Voice-Over Talent Tips!

voice actor speaking on mic

by Jeffrey LeClair

If you are entertaining the idea of breaking into voice-overs, your voice over demo is an absolutely essential marketing tool. Not having a voice demo is like an actor trying to get work without a head shot. Your voice demo is your business card to the voice industry and you cannot work without it.

Just as models include tear sheets in their portfolios, established voice talent make a short (usually 90 second) compilation of current voice over work. They duplicate this on CD and send the discs to producers, casting directors, and clients who keep them on file for future voice work consideration. Often, talent are hired right from their voice over demos. In many cases, they must audition for the job.

No one in the voice over industry wants to work with a beginner who has little, or no voice over experience. To break into voice overs you must produce a voice demo that sounds like you have worked before. The samples you include on the voice demo you make (or have made for you) need to sound like they are actual spots that could have been on the air.

If you can find a good voice coach, this is something that is highly recommended. If you do look for a voice coach, be sure they have good references. You need a coach who understands what the advertising agencies and producers are listening for in professional voice over talent. Don’t make your voice-over demo before you are ready. Find a coach who will help you build your skills before you make the investment in the studio. If there is no voice-over coach in your area, search the internet for reputable long distance coaching.

Every great voice demo starts with good commercial copy. Well written voice over scripts showcase your reads with different emotions – roles – energies, and that the market requires. Be sure to strive for variety on your voice over demo. Select voice-over scripts that show the full range of what you are capable. Good voice over scripts can be hard to find. Make sure the resource your choose has multiple script categories including Commercials, Corporate, Narration’s, Promos, Public Service announcements – just about every kind of voice over recording you may come up against.

A competitive voice over demo should produced in a professional recording studio which has the proper background music and sound effects to put behind your voice. Studios can be expensive. Costs average $50-$300 an hour or more, depending on the caliber of the facility and location. It can take as long as 8 hours (or more) for a beginner to produce a professional voice over demo, including recording, editing , music selection and the final mix. Once the voice demo is produced, you’ll also have to pay for the duplication of your demo and mailing costs.

Be sure to shop around before committing to a studio to record your voice over demo. Recording studio rates are competitive. Many studios even offer special voice over demo package deals for voice talent. Check out the studio before you invest in making your voice over demo. Make an appointment with the studio to just go in a take a look at their facilities. Is it soundproof? Is the recording staff pleasant? Will you feel comfortable recording there? Do they have voice over scripts available? Have the studio play you samples of other voice talent demos they’ve made.

You will want to choose a studio which is used by voice over artists. They’ll have lots of experience in working with voice talent and should have everything you need.

It is good practice to warm up before your voice over session. Athletes, Dancers, and singers warm up. Voice over actors should do the same! After all, the specific muscles used to perform your craft should be kept ‘toned’ by using voice warm-up exercises. Relax your neck, stretch your face and shoulders, open your mouth wide, or perform your favorite tongue twisters. By warming up your voice you speak more clearly. and you also relax. When you enter a studio for your recording session, being relaxed is very important in order to zero in and find your character quickly. Follow this advice and you will make the most out of your voice-over session.

Don’t duplicate more than 50 voice over CDs at a time. After you’ve sent out your first 50 cds and received feedback, you’ll know whether or not you’ll have to go back into the studio for some fine-tuning to your voice over demo!

When your ready.... give us a call, JL Studios Recording can produce your voice-over demo.

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