The Radio Lounge voice over demo producers share five elements of a great voice actor demo reel.
An experienced voice over demo producer can be your secret weapon to gaining more voice over work. “Put your best foot forward” is not only a slogan, but it will define who you are in the world of voiceover.
Your voice over demo – your calling card – is around 60 seconds in length and for the most part, you get one chance to make that impression. Please don’t rely on a good friend without a clue to grade your demo. They are uninformed or just being nice when it comes to rating your efforts.
A good demo, or better yet, the best damn demo there ever was is a journey. Just about the time you get comfortable with the work, it’s time to freshen it up. So, this journey is never-ending.
Are you in this business for the short term, or would you like to be considered a pro whose name comes up frequently for casting and consideration? Although you might not have hung a “shingle” on your new business, it is after all a “business” and the demo is your way to making it successful.
Does your voice over demo define your style?
Did you ever hear a voice actor that claimed they could do different character voices, when in fact those attempts fell short? Embarrassing, weak, waste of time.
Each of us has a voice personality. Each of us has a range. Each of us has a range of talent, and we must operate in that range to achieve success.
Have you taken the time to discover that gold nugget that exists in your range? Or, are you trying to force a delivery that you will never achieve? How do we get there? By connecting with a valid professional voice coach that understands the process and knows how to get you there.
Does your reel begin with the best of the best?
The first few words of your demo will define who you are. The rest of the demo is confirmation of who you are. In most cases, unless the first few words grab that attention, your audition won’t get past that point. Have you found that nugget in the demo?
This is your headline, the one that makes ‘em listen for more. You might have a ton of great material and you want everybody to hear every second, but that won’t happen until you begin with the very best.
Does your voice acting demo producer bring out your range?
Some voice actors can go in a million different directions with their voice. Others have a lesser range, and that’s okay. Good example is Tom Bodett, one read, one personality, one heck of a bank account, and one incredible voiceover career.
Voice coaching is the one and only way to discover your range. Have you taken the time to work on that with a voice coach that understands how to help you get there? Okay, you might not be Tom Bodett, but you can explore range and crafting one heck of a voice demo and voiceover career.
Has the production value weakened your potential to get voice over work?
We have seen so many voice actors that come to the table with a demo that isn’t even close to being okay. It’s just a lack of savvy, not talent. It’s sad to say, but our industry is filled with demo mills, the places where a demo is made without any consideration of talent or capability. That’s a shame,
The voice over demo production process is so much more than stringing a few pieces of audio together. It’s a process of training, and more training, not only voice training, but the kind of instruction that allows a person to fully assume the business of voice acting.
Sonically, is your demo equally weighted between elements?
Is there a surprise factor as it transitions between elements?
Does it flow?
Does it make an agent want to hear more of you?
A demo isn’t about grabbing a few spots you have done and putting them together.
Your reel is the only thing you have to get to an audition in a very crowded field, and if it’s your lucky day, get the gig. Don’t miss how important the production value of your demo is.
How do the voice over demo elements fit together?
When we build demos, it’s a discovery lesson for us as well. The process of finding the right copy, getting the best reads, and adding a high production value comes before assembly time. Rule #1; knock their socks off with the first piece of audio. Then, let’s find a way to build this audio experience into a five-star presentation of “you”.
Flow is very important, especially with those voice actors that have a narrow range. We accomplish this with fine tuning of the elements like music and sound effects, and in the end, we have crafted a journey that feels right from start to finish.
Radio Lounge produces high quality voice over demos and voiceover coaching from their studios in Houston, Texas. (Sugar Land).
M. Bruce Abbott is the Creative Director/Partner at Radio Lounge. Bruce has over 30 years experience as a voice actor, casting and production director, as well as extensive advertising, marketing, and podcasting experience.