I was talking to one of my students. He had invested in taking my commercial class and showed good potential. He had also purchased the bare equipment needed to record at home. He sent me a MP3 of a test recording and it sounded fine: quiet recording, good levels, and good performance.
Then he said: do I really need a professionally produced demo? I can’t afford it. This surprised me because he is also an on-camera actor. He has the required professional headshots and a resume. And I know he’s taken several acting classes to fill that resume.
So I asked: Why are you interested in doing voice over? His answer: Because I want to earn money doing what I love.
I’m usually not so abrupt, but I said: Then you can’t afford NOT to have a professionally produced demo!
For some background on what a commercial voice over demo is and why you need it you can go to this article: Voice Over Demo Production. But I’m going to give you some practical specifics about that demo.
You need a professionally produced voice over demo for Online Casting.
Actually, no you don’t! Both voices.com and voice123.com require at least one demo to post your profile. But you can record some audio at home and upload that to meet this requirement. And you will be squandering your most lucrative opportunities.
Because the only time a client will listen to your demo is when they are seeking a very specific sound by using the Talent Search. They do this for two opportunities:
- Clients search for talent for Direct Auditions. This is where they hear you and specifically ask you to audition for a particular job. You have a higher chance of booking these auditions AND they usually pay more money.
- Clients search for talent for Direct Jobs. Yes, they can listen to your demo and hire you without an audition to do their voice over job. (Some of you know I have a series of national spokesperson spots running now that I was hired directly for–just from my demo)
Remember, when the client searches, you appear with the other talent. If you have a home-brewed demo they will believe that you are not professional and serious about your craft. And the job will go to the guy/gal with the killer demo.
You need a professionally produced voice over demo for Direct Marketing
You can control your own destiny and submit directly to Advertising Agencies, Video Production Houses and Corporate Marketing Departments. And often in these situations, you can be hired directly from your demo without any audition.
But once again, you will be judged by the quality of your demo. If you appear like a pro, the client wont hesitate to call you. And these guys listen to demos every day. They know what a “pro” sounds like. Home-brewed demo? The phone will never ring.
You need a professionally produced voice over demo to submit to Agents and Casting Companies
And Agents and Casting Agents are cold-blooded. If you submit a half-baked demo to these folks you are insulting them. Remember, they depend on voice over talent for a living. If you are not a complete pro, they wont give you the time of day. Here you must put your best foot forward. Because they will remember you. For a long time.
So you can’t afford NOT to have a professionally produced demo!
If you do it wrong it can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you do it right you can enhance your chances of success. Of course there are no guarantees of success in voice over or any business. But a poorly produced demo–or no demo–will guarantee lackluster results.
Can’t afford it? I just read that a 7-11 franchise requires a $100,000 to $1,000,000 investment. And then you have to work in a 7-11 all day.
Invest in yourself and give yourself the tools you need to compete in this wonderful business.
What’s holding you back on your voice over journey? I want to know. So leave a comment!
You would not be reading this if you weren’t interested in the Voice Over business. So what is holding you back? Technology? Performance skills? Marketing? Not enough time? I’ve experienced all of these. Leave a comment and tell me what is blocking you and I’ll guide you toward your next step!