Your voice over demo is one of the most important tools you have if you are intent on entering the field of voice overs. If you don’t have a voice demo, it is like being an actor who does not have a head shot. Your business card is your voice demo when you want to break into or continue being part of this industry.
The same way tear sheets are included in a model’s portfolio, voice talents also include a short (typically 90 seconds) compilation of the work they have done recently. This work is duplicated on CDs, which are then sent to producers, casting directors and clients to be kept on file for when they need voice actors in the future. Often times, talent is hired solely on the merits of voice over demos. Of course, there is still an audition involved.
It is not usual that beginners who have little experience with voice over work will get the job, but everyone has to start somewhere. The beginning place is with voice demos that make it at least look as if you have worked in some capacity in the voice over industry. Your voice over demos should sound as if they had actually been used on the air.
It is recommended that you work with a good voice coach. Getting references from others in the industry is the best way to locate a coach you can work with. Your coach should understand what it is that producers and advertising agencies are searching for with professional voice over talent. They will be able to let you know when the time is right to create your voice over demo that will allow you to command typical voice over talent rates. Your coach will be able to help you build your skills prior to investing in studio work. If you cannot find a voice coach where you live, it is simple to find one over the Internet who can help you with long distance coaching.
Competitive voice over demos are produced in professional recording studios with the right background music and sound effects that will be added behind your voice. While voice over talent rates for studios can be expensive, they are well worth it. The average cost is from $50 to $100 per hour and it can take 8 hours or longer for beginners to get their professional voice over demo completed.
Before laying your money down for your voice over demo, it is a good idea to shop around for the best offer. You will find a number of studios offering package deals for voice talent demos. It is also good to set up a time to visit the studio so you can become familiar with it before actually making your demo. Ask if they have scripts for you to use or if you will be expected to come with your own. Also ask if you can listen to samples of demos made by other voice talent. When you are satisfied that this is the studio you want to use, sign the contract and set a schedule.
Every good talent warms up before going to work, and that is what you should do too. This will help to relax your voice and allow you to get comfortable with what you are about to do. Have no more than 50 duplicates made of your demo and send them out. Wait for feedback on what you have done, and if necessary, fine-tune it before sending out more.
Your voice over talent rates will depend on how well you can impress directors, producers and clients.