VORG #31 april-may-june 2000

Step Two: Now, What To Do With My Demo

Now that you have your master tape, you need to have copies made.

[Editor’s Note: Remember, there are many different areas of the Voice Over Industry that require specific skills and these areas might necessitate a separate style demo, i.e., Commercials, Animation, Characters, Narration, (TV) Promo, (Movie) Trailer, Audiobook, Sports, or Show Announce. Your first submission to get representation could be an all Promo, all Trailer, all Narration demo, etc., but know that a lion’s share of an Agent’s bookings are for commercials. Eventually, an Agent will want to hear your commercial demo. If you’ve been encouraged by your VO instructor or demo producer that your work might come from one of the VO areas other than commercial, your first demo could be a composite of a few styles. As your career and skills flourish, you would be better served having separate demos.]

Your tape should also include a J-Card and cassette label that has your name and contact number printed on it. These don’t have to win any graphics awards, but should definitely look professional. A fun or creative idea for your J-Card can help catch someone’s eye when thrown into the mountainous pile of tapes agents receive. After all, this is advertising, creativity gets noticed. Some tape duplicating companies can provide a computer generated J-Card and cassette label as part of their service.

Now you are ready to go out and sell yourself. You should first distribute them to the various voice over talent and casting agencies. An agent is much more likely to listen to a tape that comes with a recommendation. Don’t worry if you have no connections, all talent agencies listen to every tape eventually, although it can sometimes take months. Include a short note thanking them for their consideration in listening to your tape (mention any workshops or instructors you have studied with, but keep it short). Wait three weeks or more to call the receptionist and ask if your tape has been heard. Some agencies keep a list indicating if the tape has been considered or declined. The truth is, if they are interested, they will call you. Don’t be surprised if they tell you, “we have someone in your category.” It might be true. A year later that agent may sign you if your category opens up. No matter how much talent you have, you need an agent. Agents get the audition copy for you to read and set up auditions with the casting directors.

Voice-over is one of the more creative and intelligent facets of acting. It is also one of the most competitive. One can earn a very good living in a very exciting and stimulating career, but in addition to talent, it mostly takes a lot of hard work, preparation and luck.

- Cindy Akers, producer/director, Voicetrax West Recording Services