Voice Over Training
Our SOUND ADVICE Services Advance your career faster, smarter, and better than ever before with the very best voice-over training, career guidance, and demo production in the business. SOUND ADVICE is where the best voice-overs get their start and established talent sharpen their tools of the trade, because we custom-tailor every coaching, … Read More
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Probably the greatest misconception so many talent have with regard to this industry is to create a “makeshift” demo to (supposedly) tide them over until they are “making money”.
“I’ll get a good demo later.” “I’ll produce a better demo after I’ve landed some work and made some money.” Unfortunately, that day may never come due to the fact you’ve offered such a poor example of yourself from the start.
The impression you make with a poorly produced demo defines you and your level of commitment. (This still applies, even though you may justify with yourself, “It’s not that bad.”) The recipient of your demo can only deduce that you feel this is the very best representation of your abilities. If you promote a half-baked demo then potential clients will assume this is what you consider to be the best you can do. A low-rent demo, as your potential client views it, translates into a low-rent talent and that’s simply not worth the investment of your precious promotional dollars.
Talent agents, casting directors, and producers use your demo to submit you for projects, especially when time is tight, which is more than not. Even if the producer or agent truly believes in you and hopes to use you on their project, they still need to get approvals from multiple sources in order to move forward with production. Therefore presenting YOU with a sub-standard demo ultimately is a direct reflection on them and only makes their job harder if what they have to submit of you is less than reputable.
Every strata of the production food chain is required to have “demos”. Directors, producers, and various creatives are all expected to define themselves with these very valuable tools of the trade. It’s nothing new. This has been the case since the Mad Men Era. The objective is to instill confidence in who you are and what it is you bring to the table. Simply put, a demo gives the impression that this is what you do best and what you want more of. So your demo better consist of precisely that while fulfilling your potential clients professional needs and standards.
While there are no absolutes, the standards for a voice over demo are generally dictated by the Advertising industry, considering this is their origin. When surveyed, Ad Creatives offer the most definitive definition of what makes a demo great and how impactful they actually can be on a career. (Which is why we continually survey, and what we follow when producing voice over demos here at SOUND ADVICE and have for nearly 20 years.)
Certainly in recent years, demos for specific genres have evolved beyond Commercial, such as for Narration, Animation, and Promo. Yet variations creep up that don’t necessarily service the client (producer). For instance, we’ve discovered from surveying industry professionals that mixing narration with commercial selections on the same demo track only serves to cancel each other out, as it doesn’t serve those attempting to hire you solely for commercial work, nor the producer attempting to cast you for a documentary who wants to be reassured you won’t sound “selly” or “announcey” in any way. To mix these two differing types of demos only reads as if you don’t know the business you are attempting to work in and you may not be all that reliable because of it.
Even if you may be just starting out in this field, you are still held to the very same professional standards as everyone else. There really is no beginner, intermediate, and advanced job out there. Every job deserves to be considered to be as professional as the last. Every client expects the top of your game, the top of your profession. Regardless of whether the job is union or not, you’re expected to consistently offer the very best of your abilities – this standard begins with your demo tracks.
So, if you deliver a demo that doesn’t sound like actual, well-produced national television spots, you won’t be doing yourself any favors, and thereby miss the opportunity to “land work first” in advance of investing in a proper demo as you had originally intended. The fact is you can’t land profitable voice-over work with a poor example of what it is you do best.
Keep in mind the goal here is to establish yourself professionally. You want to become memorable in a good way! Produce your demo properly the first time and you won’t have to make excuses for yourself at a later date, or desperately try to play catch-up with your career by doubling back. And you’ll alleviate your overall frustration considerably if you do.
Ironically, many novice talent often pose the question, “Why doesn’t someone give me a chance?” The answer is, if you present an unprofessional, substandard demo to an agent, they can only assume you don’t know what you’re doing, which would be the truth. Do it right the first time and get on with your career already.
If you’re planning to produce your voice over demo, invest in yourself. That’s the only way to afford yourself the opportunity to see a proper return. It will be exceedingly more cost and time effective if you do.
For strong examples of what truly professional, entertaining demos should sound like, check out our Sound Advice Web site, voiceoverinfo.com
Copyright © 2014 by Kate McClanaghan, All Rights Reserved.
