Focus Your Demo For More Success

EdgeStudio.com has long hosted an article titled "Why Do 95% of Demos Get Tossed?" It begins:

    Edge receives many, MANY demo submissions from voice talent. Every one is reviewed for our voice demo library. But 95% of demos received are unusable BECAUSE THEY LACK FOCUS! This article will help you build your voice over career by explaining how to focus your demo.

The article’s point is still valid. Read it, under "Demos" in our archives here.

Sadly, the situation is pretty much the same today -- 19 out of 20 voice over demos we receive don't make the cut.

The good news, for you, is that by following our guidance, you have an excellent shot at success in this industry.

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THE PROBLEM, REVISITED

Most aspiring voice over talent still think that tossing in a bit of everything they've ever uttered (or hope to) increases the chance that something will stick. Toss that idea out!

Doing that means, even if your voice and delivery are in the professional ballpark (which we’ll assume here), we know nothing about your game. Here are some of the questions we must ask, repeatedly:

  • What makes this talent special? We might hear something in one of their snippets, but who knows if our educated guess, gleaned from one bit among many, is really their strength?
  • Was something on the demo a fluke? Can they do it again?
  • Do they really know about the genre the snippet is in?
  • Considering the demo is so unfocused, do they even understand the industry?

In addition, we wonder if they even know what their strength is? Every budding voice over talent should determine what they do best, as they begin exploring their options within the industry. An audition or voice over recording session is not the time to find it.

Along with the doubts an unfocused demo creates, it is difficult for us to categorize it – making it much less likely that our client will review this demo when they need to hire a voice talent to record a specific genre.

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THE SOLUTION, MORE THAN EVER

Casting professionals are super busy, even more than they were when we published that earlier article. They need to focus, which is why you must too.

Don't be concerned that you'll be typecast or pigeonholed. Think of it as putting yourself on a handy peg, so when they need what you're best at, you'll be clear in their memory and presentable to their client for the job at hand.

Your career can grow from there.

Secure a "position" for your prospect to remember you by. Are you a character actor? A young voice?

Let’s suppose you’re a narrator. Are you a corporate and telephony narrator? Documentary and travelogue narrator? A commercial narrator?

Consider your vocal characteristics, your strong subjects, and your market's needs, then present yourself as that kind of narrator.

It starts when planning your voice over business and continues through choosing scripts for your demo. Focus on the genres and subjects in which you excel. Leave the other stuff to the other people who do those things better than you.

Then, as you show off your voice, do it in a way that demonstrates various vocal styles, deliveries, and any factors unique to your local voice-over market. Keep it within this intersection:

    1. What you do better than others
    2. What casting people need
    3. What you enjoy (at least, what you will enjoy getting paid for!)

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FOCUS MEANS SHARP, NOT DULL

While your demo shouldn't range all over the voice-over profession, the presentation does need to hold your listener's interest. So it needs other sorts of variety. Take what's best for you, and demonstrate variety within in that genre.

For example...
. . . if educational voice over is your specialty, include excerpts from:

  • one pre-school "speak and spell" game
  • one high-school computerized test
  • one foreign language learning program (if you speak the language)
  • one corporate training video
  • etc.

. . . If you specialize in telephony and computerized voice systems, include:

  • a "friendly" conversational phone menu excerpt
  • a phone menu excerpt in a more formal style
  • an on-hold promotional message
  • something from an information or checkout kiosk
  • a recorded subway or bus announcement

If you are truly strong in more than one genre, you may want to consider creating a separate demo for each. Email prospects only the one(s) relevant to their needs. On your CD, make them separate tracks, identified on the label and CD case. On your website, make them separate links.

Your demo is the one thing that connects you with actual voice over jobs. An effective demo is virtually mandatory to start and to grow in this business.

If you take pride in the process of planning, recording and producing your demo, then you can have pride in your demo itself. Like a resume, it should be carefully thought out, honest and truly representative.

The time to focus on this project is now.

WANT HELP?
Want help with your demo? Call us at 888-321-Edge or email us at training@edgestudio.com
Feel welcome to contact Edge Studio with any comments, suggestions, or questions.

Date: 
March 24, 2013
Meta Description: 
Get more work by making sure your demo is a focused representation of you.
Meta Keywords: 
voice over, demo, more work, more clients

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