Voice Over Demos: Are You Ready?

Hi everyone, it’s me Joe Gaudet.  Today’s topic is Demos. 

Arguably one of the most important pieces of your voice over arsenal is your demo.  Your demo is the first impression you give to your potential clients and other casting decision makers, so you have to put your best foot forward.  Making a demo too early can be bad for your career since it’ll not only be a waste of money, but it can actually hurt your reputation if you sound bad enough.  There are many different types of demos, such as commercial, animation, explainer, e-Learning, video game and audiobook demos.  Which ones do you need?  Well-produced and professional demos are expensive, so having one of each demo can get pricey, especially in the beginning of your voice over career.

To help decide which demos you need, sit down and think of what type of voice over work you want to do initially.  Are you hoping to focus on audiobooks and nothing else?  Then make sure that is the demo you focus on and get professionally done. If you are hoping to diversify your voice over work and/or get represented by an agent, then it’s important you make sure you have a great commercial demo.  Even if you hope to focus on animation, most animation voice over agents require a commercial demo.  They want to make sure you can voice act and that you have the basic voice over skills. 

So how do you, as a new voice actor, get a commercial demo recorded?  Well first, and foremost, you need to step back and think about whether you’re even ready to have a demo made.  It’s hard to know without feedback from professionals whether you’re ready for a demo or whether you need to continue to practice.  Some demo producers might not even work with you if they don’t think you’re ready for a demo.  Before starting, I highly recommend you work with a voice coach for a couple of sessions.  Your coach will give you the feedback you need to make sure you’re sounding as professional as possible.

Once you determine you’re ready for a demo, it’s tempting to try to produce one yourself, however, I don’t recommend you do this.  While I understand that everyone has to start somewhere and that you may have just spent a lot of money on your home voice over setup, possibly a few sessions with a voice coach, but your demo is not the place to cheap out on. 

Shop around for a great demo producer who will cater and design your demo to fit best with your voice and personality.  They will write you custom copy, help you record so they have the best take from you, add music bed underneath it, sound design, and fully produce finished spots.  Also, they have done hundreds if not thousands of demos, so they know what works and what doesn’t.  At the end, you’ll have a kick-ass demo, an understanding of your strengths, and most importantly a plan of action of what to do with that demo in order to get high-caliber work. 

If you are looking for to record a new demo or even update your existing demo, drop me an email at joe@joegaudetvo.com and I can provide you with contact info on some great demo producers to interview.

Hope you liked this video.  Be sure to like, comment, subscribe and share so I can keep on providing more content which you like and value. 


The Audition Black Hole

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Hi everyone, it’s me Joe Gaudet.  Today’s topic is auditions.  More specifically, something which I think of as “the audition black hole”.  Once you watch I hope you can provide your thoughts in the comments below. 

Do you ever audition for a big commercial or series, one which you see posted in various places and which you get through multiple agents.  Your peers are buzzing about it and you realize that it’s a huge casting.  You’re excited, you take your time making sure your audition sounds great, is edited perfectly, is labeled correctly and hits all of the requirements from casting.  You submit it and days, weeks, months go by… you hear nothing about it again. 

Obviously you didn’t book the job, but you never hear it on the radio, see it on TV.  Your peers are also in the dark about it.  Where does it go?  Is there a voice over audition black hole?  I realize that some projects never make it past casting, but this black hole seems to happen A LOT.

Yes, a lot of times projects are abandoned for one reason or another.  My theory is, when it comes time to cast the voice, the script isn’t locked down and the creatives are still developing their idea but need voices to help them mold their vision.  You get an audition script, auditions are sent out, and talent submits… The client choose a voice actor, but they might completely change the original script or go in a different direction with a new vision for the spot to better suit the voice they chose.  By the time you see the project released, you don’t even recognize it because it looks and sounds different.

Let’s use a Bud Light commercial as an example.  The initial casting might go out seeking a 25-30 year old male with gravitas to his voice, someone who’s relatable yet fun.  Casting receives 100 auditions but even with the great auditions they received, they realize their vision fits better with a 35 year old woman with an English accent.  As a result, the copy and the tag lines need to be changed, and the casting goes out to a completely different group of people so you don’t see it.  When it does appear on TV, you don’t recognize it since it’s changed so much. 

What do you all think?  Maybe some people on the casting side of things can provide some insight below in the comments.  In any case, don’t let this discourage you when auditioning.  Be you, be your best, submit that bad boy and move on to the next.

Hope you liked this video, be sure to like, comment, subscribe and share so I can keep on providing more content which you like and value. 

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Celebrity Impressions vs Voice Doubling

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Hi everyone, it’s me Joe Gaudet.  Today’s topic is Celebrity Impressions vs. Voice Doubling. 

People ask me what the difference between celebrity impressions and voice doubling is.  I understand that they sound like they might be the same, but they are two very distinct things.  Let me explain.

Celebrity impressions are a vocally over-the-top caricature which may or may not include a visual prop or physical movements to help sell the impression in ways where it’s pretty obvious who the celebrity you’re trying to impersonate is.  For example, let’s say you want to do an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  A lot of people do the gurgle, “get to the chopper” line in an Austrian accent.  Some people’s impressions are better than others, but even if your grandmother is doing the impression in your living room, you’ll probably know from the line, the gurgle and the attempt at the accent who she’s doing an impression of. 

Voice doubling is different than celebrity impressions.  Instead of doing a celebrity’s well-known, cliché line from a movie, when you’re voice doubling you need to sound exactly like the person you are doubling in any setting.  You’re doubling a certain voice (celebrity or not), in a certain tone, in a specific scene and context.  Voice doubling is usually what casting directors do when they can’t hire the actual celebrity due to budget or scheduling or are trying to cast a new voice actor in an already established character role but don’t want the audience to know.

Here is an example of a celebrity impression vs a voice double.

 <refer to audio in video> “Hi this is Arnold Schwarzenegger.  First of all, let me tell you, it’s fantastic to be here.  As a matter of fact, out of all of the speeches that I’ve ever given, this one right here is the most recent.”

As you can hear, in the celebrity impression example, I’m just trying to encapsulate what people perceive Arnold to be.  I try to exaggerate the Austrian accent he’s known for from his earlier career (even though over the years his accent is not as pronounced).  I’m also exaggerating his speech pattern and notice that it’s just one emotion throughout.

In the voice doubling example, I study his current voice and tone more.  There’s a musicality to it, a certain cadence.  Usually you prepare for a voice doubling assignment by listening to interviews and previously recorded projects the context which you’re trying to double.  I’m not doing the Arnold from Terminator here, but Governor Arnold or the Arnold you hear in his Instagram videos. 

There’s a lot more that goes into both celebrity impressions and voice doubling, but I hope this short overview and example show you the basic difference. 

Hope you liked this video, be sure to like, comment, subscribe and share so I can keep on providing more content which you like and value. 

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