Getting Started in Voiceovers- Your Demo

Mar 16, 2014

Continuing the series of blogs on getting started in voiceovers, todays topic is the ever-important DEMO.

  Now that you're all that set up, Tax ID, logo, invoices, equipment and  a place to record etc, you’ll need to put together a demo(s).  Afterall, how are potential clients going to know what you sound like? Demos are compilations of your 'best' work and are assembled into 1 file.  You're going to put them your site and they'll be what you'll send to clients who ask for them.  Some will take an MP3; some, a CD. 

  Demos are broken up into categories:  commercials (for radio/tv), narrations, promos, characters, impersonations and on-hold messges etc...  Commercials and on-hold messages are (obviously) what they say they are; promos can carry a few sub-categories:  radio, tv, events, announcments...etc; however, narrations (in my opinion) carry the greatest number of sub-categories:  there are documentaries, audiobooks, presentations, 'how-to' demonstrations, walking tours, training material, medical and legal narrations (for the terminology) and whole bunch more. 

  When you put together your demo, regardless of what category you're using, your very best recordings should be at the front; not your favorite...your best; you can add your favorite from the middle on.  Get feedback from others on your recording.  What they like about your recordings...may not be the same that you like. Demo clips don't necessarily have to come from the beginning of a recording; it could come from the middle or end, as well.

  To put together a demo you'll need to compile some of your best work; but if you're new to the business how can you do that?  Practice scripts.  Practice scripts are (or were) actual scripts that were recorded (and probably aired) at an earlier date (perhaps a couple of months ago, maybe a year or 2); and they're usually NATIONAL spots.  The Edge Studio (  is a great place to find practice scripts for every category there is and alot of other info on 'STUFF' (lol).  I wouldn't recommend writing your own material, unless you're an establised writer.  You can find practice scripts at some of the 'pay-to-play' sites, as well;,, (I'll go into the 'pay-to-play' sites on another blog).

  On to the demo(s)...

  If you've sought out other voice talent you noticed that most list a few demos on their site (usually commercial, narration, promos and maybe on-hold).  Some list more...some less; so you're going to need more than 1, also.  While you were there, did you... 

- LISTEN to the demos; to the clips (usually around 10 seconds each)? Listen to the inflections?  Did you hear any music or sound effects?

- count how many spots were in the demo?  That's about how many you'll need to record.

- notice how long the demo was? 

A commercial demo averages 60-90 seconds (max); a promo and on-hold demo,'bout a minute; a narration demo can last up to 3 minutes. have some practice scripts to record for your commercial demo:  Record them- in their entirety; pretend you're voicing the spot for airplay….then what?  They have to be edited and ‘cleaned up’- do you know how to do that?  There are lots of videos on YouTube that can show you how.  Do you want to add any music?  Sound effects? What about putting any effects to your voice?  There's videos for that, too. When you're done with the demo and you're happy with it move on to your next demo; narrations, on-hold messages, promos...etc.

These are all things to consider when you want to put together a demo; or, you could pay to have them produced (shameless plug)-  JustMyVoice Production can produce your demos. 

by Rich Brennan