SOUND ADVICE FAQs!

Here are the top Frequently Asked Questions… Click the Question to get the Answer!

1. What is a voice-over?

When you hear a voice, but you don't see the actor who's speaking that's a voice-over. You will hear them in commercials, film, TV shows, animation, on the Internet, on a phone prompt, a station promotion (known as a 'promo'), a movie trailer, or any voice heard on any form of media is considered a voice over. Click here to hear for yourself what our well-produced voice-over demos sound like from SOUND ADVICE.

2. What is a voice-over demo? And do I need one to get voice-over work?

The best definition of a voice-over demo is: a professional representation (a 'demonstration') of what you do best in order to illicit similar work. A demo is a well-produced illustration of the sort of work you intend to secure more of. The fact is you can't work in voice-over without a demo that's targeted specifically to the aspect of the industry you are promoting yourself to, due to the fact that the professional recipient of your demo will assume what you are giving them what you feel is the most professional representation of who you are, what you do best and you what bring to the industry. So it's imperative your demo exhibits the very best of your abilities and efforts, rather than a 'make-shift' attempt at appearing professional. It's for this very reason we recommend you dedicate yourself to training PRIOR to producing your demo tracks, especially if you are new to the field or genre of voice-over. At SOUND ADVICE, we begin with our 2-hour career consultation tailor-made to suit your individual needs and goals. We refer to this session as our one-on-one Orientation. Click here to learn more.

3. How much does a demo cost?

For many demo production outfits this is a simple answer, because producing a demo for them is like ordering a pizza. Just not as satisfying. (And, unfortunately their demos typically don't garner results either!) Alternatively, at SOUND ADVICE we tailor every demo to you specifically. But to answer this question we need to consider a number of factors, first... such as:
    • Are you a novice and new to voice-over?
    • Or, are you a relatively seasoned talent, but voice-over is a new medium to you, this will also factor into what it will take to create your demo tracks.*
    • How much training or career guidance you'll need varies from one person to the next. You don't know what you don't know and that could be the difference between an effective investment in your career and wasting precious time and money. (We often assess your individual needs from our initial meeting or coaching.)
    • Do you have an agent, or even know how to secure one that specializes in voice-over?
    • Do you know what's expected of you professionally and how to promote yourself and your demo to those most likely to hire you?
    • How up-to-date is your knowledge of the business and the current market? A great deal has changed, even as recently as the past year, that will have a terrific impact on how successful you can be. This requires some career coaching.
All of these elements play into what it can cost you to establish yourself or update your voice-over materials in order to garner the greatest return on your investment. We consider these factors and your career goals at SOUND ADVICE when tailoring a demo package that suits you best. We approach this as your 'startup' business. Few if any demo producers, recording engineers or production houses deliver a quality product designed to go the distance, regardless of what they might charge. They will record you in an hour or so, mix the spots in about the same amount of time and all for what we charge at SOUND ADVICE for a great deal more service! Demos produced by untried production sources will often expect you to find your own scripts. Or if they offer scripts at all, it's likely they've been used again and again on other demos. (These scripts might not suit you at all anyway.) The spots produced from these sources tend to sound like poorly produced local radio spots rather than competitive, career-defining styles that allow the listener to imagine what the commercial look like on TV. Your demos should sound like the sort of national commercial campaigns or professional styles you are attempting to book. The demo is supposed to show where you seamlessly fit into the industry. At SOUND ADVICE, everything we do is custom-tailored to help define, establish and further you as a professional brand. Our competition is only interested in offering you a “cookie-cutter” demo that ultimately only services their needs rather than yours. Our insights, experience and personal attention is as unmatched as our success rate, making SOUND ADVICE a far greater value, per hour than any of of our precious few comparable colleagues. You canʼt buy a career, however you can invest wisely to get the very most for your time and money. That's SOUND ADVICE! We have produced better than 5000 demos to date, trained more than 10,000 people and have a remarkable success rate--for any business. We are the vanguard of the industry, having established some of the industry's more tried and true standards in the more than 20 years we have been in operation. Click here to hear some of our recent demo productions. Then give us a call to get scheduled for your own custom-tailored, career consultation (our one-on-one Orientation).


