When it comes to putting together your demo show reel as a voice artist, it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly what you can do to make it stand out from the crowd.
Ensuring you’re the one who producers and decision makers are drawn to and want to use for their project is important. So how do you do this? How long should it be? What should you include? These are all common questions asked by voice artists and ones which we’re perfectly positioned to answer and offer guidance upon.
Above all else, your show reel or demo is your CV in the world of voice acting and, as such, if you want to succeed and win work, you need to make sure it stands out and portrays you as a professional, flexible and competent voice artist.
If you’re struggling to know which way to go with your demo, don’t worry, here’s our top 5 industry secrets for recording and putting together the perfect show reel and standing out from the crowd.
1: Don’t record until you’re ready
Perhaps the most important consideration to ask yourself is whether or not you’re actually ready to record your demo? Far too many voice artists spend time and money putting something together when the truth is, they’re not quite at that stage.
It’s often all too tempting to want to rush things to start attracting work, however there’s a great argument for waiting until you’re confident and you’re more likely to win the work. Ultimately, a poor demo from an artist who isn’t ready to take on work won’t do you any favours and can significantly hinder your career.
Producers and decision makers will be listening to other demos, and if your voice isn’t as strong (or you aren’t able to come across as well) as others, it’ll be bad news and a real struggle to land jobs. Take the time to listen to other demos and perhaps even arrange an initial discussion with a voice over agency to determine the level you’re at and whether you’re better investing, at this stage, in further vocal coaching rather than a demo.
It’s surprising how many voice artists at the start of their career fail to recognise the importance of professional coaching and, if you’re not quite ready to record, additional lessons are the most effective way to get to that stage as soon as possible. This will improve enunciation markedly and better prepare you both for recording your demo and for taking on client work.
2: Choose the right studio / producer
A great producer and studio can often be the magic ingredients and whilst they certainly won’t be able to produce a great demo from a poor voice artist, they’ll be able to work wonders with a competent, experienced individual. Choose your studio and producer carefully, taking the time to research and listen to other work they’ve put together, paying particular attention to both the recording quality and that of the edit.
Does the demo flow and sound like a professional production or can you, as an artist yourself, pick faults in it? Spend the time doing your research and, so long as you’re ready, you’ll be well on your way to working with the right team and ending up with a professional show reel, which represents you perfectly.
On the other hand, always trust your instincts. Do you get on with a producer having had a chat with them on the phone or prior to the session? If you’re excited to work with them then fantastic, if not, consider looking elsewhere.
3: Understand the budget needed
The reality is that putting together a demo doesn’t come cheap. If you want the best studio and the best producer, trust us when we say it’s worth every penny!
Producers and decision makers can identify a ‘budget’ demo a mile off and, whilst the core aim is to demonstrate your vocal abilities, if you’re willing to invest in yourself it shows your dedication and passion. Whilst there’s the temptation to go for a ‘cheaper’ studio or producer, ask yourself whether you’ll really save in the long run or whether you’ll regret the decision upon receiving the ‘finished’ product and need to go back to square one and re-record somewhere else?
4: Prepare a varied selection of content
Your demo is your opportunity to really show decision makers how flexible you are as a voice artist, demonstrating that you’re able to take on a whole host of different roles in a number of different styles and situations, whilst still coming across as professional and well spoken.
The most successful voice artists can adapt themselves to a multitude of different projects and that’s what producers want. They want the confidence that if they choose you for their project, you’ll be able to deliver to their brief, almost regardless what it is they ask of you.
5: Showcase your personality
Whilst it’s important that you showcase your professionalism and flexibility, it’s also important that you’re able to get across your personality.
You need to remember that, when considering their options, your demo is the only representation of you at that stage. When listening to it, they’ve not met you and likely haven’t even spoken with you on the phone. As such, if you can get across your personality both through your content and your vocal abilities, you’ll already be one step further than someone whose demo is professional yet lacks individuality.
Producers want to work with artists who are able to do something a little different and can stand out from the crowd. Deliver what they want and you’ll be well on your way to a successful career recording voice overs. However, without a perfect demo or show reel, you’ll struggle to convince them how great you are and find it far more difficult than it should be to win work.