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Marketing: How To Create An
Eye-Catching Demo Package
 
By Susan Berkley
The Great Voice Company
 
These days, producers, directors and agents say they rarely request voice-over demos on CD.
 
Why? They donít have the space to store them. They prefer to receive demos by email or to visit talent web sites.
 
So they store the demos they like on their computer, or save talent web sites to their "favorites."
 
Nevertheless, for the times somebody does prefer to get an actual demo CD, it should be properly packaged. Here are the key points to remember when designing the package for your demo CD.
 
1. THE CASE
 
There are several types of CD cases, including inexpensive paper sleeves, plastic "clam shells", and jewel cases - the kind you get when you buy a music CD.
 
The voice-over industry standard used to be the jewel case, artistically decorated and clearly labeled with your name on the space.
 
But today, few people stack CDs on the shelf. The jewel cases are seen as an inconvenience, taking up valuable space. I would stick with a paper sleeve and send it in a padded envelope.
 
2. THE LABEL
 
Since most people prefer not to get a jewel case, the only place left for graphics is the CD label.
 
This should be colorful and include: your name, cell phone number, the contents of the CD, and the total time for each track. For example:
 
Susan Berkley Voice-Overs
201-541-8595
Track 1: Commercials 1:20
Track 2: Corporate 1:28
Track 3: Promos 1:15, and so on.
 
You can design the label yourself or hire an inexpensive artist. Itís also really easy to print your own labels at home on a color printer.
 
3. YOUR PICTURE?
 
No matter how beautiful, charming, irresistible or handsome you may be, I strongly believe you should NOT put your picture on your CD label. You might get typecast, and few of us sound like we look.
 
4. CONTACT NUMBER
 
If you don't have a cell phone, get one before you print your CD labels. You can and should keep the same number if you change providers.
 
And make sure you check your voicemail frequently. Anyone who calls you for a booking will expect to reach you immediately. Since voice-over is so last minute, if they can't reach you right away, the job might go to someone else!
 
For security reasons, I suggest that you DO NOT put a mailing address on your CD label.
 
5. COVER LETTER
 
You must include a cover letter with your demo. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. If you've been referred by someone the recipient knows, say it up front. If you have credits, list a few of your best.
 
Casting directors tell me they find it helpful when talent describes the sound of their voice and vocal age range. Such as:
  • "My voice type is upbeat and perky. Age range 18-25"
  • "My voice type is edgy, 'Gen-X'"
  • "I have a mature, warm, mid-range voice. Age range 55+"
If you also do on-camera or other types of acting work, include a headshot and acting resume. Otherwise, a head shot and acting resume is optional.
 
Susan Berkley is a top voice-over artist and is the voice of AT&T and Citibank. She is the author of "Speak To Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice" and president of The Great Voice Company, helping to turbocharge the careers of emerging and professional voice talent worldwide. For more information and a free subscription to the Inside Voiceover e-zine, visit www.greatvoice.com.
 
 
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