As a voice-over artist, your voice-over demo is the most useful tool you have in getting your voice heard and allowing potential clients and agents to have a comprehensive understanding of what you offer as a unique and capable voice talent. When you think about it, your demo is your calling card, business card, and resume all rolled into one! That’s why your demo needs to be a professional, high-quality showcase of the best work you can do.
Here’s how to create a compelling voice-over demo:
Get up to Speed
It’s important to become familiar with industry standards and understand the reasoning behind them before creating your voice-over demo. Most demos are around 60 seconds long these days. One reason is because people have shorter attention spans than ever before. Another reason is that there is more content being made nowadays and potential clients simply don’t have enough time to listen to longer demos in order to decide who they are interested in working with. Making sure your demo fits into the voice-over landscape shows clients that you’re in tune with what’s going on in the industry.
Focus on Genre
It’s important that your voice-over demo showcases one specific genre, as opposed to being a compilation of different genres on one demo. Voice seekers are busy, and they don’t have time to wade through a long montage to eventually see if you can master the style they’re looking for. That’s why having a genre-specific demo that accurately showcases your current skill set in that particular genre is a must for any voice-over artist.
Commercial and narration demos are common genres to focus on initially, and will remain staples of your demo arsenal. As you grow in your voice work, you may want to create specialty demos in other genres. These include animation, promo, audiobook, narration, and foreign language.
When selecting scripts for your demo, make sure the copy is strong and allows you to shine as a performer. Choose marketable content that accurately reflects your capabilities. Ensure the spots you choose are evergreen, meaning that they can be used months and potentially years down the road without the content feeling dated.
Show Your Range
As a voice actor, you’ve honed the ability to create a variety of different reads and interpretations. Your demo should showcase your best performances, showing enough range and versatility to capture the listener’s attention, hold it, and leave them wanting more.
Your demo should reflect the level of professionalism and quality you aim to offer your future clients. In keeping with a high standard of excellence, it’s optimal for your demo to be professionally recorded in a studio. The most marketable passages with the strongest performances should then be selected, ideally by a post producer with experience in the industry. Finally, an audio engineer should bring their expertise to the table, adding music and sound effects, and ultimately editing, sequencing, mixing, and mastering the demo.
It’s easy to feel nervous about creating your voice-over demo, especially for the first time, but if you start out having these key points covered, you can feel confident that you’re ready to create a compelling voice-over demo.
About the Author
Claudine Ohayon is an Emmy Award-winning director/producer, commercial and promotional voice talent for brands like Verizon, Listerine, and MasterCard, native Brooklynite, published photographer. She was also the live announcer for the first ever televised Hollywood Film Awards on CBS.