Entries Tagged as 'Demos'

Narration Demo 2020 by Peter K. O’Connell

Peter K. O'Connell Narration Demo 2020The hard reality for voice talents is that almost no one is as excited about the production and release of a new voiceover demo as the voice talent themselves. To us, it’s like a shiny new car.

Well maybe the demo producer – who earns his or her living off of producing voiceover demos – cares a lot…but the rest of the world doesn’t care quite as much as those two care.

Editor’s note: my new Narration demo is totally awesome (he said humbly) and you will totally love it (he noted demurely) and you’ll want to hire me on the spot (he said respectfully). I’m perfectly OK with that.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S NARRATION 2020 VOICEOVER DEMO:

 

It’s fun to listen to new voiceover demos when we come across them…hearing the read, gauging the performance, the script interpretation, the audio production and individually deciding if it all comes together in a finished voiceover sample that makes the voice talent shine.

From the talent and production side of the coin, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that the “shine” I mentioned is purely based on…the subjective opinion of the listener. That’s right, there is generally no right or wrong demo production answer, no perfect voiceover demo formula.

And that’s why even though I produced my last Narration demo about 6 months ago, I have now produced a new Narration demo. The last demo was great and I received work and compliments on it. But I decided to make what I feel was an important change.

On my past Narration demos, I included not only Corporate Narration clips but also E-learning voiceover samples and Explainer video voiceover samples. Maybe it was my stubbornness or my laziness (or something in between) but I believed at the time that one Narration demo with all three (3) genres included would serve the needs of producers.

For no particularly revolutionary reason and without a shocking epiphany, I decided that I might be wrong about that old reasoning.

It seemed to me that I wasn’t actually serving the producers of E-learning and Explainer videos very well with my “one-size-fits-all” Narration demo. So a new focused Narration demo has been produced as has a stand-alone E-learning voiceover demo and Explainer video demo. Each contains more specific examples of the categories, produced with element more appropriate to the production genre. Explainer video narrations sound different than E-learning narrations sound and Corporate Video narrations sound even more different than either of the other two.

Each demo now resides on its own web page as well, one for Narration, one for E-learning and one for Explainer videos.

I invite you to click on any of the links to hear any and all of them.

E-Learning and Explainer Video Narration Demos by Peter K. O’Connell

OK, ok, I finally did it.

In my past narration voiceover demos, while I always included my corporate voiceover samples, I also included samples of voiceover work I have recorded that are known as e-learning and explainer voiceovers.

At last I have given my explainer voiceover work and my e-learning voiceover work their completely individual voiceover demos.

Now you might not know terms e-learning or explainer…but I am pretty sure you’ve heard these genres of voiceover in your professional lives.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S E-LEARNING VOICEOVER DEMO:

E-learning voiceover narration by Peter K. O'Connell E-learning narration refers to the voiceover recording genre, often involving video and/or the internet that that helps students and professionals learn outside the standard classroom. E-learning has been long popular for training employees and teaching students at all levels of education but it’s popularity really spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of distance learning process.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S EXPLAINER VOICEOVER DEMO:

Explainer Video Narration Peter K. O'ConnellExplainer voiceovers are the narrations that tell the story of Explainer Videos. Most often used for businesses, Explainer Videos communicate in a simple ang engaging way how a product or service works and why a user would benefit from that use. Although they can be produced in a variety of graphic styles, Explainer Videos are most often animated – which helps producers convey complex ideas into a more simple form with eye -catching visuals and, of course, ear-catching narration! That’s where I come in.

Producers of E-learning and Explainer videos prefer to hear voiceover samples of their specific genre now, so…that’s what I am gladly offering them. Enjoy!

peter’s new sports radio imaging demo

SportsRadio Peter K. O'Connell Sports Radio ImagingWHY DID I PRODUCE my new sport radio imaging demo? Well first off, mine needed updating, so there’s that.

But with the traveling I have done recently, listening to so much radio I was reminded how important the sport radio format has become to listeners like me…and you.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S SPORTS RADIO IMAGING DEMO:

There are few radio formats where radio imaging is so important. While many cities are fortunate enough to have national AND local sports radio programs in their markets, my travels tell me many more sports radio stations fill up programs only with national programs – with no local, daily sports radio hosts.

So the audio branding that sports radio imaging provides becomes vital to these radio stations because the radio imaging is the ONLY way outside of the radio station web site that listeners know who what they are listening to…the radio imaging IS the brand.

The audio brand needs to sound like knowledgeable but likeable sports-nut driven to bring all the sports news and action to listeners. As an experienced radio imaging voice talent, I am glad to provide that service to sports radio stations. Please listen to the demo and…if you’re hiring, give me a call and let’s talk.

new year, fresh commercial demo

Peter K. O'Connell New Voiceover DemoMedia producers who are on top of their game know that they need to be hiring professional voiceover talents who can offer the most current, bookable voice styles.

