By Stephanie Ciccarelli
February 2, 2009
"I'm not getting any work through my auditions? Do you think my demo might have something to do with it?"
"Can you listen to my demos and tell me where I can improve?"
"I've been told that I have a great voice. Do you think I have potential?"
You've likely come across these questions at some point; perhaps you've been on the asking end, perhaps on the receiving end.
What's to be done? A little magnification, as well as some listening, may go a long way.
Multiple times each week, requests are sent in to Voices.com staff from voice talent members who ask if we can review their demos.
There are 3 issues with this:
1. Our staff is not trained to review voice over demos
2. Reviewing demos is not part of our service offering to members
3. We don't have time to review demos
While I, or any member of my team, cannot personally listen to your demos and give you the feedback you are seeking, there are people out there who do this as a professional service, including:
I took a rather brief, informal poll moments ago on Facebook through a status update to see who reviews demos and did receive a couple of responses, including a comment from Nancy Wolfson of Braintracks Audio and an email from Mike Elmore.
Be advised that there will likely be a fee for the consultation and review because you are buying a professional's time, attention and expertise to guide you through to more successful climes.
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
As we begin to stare tax season down the throat, the word AUDIT comes to mind - it is CRITICAL to have an AUDIT run on your business and all the marketing pieces and collateral and TOOLS (demos) that sell you in your business before you take that business to market.
Relationships are far more valuable than individual jobs and particular paychecks, so it is imperative that one not blaze forward recklessly engaging and promoting oneself to even one buyer or talent rep or casting director with something that represents this business that is YOU with a product that is corny, dated or sub-par given contemporary standards.
In producing something that is contemporary and useful, there are certainly plenty of "do"s and "don'ts."
Some of the basic requirements are outlined in the "YOUR VOICE OVER BUSINESS" mp3 for sale in the store section of braintracksaudio.com.
While visiting my website you can also click on the DEMO PRODUCTION knob - then the arm off of that knob that says DEMO MAKEOVER to see great examples of BEFORE and AFTERs.
The "BEFORE" examples were too versatile/dated/corny/too long - the kinds of issues that would have an agent or buyer hitting "eject" early or just tossing it based on poor branding or a lack thereof.
The "AFTER" examples on those same individuals were produced after proper coursework helped the talent deliver better reads and know the boundaries of the personal style we are marketing. The "AFTER"s are upscaled, upgraded and customized portraits of those same people, and offer each one a sales tool that cuts through the sameness of the "competition" and returns better revenue to the talent and their VO business.
But because every sales tool (demo) must be TAILOR-MADE to honor and promote each individual, it is critical that the content has been carefully scripted and produced to honor the brand of the individual.
A demo that sounds like it came out of a "puppy mill" will not break you in - one that is specific and produced in a top market by someone whose business it is to customize and tailor for you will help honor what's unique about YOU.
And therein lies all the difference.
Another way to gather feedback (which happens to be free) is to join a voice over forum or networking group. You may find that there is a thread set aside specifically for demo reviews. In such cases, members are invited to share their demos to gain feedback through peer reviews.
Whichever route you choose to take, be sure to keep in mind that any feedback, good or bad, is simply someone's opinion and not to be terribly discouraged should a dark horse pop out and rip your demo to shreds.
Although your voice is tightly knit to who you are, the feedback, if provided in a constructive and generous spirit, should be taken in the context of improving your voice over business, and is not an attack on you as a person.
If you've had experience on the asking or receiving end of a demo review or review demos yourself, please leave a comment and join the conversation.
P.S. If you know someone who would benefit from this article, be sure to let them know and send them a link to this web page!
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