How to find your nine year old daughter a part in an audio drama.

A review of some of the talent platforms we've discovered

A few weeks ago I wrote that I couldn’t find my way into fiction podcasts, and since then I’ve discovered the door that worked for me! I’m surprised at what it was—Marvel. I’m not at all a Marvel person, but somehow Wolverine: The Long Night was so fun that I binged it in two days.

And now that I’m in, I’m taking my whole family in with me.

My nine year old daughter has had the acting bug for a while. There have literally been nights where we’ve soothed her to sleep after she’s gotten so upset that we won’t move to Hollywood and let her start her acting career.

Fortunately even in small town Eagle, Co, she’s been able to take a couple years of acting classes. We’ve been hesitant to go much beyond the small (pandemic hampered) acting experiences that her class gives her in part because the life of an actor with its emphasis on appearance and its parade of audition rejections feels like something not to foist upon a young, sensitive girl.

But! I do want to support her dreams, and I had an epiphany when I got into Wolverine, that there are tons of podcast acting parts out there, and some of them might be work-from-home gigs, and the competition for them might not be fierce!

So I set out to get both my daughter and me voice acting work. It’ll be daddy-daughter in the studio time.

I was hoping that my super high profile as an actual CEO of a podcast company would get us handed a sweet part right out of the gate, but that’s not how life works. Instead I was told of four different ways to find parts, and the rest of this newsletter will be a quick blurb on my experience with each.

1) Backstage: It looks like having voiceover specific profiles on Backstage is a new feature, but more generally, Backstage is the incumbent talent platform. They have really robust software with lots of casting calls, and my daughter already has her first callback for an audition! I’m pretty pleased with it, but I realize that it’s a privilege to have the $100/year available to pay Backstage just for the opportunity to do auditions.

Here’s a look at their very slick audition pipeline page:

2) Ahab: They’re a new voiceover talent finding platform. Unfortunately, as of now they have no roles for a nine year old girl, but I do like to root for entrepreneurial spirit, and I will keep checking back. They also need to address a few product issues such as the overwhelming amount of data they request for every new voice sample you upload. In this screen shot the bottom three data fields open dropdowns with over a hundred options.

3) Casting Call Club: There seem to be a lot of productions in here, and it looks like they lean heavily into a world that I don’t know what to call. The parts are for anime films, fantasy games, and other media I’m not familiar with. They come with a project rating that I don’t fully understand but somehow it relates to the likelihood that the project is real and will be produced. Here’s a screenshot of a search for 9 year old voice acting parts. What is a Minecraft Global Warming movie? What is a Gacha project? What is a Genshin Impact Fansong? And how amazing is it that in one search I entirely lose any feeling of being extremely online?

4) @radioDrama on Twitter: Wil Williams, the very in-the-know podcast writer and audio drama producer told me casting calls are tweeted on this account. This is cool and I’m going to try to keep my eye on it, but unless I remember to check it I’m a bit at the mercy of the Twitter algorithm.

5) Upwork: Are podcasts using Upwork to find voice actors? I’m not sure, but I found Stevie Rose on there who did dozens of wonderful intros for Mobycast.

I’m sure this list is incomplete. This was never meant to be a journalistically sound roundup, but rather my own perspective and journey. What other great ways are there to find voice acting work for podcasts? (not a rhetorical question)

I’ll also keep you posted as we make progress. I sincerely look forward to the day when I can share a show that my daughter acts in! I’d definitely welcome any help making that happen for her.

I even went so far as to update the recording studio with a better mic — which I will also be using for another Timber project in the coming weeks.

Why in the world do most audio interfaces come with USB 2.0 or mini USB ports? The cheapest USB-C or thunderbolt audio interface was in the $1000 range. Ridiculous.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for your help! And please share this with your friends.

—Jon Christensen