This week concludes another series of articles from the fine folks at Edge Studio designed to ‘Give You An Edge’ on your voiceover career. If you missed any of the Demo Tips this month, I encourage you to take some time and follow the advice from the staff at Edge Studio whether you’re recording your first demo or you’re ready to record another for a different genre of voiceover.
Edge Studio Demo Tips:
- Does Your Demo Sound Professional?
- What Kind Of Voiceover Demo Should You Make?
- 7 Steps To Your Most Profitable Voiceover Genre
In today’s final Demo Tip, you’ll learn how to be sure your demo gets a listen…not a toss in the trash.
by: Edge Studio Staff
There are plenty of voice over jobs out there. Really. At Edge, we cast, produce, and record thousands of them every year.
Not surprisingly, Edge receives many, MANY demo submissions from voice talent looking for work. Every one is reviewed and considered for our talent library.
But guess what. Upwards of 95% of demos received are unusable BECAUSE THEY LACK FOCUS!
This article will help you build your voice over career by explaining how to focus your demo.
The majority of demos we receive contain a mishmash of script excerpts on them – anything that the aspiring voice talent believes adds variety. Think about it: If retail stores simply stocked their shelves with a mishmash of stuff, consumers would have a difficult time finding what they need. Likewise, casting professionals often have a difficult time finding the voice talent their clients’ requests.
When producing your demo, carefully consider the excerpts you demonstrate on it. Show off your voice, of course, but do it in a way that shows off the styles that your voice, your vocal delivery, and your local market are most appropriate for.
Don’t worry about including one of every type of voice over style on your demo and having as much variety as possible. In other words, don’t try to be the “other guy,” because the “other guy” does it better than you can.
(Because we know how important focus is, Edge Studio continually emphasizes this when training future voice talent. We even have a special Demo Preparation session prior to producing each demo. Via telephone or at one of our studios, our goal is to ensure that each demo produced here is marketable enough that our own clients (which range from Disney to the U.S.Army) will hire the new voice talent.)
CONSIDER WHEN PRODUCING YOUR DEMO
a.) Your local market. Which sectors of the voice over industry are casting professionals in your area looking for? Which sectors pay well? Which sectors are growing? What sectors create on-going work with long-term client relationships? Consider these things BEFORE producing your demo, so that local casting professionals have a need for you… and so that you can maintain long-term clients, with solid income.
b.) Your delivery. Being a “Jack of all trades” is generally not the most effective way to increase your workload. What is effective is only demonstrating vocal styles that come naturally and easily for you – even if that means you only demonstrate one style. This is because casting professionals generally hire voice talent who naturally have the delivery they require. Therefore cluttering up your demo with artificial dialects and accents, as well as any delivery that is a stretch for you, rarely gets you work. (Remember: you can try to sound like someone else, but someone else out there does it more believably.) So do what you do well, not what others do well. Therefore skip the announcer style car spot and focus on documentaries if that is what your natural voice delivery is more fitting for.
c.) Your passion. Hate commercials? Then don’t record them. Someone who likes them will enjoy it more and will therefore sound better. Pursue your aspirations.
d.) Your terminology. Don’t have a medical background? Then do not put medical narration excerpts on your demo. This is because casting professionals will hear a medical excerpt on your demo (the one you spent months memorizing and consulting dictionaries to be able to pronounce), and will hire you to narrate medical narrations. If you cannot read medical scripts “cold,” then do not demonstrate them on your demo.
e.) Your contacts. Work in a large corporation? Then leverage your contacts. Offer your voice over services to the HR department and suggest that you record the “welcome to our company video,” “job fair video,” and so on. Talk to communications and record the telephony systems (menu-prompt, information on hold, voice mail, etc.). Talk to marketing and advertising to record commercials, trade-show exhibit videos, and promotional material. Go down the hall to the training department to record training videos. Speak with the web department to narrate flash presentations, on-line tutorials, “welcome to our home-page” narrations, and so on. All in all, look for work where you already have contacts.
f.) Your personality. Fidgety? Audiobook recordings are not for you – you’ll never be able to sit still long enough. Consider short recordings. Always consider the best type of work for YOU.
g.) Your creativity. Can you read a line ten different ways? If so, you’re ready for cartoons, talking toys, and other types of voice over that require creativity. If you tend to speak somewhat repetitively, consider on-line tutorials, documentaries, etc – as these narrations usually require less dynamics.
h.) Your listener. Want to keep their interest? Well listen carefully… don’t just use one of every type of script. Instead take the style(s) that work best for you, and demonstrate variety within those styles. For example, if educational voice over is best for you, show one excerpt of a pre-school “speak and spell” game, one high-school computerized test, one foreign language learning program, one adult continuing education program, etc.
One of the few things standing between you and it is your demo. So take pride in your demo. Liken your demo to you a resume – something that everyone meticulously sculpts, and do the same. Carefully consider all the points listed above.
Create a demo that has focus and GETS YOU WORK.