Is this you? You’ve sent your demo to everyone you can think of, studios, radio stations and producers…and you’ve had little or no response. ‘Oh, my god’, you might think, ‘have I done something to offend someone?’, or, ‘Is my demo that crappy?’ No probably not, you just need to remind them that you’re still there.
Making Sure Your Demo is Working
When a voice over artist tells me they sent their demo out and didn’t get a response, I always ask them this. What did you do then? More often than not they answer, ‘Nothing’.
When this happens often a voice over artist will begin to doubt themselves and their abilities. They will see ‘no response’ as failing or ‘little response’ as proof that they’re not good enough. They’ll begin to give up. But I always say that not getting a response is a reason not to give up.
Whether you’re new to the industry or not, it’s okay to call or email a studio within a couple of weeks of sending your demo and ask for a response. Tell them you’re looking for an honest appraisal. This way, you’ll either be prompting them to listen again to your demo or to even listen to it for the first time. Studios can become extremely busy and sometimes emailed demos are not listened to immediately because of this.
When you do get some feedback, use it to refine your demo or even target it differently. While you are on the phone with them, you need to ask what kind of work they do at that studio. Some studios do all kinds of work, some only do a particular type of work, so they could do with a demo that is made just for them and which contains samples of the kind of work they do.
You might be talking to a studio who has several regular retail clients. If you think you could be good at this and you only have naturalistic reads on your demo, you might need to just put together a small retail demo. It works the other way too. If a studio does very high-end creative advertising and your demo is full of retail or announcer style informational reads, with very little creative content, you might need to look for some material that’s just a little more interesting for that studio.
Following Up and Following Through
Once you’ve sent your demo out, you need to keep finding ways to remind them that you’re still there. You might even like to book an hour at the studio to record the type of tracks they do there. Most studios will only charge $100-150 for an hour just to record a couple of tracks. That way, you’ll be able to begin to build your relationship with the engineer and get to work with them one-on-one. That’s a great opportunity to be considered for work. Now, you are no longer just a disembodied voice on a demo, you ‘know’ this person and they know you, and recording a couple of tracks with them is another way of letting them know what you can do.
Hopefully you’re having some success with your demos and you’re booking work. Now you need to start to get copies of those jobs for your records and to send to other studios to let them hear you. They may not have heard the tracks on air, or even if they did they will probably not know it was your work. It will tell them that you’re experienced, working, and looking to get more.
If you voice a commercial that goes to air, (as opposed to a submission track which may not) you can ask the studio to send it to you on an mp3 file. Once you have it stored, you can then send it, in an email, to studios you think may like to have it. Many voice over artists resist this idea and I really don’t know why. Remember, studios are always looking for new voices and offering clients new choices. It makes them look good to do this. So, help them out.
Whether you’re just starting out or are currently working in voice over, you need to know this! Regular work is never guaranteed, no matter how great your demo or how cleverly you’re doing your marketing. But this is yet another reason not to give up. One thing you’ll never know about is just how often you’re submitted for a job. You just need to make sure your demo is regularly updated and that studios know you’re available for work by finding ways to make contact, whether it’s to showcase work you’ve done, record additional tracks for your demo or let them know what other work you’re doing in theatre, television or film, because remember…at any moment that fantastic regular job could be coming your way.
If you want some great techniques for both creating a demo and marketing your demo just download my programs called ‘The Best Demo Ever’ and ‘Marketing For The Uninitiated’. Or, if you want a one-on-one session, either over the phone or in person, you can make contact with me and we can set up an appointment for a ‘Demo Assessment and Career Consultation’. We’ll give the demo a good going over, work out what’s working, what’s not and why, talk about what you want to achieve and create a plan of how to do this. Just email me by going to https://voiceovercoach.com.au/courses/demo-assessment
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.