The best voiceover demos demonstrate the sort of work you intend to land, and seamlessly reveal the sort of work you’re best suited to book. To achieve this end, there are essentially 6 key elements that add up to a truly successful voiceover demo.


1. Coach

Get in front of a mic. Discover and develop techniques that will elevate and advance your skills.

Even if you’re an experienced actor, broadcaster, or radio personality, you need to coach. You don’t know what you don’t know. This takes nothing away from your experience, it only adds to it.

Coaching allows you the opportunity to develop a rapport with your potential demo coach/producer and concentrate your efforts on your performance. Developing effective performance habits that offer believable, natural, conversational deliveries is imperative. We get precious little direction out in the field as professionals, but the one constant is: “be yourself”.

2. Copy

Strong material is the basis for a truly competitive voiceover demo, much like dressing appropriately for a role or performance. Copy offers context, and takes the guesswork out of the equation for those most likely to cast you as to your greatest assets and performance strengths.

While 5 or 6 spots will ultimately end up on your Commercial demo, and 4 or 5 will likely make up your Narrative track, plan on recording at least 8 scripts for the commercial and no less than 6 segments for the Industrial. In other words, record more spots than you’ll need to complete either demo. You want a surplus, rather than just enough in order to afford yourself greater variety and options in post-production.

Generally, I don’t recommend talent choose their own material for the simple reason they tend to lack the long view, regardless of their experience or skill level.

Consider how many actors choose monologues for themselves that don’t showcase their greatest assets, the same can be said for voice talent when it comes to finding copy for their voiceover demos. Like their monologue counterpart, talent often choose scripts with the sole mission to show how “versatile” they are, before ever defining who they are.

3. Create

Recording the tracks for your demo requires more care and attention than you’d devote to your daily auditions. Ideally, these tracks will define you for a number of years to come. Therefore, only recording one or two takes and off you go isn’t going to cut it on every spot that makes it to your demo.

But, like your auditions, your mission is to offer a few exceptional deliveries that engage the listeners’ imagination, depict mood, formulaic style, plausibility, and expression.

4. Produce

The production values should seamlessly underscore your skills and further lend credibility to where you best fit in a mass medium. Each spot on your commercial demo should sound like a legitimate national (union) spot. And professional production values are best accomplished by enlisting professional services. Listen to numerous demos to determine proper production values that underscore and support your performance, such as:

Just because you can record and edit your auditions from home, doesn’t mean you should self-produce. Invest in yourself.

5. Promote

There’s no point in having a demo if no one knows you have one. Just as having talent isn’t even half of what makes someone successful, the same can be said for having a demo. Without proper promotion, your best efforts will lie dormant and could very well die on the vine. It’s your responsibility for insuring your demo is available to those most likely to hire you.

6. Persist

As the saying goes, “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” It typically takes 3 to 5 years to establish any small business. And that’s with a great deal of due diligence. Therefore it stands to reason if you commit the same attention to your voiceover and acting career, the likelihood of succeeding increases by a dramatic margin.


The moral to the story: stay the course and stay in your lane. Keep in mind you’re creating your demos to appeal to professional producers, who typically spent 6 to 8 years in Advertising before settling into their industry specialty, but even they struggle with good taste and foresight. It’s only human. Your voiceover demo is the tool that bridges that gap.



Copyright © 2017 by Kate McClanaghan. All rights reserved.

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