Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Are You Living Up to Your Demos?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 6, 2011

Comments (2)

Frog prince with a kiss me sign on his lipsJust how important is it that you can replicate everything on your demo?

Whether it's production, vocal artistry or interpretation, people get the distinct impression that what they hear is what they'll get.

How's your demo representing your abilities? Explore this topic with me now in today's VOX Daily.

Your Demo Represents You...

You may have heard it said before but your voice over demo is truly your calling card. The demo, while not necessarily representative of work you have actually done, is representative of what you are capable of doing.

An important distinction to make is that while many voice talent have professionally produced demos, not nearly as many are able to replicate every subtlety or element on their sample when called upon at their home recording studio.

...But Just How Well?

What happens when the voice over demo promises more than what a talent can actually do on their own unassisted by producers, directors or coaches?

Being able to edit and mix well aren't the only skills that can be falsely advertised in a voice over demo.

What about the ability to self-direct? Self-direction is now standard and all talent who work from their own home recording studios must be able to do this to a degree.

One other thing to be aware of is how production elements can mask vocal vulnerabilities in terms of diction, clarity and audio quality.

An Example

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear a "before" and "after" scenario where the talent did not live up to their demo.

In the work sample I heard, the voice artist's performance exhibited noticeable sibilance. This was also present in their demo, however, the demo was so tightly produced that it wouldn't have been obvious to an inexperienced director unless they were looking for it. Production elements can hide many issues including mouth noises, a poorly laid out studio environment and undesirable audio artifacts.

What Talent Can Do To Prevent False Advertising

The last thing you want to do is give a prospective customer a false impression of what you can do for them. While it can be wonderful to be hired off your demo, to fully deliver the goods you need to be able to perform and deliver on par with what your polished audio sample promised.

When it comes time to recording a voice over demo with a coach or studio, you might want to keep the production elements minimal, especially if you are not particularly skilled in this area. Dry voice samples (no production elements, only the voice) is a safe way to present your abilities. Dry voice is typical of narration and audiobook demos as well as GPS, telephone and other types of voice over work. Another benefit of dry voice is that people can immediately hear the quality of the recording and also focus on your voice as the sole instrument in the mix.

Something else to consider is investing some time in the art of direction. Study, watch others and make choices, not guesses!

Finally, be consistent with your vocal regime. This includes warming up, maintaining dental hygiene, being well hydrated and allowing your voice to act as a vehicle for the written word.

What About You?

Have you had to pick up some skills along the way to ensure that you could deliver on your studio produced demo?

I'd love to hear about any challenges you encountered as well as tips you might share on this topic.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Lane

Related Topics: abilities, advertising, audio, demos, GPS, hired, production, recording studios, voice talent


Comments


    While being coached and since finishing my coaching sessions, I made demos using the home studio set up that I have. The demos are honestly representative of what I can deliver as a voice over talent. Maybe that is why I am not getting any work. All of my coaches have told me that I have the talent and the skills. They also have assured me that my studio specs are good.

    I’ve been advised to be patient and positive, but it’s really hard to remain positive. Especially when one is living on a pension and said check is all gone by the end of the first week of the month. All I can think is “WHAT am I doing so wrong??”

    Still, I will soldier on.

    Darla

    Posted by:
    • Darla Middlebrook
    • January 7, 2011 12:37 PM

      Yes indeed Stephanie. There's a unique challenge in solo voiceover, working alone as so many of us do. I think that's why your daily dialogue is so valued. In our home studios, we have no producer, no golden-eared engineer, no motivating applause, nothing to mask the sound of clattering teeth, errant pets, buzzing equipment. Hyper vigilance must rule... while staying calm and focused on the message we are paid to deliver! I suppose I was incredibly lucky that my first-ever Voices-com audition was exactly what the producers had in mind, so they paid without retake. Personally, I've gained from being drilled by the BBC to speak into the correct side of the mike, so that bit is sorted... but learning to edit digitally and put files into the right format for production, and to mercilessly criticise - and praise - my own work... well that's the part I have to call fun.

      Howard

      Posted by:
      • Howard Ellison
      • January 7, 2011 1:29 PM

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