Order of Events
So you’ve decided to make a commercial voice over demo! Where ever you are in your voice over career, there’s nothing more exciting than a new demo to get a voice actor going! So when I, as the coach and demo producer, get the call from a voice talent, it’s my job to assess where they are in terms of demo readiness. If another established talent is working as long as I have calls, they can go straight to demo. If a newbie calls it is obvious they will need coaching. But there is a vast grey area in between a working professional voice actor and someone completely new, so how do I assess what my clients need? Ultimately, no one goes to make a demo unless they are ready to book work at the time the demo is complete.
When a New Talent Needs a Demo
When someone brand new to voiceover calls or emails, after our initial consultation, I like to send them an audition script to read to get a baseline idea of where they are starting. From that, I can best assess approximately how many sessions it will take to get them demo ready. Some people are fast learners and they only need a handful of lessons. Others take substantially more time. Here are some factors that influence how quickly you can get to your demo:
- How much time do you have to practice?
- How much time do you have to listen to other samples and repeat them?
- Have you acted before?
- Have you taken improv classes?
- Do you sing?
- Are you a good listener?
- How determined are you to reach your goals?
- How good are you at following directions?
- How often can you meet?
As the answers to these questions vary so much from voice student to voice student, the results vary. In general, when a voice actor reaches out and wants to do a demo, they are pretty determined to make it happen and that determination and passion lead to success.
When an Intermediate Talent Needs to Make a Demo
In the past month, I have had two clients with acting and entertainment experience who were new to voice over reach out for demos. Again, both were given baseline reads to asses. Both were amazing. You’d think they’d been in voice over for years. Even without coaching, as one had stage and vocal training and the other had on-camera tv experience, their instincts of what to do with the script lead to a natural, authentic, solid read that would be bookable if they submitted.
When someone like that reaches out, I am comfortable moving forward with the demo, as my demo packages include the necessary coaching to prepare the demo. Whether a client chooses the full video package or an audio-only package, their script selection and works on those scripts are included in our process. My goal is for them to have an amazing, jaw-dropping commercial demo that shows their range as a voice over actor, so we choose spots that demonstrate this range.
When an Experienced Voice Actor Needs a Demo
When a working voice talent needs a demo, again, we can move forward with script selection and a process that showcases their range and strengthens their business’ brand. I work hard not only to bring scripts that enable voice actors to target aspirational clients and showcase their capabilities but also to have the demos be a reflection of what the talents value, care about, and matter. The demo prep process is collaborative and the voice talent’s personality and opinion matter greatly.
Again, the demo packages all include the necessary demo prep, so whether you have been in voice over six months or six years, come demo recording day, my job is to make the demo client shine. I work really hard in the time leading up to the demo to flesh out the nuances of the scripts and talk about the different possibilities so that when the day comes to record the demo client is ready.
My Philosophy About Demos
I believe a demo is an opportunity. A good, solid demo gives you a chance to market yourself to potential clients and them what you can do for them. Particularly when you are new to voiceover, a video demo gives you an instant body of work to market that you would not have. If you have been in voice over and reaching out to video production companies, it is just logical that people connect best in the medium that they work in: video. So, why not give them the content the way they like seeing it? If you are doing an audio-only demo, that demo has to be amazing. Every spot has to show a range and the demo cannot be too long. They have to be attention-getting and leave the listener wanting more. I also believe demos should last for many years and should not be dated, so finding content that the client will not age out of and that will not date the demo is of the utmost importance.