I just had a voice audition for a big franchise of which I'm a fan, from a development / publishing company of which I'm also a big fan.
And I got a call back.
(Which, oddly, in the years I've been doing this, is a first for me. I usually book off the audition itself, my demos, or with repeat business. So another first on the acting front is wicked cool.)
I'm a big video game fan, and those and cartoons are what got me into voice acting.
And though I consider any audition a gift, on so many levels this particular audition was amazing on the giftage front.
And I extended my acting process in new ways, too.
I got the audition notice Friday. I was supposed to prep for the main "good guy" and the main "bad guy" -- meaty parts both. (And I need to be vague, because I don't want to give stuff away.)
These are the most amazing character breakdowns I have ever received. We're talking 4 sides a piece, character synopsis, renders or reference picture, reference TV / movie stars, description of the relationships between the characters, and additional info (for one of them, there was a freaking Myers-Briggs-like assessment!).
I wonder if some actors would be miffed at this much info. But for me, it gave me a phenomenal base on which to build. I didn't have to do basic wood shedding -- I could just go to the next level.
I did my normal thing and wrote out all of my lines for both roles, and memorized them independent of any acting choices.
Then I made the additional acting choices -- What happened just before, what're the details of my characters' relationships with each other, what was different about how they both got to the same point, and so on.
And then I did some things I haven't done before with my acting.
In another life they'd be ...
I got to thinking about how to some degree we are who are because of a combination of nature, nurture, and our place in time. So, for these two guys, who or what would they be if they were born in another time?
For the good guy, I saw him as a Spartan warrior (I just saw 300; twice). The bad guy would be Alexander the Great (not that Alex was bad, necessarily, but it just mapped well).
Work from what you know ...
What I know -- inside and out -- is comic books. So, I wanted to look at what character or characters were most like these guys. This really gave me a hook for each of them.
Good guy -- Captain America + Punisher + Hawkeye
Bad guy -- Winter Soldier + Spider-Man
What music did they listen to ...
I've done this before, but this time, driving down to the audition for an hour, already knowing my lines, I listened to music I thought each of them would listen to as I internally woodshedded these two guys. Turns out The Punisher Soundtrack had mixes of tracks I could apply to each of them (on the same disc).
This one was new, and worked powerfully and well. I thought about what each of their dad relationships were, and worked through those as the character.
Good guy -- "My dad loved me, and we were buddies. We played football, wrestled, ran, and always tested our bodies against each other. He never abused me, but never coddled me. He'd knock me down in football, and (when I was old enough) I knocked him down."
Bad guy -- "I was the fifth of five kids, and the first boy. My dad so wanted a boy, and I was so small and sickly. A lot of parents us "C'Mon, Guys!" generically with boys and girls; my dad used, "C'Mon, Girls!". He never talked to me about his disappointment. He never talked to me about his disappointment."
The audition ...
I ended up just auditioning for the role of the bad guy. Which is fine. I'm still ready for both.
And this was also my first audition for casting director Amy Grappell, and she and Annie were very organized and very professional, making for a great, non-stress audition. She also gave me great, specific, usable feedback. Also a gift.
Freaking great audition ...