Before you choose to produce your own demo or hire a demo producer, heed these words from my favorite VO demo producer, Chuck Duran of Demos that Rock:
“A BAD VOICEOVER DEMO IS WORSE THAN NO DEMO AT ALL”
The late Lee Marshall (voice of Tony the Tiger) saved me from learning that lesson the hard way. After digesting and accepting his professional critiques of my first VO demo, which I produced myself with another ‘ORG’ who had a studio, I was so grateful that I had not sent it out in mass to potential agents! I would have been officially labeled as just another ORG (old radio guy) trying to do voiceover.
Not good! Listen to the ORG for yourself if you like:
Instead I began training to be a voice actor, working with a voice coach and I attended my first voiceover convention in L.A., Voice 2014. So much great information was shared at that three-day conference of international voiceover professionals I can’t even begin to list. But most importantly, I realized two things you can’t really grasp by looking in from the outside!
First: I was not ready to cut a demo yet. It’s a hard lump to swallow, but I had to be honest with myself about my skill level as a voice actor before I spent thousands on voice coaching and demo production!
Second: When I was ready, I would have to hire a demo producer! Why, because there is an immense amount of talent and competition out there! You will probably only get one shot to impress an agent with your demo so you’d better make damn sure it’s the best it can be!
Here are my Top 3 VO Demo Producer red flags:
Any weekend class or workshop that promises “your very own VO demo to take with you” following completion. Honestly, nobody can predict or promise that your level of talent will be good enough to feature on a demo simply by completing their course. Producing a demo that sounds good because you were coached heavily through a few scripts that garnered sixty seconds of usable voice work isn’t worth spit if you can’t reproduce that level of talent when auditions start coming your way!
A VO producer who uses stock scripts from their files for your demo. An honest demo producer will learn what your strengths and weaknesses are first. Then they will write custom scripts that not only highlight your talent but that reflect the current market trends in the voiceover industry.
Demos on the Cheap! As I was writing this blog today I actually saw an ad promoting “Custom voice over demo as little as $129.00”! Are you frickin kidding me!? How do you think that demo would sound to a seasoned agent or clients who are accustomed to listening to professional demos? It would sound like you were not willing to invest the time and money in yourself, so why should they!
Finally, too many producers will tell you “Yes, you are ready to cut a voice over demo, just sign here and we’ll make you sound awesome!”
An Honest VO Demo producer will tell you, “No, you are not ready to cut a voice over demo, but here are some things you should work on to improve. Call me back when you have improved in those areas and I’d be happy to produce your demo.” That’s who you want to hire!
Listen to the difference it made for me if you like: