep up the good work.

  6. Kayden Strong says:

    I really enjoyed this episode and It gave me a better understanding of what casting directors and producers are and what there looking for, I’m a inspired beginning voice actor and I appreciate any help this can offer than you very much


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