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7 Steps to Take Before Making a Voice Over Demo

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 27, 2007

Comments (6)

Woman holding a CDWould an aspiring singer perform in a recital before taking any lessons?

Would an entrepreneur go to a banker asking for money without a business plan?

Would an agent want to receive a demo CD from a voice actor who doesn't have any training?

Find out which baby steps will get you to where you want to go in the world of voice acting.

What is the likelihood that a parent would hand the keys to the car to their teenage child before instructing them on how to drive?

If you've ever been in a car with someone who doesn't know the first thing about gearshifts, how to steer, indicate, or parallel park, you know just how difficult it is to achieve the desired objective when the person at the wheel has little to no experience driving a car.

The same could be said for cutting an audition or voice over demo without any training or direction.

In Bob Bergen's lecture this week on Voice Over Experts, Bob made it clear right off the bat that he doesn't produce voice over demos for students until they have studied and are ready to do so.

Acquiring knowledge and skill is a primary goal. Application of those skills is the next step and shouldn't be rushed.

In essence, investing resources into making a demo prematurely would be a waste of time, money and also it is important to note that the performance would be shy of where it could be without the application of specific techniques and a polished performance.

Also, I'd add that the initial results may be somewhat disappointing, so it would be best to hold off on making a demo that you promote to agents until you are ready to make that next step.

To reiterate another tip Bob gave, it is hard for agents or producers to go beyond that first impression, so you'd better make it good.

Some sound advice, wouldn't you agree?

7 Steps to Take Before Making a Voice Over Demo

So, baby steps you can take to make sure that you are ready are:

• Invest in regular vocal training with a professional voice over coach
• Practice
• Have confidence
• Set achievable goals
• Have realistic expectations of yourself
• Listen to demos of established voice actors on Voices.com
• Take advantage of every free resource you can

There are many elements of interpretation and performance that when combined create the presence you are aiming to achieve in order to make a killer demo.

For starters, you can go back and listen to other episodes of Voice Over Experts to pick up some quick tips and techniques including how to color your words and find the music in copy.

On Friday, I'll be releasing a review that I wrote on Pat Fraley's "The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording" that will hit on a very important aspect of production and performance where auditions are concerned.

Be sure to read that one :)

See you on Thursday with some Tech Talk,

Stephanie

©©©iStockphoto.com/bulent ince

Related Topics: agents, Business Plan, child, how to


Comments


    Do you know of any voice professionals in the Houston, TX area?

    Posted by:
    • Mark Williams
    • July 2, 2007 12:21 PM

      I too, would like to know:

      "Do you know of any voice professionals in the Houston, TX area?"

      Thanks so much.

      Carolyn

      Posted by:
      • Carolyn
      • July 27, 2007 9:46 AM

        Great points. www.voicebank.com is another website frequently recommended as a place to listen to some of the top agency talent's demos and hear examples of great production.

        Posted by:

          I must admit I was one of those who created demos before I was really ready. My first demo was my animation demo, and I still think it is pretty good. But my other demos were pretty weak, and I am currently in the process of redoing them. Not only was my skill not good enough, my equipment was poor as well. Now I have much better gear, as well as increased skill.

          Posted by:
          • Jerome Santucci
          • January 18, 2011 10:04 AM

            Voice-over coaching and practice are certainly essential. However, there is another ingredient to this.

            You are making sounds with your voice. And your voice is an instrument. Even if you are not a singer/musician, find a good vocal coach. (I didn't say voice-over coach).

            Make sure that person has credentials to coach based on experience as a performer - not as a "wanted to be."

            Fortunately, in Los Angeles there are many excellent professional singers who also coach, and I can do a "tune-up" as needed.

            If you do not live in a metropolitan area like L.A., Chicago, NYC, etc. where such folks reside, you might find someone who has retired to a smaller community who came from one of those venues. Check them out.

            Civic Opera and musical theater companies are also a good source of (active) performers who might coach.

            Do not worry if you can sing or not. The issue is to understand the instrument, breathing, tone, the physiology of the vocal chords, etc..

            Learn everything you can about how your body creates the sound of your voice. You'll be surprised at the difference it will make in your performance. Otherwise, you will be just another voice.

            Maybe an analogy is how most of us are when it comes to driving a car. It's a safe bet that most drivers have very limited knowledge of how their automobile actually works, other than they get in - and off they go. If it doesn't work, they call AAA.

            NASCAR, Grand Prix, and Formula 1 drivers know you don't just hop in and go if you are going to be a pro. (No rhyme intended.)

            Practice your "scales."

            Have fun.

            P.S.
            It's strange. We are not brain surgeons, but we need to be just as exacting. It is very apparent when we aren't.

            Posted by:

              I'm looking for the right way to get started do you know a coach or teacher in the palm springs area that can help me.

              Posted by:
              • Steve Parker
              • March 4, 2013 2:49 PM

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