Why isn’t my demo getting me voice over work?
- 1 produced demo
- 1 online casting site
- 1 computer
- Thousands of emails
Put it all together and you should have voice over jobs, right?
Step 1 – Getting some “nibbles”
Just because you have a demo, doesn’t mean the work will just fly in. You were told to get a killer demo….you spent the time and money to do that, and now you’re auditioning through Voice123 and shopping it out to ‘EVERYWHERE’ and nothing! Perhaps you’re getting a bit of work but no new bites coming in?
Step 2 – Demo Response
There are many reasons that contribute to your demo response. The first to consider, of course, is if it’s current with today’s market needs. Did your demo team understand who you are and your needs for the marketplace you are seeking, or their local market only?
Step 3 – Demo Breakdown
Your demo length, style and content are very important and creating just the right demo material is nearly an art in itself. See “Recipe for an Awesome Voice Over Demo Part One”
Step 4 – Personality!
The next thing to consider is if its captured enough of your unique personalities, while still highlighting your signature personality? Is there variety? Does it sound like all the same thing but with different music and sfx, or does each part sound distinctly different and completely unique to one another?
Step 5 – Quality
What about the demo quality? Sometimes you can get a really good production team that truly knows production, but that doesn’t always mean they know how to showcase the talent more than the production.
Step 6 – Are you really ready?
One of the most important things to consider is whether a talent is ready for a demo. Many of you will produce your demo before you’re ready. Even back in 1990 when I took my broadcasting course, we had to do the entire thing before we were even close to ready–and that was training five days a week for a full school year. Not being ready is one of the biggest mistakes talent will make. Knowing you’re ready is very important and not always easy. Trust in your coaches to help you prepare and guide you to readiness.
Step 7 – Marketing
Another possible reason you may not be getting voice over work is your marketing. How are you getting this demo out to the world? You have to fight your way in these days and be connected to just the right people to find work. You must be aggressive with your career.
Here is the thing, there are many voice over talents who aren’t very well trained and they are finding work somehow. This is a hard industry to make a full-time wage in….so a lot of these talent are not making a fortune, but they are getting work. So, they are doing something right. Now if you do it right, get yourself ready, find the right team, get your demo done right the first time, market your bananas off, and stay dedicated to the auditions (and not complain about having too many) you will find work. If you are not getting results on Voice123, you really might need some extra help to figure out why and change your booking ratio. [See "Five 'Not-So Secrets to Booking Work on Voice123" for general help.] Getting help with your career from someone who knows the business inside and out is the best education money can buy, and the bonus is that it can actually help pay the bills….keep auditioning – training – growing – and the work will come!
Much like the film industry, if you want to be a big celebrity, it is a long road and rare for most to actually make it all the way. But many actors book steady work, schlepping themselves out there and pushing their way through. Some enjoy that risky journey, while others might not, but perseverance is the only way to prove yourself worthy of your ultimate prize. Is it to be famous and make a ton of money in this? Great, but it takes a ton of experience to get there. If it’s to make a career out of it – then make sure you invest right the first time.
It’s like ANY business, the more you invest, the more you are worth….I don’t mean SPEND more on your demo, but many times you get what you pay for. So how much time, research and investment went into your training prior to your demo? Did you go to a company that truly cares about your results and was only willing to do it for you when you were ready, or did you go to Jungle Jim’s “after X amount of lessons and this much money I will get you a demo?”
This is all my opinion of course, based on my personal experience as a Voice Actor and what has been taught to me through all these years. But it’s very important to get different opinions and have a chance to listen to other demos and the variety of styles etc.
Step 8 – How old is your demo?
One last thing to consider is the age of your demo. Many decision makers are hearing your demo, but there are also many agents etc. that will know if you have a new demo or not. Some of the top talents reproduce their demos every 6 months, and these demos are not cheap. They can get more expensive as you grow as a talent. This just becomes part of the cost. I myself am guilty of having a stale (yet brilliant) demo. I am currently working on changing that!
There are MANY other things that could be contributing to your demo return, but these are some of the most common issues. Either way, take all these things into consideration as you take training for your demos or are shopping your demo out to the world hoping to obtain work. It could be that you need a good old-fashioned overhaul.
It’s time for me to do an overhaul and continue to add to my client rosters so I can maintain a full time living in this industry. It’s a never-ending process that you can’t let go of. This is a constant in your career, so prepare for the expense, time and efforts needed to maintain freshness within your demos and your training.
Producing a Demo
As you grow you will be able to use actual jobs (should they be demo worthy), but in the beginning these demos will have to be fabricated, and everyone has their own opinion, their own budget and their own methods, so make sure you research this daunting domain! Also, be sure to work with your demo team prior to recording your demo so they can pull out your true personality.
Don’t be afraid of producing demos remotely. I direct, write and produce demos monthly for several talent around the world. Some come to me directly and voice at my studio, while others live in Thailand, Japan, the US and beyond and travel isn’t an option. The work you produce from a home studio should match the quality that you offer on your demo. We will test your home studio sound and make it the best it can be. Once that’s approved, all you need to do is be able to record on your end, send us the files, and we’ll take over from there. I also find talent are most comfortable when working from their home studio, so it helps alleviate the nerves a bit.
So, let’s find out why your demo isn’t giving you the return on investment you had hoped for. Be warned, I will tell you like it is, at least how I see it, if I love it, I will happily admit it and guide you in what direction you need to focus on to get more work, but if I don’t like it, I’m going to tell you that to……
I look forward to hearing from you either way! Send me your demos for a free critique to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be ready. Get a Killer Demo. Then get your demos out there, keep your Voice123 profile up to date, and AUDITION! Be competitive and appreciative and quit waiting for the work to come to you.
Until next time everyone!
All my best, Vo Chef Deb
About Deb Munro:
You can hear Deb’s voice in Video Games such as “Pirates of the Caribbean, NeverWinterNight…” thousands of Commercials such as “Ford, Sony, Car Canada, Time Warner Cable…” TV Series such as “CMT’s – Top 20 Sexiest Men, True Pulp Murder”, Award Shows such as “Gemini’s, Juno’s, New Media Awards….”, Hotel Chains such as “The Kor Hotel Group, Sheraton, Days Inn…”, one of her star appearances in narration such as, “Imperial Oil, WHIMS, Enbridge, Microsoft and more…” Deb is also an On-Camera Actor, Host, Coach, Director and Writer. Visit her site at www.DebsVoice.com