Those sound styles that advertising agencies or clients hear elsewhere on TV, radio or the web and want for their audio branding. Or unique vocal styles that actually aren’t heard everywhere and are very new but stand out and break through the audio branding clutter.

For me as a voice talent, I share those bookable and unique vocal styles with my voice demos and in this case, my new commercial voiceover demo for 2018.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S NEW COMMERCIAL DEMO BELOW

[audio:http://www.audioconnell.com/clientuploads/mp3/Peter_K_OConnell_Commercial_Demo_0118.mp3]

Right click on this link to download the demo here

Combining voiceover work I’ve done with vocal styles and reads recommended by my Los Angeles-based voiceover coach, Mary Lynn Wissner, as well as the legendary demo producing skills of Dan Friedman, my new commercial demo highlights all of those bookable and unique sounds producers are looking for right now.

If I were to tell you my new commercial voiceover demo sounds great, that would be egotistical and self-serving – which would be embarrassing and soooo beneath me.

So I’ll just tell you my 2018 commercial voiceover demo sounds really awesome, which of course is a very different description from great. Right? OK, I’ll just go with that. Awesome. 😉

Hope you enjoy it.

peter’s handy dandy new voiceover demo checklist!

Peter's Handy Dandy ChecklistHaving completed my new commercial voiceover demo, I say with modesty, not bravado, that I am pleased with the results. I hope clients and prospects will like it as well because they are every demo’s intended audience.

However, I intentionally reminded myself recently to keep all the hard work of these past few months of demo pre-production, production and post-production in the proper perspective.

Here, now, is that perspective: it may crush the souls of many professional voiceover talents but the truth must come out: nobody – not one single person among your clients, agents or prospects – is AS excited about your new release voiceover demo as you are.

Yes, that demo…that creatively grew inside you and was meticulously birthed from inside an acoustically perfect studio and lovingly mastered by the finest audio doctors and nurses and is now ready to proudly be shared with the world…is mostly seen by that world as just another voiceover demo.

“But…”, you scream inside your head, “doesn’t everyone hear how much BETTER this demo is compared to the last one which now sounds to me now like a scratchy Al Jolson record played on a Victrola? I’ve improved so much!!! Love me! Love my voice!!!!!”

Gentle voice talent, no, the world generally doesn’t share your enthusiasm for this hard fought piece of audio. It’s not that the demo is bad (unless it is, yet probably really isn’t) but to them it is just ‘another demo’.

“Aw, what’s the use? What’s the point?! Why did I make a new voiceover demo then, if nobody cares?”

Aw pal, don’t be bummed. You just have to look at your demo differently.
The trick is, my friend, if you cannot make the world care about your new demo, then you must focus on making the world aware of your new demo.

What I’m going to start for you here is Peter’s Handy Dandy New Voiceover Demo Checklist! This list will help you organize WHO should be made aware of (and/or actually receive) your new voiceover demo and also (in my opinion) in what approximate order they should be made aware/receive. Your mileage may vary so use this as a helpful starting point and feel free to add stuff:

  1. All Personal Web Accounts
    1. Your personal web sites (maybe include some text about the demo being new)
    2. Sound Cloud
    3. Pay To Play accounts
    4. LinkedIn (your profile accepts media)
  1. Your Agents
    1. Send a personal email with the demo
    2. Make a follow up call to make sure they got it and post it to their web site (great –and reasonable – opportunity to get meaningful phone time with them)
    3. Make sure they post it to VOICEBANK if they have that account
    4. Include them in a mass email blast (more on that in a moment)
    5. Send a thank you follow up
  1. Recording Studios Where Your Are On A VO Roster
    1. Send a personal email with the demo
    2. Make a follow up call to make sure they got it and post it to their web site (great –and reasonable – opportunity to get meaningful phone time with them)
    3. Take good notes from your conversation if there is any new studio news (new people, new equipment, new location etc.)
    4. Send a thank you follow up
  1. Media/Video Studios Where Your Are On A VO Roster
    1. Send a personal email with the demo
    2. Make a follow up call to make sure they got it and post it to their web site (great –and reasonable – opportunity to get meaningful phone time with them)
    3. Take good notes from your conversation if there is any new studio news (new people, new equipment, new location etc.)
    4. Send a thank you follow up
  1. Prospect/Client Email Blast
    1. This should be a one topic email blast
    2. Keep the text short (under 100 words and even under 50 if you can)
    3. Add some nice graphics, pictures are even better
    4. Links to the demo in the email are vital (obviously)
    5. Pick key clients and do some phone follow-up to seek their opinion of the demo, discuss new opportunities
  1. Hot Prospects and Agents
    1. Email and call prospects that you really want to connect with about the demo
    2. Pick those few agents whose roster you’d really like to be on and contact them about your new demo
  1. Other Social Media
    1. Blog Posts about new Demo
    2. Facebook
    3. Twitter et al

So now, even though most of these folks might not care you have a new demo, they will be aware of it. Using any or all of the above tools to create that awareness (and maybe even subliminally some sense of excitement or urgency) might make some of your audience care about the your new demo. At least it should bring you to top of mind awareness in casting for a while.

