Your voice over demo is your single most important marketing tool as a voice artist, so take your time when creating it. Here’s a step by step on how to get started:
1) Decide What Kind of Demo you Want and Need
Ask yourself two questions:
- “What kind of voice overs do I want to do?” Review the list of voice over jobs on the first page and pick the type of voice over work you’re most interested in.
- “What’s the quality of my voice?”
You may want to do animation, but if you have a great narration voice or “selling voice” for commercials, you’ll want to showcase these qualities in your demo.
The answer to these questions will help you decide if you should start with a commercial voice over demo or an animation voice-over demo that you will use for voice over work in cartoons and video games. You may also want to do a special voiceover demo for narrations.
2) Pick your Voice Over Copy
A good voice-over class will help you pick material for your demo. The recording studio you work with may also have a selection of scripts you can choose from.
Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Actually, pick the type of voiceovers you hear everyday, so casting directors know you can do the voiceover jobs that are in high demand.
Keep in mind that a voice-over demo should be short (1-2 minutes long), so pick a variety of 5-20 second short excerpts (they don’t have to be whole commercials) that really showcase your voice. Every second counts, so pick different clips that show your range and make sure you wrap up your demo on a strong note.
3) Find a Good Studio and Engineer
If you’re serious about getting voice over work, investing in a professional voiceover demo is worth it. If you’re wondering why you just can’t pick up a mic and record your demo at home, listen to this short video where the authors of Voice Over Voice Actor talk about what voice over agents and casting directors want.
Make sure the engineer is someone you feel comfortable with and who can give you direction. Ask to hear samples of their work. It should sound as professional as what you hear on the radio and include sound effects and music.
If you don’t have copy for your demo yet, find out if the engineer can suggest scripts that would be right for you. If you’ve already selected some copy and music for your demo, bring it and ask for the engineer’s input. If they offer you good feedback and options, you know you’re on the right track.
4) Record your Voice Over Demo
You’ll save time and money and have a better demo if you take the time to prepare for your recording session. Before the big day, time and rehearse each voice over. Also make sure you come into the session well rested and hydrated.
Don’t try to impress casting directors and agents by recording voice-overs outside of your vocal range. Your demo should give a sample of voice-over jobs you could book, not cool voices you can only sustain for a few minutes.
Once your voice over demo is fully mixed and ready to go, get a bunch of copies directly from the studio or from a duplication place. You’ll also need a professional-looking label on each CD that clearly states your name, union affiliation and contact information.
Once you have a voice over demo you’re really happy with, it’s time to find a voice over agent.
How to Find a Voice Over Agent
A good agent can do a lot to jumpstart your voice over career and get you voice over work, so mail a copy of your new voice-over demo along with your resume to voice-over agents in town. You can get a list of acting agents in publications like the Ross Report. Look for the agent in charge of the voice-over department and mail to that specific agent. If a voice-over department isn’t listed, mail to the agent in charge of commercials.
Follow-up your initial mailing with actor postcards that list recent voice over work you’ve done. Include a link to a website where they can hear an MP3 of your voice-over demo.
An agent may call you for an interview or they may send you on a few voice-over auditions on a freelance basis. If you do well, they may offer you to sign with the agency as a result.
Need tips for your next voice over auditions? Check out these voice over tips.
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