Beyond your sparkling personality, dulcet vocal tones, and unlimited imagination—your voice over demo is the most important tool you have to secure work in this business. It’s the vehicle you’ll benefit from most to drive your career… provided it’s done right!
So how do you know when you need a new one?
If you have professionally produced, competitive demos but have yet to land a proper agent or work steadily, then consider the following before completely throwing the baby out with the bath water:
- Does your old demo run longer than a minute (1:00), a minute ten (1:10)?
- Do the spots sound like you can carry (or have carried) national campaigns and brands?
- Do all the spots on your demo sound like fake radio commercials?
- Do your reads sound forced and over-the-top?
- Does it sound like you’re trying to be someone you’re not?
- Do you have spots that try too hard to sound humorous but completely miss the boat?
- Does your talent agent handle everything BUT voice-over?
- Has it been four years or more since you last updated your tracks? Depending on your age range and the changes in the market, you may need to tweak an otherwise effective demo.
- Does your demo sound great, but your graphics are less than professional? Packaging your product matters! Would you buy anything that was poorly packaged? You wouldn’t. Neither would your target audience.
- Have you landed a few good national television spots that you could add to your current demos?
- Do your demos consist of projects you’ve actually booked, but few are of the caliber that would honestly elevate your career to the next level?
- Have you sent out repeated promotional mailings to producers for at least two years? (Promotion demands repetition and tenacity.) If not, you may be the only who knows your demo exists.
- Are you unsure of who your target audience really is and how to promote yourself directly to them to make yourself known, accessible and familiar?
Many demo production sources may lead you to believe you need a new voiceover demo every year. Yearly updates may suit their needs, but not yours. At Actors’ SOUND ADVICE we maintain as long as your demos were produced well to begin with, they should last you 3 to 5 years or more—the average time it takes to establish yourself as a brand in this or any business.
Your agent may not agree, but then agents typically don’t handle marketing, nor are they all that experienced in promotion. They have access to the work you’re best suited to land as a voice talent, and they know what the job is worth. What you want to know is whether your agent feels your demos are competitive or not. So listen to a few demos from your agent’s talent roster that are in your wheelhouse. How well do yours compete? Ideally, your agent offers an honest, objective perspective when needed, provided they have the time to throw in their two-cents. You’re expected to arrive fully realized on your agents’ doorstep, you know. Help them out, and stop making them play through a handicap. Keep in mind they aren’t producers. Present your best—always.
Take a listen to some of the demos featured on our demos page. Do your current demos compare to the level of professional production heard there? If not, it may be time to update and upgrade your demos in earnest.
After all, if you’re not in the ballpark, you can’t possibly play ball. Bring your A-game and play to win!
Copyright © 2016 by Kate McClanaghan, All Rights Reserved.
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