Just remember that although you are justifiable proud of your new demo, sometimes the new demo isn’t the MOST important part. The valuable part of a new demo could just be opportunity to use the demo as a respectful and professional tool to communicate new and “interesting” news to prospects and clients to create awareness about YOU. The demo is your sound (and vital to your VO business) but you are the brand.

And just between us kids, I know how much better you sound on the new demo. You’re great! Nice job on the new demo!

 

yes, we all experience professional doubts

8 is great commercial demo audioconnellNewbie or old pro.

Voice talent or accountant.

Everybody goes through a period (or even periods) of professional doubt. If you’re dealing with voiceover doubts, maybe it will be helpful if I tell you how I solved my issue. As always, your mileage may vary.

For me, my professional doubts these past 18 months surrounded one very specific topic: my commercial voiceover demo.

I’d sailed through updates to my narration demo, my political demo, two (count ‘em, two!) television promo demos and two radio imaging demos.

But commercials are my bread and butter (narrations a close second). And I hadn’t updated my commercial demo in 8 years (I was booking off of it, so why should I change it? But I came to the realization that such thinking is just sloppy. 8 years without updating a demo is too long.
COMMERCIAL VOICEOVER DEMO audioconnell

In the past 18 months, that one demo has been something that been bugging me, to various degrees, specifically because I didn’t have a direction for the demo. I didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like. I didn’t have a handle on what I needed to have on the demo to sound current. Doubt.

Sure, voice-over trends come and go…’everyman’ begets ‘announcer’ begets ‘everyman’ on regular cycles and I can do each of those successfully in my sleep. But was I missing direction, content and answers. I didn’t know what the answers were nor did I know where to find them. Doubt.

I had doubts…about my abilities. So if you’d been hit by your own professional doubt too, just know you’re not alone.

I kept the ball moving by doing those other demos and by listening to a bunch of people’s commercial demos on Voicebank. My listening tour told me I was on my own…VO demos remain as individual as the people that voice them. Some were great. Some were truly crap. And these were people I know are booking.

Now I was doubt-filled AND confused.

During this indecisive period, in addition to doing other professional tasks (like those other demos), I relied on another tactic I’ve used in my life when faced with these kinds of situations: do nothing and wait.

While that sounds like a life plan that might make Tony Robbins’ giant head explode, it has actually worked pretty well for me.

I believe that in many instances, God or the universe or time will present me with an answer, a direction or a solution. I just have to be aware, pay attention and go where I need to go. I don’t know if I can explain it better than that.

For my commercial demo, that solution began to reveal itself during some voice-over meetings: VO Atlanta and Faffcon. There I found the answers to my doubt and lack of direction regarding the production of my commercial voice demo.

voices voicecasting mary lynn wissnerI happened upon my friend Melissa Exelberth at VO Atlanta who was having dinner with Mary Lynn Wissner, of Voices Voicecasting in LA. While I knew of her, I hadn’t until that time spent much time with Mary Lynn until that dinner and hallway conversations as the event went on. Mary Lynn had a real handle on what voice styles were being booked (she’s casting voice talent all the time). When she presented again at FaffCon and spoke with her further, I felt Mary Lynn was someone I absolutely needed to train with. Confidence was replacing doubt. With this solid professional connection, I had my direction.

So I began voiceover classes with Mary Lynn and I did so with some very specific goals in mind. I needed to see if I could harness the styles, execute the performances that were booking today. As an LA Casting Director who knows all the top agents, she was going to know whether I could do it. Certainly I felt I WAS doing that but I also know how much I sometimes don’t know. What I found out was that with what she described as minor tweaks, I was off to the races — the training went very well, and she is a great communicator.

Sound4VONext, I organized the scripts I believed would work well for the demo, providing lots of room for the styles I wanted to convey. Then we scheduled some times to record with Mary Lynn directing me and again, those session went exceedingly well. I reviewed some client spots I had done that I felt also work well on the demo, based on what Mary Lynn and I had worked on. I mixed new stuff with the existing stuff, with the help of the great audio engineer and voice talent Dan Friedman.

I am extremely pleased with our results.

I am doubtful no more.

Your solution is out there too. It will come to you. Be ready for it.