One of the most vital tools any voice over talent can have on their side in their quest to secure ongoing voice over work is a voice over demo. This is what will land you an agent and new clients. Whilst many jobs are still cast through cattle call auditions, there’s a shift moving towards voice talents being cast from their demo only.
But what is the ideal length of a voice over demo? What should the order of files be? Should I slate my name on my demo?
We consulted with voice over casting directors, agents and clients using casting websites to break it down.
LENGTH OF DEMO:
The ideal length of a voice over should be around 2 minutes. It’s very rare that someone listening to a large number of auditions will listen past the first 30 seconds. Their job is to find the perfect voice for the role, and anyone experienced in this will be able to tell in the first 15 seconds if your voice fits the mould, or even if your style is professional enough to move you onto the next step.
ORDER OF FILES:
Your opening piece of audio should be your strongest, clearest and with no effects placed on your voice. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes voice talent can make. The client or casting director is looking to hear your natural voice, not a processed voice. Ideally each recorded piece should be no longer than 10 seconds. So if they listen for 30 seconds they will hear 3 different styles. Do not leave any long gaps of music with no voice. The client just wants to hear your voice!
Do not include character impersonations in the first 30 seconds of your main demo. Generally these should be included in a totally separate character demo.
Nowadays many voice demos are streamed online or only if requested sent in an email. Therefore the file size should be as small as possible whilst still retaining almost CD quality sound. The perfect format is mp3. A minimum of 128 kbps is recommended to find the perfect balance of sound quality and file size. If you were to send a 10mb wav file to a voice over agent or potential client, you would probably leave a bad taste in their mouth from clogging up their email before they even listen to your demo.
USING OTHER VOICE TALENT:
If another voice talent is used to showcase a conversational sample, the other voice should firstly give their permission. The most ideal two person audio sample should keep the other talent’s voice to a minimum as it is your voice you are trying to sell.
SLATING YOUR NAME:
It’s generally not required as your name should be part of the mp3 file name i.e. John-Smith-Voice-Demo.mp3
This would be a waste of time when every second matters. Even when submitting through online voice casting website, a professional and reputable site will connect your audition to the file throughout the client’s experience.
Keep your voice over demo short, sharp and straight to the point. Less than two minutes is perfect and make sure you showcase your best 3 pieces in the first 30 seconds. The first file should ideally be a clean dry read with no music or effects.
To hear samples of hundreds of professional male and female voice over demos, check out: www.thevoicerealm.com