Your voice-over demos really are your resume, your business card, and your calling card all rolled into one. That’s why it’s so important that they showcase not only what you can do, but also what you want to do! There are as many types of demos as there are genres in voice-over. A commercial demo shows how your voice sells, while a narration demo shows how your voice informs. Almost every voice-over actor needs to start with these two types of voice-over demos. From there, you can choose to make voice-over demos in areas that you have interest.
What are the different types of demos?
There are many different types of demos: promo, eLearning, animation, video game, foreign language, live announce, corporate, explainer video, telephony (voicemail/IVR), documentary, trailer, ADR/looping, museum tours, and TV narration. But, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Within audiobook demos, there are non-fiction, fiction, and children’s audiobook demos. Within commercial demos, there are automotive and pharmaceutical, to name a few. There’s also a new trend of 6-second commercial demos. These demos showcase your ability to create a mood quickly. You can drill down to even more specificity within genres if there is something that you are interested in voicing. For instance, you could develop a medical narration eLearning demo if that’s your desired niche.
Why are different demos needed?
If you only wish to do commercial and narration work, you really don’t need any genre specific demos. If you want to be competitive in a genre that requires a certain voice-over skill set, then that’s where you’ll need a demo to showcase what you are capable of. Let’s take eLearning. You need to be able to show that you can train the learner in an engaging and natural way – and show that your range is capable of doing that! Ultimately, you want to be perceived as an expert, or at least highly knowledgeable, in your area of interest. When you have a demo in that genre, you show that you know what you are doing and instill confidence in your potential client.
How do you market with different demos?
The first step in marketing with your genre specific demos is to find the exact “buyer” for that type of voice-over work. You don’t want to send an eLearning demo to an advertising agency or a children’s audiobook demo to a VOIP (telephony/voicemail) company. The second step is to contact the buyer, introduce yourself, and let them know that you specialize in their type of work as evidenced by the demo you are sending them. You are speaking each other’s language (in a way) and creating a connection because you “get” each other – you work in the same genre and you are offering yourself as a resource for them.
You could send a commercial or narration demo to these companies too, however, with a niche specific demo, it makes you stand out more & gives the client the exact type of read that they specifically hire. On a side note, I spent my first 6 years working in eLearning without an eLearning specific demo. But…when I created an eLearning demo, my marketing became exponentially more effective.
Your demos are your resume. When you have a demo in the genre you are marketing yourself, you create credibility. During the coaching and recording process of the demo, you are getting some great practice for working in the genre, which is an added bonus. By having a genre specific demo, you’re giving yourself an advantage in getting the audition and possibly even the gig!
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