Tempest’s Downpour – Auditioning for a Role in Voice-Acting Panel by MECHA Software, LLC

Posted on Nov 27 2011

At Anime USA the con was barely an hour old and suddenly fans were thrust into auditions for roles in MECHA Software, a company that specializes in video games based on popular anime. Auditioning at conventions is a new trend started by MECHA Software, LLC., and the representatives did not leave hopefuls without a paddle.

MECHA’s audition process began at Anime USA last year. It carried through Anime Boston this year and resumed at AnimeUSA again this year. Geoff Beebe, the Communications Director, stated that his goal at this year’s convention was to find background voices and actors for roles they haven’t filled since Anime Boston, as well as writers, models and especially programmers. Beebe, along with actors Michael, Erica and Diva, offered us a layout and tips on what exactly they were looking for at auditions.

Regarding voice acting, the director is looking for someone who can follow directions. Erica was given a script she hadn’t seen before and began reading lines. “More creepy,” “do it older” and “do it green” were suggestions Beebe gave her as she read. She didn’t hesitate as she barreled through the monologue.

Beebe then explained to us that “do it green” has no particular meaning. He merely told her to do something and she did it to the best of her ability. As a director, he wants someone who can think on their feet and guess in the range of his goal. He wants someone who doesn’t stop and restart, though restarting a monologue isn’t a terrible thing, he said.

This, however, does not mean that a voice acting hopeful should read through the script as quickly as possible. When actors are given scripts for the first time, the director expects them to read it over until they are comfortable with it. Then, the actor should deliver the lines without gaps and with no stammering. The key is in how the voices express emotion, since the viewers won’t see facial expressions.

“Auditioning is passing a test,” Beebe said.

So, to break it down: auditioning for voice roles:
• Review the script
• Start when you are ready and comfortable
• Listen to directions
• Think on your feet
• Act/emote
• Don’t stammer or pause awkwardly

What they don’t want to hear:
• “I can sound like ____ from _____. Can you use that?”
o Their answer is no.
• “I really want to be a voice actor.”
o That won’t improve your chances.
• “Can you use synthesizers to make me sound better?”
o Synthesizers change the tone of your voice. They can’t fix bad acting.

The next audition on the list was for models. These people are meant to be the outgoing faces of MECHA Software and requirements include holding complex poses for at least 3 minutes. Modeling requires a good amount of acting in that models need to follow direction and not let on when something has gone wrong.

“You can have a broken leg, but no one can know that you do,” said Michael, who doubles as a model for MECHA.

MECHA offers security personnel for its models. No past modeling experience is necessary to audition, though people have to be charismatic and outgoing.

Breaking it down: models have to:
• Be charismatic
• Be outgoing
• Listen to direction
• Act as a representation of MECHA Software
• Hold complex poses for long periods of time
• Not react if something goes wrong

MECHA is looking for writers, preferably ones who specialize in fiction. Writers can offer works of up to one thousand words, double-spaced and in a normal font. (Comic Sans will not get you in.)

By that same token, MECHA is openly looking for any and all programmers and artists who are interested in taking on projects. MECHA wants the artists to showcase their originality: not copies of existing art. The artists must be open to critiquing.

The break down:
• Writers: works up to 1k words, double-spaced in normal font – preferably a work of fiction.
• Programmers: MECHA is open to seeing what you have to offer. Should have experience.
• Artists: Originality, openness to critiquing.

Beebe said 130 people auditioned last year, 50 made it past the first round, 12 made it past the second round and 11 people got hired. He said there will be more auditions at future cons.

For those who auditioned at Anime USA, decisions will be sent by January. They will only say if you passed or did not pass and what to expect next.

Beebe said f you didn’t pass, don’t panic. Not passing only means that they couldn’t find a place for you at this moment.

MECHA’s positions are all unpaid internships preferably for college students. MECHA’s privacy policy is that it doesn’t share data from auditions or internal review sheets. MECHA is not involved with any union or equity. MECHA is based in Massachusetts, though employees don’t have to live near the base since people have access to Skype and other software to communicate remotely.

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  • toyNN November 27, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    That all sounds like a lot of fun but.. “MECHA’s positions are all unpaid internships….” Working for experience and resume highlights. Good for MECHA giving people these opportunities. I bet some might even turn into a paid job if you are good enough.

    • Tempest Wind November 27, 2011 at 8:06 PM

      That is the intent. Also, with this economy, people pursue internships even after graduating college. *raises hand* Guilty.

  • Asterose November 29, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Recruiting amongst anime con-goers, interesting tactic indeed o,o The “Do it green” test was particularly curious but amusing a test.

    Only 11 people got in…and it’s unpaid interning, blah. Though a way to start is a way to start; my own mental gears can’t help but turn.

  • […] radio station 9.18 the Fan wrote a couple articles about Anime USA, but I especially liked Rayna Lewis’s interview with our guests from Mecha Software LLC about voice acting tips. Even they were impressed– the article is at the top of their Facebook […]

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