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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why Self-Producing Your Demo May Not be the Best Idea

Any voice actor out there knows you need a solid demo if you want to land work. Your demo is your introduction for yourself and your skill set, as well as an overview of your body of work. Basically, it’s YOU, and it’s often your #1 marketing tool. With this level of importance, it’s no wonder that demos can cost so much to produce. This leads many artists to opt for self-production, which is far less expensive. However, I’m going to argue that producing your own demo isn’t the best idea, at least at the beginning of your career, and here’s why:

     Audio quality. Are you a voice over actor or an audio engineer? Most VO actors have some knowledge of audio production - and some have lots - but that doesn’t make you a pro. And your demo really needs a professional who knows what it takes to make it stand out from the rest. Unless you understand the nuances of sound compression, de-essing, and things of that nature, it’s best to leave the audio work to the pros.

     Mixing and pacing. A great demo tape moves seamlessly from one recording to the next, with smooth and convincing segues. It’s never choppy or inconsistent sounding, and the mix of recordings showcases who you are as an actor. There is an art to putting together a standout demo, and there are people who practice this form of artistry every day. You don’t, so let the true demo artists handle the selection, mixing, pacing, and all the other elements of piecing together the perfect demo.

     Objectivity. Your demo is your baby, and it’s hard to be objective when you’re working with something that is near and dear to you. Except objectivity is exactly what your demo needs to be the best it can be. You need constructive feedback from an unbiased person who can listen and critique, and then give direction on how to make it better. You are not that unbiased person, so let someone else take on that role. 

*One word of caution though. Be careful that your demo does not become "over-produced" and you find it difficult to deliver work that sounds like your demo. You should still sound natural on your demo and be able to reproduce those performances for working projects.

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