How to Put Together Your Demo Reel Content
Previously we discussed why putting a well-made demo is crucial to your marketing as a professional voiceover talent, and as your marketing tool, your demo reel should be able to show your abilities and skills to prospective clients, agencies, casting directors and producers. As they say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” But more than showcasing your skills, your demo should also be client-centric. This means rather than saying “Look what I can do,” your demo should say, “Look what I can do for you.” Rather than just putting together a random collection of your reads, it should be a DEMOnstration of your best work and what you can do consistently.
Demo by the Numbers
Recommended Length: 60 to 90 Seconds
The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds, so you need to capture and hold the attention of your listener within the first 8 seconds of your demo or you start to lose your audience by the second. Keep it short, punchy and interesting in all the segments that you will include in your demo reel.
Estimated Number of Segments: 5 – 10
While deciding on the type or style of voice or recording you will use, it is best that you record around 10 to 15 segments so that you would have a range of styles to choose from. This will also make it easier for you to determine where you have performed best, which is weak, or too similar to others. Use recordings that have different vocal styles and ranges to break up the pace and tone of the entire demo reel.
Estimated Length per Segment: 10 – 20 Seconds
The length of the segments should be enough for the character or story to develop, with your best performances longer than the rest. It is important that each segment has a consistent high quality recording, edited smartly and transitions seamlessly to the next.
Your Demo Content
Introduction – Give a brief, clear and punchy introduction. Include your experience, if none, mention what type of work you do best. Be confident and engaging – enough that it would make the voice seeker interested and keep on listening.
First Segment – Ideally the first segment should feature your biggest work, the most impressive brand or show you have worked with. For beginners, this should be your best recording clip. The one that your coach or trainer is most impressed with, and a material you loved best and comfortable doing.
Succeeding Segments – Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and onwards should be a variety of categories – narration, radio/TV imaging, character voice, commercial, etc. These segments should show your range, offering listeners a variety that gives them ideas on how to work with your voice. However, you should be true to your image and what you are capable of doing consistently.
Last Segment – You should start and end with a bang! If your first segment is your strongest piece, your last segment should be just as strong. You should leave them with something to remember you by.
Call to Action – Don’t tire mentioning your name. Give them your contact details and then thank the listener. As clear and punchy as you have started, your enthusiasm should be the same.
Presentation and Submission
Some Do’s and Don’ts
There is no perfect demo recipe. There is no guarantee that your well-made, high quality demo reel will land you that spot, that project all the time, so more than impressing your prospect when they are done listening… leave them wanting for more.