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VOICE OVER DEMOS
A Voice Over Demo Is Your Calling Card:
Showcase Your Strengths - And Fast!

By Rick Lance
Voice Actor

Your voice over demo is your calling card. It showcases your work and what you are capable of doing.

Also think of it as your pre-audition to an audition.

Many questions I hear include:
  • How do I keep my demos current along the way to represent my new work and my expanded talents?
  • How do I build a demo that represents me and will book me the most jobs?
Creating demos is an ongoing process - something that will need to be updated and kept current as you work on new jobs and projects.

Here is some advice on creating a solid voice over demo, or a set of demos to land jobs.

YOU'VE GOT 15 SECONDS

Demos can be passed on in the first 15 seconds of listening because of simple mistakes. So it's important to put the time in to ensure that your demo has the best quality and that you are showcasing the best of your work.

You want your demos to be fresh, contemporary, and relatable to the listener. And a demo needs to reflect your skill and range.

Consider replacing spots that are old, dated, and don't sound like you anymore. You want to sound like the person showing up for the job.

Skip intro music that will not get you the job. Clients want to hear your voice immediately when they listen.

A commercial demo is historically the type that agents expect above all others, so if you only make one demo, this is the one to focus on. A commercial demo lets you showcase multiple aspects of your talent.

HOW LONG?

The length of your voice over demo can range between 30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on the type of demo.

However, the ideal length for a demo featuring multiple spots is 60 to 90 seconds, which lets the listener get a good sense of what you can do.

However, different genres require different lengths of time, as do different markets.

For instance, a commercial demo that showcases your skills performing radio, TV and Web commercials should last around one minute.

Yet an audiobook demo will be longer - 4 to 5 minutes, to demonstrate your ability to stay in character for extended passages in a story, or to perform different voices from different characters.

Narration demos (other than audiobook demos) can fall in between, but not much longer than 2 minutes or so.

If you are uploading your demo to an online marketplace, you will want to keep it to a minute, which will load fast and sound great to the listener.

TARGET YOUR DEMOS

The industry standard is to streamline the genre of reads to target your listener. You want to send potential clients the demo of the style you are trying to book.

Figure that you are working with busy, deadline-driven people, so you want to make sure they quickly hear what they need. Put best your work up front.

If they like what they hear in the first 15 seconds they will keep listening. If they don't, they'll move on.

I even have demos aimed at specific industries that I regularly work for, such as Agriculture, Finance and Health Care.
PS: If you record your demo in a professional studio for perfect sound, be sure that you can provide that same audio quality from your own home studio.
And once you get hired, be sure that your actual work is as good as the demo, if not better.

FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS

Knowing your strengths and the style of work that you are best suited for is going to get you more work.

Don't worry about typecasting.

While showing range in a demo is great, you want to target the types of pieces that you are most likely to get called and booked for. A quality demo will help you create a successful voice over career.

Having training and skills is the first step. The second step is a quality voice over demo.
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ABOUT RICK
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville's music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I'm lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville."

Web: www.ricklancestudio.com

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Comments (1)
William Bruce McFadden
10/7/2020 at 5:26 PM
Great advice, Rick. I took lots of notes. Congratulations on your successful career -- and life!
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