*NOTE: This also applies to anyone in radio. The average person considers anyone in radio to be in voice-over, and yet anyone in radio honestly wants to be in voice-over. So, they are two distinctively different fields and skill sets.

4. Will you tell me if I can’t do this?

Weʼll let you know what you should be doing and how to apply yourself in nearly any situation in this field. We'll tell you if you're not applying yourself and how to correct the situation so that you can succeed as a steady working talent. Weʼll even offer you back you up and be there for you many years after we've trained and produced your tracks. (We're in this for the long haul, and we anticipate you are too.) But... if youʼre asking: will we tell you whether or not you can join this “very exclusive club called voice-over”? No, we won't. NO ONE has the right to tell you whether you can or cannot have a career in this business or any other business for that matter. Frankly, there's plenty of room in this industry for everyone—provided youʼre trained and prepared to deliver your best. And we can help you with that. Granted a great many people are not willing to commit the time or effort at creating careers for themselves. It takes tenacity. If you hope to work in this business, you have to dedicate yourself to it. And certainly there aren't many industry professionals who are all that forthcoming with how to navigate this industry, instead they choose to hold their cards very tight to their chest. You have to wonder, what do they hope to gain? Maybe they view you as a threat to their livelihood. After all, new blood is inevitable in every industry. Either that or they're afraid you'll soon discover how little they honestly know about this business and how much they are simply making up as they go rather than basing their information on what they have gathered from surveying established industry professionals nationwide, as we have extensively done here at SOUND ADVICE. What we impart to you is not simply “what we think”--it's actually based on ardent fact-finding and survey. I don't know any other voice-over training and production service that can say that. Which is why we can safely say you'll know more about this industry after our initial 2-hour service, the one-on-one Orientation, than better than two-thirds of all established voice-over professionals in this industry, regardless of your experience level—or theirs! Besides, your greatest asset is the simply fact that no one does what you do. You're the only one of you. But YOU have to be responsible for your career and run it. There's really no getting around that. We're more than happy to assist you in every way we can—but only if you apply yourself. No one can create your career for you but you. We can't make that any plainer. Voice-over is a remarkably fun and rewarding field and SOUND ADVICE offers real assistance to people who really want to succeed in it. It's why we're here. It begins with our one-on-one Orientation. Click here to learn more.

5. Can I do voice-over part-time?

Our stock answer to this question for years has been, "Sure, if you're Martin Sheen." But then, of course, Martin Sheen has dedicated his life to being a working talent. He has diversified his efforts and has always made himself available to every medium the entertainment industry has to offer. This seems to have worked out quite well for him! So maybe that's a good plan! Maybe you SHOULD plan to do voice-over part-time! Of course, if you happen to know a busy commercial producer who has enough work to keep you busy enough to use you on absolutely everything they do, and they do nothing but national spots for numerous major market products and services, then... Yes! Lucky YOU! You have happened into the honey-pot, my friend! Looks like voice over will make a perfect 'part-time job' for you without you even trying! In fact, if this is the case, you may be able to quit the day job sooner than you imagined! However, for the rest of us, part-time is considered 20 hours a week. If you were to dedicate no less than ten hours a week to working your vocal skills and another ten hours a week to properly promoting yourself as a voice-over as we detail in our book “The SOUND ADVICE Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent”, then the chances of working full time as voice-over will increase dramatically. So, we encourage you dedicate yourself to working on your career for no less than 20 hours a week. Or part time, if you will, in order to garner the best results, regardless of whether you're only just starting out or not, it takes a dedicated commitment. At SOUND ADVICE, we don't sugarcoat it. We give it to you straight. To learn more about how to establish yourself as a working voice-over click here.

6. Do I have to have acting experience to pursue voice-over?

No, you don't, but it definitely helps. At SOUND ADVICE, we are intent on thoroughly training you both in and out of the booth to be the most valuable professional voice talent you can be. We tailor our training and production to address your specific needs based on your experience level. And we're able to coach you from nearly anywhere in the United States using Skype, or should you come in to either one of our production studios in Los Angeles or Chicago. Click here to learn more about our coaching process.

