When the Body of Work Precedes the Demo
When I was in college, I used to joke that I would love to give tours but I couldn’t as I cannot walk backwards. Well, in the world of voice over, my ability to walk in any direction does not matter and I can guide and welcome people whether they are on site or doing a virtual visit. In the voice over industry, the path that we take typically follows a specific order, and that path often begins with a demo. For me, I have been booking work for tours for years, from city tours to museum tours, and somehow I’ve been doing it without a tour specific demo. I have now amassed quite a volume of this work, so now that I am clearly on this path, I have decided to do a tour specific demo. Perhaps its because I love the versatility of emotion and roles that one can play when giving tours, and the idea that you can be on-site, have a pre- visit, or a virtual visit, that makes professional voice over for tours so appealing.
Now, in the click of our mouse, we can visit anywhere in the world! When planning a trip, these city tours are particularly valuable. Last year, I had an opportunity to work on one of the most valuable tour projects of my career! I booked a project with rover.com to do city tours for cities across the United States for dogs and their humans. For a mom of two fur babies, this was lots of fun. Each city tour gave specific hotspots that were dog friendly, and included activities, restaurants, stores, and not to be missed unique local favorites. As a female narrator, the city tours were warm, upbeat, inviting, gracious, and fun. The scripts were so well written that they made me want to go to visit many of these cities, but it was my job to bring them to life, and I had a great time doing it.
Museum projects have been a lot of fun for me over the years as well. As a working mom and former History teacher, I love museums. Museum work gives a unique opportunity for different roles, including testimonials, characters, knowledgable friends, and, of course, the trusted expert. As a professional voice over actor, I love the nuance between giving a children’s tour and one for adults. There is so much room for creativity in this genre. Again, just like with cities, some tours are for in-person visits and others are for on-line visits. This also lends itself to creative freedom and a way to be welcoming and insightful with the script.
In recent years, I have also had a chance to do many other types of tours, including Universities, schools, Real Estate, Hospitals, Offices, Factories, Rehabilitation Centers, Residential Life Centers, and more. The list is long because so many business want people to be able to tour their facility and feel welcome as a pre-visit before coming in person.For example, according to Inside HigherEd, in March 2019 at Fordham University only 700 students took virtual tours but in March 2020 there were 2,200 virtual visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to DigitalInTheRound, there are five million visits on virtual tours every day! As with anywhere in life, we only have one chance to make a fist impression, and more and more often that first impression is happening on-line with a virtual tour. I think about that when I step up to the microphone. The voiceover that I provide shapes the relationship that the viewer or listener has with the space, so I work hard to establish the tone for the tour that I am supposed to maintain for the role that I am playing.
Why Do the Demo Now
Often if other genres are bringing the work in, then a demo this specific is not necessary- so we do it? The simple answer is marketing. By producing samples for the genre that are ideal and showcase my abilities and understanding of the field, I will now target direct marketing for tours. Could I have continued to book as I’ve been without it? Sure. But why not go after an entire category that I am passionate about where there is an abundance of work. I also feel that as new content emerges, the virtual tours become more essential by the day. When the Covid-19 Pandemic has put a damper on so many things, this is one are that we can look to with glee. We can virtually go anywhere in the world, and I want to be a part of that joyous positivity at this moment.