Do you have a demo that needs to be updated?

If you can identify with any or all of the following 10 symptoms, your outdated demo is way passed its expiration date!
Check in here to see if your commercial demo is aging!

Last week I had the great pleasure of reviewing Julie Williams’ “How To Make Money in Voice-Overs Even if you aren’t in N.Y. or L.A.” and was inspired to write an article and revisit the topic of how voice over demos “age” over time. To take a different slant on it, this time we’re going to look at this concept from the ever-popular Top Ten list, so buckle up 😉

10 Signs Your Demo May Be Outdated

10. You needed to get your demo transferred from tape to CD
9. Mentions of cars, sporting events, and movie releases predate your child’s birth (or the family pet)
8. The music on the demo makes you want to breakout into the Macarena or wear “Hammer Pants”
7. Peers and friends in the VO community start dropping hints
6. It’s your very first demo and you’ve been in the biz for a few years
5. Companies or stations you included on the demo have since gone out of business
4. Dates and times “date” your demo
3. The material doesn’t reflect the kind of voice overs you are doing now
2. You feel like you need to apologize when sending your demo out to people
1. You don’t recognize the voice on your own demo

Any comments?


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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Funny list!
    (… or possibly tragic depending on how many are true 😉
    You forgot my fave:
    11) it’s recorded on a wax cylinder, and begins “Mary had a little lamb…”
    Too obscure?

  2. Stephanie,
    Thanks for waking me up with a SMILE this morning! Very funny piece…and ironic, too, as I just finished updating all my demos, too!
    CHEERS right back at ya!

  3. Stephanie, you rock! As someone who’s been in and around VO my whole career, I know more than a few fellow talkers who should be heeding your list. I’ll send ’em over…or else scour the Goodwill store for some Hammer Pants for them!
    Thanks for the day-brightener, Stephanie!

  4. Great list Steph and loved your add Joe…I’m old enough to know what you’re talking about! ‘-)
    Demos should be updated at least once a year. That’s a pretty hard and fast rule unless you’re Pat Fraley or Don Lafontaine…. then you don’t need one at all. 😉
    Length? For Commercial demos, a minute to a minute 20. But only a minute 20, if it really cooks.
    Is your demo filled with Local spots? Joe’s used cars? Tom’s widgets and tractor parts? Try to replace those with something more regional or national, say Wendy’s or Wal-Mart”
    With that said would like to add this caveat.
    You have to decide WHOM you’re marketing to.
    Do you want to work in LA or NY? Better move there.
    If you’re hoping to get work in and around Kansas City, you better be aware of what kind of deliveries they’re looking for in KC. This doesn’t mean you have to use local clients on your demo but a maybe a regional client (Let’s say Cracker Barrel restaurants) with a local or regional feel.
    Depsite the fact that “locality” is not as much of a factor as it used to be, regions still have their own flavors and preferences. And believe it or not, this is WAY true in LA and NY.
    Just like your demo should be an accurate representation of who you are, so should it reflect the market you’re hoping to get work in.
    If you strictly are marketing to the world at large thru voices dot com (there are no other sites 😉 then your demo will have to be a bit broader.
    That’s my 2 cents worth.
    Break a lip ya’ll!

  5. Great discussion, folks!
    I just felt like jumping in to offer some additional thoughts, and to expand a bit on #6 (It’s your very first demo and you’ve been in the biz for a few years).
    We always suggest that a great time to update your demo at a time when you feel that your skills have reached a new level. If you feel more comfortable and confident in front of the microphone, then that’s a great indication that you’re ready to record some new material to showcase your abilities!

  6. Yes as a matter a fact I have been seriously thinking about how I need to get a new V.O demo done myself. Thank-you so much for this great email newsletter.


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