Here’s a rather novel idea for this or any business: at SOUND ADVICE we never advise you to ask for feedback on your demo tracks, whether we produced them or not.
Think about it. If you’re pro, why would you ever ask, “What do you think of my demos? Can you give me feedback?” to people you’re intending to solicit work from? It only serves to undermine your professional authority. If you’re a pro, and you are if you’re presenting yourself as such with your demos to talent agents and producers, then you’re expected to stand behind your promotional materials. This is true regardless of your experience or skill level, because only in the talent business is it possible for you to secure the principal role with little or no experience, while those with the most experience might play the smallest role. If you’re right for the role, you’re right for the role. The longest resume is not what scores the job—YOU do. Therefore asking for feedback unintentionally reads as if you are unsure of yourself, obviously a novice and suggests you may not have much confidence.
Besides, if you are given feedback—what are you prepared to do with it? Start over?
You may have asked for feedback simply for a lack of anything else to say, or maybe you wanted praise for your remarkable vocal prowess.
Most agents or producers will offer feedback if they honestly feel the situation warrants it, but for the most part they’ll listen and discern whether they can use you or not. In many instances, they’ll only offer feedback simply because you asked and they are trying to be accommodating. Yet, they are likely to forget what input they gave you or change their minds after hearing your tracks again at a later date. This happens more often than you might expect, and it honestly doesn’t help you much.
To add to this, what if an agent comes back with, “Put the middle spot second and the second from last spot first,” (which is at least specific input)? Even if you’re willing to pay the studio/producer to accommodate these changes, you may not end up with a demo that’s an improvement over what you’ve already presented. Additionally, another authority may offer you conflicting feedback that dramatically contradicts with what another professional source may have recommended. Keep in mind, the individuals who are offering you the feedback aren’t in the studio while these changes can being made. Even very seasoned ears typically must hear the edit in the studio to discern whether the change is effective or not.
Of course, if you ask a competing demo producer for feedback, they’re likely to criticize your tracks and tell you what they would do with your demos. The fact is, in lieu of you having any tangible experience or objectivity, asking for feedback will often only serve to confuse you, whether the advice is astute or not.
What matters above all else is what YOU think! Commerce is confidence, and your job is to instill confidence in those you hope will either rep or hire you. When you walk into an audition, and read as if you’re unsure of yourself, then you will not land the job. Since your demos are auditioning for you, the same theory applies.
Granted you may want an objective assessment of whether your demos are effective or not. For this we recommend you head to Voicebank.net. Find talent agencies that have a lot of talent pursuing the same style of work you’re attempting to land. Some won’t be all that great, while others—will sound remarkable. Listen to demos of talent of your gender, your relative age, your vocal range and vocal quality if possible. How do your demos stand up?
Keep in mind your demos are held to the very same criteria Advertising Creatives require of their own demo reels. These are the very individuals your demos were created to draw work from as a voice-over, and they understand you may be creating spots for your demos in order to define who you are and what you bring to the industry as a talent. Each spot must seamlessly sound like broadcast quality.
Other than that, if a talent agent or any other industry professional has a recommendation for you they’ll offer it without being asked. Certainly everyone has an opinion, however few are objective enough to offer you the insight you might be hoping for should you solicit feedback, so it should be avoided.
Simply present your tracks with confidence and without excuses. Stand behind your promo. It’s the professional thing to do at all times. You really want to determine whether they can use you. That’s the goal in sending anyone your demos.
Certainly you may doubt yourself when you’re just starting out. That’s natural. You have to take a great leap of faith to present yourself with confidence. Every opportunity will build from there.
All rights reserved. © 2012 Kate McClanaghan, Inc.