© 2021 Backstage. All rights reserved.

General Guidelines

Contest Start Date: 
August 30, 2021

Submission Deadline: 
September 28, 2021

Projects must be 5 minutes or less to be eligible for judging.


Prizes will be awarded to the winning project’s creator to be distributed among team members. The winning project will receive prizes including:

Submission Deadlines and Rules

Ready to Submit Your Finished Project?


Your project must tell a clear story, so abstract or non-narrative works are not eligible for judging. Posting your casting notice is also free when you register as a creator.

Performers must register and have a Backstage Talent Profile to participate.

We’re excited to hear your Sound Stories project! 

When you’re ready, you may submit your MP3 or .WAV file here before 11:59pm ET on September 28. Be sure to review the Official Rules before submitting.

In Partnership With


Industry experts from Backstage, Tribeca Festival, The V.O. Dojo, Sundance Co//ab, and Society of Voice Arts & Sciences will judge the projects, selecting one winner and two runners up.

Jessica Hobbs: Sundance Co//ab Community Manager

Leah oversees audio storytelling at Tribeca and works on select Tribeca Studios film projects and programs. She designed and organized the inaugural podcast section of the Tribeca Festival in 2021, premiering 12 new independent podcasts and hosting a series of in-person podcast events. She served as executive producer for Fierce, a podcast about unsung women who changed the world, and hosts and produces Tribeca Talks, an audio series of interviews with acclaimed filmmakers recorded live at the Tribeca Festival.

Leah Sarbib: Tribeca Festival
Manager of Content Development and Audio Storytelling

Rudy Gaskins: SOVAS
Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences

Tish Hicks: The V.O. Dojo  Founder

Need music or SFX 
for your project? 

Soundstripe is offering a free 
month of access with code
 SOUNDSTORYFREE at checkout.

  • A Sennheiser MK4 microphone

  • A SOVAS Gold Membership for voice actors

  • An annual membership to Sundance Co//ab

  • An ARRI Alexa Mini Camera rental package from Adorama Rental Company 

  • Neumann.Berlin NDH20 headphones

  • A free annual membership to Backstage for performers

  • A 2022 Tribeca Festival access package and more!


Sound Stories

Summer 2021


August 30 - September 28

Create a narrative project using only sound. Choose your theme, write your story, cast your voice talent and submit your project for a chance to win cash and prizes.

Submissions Now Closed


Sign up below to follow the contest. You'll receive submission instructions, casting tips and a free casting promo code.

Submissions Now Closed


Sign up below to follow the contest. You'll receive tips on how to get discovered by Sound Stories creators, as well as a special offer!

Submissions Now Closed

Jessica spent the early part of her career working in technical theater, opera, and film festivals while earning her film degree at the University of Colorado. After five years working in reality TV as a Writer’s Assistant and Associate Producer, she made the move to Los Angeles and took a job with the Sundance Institute while also working as a freelance writer, producer and script supervisor for film and TV. She is currently the Community Manager for the Sundance Collab Online Community and is a frequent contributor with online publications.

Tish Hicks is an L.A. based, highly successful voice actor and entrepreneur. She has been the voice of Citibank and Subaru and she has lent her voice to Workday, Shaklee, Rockstar Games, BioWare, Square Enix, and Netflix. Tish is also the founder and Sensei of the V.O. Dojo, and wherever you find yourself on your voiceover journey, the V.O. Dojo trains you to cultivate the power and possibility of your voice. Tish's disciplined and holistic approach inspires you to fearlessly and systematically develop your unique career trajectory.

Rudy Gaskins is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences. He's an Emmy Award-winning TV producer/director having helmed executive roles for Court TV, Food Network, NBC Sports PBS, He is a contributing columnist to Backstage Magazine and has written several articles for NBC News. He offers private voiceover coaching for both beginners and seasoned pros, and is a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. 


Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions.


How it Works

We challenge you to write, cast, record, edit, or perform in a narrative story using only sound. All stories must feature vocal performance or voice acting by Backstage actors.* You must also craft your story to fit one of the following three themes, using the theme as a line of dialogue in your story.

* Performers, if you're not a Backstage member, follow 
the contest for a special offer.

1. What comes next for us

2. Another new beginning

3. Nothing ever stays the           same, but nothing                 changes much

Qualifying projects will be judged by Backstage and other entertainment industry experts. The winning project and 2 runners up will be announced on Backstage. The winning project will receive prizes valued around $10,000!

Summer 2021 Themes

Presenting Partners

Supporting Partners

Submissions Now ClosedHEAR LAST YEAR'S WINNERSSee the Official Rules for full prize details.

Josh Jurgess: Tongal  Post-Production Supervisor

Josh Jurgess is the Post-Production Supervisor at Tongal. What started as a wedding video (as a gift) for newlyweds, soon snowballed into a 15-year journey of learning as much about the post-production process as possible. One of his favorite parts about his job is getting to work with new filmmakers and passing on knowledge he wished he had gotten earlier in his career. Josh is an avid podcast listener and cannot wait to listen to what you create. He currently lives in Ventura, CA with his cat Phyllis.