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How To Create Useful Audition MP3 File Names

Hey, there!

I was installing home equipment for a client recently, and as part of that experience, I led her through how to use Audacity to export an MP3 for submitting as an audition.

She was surprised to find out that I actually care a great deal, and get really picky, about how that audition MP3 file is named.

Here’s the skinny.

I want you to be as useful to the people you audition for as possible.

It’s why I strongly suggest that, no matter what, you slate your auditions. (Because you don’t know how or where the person making the decision will be listening to your stuff.)

I have a very specific format for how you should name your actual MP3 files.

Don’t be lazy, and just name them vo-audition.mp3.

Make your audition file name able to convey a great deal of information to the casting director, voice seeker, or client – who may be receiving thousands of auditions per project. And, as an added bonus, you’ll make the filename useful to you for filing purposes.

Included the following items, in this order, divided by hyphens (no need for underscores anymore) in your filename. Then, I’ll show you the format I use, as well as an actual sample, below the list):

1 Your name. You can use your full name, your first initial and last name, your nickname – whatever you like, as long as the receiving party (CD, agent, voice seeker etc) can keep you separate from others. There happen to be 16 other David Lawrences in the business, hence, I use my full name.

2 The date. This should be in YYYYMMDD format. Why? Because it keeps everything in numerical order – if you used the more typical MMDDYY format, next year’s Januarys would follow this year’s Januarys, and precede this year’s February submissions. This way, your files line up in chronological order.

3 The client. A short, one word reference to whoever’s going to be hiring you to do the job. No need for Bank of America when bofa will do the trick.

4 The project. This is the campaign, the product, the new service, the show – whatever’s being advertised. It’s often part of the script title, so choose something that delineates that campaign from others from the same client.

5 The role. This is really important – you may be asked to audition for multiple roles. Alter this part of the file name to reflect what the listener is going to hear. Take the role from the script itself – vo, annc, Man 2, salesman etc.

6 (optional) The version. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to make an adjustment and re-submit your audition. To keep everything straight, and so you don’t send an earlier version by mistake, use this: v2, v3, v4 etc. And, no, you don’t need to add a v1 to every one of your initial auditions.

Here’s an example of the file name I used for an audition I just did the other day for my agent:

davidhlawrencexvii-20131108-peets-newpods-annc-v2.mp3

So, to break this file name down, you see my name, a YYYYMMDD formatted date, the name of the client (peets), the name of the project (newpods), the role (annc, short for announcer), and because this was the second version I’d sent, v2 (for version 2). And note that I prefer everything to be lower case.

If you do this relentlessly, your list of auditions will be easily searchable, in date order, and your hard drive will be that much more organized. And the people you’re sending them to will thank you for making their job easier.

Hope this helps.

David

11 Responses to How To Create Useful Audition MP3 File Names

  1. Karl Jaecke November 14, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks David that is a much better way to label the file than what I have been using.
    You are the best!

    Thanks
    Karl Jaecke

  2. Theresa Mignonne Daniels November 14, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    This was great information! I plan to switch to this format for my audition files effective today! Looking forward to a more organized hard drive and flash drives! I have never seen any instructions for file names other than from casting director Dawn Hershey and those casting for AudibleScripts projects. Once again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  3. Bill Sarkisian November 14, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Good advice, it’s how I do mine, except my agent wants a particular format, so I use theirs for their work. I shared this on FB.

    Thanks!

    B

    • David H. Lawrence XVII November 14, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      As long as it helps both you and your agent stay organized, I’m thrilled at ANY consistent format. This is just the one that’s worked best for me over the years.

  4. Kat Negrete November 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Yes!! I’ve been doing this since you taught me years ago and it still rocks. I also keep my auditions and booked recordings in folders on my computer organized by date. 2013 Auditions
    2013 Booked Jobs
    2012 Auditions
    2012 Booked Jobs
    etc.
    Within each of those folders, I have 12 sub folders for each month.
    01-Jan-2013
    02-Feb-2013
    etc.
    It has helped greatly with bookkeeping!

  5. Peter K. O'Connell November 16, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    David.

    I like your filing system as it’s similar to mine.

    I would only caution that regarding “slate” and naming files, in my opinion the agent’s naming system (if provided with the audition) supersedes any name system we each might prefer.

    Some of my agents get very persnickety about they want files named for auditions (likely because they’ve established their own cataloging system). And if an agent says in the directions “don’t slate” then don’t slate.

    If agents are our business partners then we have to trust them in their abilities and that they have good reasons for the directions they give us.

    Unless you have reason not to trust your agent and then you’ve got bigger problems than file names and slating.

    Best always,
    – Peter

    • David H. Lawrence XVII November 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      I was right with you, right up until you started giving away your power to your agent.

      My agent and I work together, but it’s very clear that he works for me. We decide together what to do – and I prefer the added bonus of slating everything. He’s gone along with me.

      Agents are not infallible. Remind me sometime to tell you all the story of how my agent mis-read an audition, and cost all of her clients the booking.

      It’s not about trust – for me, it’s a core business practice that I won’t be moved from. I’ve never had an agent ask me not to do that, and I’ve never heard an experienced CD say not to slate (I have seen a lot of impatient and inexperienced Voice123 voice-seekers say that. I choose not to work for clients like that.).

      The naming convention, absolutely – you want to make it easy for them if that’s what they are doing. I also change the naming format if a breakdown lists a particular format that the CD wants.

      David

  6. Todd Cattell November 17, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    Excellent and as always thorough recommendation that I shall use immediately. Going to be so much easier to keep track of submissions and bookings now. Thanks David.

  7. Maria April 26, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks David — I love your emails! So much useful information laid out so clearly!

  8. Pam Tierney April 26, 2016 at 7:28 am #

    David I love it when you pull back the curtain and share your organization tips!

  9. Brad C. Wilcox April 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Thanks, David! I do a similar file naming thing, but briefer. I was always concerned a file name that long would be obnoxious, but I will start using this method too. I like that it’s got everything in it, so it will be clear to casting and well-organized for me.

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