The Almighty Demo

One of the things I’ve heard repeatedly as I explore the voice business is that a professionally produced demo is a requirement. I tend to agree; very few people (myself included) have the chops to produce a truly professional voice demo, and everyone can benefit from having another person providing direction and an independent ear to help improve their delivery.

The problem is that there’s a million and one places out there that will help you out- for money. Sometimes lots of it. A good demo can cost thousands of dollars to produce and unless you know exactly what you want out of it, you’re not going to get your money’s worth. Also, you have to be sure that you’re comfortable working with the producer and that they’re not just there to get your money and let you stand in front of a mic for a few minutes and send you a badly-edited CD.

I don’t necessarily recommend this as a course of action, but what I’ve been doing is working on incrementally producing my own demos. At some point in the relatively near future I’ll be paying someone some money to help me make a truly quality demo reel. But I need experience before I get there.

Aside: It’s funny how you need a demo to get experience, but you should have experience before you make the demo. Just like most other industries. It’d be funny if it weren’t absolutely true.

I started off with recording some simple demos using scripts I found on various web sites. I then asked for people to provide feedback on them, listened to it, scrapped the previous demos and cut a new set taking the feedback (and the skills I’d learned before) into a new set.

I’m still in this process. The demos I have now up on this site and on various voice forums are not professionally produced; I made them myself. They will probably end up being tossed in the trash within a few days and replaced by newer, hopefully improved, versions that more effectively showcase my voice. Each step I’ve taken so far has shown a significant improvement in both technical and artistic quality, and I intend to make sure that trend continues.

This iterative process is not for the faint of heart; firstly you have to be ready to hear- a LOT- that your demos are terrible. It’d be disheartening, but like anyone else starting out in a creative field you have to be ready to do a lot of work and make a lot of subpar efforts in order to simply learn how to do it right.

I know for a fact I have an excellent voice. The question remains, however- am I persistent enough to take that native ability and develop a real talent out of it? I believe so.

I know so.


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