7. Do I need to be able to do character voices and dialects to do voice-over?

Not really. This is a common misconception. Most voice-over work honestly doesn't call for you to sound like anyone but yourself. In fact, peppering your demo with random character voices and phony accents is considered unprofessional as a whole for the simple reason it sounds amateurish and it doesn't suit your would-be client's voice-over needs. Maybe one in 30,000 spots are specifically for a broad, silly character, or a French guy or a German guy, for instance. In these cases those hiring are more likely to actually hire someone who actually is French or German, and they'll audition the individual with for the character voice in order to determine whether it's original and hear how well the voice suits their specific script. To be clear, this doesn't mean you should stop playing or creating original characters. The point is the most marketable thing you can depict on your demo you being YOU! To hear examples of what extremely marketable demos should sound like, CLICK HERE.

8. But, I have all these character voices I do. Everyone says I should be making millions.

If you truly have something you can do repeatedly (without hurting yourself or irritating others) … characters/voices that are original, then perhaps an animation demo is in order. However, a commercial demo is whatʼs consistently required of every talent first and foremost and that means more character affectations rather than accents and goofy voices, as those new to the field might initially assume. Now, that said, please don't let this information squelch your character work as these skills are not without merit. It's just that the objective of your demo is to define who you are and how you are perceived in a major market and that means opening you up more realistic deliveries. Any worth-while character actor can attest, there's a very thin line between full-blown character and full-blown reality. If youʼre predominantly a character actor itʼs perfectly appropriate to blend humor and personality-driven material with the straighter, more mainstream commercial deliveries that dominate this work. Itʼs a balancing act. An animation demo is a specialized thing. It's honestly not for everybody and usually reliant on where you live geographically to glean the greatest return. Again, for commercial work and games, if they are looking for character, they will audition you for it. Character work is a very specific thing.

9. How do I get a talent agent?

At SOUND ADVICE we have an extensive game plan that has met with a great deal of success for every talent who has utilized it. It's mapped out in detail in our book,“The SOUND ADVICE Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent”. We cover precisely what an agent's job is so you don't have unrealistic expectations of them and their abilities and so you can focus more directly on your career and succeed during our initial service, the one-on-one Orientation. We even suggest ways to secure representation from talent agents in a variety of regions nationwide We also define the responsibilities and the differences between the casting director, the producer, the talent agent, the talent manager and YOU... the talent. This is invaluable information you're not likely to learn anywhere else, but where we're often begin with our very first service, the one-on-one Orientation. Click here to learn more and get scheduled for your own Orientation.

10. Do I have to have a home recording studio to do voice over?

It's not mandatory, but you will certainly open yourself up to a great many more audition opportunities nationwide if you have access to some good basic home recording options. That said if youʼre not at all tech-savvy and we're coaching and producing your demo tracks—we will suggest you concentrate your efforts on simply being a dependable talent, first and foremost, and will recommend finding local options to record your auditions and smaller budgeted productions. When you're ready to raise your game by recording your auditions from home we recommend ERIK MARTIN of SoundAnswer. He'll save you literally thousands of dollars and keep it simple enough to fully understand, no matter your tech-experience. He's approachable, affordable and experienced enough to advise you with precision regardless of where you are located. Once you have a simple recording and editing set-up from home, you'll discover there's a learning curve in recording your auditions sent (via email) from your talent agents in a variety of regions nationwide. For this we recommend a service we offer called 'Practice Auditions' in order for you to develop your editing skills while maintaining your performance chops. CLICK HERE for more details on services including PRACTICE AUDITIONS.

11. Who is Kate McClanaghan?

Kate McClanaghan is the founder of SOUND ADVICE and the author of “The SOUND ADVICE Encyclopedia of Voice-over & the Business of Being a Working Talent” our exclusive guide to successfully navigating the voice-over industry and managing your business as a working talent. She also heads our sister company, Big House Casting & Audio, and has been a commercial producer and copywriter for more than 30 years, and a professional voice-over talent for just as long.