Planning for Your First Demo

If your VOICE is your commodity, then your DEMO is your most essential marketing tool. A quality demo separates the professional actor from the untrained enthusiast trying to make it into the industry. Being new to the industry is not an excuse to distribute to agencies, casting directors or producers a poorly made demo.  Like any marketing strategy, it is important you plan your approach in creating your demo before heading out to the studio. Remember the three essentials you need to consider – the B L T of your demo.



Investing some money for your demo is part of your new voiceover business. Whether you choose to set up your own home studio or go to a professional studio to help you produce your demo, there is money to shell out. Remember though, if you are not an expert in producing and editing, even if you have the latest and highly recommended equipment and software, it is best to have it produced by a professional team. There are performance and demo production courses that offer voiceover training up to demo recording and production. The phases will cost from $500 up to $2000 as you go through the course. The rates are pretty much the same when you hire a studio, but may be more when you are in key cities like LA, New York or Chicago. Some studios offer not just the production of your audio but also takes care of any music license fees. When considering any studios or packaged courses, make sure that you also look at their track record, client feedback and listen to samples they have produced.



Deciding on the length, though it sounds simple, is a crucial decision to make. It should be long enough that you would have the freedom to showcase your style and versatility, but not too lengthy that some sections will drag on or sound repetitious. The ideal duration is around 60 to 90 seconds, which includes at least 5 spots or segments for about 10 to 20 seconds each. Also included in the duration is your introduction and your closing statement, along with your contact information.



From your training and practice, you will have by then an idea of the type or style of voice you are most comfortable with. Your demo should be an accurate reflection of your skills and not misrepresent or exaggerate what you are capable of doing consistently at that point as a voice actor. Make sure that you play to your strengths and record the type of scripts that you can confidently deliver if hired. Remember to use only scripts that are royalty fee.  This you can searched online by typing in key words like royalty free scripts for demo. Some sample scripts will tell you the type of demo – from broadcast, narration, technical, telephony, television or radio imaging; the performance style and vocal direction; and other information that will be helpful for when you record (ie. Gender, demographic, suggested music and FX).

Recording your first demo is your first big project as you step into the fun, yet competitive world of voiceover. When it is recorded and produced well, it can be your ticket to open the many doors of opportunity.  Invest a lot of time in planning all the essentials in creating a quality and professional demo and learn as much as you can while you go through the whole process.