a better commercial voice demo


There are some voice talents for whom it’s a stressful process but I really enjoy the process of producing voice over demos. I love reviewing the work, picking which cuts to use, freshening some segments that were poorly produced (and making the voice sound better) and then of course, the fun of picking the order. It’s a really enjoyable process.

Except when it’s my voice over demo that I’m working on.

Don’t misunderstand, I still like the process but the challenge of the effort when it’s your own work is tougher. Why? Because as voice talents we are each too close to our own work to be as objective as we can be for others. We voiced the spots or narrations, maybe we even produced the final production; the client paid us so they must have liked it, it must have been good, maybe even good enough for the demo reel. Or is it?

Look, the demo is the VO’s calling card, our billboard on the audio super highway, and it can be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. It’s between 1-2 minutes that will decide “feast or famine”.

For my new commercial demo, I knew there were some spots I wanted to add that I just hadn’t gotten around to putting in. There was a national spot for Shell Oil Company and a big regional spot I did for the New Jersey Board of Tourism that I felt should be included, among others.

While as a demo producer I know how to produce great demos…I also know how much I can either “not hear” or “over hear” in my own work. Mistakes in either direction can lead to a “famine” demo.

I needed to call for backup.

The key to this back up process is to go to a set (or sets) of ears you trust. You need to understand your backup’s experience in audio production, voice over and demo production. A great set of ears has respected credentials in all those areas. In this instance, my backup does what I have often done for personal friends in the biz which is to actually re cut the demo into the order that might work better. On my demo, my back up made the right changes, in my opinion.

So as not to over step the favor my back up offered on my demo and risk a deluge of requests of him for demo help, I’ll merely say thanks Frank for your help (there’s only about 250 Franks in the VO biz so good luck sifting through them).

Give this new demo a listen and let me know what you think (it’s OK if you want to critique it).

2 Responses to “a better commercial voice demo”

  1. Nice demo, Peter! You’re very versatile.
    (I know what you mean about being one’s own worst critic!) 😉

  2. Hi Donna!

    Thanks for the kind words…I have a VO friend of mine who is very talented but freaks when she has to listen to her own voice…she hates it. Yet she still cashes the check.

    When I first started I was that way but after 25 years, that issue seems to have faded…except around demo time 🙂

    Come back any time!

    Best always
    – Peter