After all of your voiceover coaching, training, you need a voiceover demo! Demos showcase your voice and talent to clients, agents, and casting directors. They are essentially your business card and is the next most important aspect of the voiceover journey (check out my blog on Getting Started In Voiceovers). And just like updating your wardrobe, remodeling a room in your house, or getting a new car, the same thing should be done for voiceover demos. There is a lot that goes into it whether you are doing your first demo or updating, here are some of the things to consider when planning your next demo or doing your very first one.
WHY YOU NEED A VO DEMO
There’s no way around it – a voiceover demo is a must for any voiceover! It had been a few years since my last demo was updated, and while we were doing some spring cleaning around the house, I thought it was time to freshen up my demos. Aside from being a voiceover, I am also a project manager for Voice Actor Websites where we build sites for voice talent. Our first criteria before working on a website? Do you have demos? If not, work on those first, then we’ll talk. A pro demo shows that you are serious about your craft and are ready to work.
Even if you have demos, the voiceover industry changes. New genres emerge. New products and services come to market that may need a new style of voiceover, so your demos need to stay current with those trends and styles and show that you can represent those changes to support your clients’ needs.
PLANNING AND PREPARING
Making demos takes planning and preparation – and it’s pricey! Do not be tempted to self-produce your demos! Agents and casting directors know a professionally produced demo when they hear one and can tell the difference if you tried to cut corners. Take some time to browse through demo producer samples and other talent demos so that you know what they’re listening for. Check out social media voiceover group pages and search for previous discussions on demos and producers. Also ask other VO friends for referrals.
Then start reaching out directly to demo producers for more info and pricing. Just like a home project, get a few quotes and see which one is best for you. Those who replied promptly and professionally with helpful background information certainly got my attention. Chuck Duran at Demos That Rock was that guy!
Once you decide on a producer, you won’t record right away. Producers may be booked out weeks or even months, so plan ahead for this! When you decide on scripts that you will use, use this time to practice!!! Work with a coach to ensure that you are ready when it’s time to record. Do your own test recordings to see how you sound with each script.
RECORDING YOUR VOICE DEMO
It’s a BIG day recording your demo! You might also be a little nervous, and that’s fine. Go through your normal motions like you would any other voiceover job. Stay as healthy as possible! Hydrate early on. Have your scripts ready with your notes. Ensure your home studio is ready to go – make sure you are comfortable in your recording space, either your DAW and/or Source Connect is tested, and that your connection to your producer (ie Zoom, phone) is set. Wear clothes that don’t make any noise. Ensure you address any other home studio sound issues. I planned a day when our neighbors’ landscapers would NOT be working!
If you’re going to a studio, scope out your travel route and ensure you arrive early and use all other in-studio etiquette.
You might also be a little nervous, and that’s fine. I remember my first coach played some tunes before recording and we just danced to loosen up and shake off any nerves! She just wanted me to focus on having FUN!
MARKETING YOUR NEW DEMO
You can relax a little after recording, but while you’re waiting for your demo to be produced, there is still work to do preparing to market your new demo! Expect at least a couple of weeks – if not more – for good quality production to happen. I have done audio editing myself and it takes time for music bed/sound effect selection and precision-editing multiple spots.
Get those emails and social media posts drafted so you can just plug in your demo and send! Research new clients and agents to whom you can send your new demo and tailor each of those intro emails accordingly. Have a voiceover resume ready to send if requested. Is your website updated? What about your social media sites to show that you’re active in VO?
Once you have your new demo, blast it out to the world! It’s a big step in your VO career, so don’t be shy or modest. Show clients you are proud and confident of your hard work. This is Marketing 101 and what EVERY business SHOULD be doing, so don’t hold back. Ensure you have your new demo posted on your website, any casting sites that you may be on, and especially update your agents! You can even put your demo to video, like this.
Don’t stop there! Your marketing journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s been said voiceover is 80-90% marketing, so plan on marketing just about every day and have some fun with it!
Thanks again to Chuck Duran for his audio expertise and my friend Humberto for his video production talents!