I’ve been doing demo reels for about as long as I’ve been doing VO. In the last decade, I have learned a lot both as a studio professional and a voice-over artist.
REAL TALK — I reject more demo requests than I accept.
The reason why is simple and, for the purpose of this post, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it:
Most that are new to this aren’t ready for a demo.
This isn’t me trying to be mean or elitist or some type of Disney villain (though they typically do have better outfits than the hero).
This is ME—someone who has been in the entertainment industry since she was 14 years old—asking YOU—someone that is still building a resume—not to rush into this.
When I get a request, I want as much information as possible:
- Full resume
- Audio samples
- A clear idea of what you’re wanting out of a demo
- What other services you might need
The subject of money is brought up pretty quickly.
As an actor, I know how expensive things (classes, workshops, headshots, etc) can be. Demos are not the exception.
Keep in mind, you’re paying for EVERYTHING. The price given rarely, if ever, reflects just the final product. You’re paying for studio time (which may or may not include a sound engineer) and post-production (editing, music/SFX, mixing, etc).
While I factor in writing services and voice direction, many studios don’t. Scripts and such may rest solely on you. You might even have to hire additional people to do that work for you.
If I reject a request, I’ll usually offer a recommendation to another place. But unlike my indie setup, most studios depend on work like demo reels.
MEANING: They don’t care if you’re ready.
This isn’t a jab. These are businesses we’re talking about. You’re a potential client offering money for their services. They’ll want to work with you.
Things To Consider:
- Getting a demo done before you’re ready can be a hindrance. You run the risk of having a demo that doesn’t reflect your actual talent.
- Demos should be updated every couple of years.
- Seeking representation? Each agency has their own standards for what they want as far as a reel (some agencies don’t represent VO talent at all).
There’s so much I didn’t cover but I think this is a good place to end it. I hope this information helps some of you.
Feel free to share. And if you want more stuff like this, feel free to tell me in the comments!