By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 15, 2007
Looking for ways to improve your voice acting or voice over demo?
At VOX Daily, we've compiled some of the most applicable and interesting tips from industry professionals on the Hot Seat Panel at VOICE 2007, sharing them with you to learn from and prosper by!
Check some of these tips organized by category. I'm sure at least one of the nuggets of wisdom presented will be of use to you.
When getting started or as a pro testing the waters in a new niche of voice over, it is always wise to have a few pairs of ears listen to your demo to give you their perspective.
For instance, a couple of Mondays ago, Nancy Wolfson offered four demo critiques in her Acting for Advertising teleseminar with Anna Vocino at the end of the class, dishing up great advice with her agent ears. Those fortunate to have their demos reviewed were encouraged and given some constructive feedback to help improve their demos.
One gentleman was even told that Nancy would change his demo at all. What a compliment!
At any rate, the art of critiquing demos is industry wide and a portion of the closing day of VOICE 2007 focused on just that.
I took some notes that I hope will be useful to you, generic though they may be. Take these tips into consideration when listening to your own demo or the voice over demos of others. They might just help you out in same way :)
Here we go, random tips from the panel as noted as per the "Hot Seat" at VOICE 2007:
• Have variety!
• Have variety in tempo (speed, pacing)
• Variety is in the emotion and attitude - focus on those aspects
• If you have a radio background, be sure to change up the pace and sound
• Don't have "too long" spots or too "similar spots"
• Lots of different attitudes and emotion - no one trick ponies
• Something really good at the beginning and then something funny - anything you can do to get a producer to listen more than once is good - if they like it, they will pass it along to others
• Have a sense of conversation
• Don't be "on the edge of reading"
• Try not to have negativity in your demo
• Communicate and tell the story - Subtleties can change the tone and open communication very quickly
• If you can't picture yourself making money doing a certain voice, don't put it in your demo
• Get control over your voice and make sure that variety is in the mix
• Leave the announcer voice out of it
• VO actors are not salespeople but persuasive and effective communicators
• Don't be all things to all people - your demo should highlight your talents and not what the producer wants
• Use your money voice first (signature voice), don't "save" it until the end
• First :06 - money voice sets up the flow - You have to win in the first :06
• Different agents have different ideas and will very often ask you to rearrange your demo to help them better market what they consider to be your money voice
• Don't put two character voices in a row in a commercial demo
• Strong comedic punch needs to be followed by something that's unimportant so that people can laugh through it
• If there is a movie trailer, leave it out of your commercial demo - trailers are promos
• Conversation evokes emotion
• Aim for solid production value and diversity of sound
• Don't have a long intro
• Have something good enough at the start to get a listeners attention
• Leave at least :02 between tracks if you have multiple tracks
• Personal reads are best without sound effects, dry voice is nice sometimes
• Any deleted bit should or could be placed at the end or could act as a second intro
• Have as many tracks as you want in your demo, but send people what THEY want (i.e. if people want to hear narration, send them narration!)
• Spend lots of time sequencing the demo
• Production should complement the voice (on all speakers)
• So long as the people who are receiving a compilation demo know that it's not specific to a given style, it's OK, however, it is very good to be specific
• There is still value associated with having a CD with your voice over demos on them that you can send to clients or agents, so be sure to have a number of promotional CDs available for those who request them
It takes a lot of courage to throw your hat in the ring to be a demo critique done, but it is worthwhile and will help you in the long run if conducted by a professional instructor, demo producer or trusted peer.
If you have a tip that you'd like to share, please leave a comment and we'll keep the conversation going!
Â©©©iStockphoto.com/Peter FinnieRelated Topics: agents, industry, radio