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Demos: 5 Reasons Why Your Demo
Is Less Marketable (& What To Do)
By David Goldberg
Owner / Producer / Coach
Edge Studio
Are you marketing a voice-over demo that will get you work? If not, you could be wasting your time and money. Following are five common reasons for demos to be less effective when marketing them to potential clients, agents and casting directors.

1.  You try to sound like someone else

Talent mistakenly believe that another voice is more marketable (a deeper one, a more powerful one, and/or they want more variety.

SOLUTION: Be yourself.

WHY? Casting agents hire authentic voices because listeners connect to them more than someone who affects their voice. Plus, it's easy to find/hire any type of voice by searching online and emailing a script to wherever the talent resides.
There are exceptions, such as when talent must affect their voice when narrating cartoons, talking toys, video games and anime.
Note for those who dislike their voice: Don't worry about it - just think how cool it is that someone else likes your voice SO much, that they're willing to pay you to read! 

2. You show too much variety

Talent mistakenly believe that more variety equates to more work.

SOLUTION: Do what you do well, and nothing else.

WHY? Casting agents will not hire you if your performance is mediocre. Therefore it is best to only offer the styles of voice-over that you do well.
"Better to narrate one style really well than be a mediocre Jack-of-all-trades!"
Example: Imagine a restaurant where every item on the menu was amazing, and you'd tell everyone about it! Now think if that restaurant had all the same good items, but also had some items that weren't so good. Got it? 

3. You show the wrong styles

Talent forget that their voice, lifestyle, and technical abilities play a major role in determining which types of voice-over the are best to market.

SOLUTION: Consider the variables mentioned above, and let those guide you into marketable voice-over genres.

WHY? Voice-over is a business - not just a voice. So consider what business model is right (marketable) for you. Examples:
  • If you fidget, don't narrate audiobooks.
  • If you're not good with computers, don't narrate home-studio work.
  • If your voice is powerful, don't narrate yoga instructional videos.
  • If you can't do auditions throughout the workday, then you won't get national commercials - so don't waste space putting them on your demo.
  • So on and so on ..
4. You weren't ready to MAKE a demo
Talent can be too anxious to get work.

SOLUTION: Record a demo when you're ready. Ready means that you can EASILY and COMFORTABLY reproduce the sound of your demo
even when in front of a picky producer, at a new studio, with a difficult script.

WHY? You won't get work until you're ready to get work. So paying for a demo before you're ready is the same as throwing out your money.
It would be better to spend that money on training sessions.

5. You weren't ready to MARKET a demo

Talent can be too anxious to get work.

SOLUTION: Learn about the voice-over industry, determine where you belong in it, and create an efficient game-plan to market BEFORE you market. Learn the jargon, the politics of, the processes ...
WHY? You'll likely waste your time and money marketing if you don't know how to do it. And even when you get hired, it will be for a one-time job that barely pays off the countless hours you've spent marketing.
David Goldberg is a voice-over producer, coach, and the owner of Edge Studio, a major voice-over recording studio and voice-over education company based in New York City, with additional studios in Fairfield, CT and Bethesda, MD. Edge Studio offers a large variety of in-person and telecourse workshops, and also produces audio for major clients including Disney, VW, Microsoft and National Geographic. The studio frequently casts voice talent who have trained and produced demos there.
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