Let’s talk demos!
A voice over demo is one of the most important elements of marketing yourself as a voice actor. This is a short audio clip of about 60 seconds showing off your abilities, strengths and vocal quality for a specific voice over genre. Generally, you will want to have one demo per genre that you are planning to work in.
When should I get a demo?
Ideally, you do not want to rush and get a demo right away. It is best to have some experience as a voice actor and have had several coaching sessions. This is to ensure that your demo is your best work and not a compilation of silly voices, poor audio quality, flat performances, etc.
A demo is your first impression for many projects, directors, producers, dev, and more. The last thing you want to send is an underwhelming or poorly produced demo. Immediately, they will categorize you in a “not ready” slot and it is really hard to get out of this perception they have of you.
You want to blow them away and capture their attention long enough. Most people do not have time to sift through hundreds of demos that get sent in. So if you do not captivate them them within the first few seconds, you have already lost.
Can I make a demo?
This is a gray area. It is best not to create your own demo, again we want to captivate the potential client/casting director. MOST homemade demos fall flat in performance and/or mixing and producing. This is usually due to not having sufficient experience with self directing, mixing knowledge or knowing what a demo should be made of.
The benefit of a homemade voice over demo is something to use as a placeholder. Some projects require a demo when submitting for an audition so having this bad boy, no pun intended, is something good to have as a way of being heard. Also, if you do not have the budget to get a professional demo produced, at least this will suffice.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND, marketing with this demo, unless you are 100% this meets the industry standard of a professional demo. As mentioned previously, the last thing we want is a bad first impression. If you are not ready as a voice actor, it is best not to market yourself. Wait until you have some experience, a decent resume and ideally a professional quality demo.
How do I get a demo?
The best advice I would give in this is hire a demo producer! They are going to provide you with a fantastic demo that shows off your voice and highlights your abilities, while also creating something that can compete with other industry reels. Demo producers know the what is the current trend for voice over demos and how to make your reel stand out from the crowd!
What you get when hiring a quality producer is:
A consultation so that they can understand your voice and capability.
From there they will write and provide you with a script of about 5-7 of customized spots that are written to your fit your voice over niche.
After any revisions, you will schedule the recording session — this is usually live directed to ensure that your best performance is brought out. **Note: If you need to, work with a voice over coach before your appointment. This is to make sure you are prepared and can really pull out all the stops.
Finally, your demo producer will take the recorded session and make magic with SFX, music and any other processing.
That sounds like a lot. I can't afford that!
Though it is an investment, especially if you are really serious about voice acting, there are many great talent producers that are very reasonable. Many newer demo creators have lower rates, as they too are getting started. However, the result may be a bit or miss and your new demo may or may not be at the level of competing; step above homemade and just under industry standard.
The Audio Production company I co-founded, Immersed Productions, specializes in demo production and audio engineering. Our goal is to create immersive demos that engage your listener and win you jobs. If you are interested in more information or in need of a demo, feel free to reach out!