VORG Web Article 04-04-2007

a short excerpt from the straight forward VO book …

Voiceovers: Techniques and Tactics for Success
by Janet Wilcox

Editor: To make money as a voice actor, you need more than a voice. You need a demo reel. But how does one make a demo reel, and what should be on it? In her new book Voiceovers: Techniques and Tactics for Success, Janet Wilcox explains everything voice-over hopefuls need to know to find work in Network Promos, Commercials, Documentaries, Audiobooks, Animation, and more. Below is an excerpt from Voiceovers by Janet Wilcox.

Voice-Over Demos
How do you get agents and jobs in the business? Initially you need the skills to perform a range of copy. Then you need a great demo reel. The demo reel is your calling card to get work, as is the headshot for an actor. You’ll spend the most money the first time you do a demo because you have no previous recordings. Once you’ve booked jobs, you’ll be able to cut in new spots and this will cost much less than a full new reel.

Where to Start
The first step you need to take is to go to Voicebank.net and really observe your competition. Define what you can bring to your demo that can be competitive and reflect all your talent. Then you need to listen to reels created by demo producers. You can usually find demos on their website.

What Does A Demo Producer Do?
First, you do need to get solid direction from a demo producer. A good demo producer will also help you find the right copy, and record and produce the reel. Where do you find a good demo producer? In the Los Angeles area, the Newsstand Voice Over Resource Guide lists demo producers. Asking for recommendations in your market is a good way to find the best producer. You can call sound recording studios, talent agencies, and local SAG and AFTRA offices for tips.

What Does A Demo Cost?
Top L.A. demo producer William “Bill” Holmes says the current rates for demos in Los Angeles range from one thousand to two thousand dollars. Please remember that demos vary from region to region.

How Long Should a Demo Be?
The length of your demo will vary from region to region. You need to listen to demos in your market to be competitive. The demos in Los Angeles tend to be quite short.

Bill Holmes: “An average demo reel these days is between a minute and two minutes, and I would say definitely closer to a minute."

What about The Content of a Demo?
Most voice-over artists produce a commercial demo reel first. Agents want clients who can do commercial copy. A good commercial reel reflects who you are and generally doesn’t include broad characters.

Bill Holmes advises: “The range of voice is not really that important. Don’t try to put a range of different types of voices, dialects, and accents. Just put a lot of range into who you are being quiet, being loud, being silly, being real, being sad.”

Voiceovers: Techniques and Tactics for Success is available in the "VO Store"
at Dave & Dave Incorporated and online.