Does Your VO Demo Have That “Not So Fresh Feeling”?

by Kevin Delaney

Lately I’ve heard a number of demos that would have been great, had they been produced 20 years ago.

A voiceover demo exists to establish you as a contender in today’s cutthroat business. Like all industries, ours grows and evolves over time.

It’s important that your demo have a fresh, contemporary feel to it. If a demo has a “yesterday sound,” it’s likely (inadvertently) promoting you as a “yesterday talent.” 

Unfortunately, many demo producers are painfully behind the times. Their demos are not just stale — they’re rancid.

This is often the result of a cookie-cutter mentality & approach. Some producers have been using the same tired copy, the same cheesy music and sound effects, for years.

When someone listens to your demo, they should get a sense of having just turned on the TV or radio. All of the spots need to sound reasonably up-to-date.

Beware of commercials for brands that are no longer with us. Borders, Washington Mutual and Tower Records were fine companies in their day, but they don’t do much advertising anymore.

Likewise, be careful with products or terms that might be associated with an earlier era. While it can be great to include a technology spot or two, you probably shouldn’t refer to the “World Wide Web,” or gush over CompuServe’s blazing-fast 56k dial-up speeds.

A surprising number of demos that I’ve listened to recently are monophonic — i.e., not mixed in stereo. There’s no reason for this. In the early days of the web, demos were typically in mono (and often encoded at a low bitrate) so they could be downloaded easily. With high-speed Internet, this is not an issue.

A demo is a living document — it’s not chisleled in stone. Revisit your demo(s) often, and feel free to freshen & revise them as needed.

Voiceover Demo DominationFor more great tips about creating a commercial VO demo that POPS, check out Voiceover Demo Domination: www.VODemoDomination.com

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