Hey, Sound Advice… I just wanted to say thanks! I wanted to tell you guys how awesome it was working with you. You guys were an absolute pleasure. I’ll DEFINITELY be spreading the good word about your company and I can’t wait to do more with you in the future. You guys were by far the right choice among demo producers and voice coaches.
I am new to voice over. The coaching I received from Kate was second to none. I have more knowledge in this industry than my peers who have been in voice over class after voice over class and still don’t have representation or a valid demo. Working with Kate has been like being on a rocket ship. You quickly get hatted and have the confidence to take this industry by storm. She produced my demo and I literally cried because it sounded SO GOOD! I have had agents all over the country remark on how amazing my demo is. I got representation after merely emailing my mp3 one week after receiving my demo with a prominent agency in the mid west. I am still talking with several other agencies. Don’t waste your time with anyone else. She guides you step by step. I have never received so much care. Everything is tailored to showing off the best possible you! If you’d like to hear and see what she has created for me, go to http://kerrykimblevo.com/. Good luck!
I’ve always dreamed of being a voice over actor and when I starting really planning for it, I found Kate’s website, listened to her own VO demos (she is really, really, good!) and bought her book The Sound Advice Encyclopedia of Voice-Over. I began my coaching sessions with Kate, which really gave me enormous insight into what I needed to know. She and her team team were super-professionals and its clear they know the business very well as they are voice talents themselves. I had two demos built with her and they are really excellent! I have had comments about the quality from producers who hire voice over talent and I know I made a great decision. Kate will push you hard to get a good demo, because she is a casting director herself and knows what she need to hear. I’m starting to get a lot of auditions coming my way, and I am getting better all the time. I have all the recorded sessions with Kate and her book to give me the foundation and skills sharpening to move on in my VO career. Thanks Kate!
Right after working with Kate agent sent me a voice over audition. Right away I interpreted the script on a whole new level and was able to take a risk that I might not had done. Kate’s voice over tools are what is going to make my voice over reads stand out from others. Her tools are invaluable. After hearing my final version of my new commercial demo I was elated that it truly represents me as an artist. Even though I live in Saint Louis, I have a demo that can compete on a national level. Using the Sound Advice team was the best investment for my career. Use Sound Advice, your voice over career will thank you! Trust me!
Now that I’ve had my demo for over a week, and listened to it countless times, I wanted to say thank you again. Every time I listen to it I get a smile on my face. The whole process from beginning to end was enjoyable. The coaching that Jeff provided was invaluable and exactly what I needed. I felt like he was also pacing our time together to meet me where my skill set was, not just delivering cookie cutter coaching. It was an easy decision to move into demo production with you guys. For the demo, I loved the diversity in copy that you selected as it really showcased what my voice strengths are. And throughout the process Jeff gave excellent direction while keeping a relaxed atmosphere and making sure we got exactly what we needed to make a great demo. And the power duo of Jeff and Travis kept me laughing the whole way through. I feel really fortunate that I found Sound Advice and would recommend you to anyone looking for coaching, career guidance or demo production.
Here is a true example of where my voice was selected for a project, and I never even auditioned. They picked my voice, solely based on my Sound Advice Commercial demo. How amazing! Here is the link to the Commercial. Kimberly Reid’s Commercial I have been landing new work recently and they always comment on my demos that you produced. Thanks again for showing that if you stick to it, you will see results. Perseverance pays.
I want to say your instruction from start to infinity is superb. When I say infinity I mean even after 4 years you are still there for me when I have a question and still learning from you. I decided to train with you guys even though I am in New York…just thought Sound Advice had the most thorough training that I researched…from studio etiquette to how to break down the copy. So I flew from NY to Chicago to train and record my demo. It has paid off in spades. I followed your “how to get an agent” and got a NYC union agent in less then 3 minutes! True story! Since that time I have become a member of SAG and have booked jobs with Microsoft, American Express, Verizon Fios, Luxaire, Bank Midwest among others! It has been a whirlwind 4 years but have you to thank…just about everything you say does happen and does work in the VO world. Trust me it’s not easy and a lot of hard work has gone into this…but so worth it…so once again many thanks!