Find out how Time, Desire, and Ego can rob you of voice-over jobs

You may be recording them, and you may not. I’m talking about custom demos for auditions. When it comes to getting a job online, it’ll take everything you’ve got to sell your talent one-on-one with a client. In the past, we’ve looked at how to write great proposals for clients, how to quote, and even how important it is to include a demo specific to their needs, whether it be a read of their script or a stock demo that reflects their project.

The feedback from clients, however, is that if they include a portion of their script, they expect to hear you interpret their copy in the form of a custom demo.
There are 3 common areas where human nature (and lacking proper recording studio equipment) can be perilous. The Big 3 are Time, Desire, and Ego. Come on this adventure with me, will you 🙂

Do you have the time to just stop everything and record a custom demo? For those of you who work at home, equipped with industry standard studio gear, recording on demand can be as easy as creating a new session, positioning yourself in front of your trusty microphone, and getting down to business, script in hand (or, in browser window, whichever works for you). That’s wonderful for talents with pro studios, however, what about talents that do not professionally record from home?

This is where the custom demo may go out the window. “But, what about recording it through an online system?” you might ask? I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but online recording software that allows you to simply use your computers internal microphone often comes across as tinny, poor quality, and incredibly difficult to enjoy from a clients point of view. By nature of the technology available (I’m referring directly to online recording tools), recording in this manner jeopardizes your chances of landing a job.

Right away, you’re facing:

  • Distortion
  • Reduced quality
  • Low fidelity (yes, this is bad)
  • Limited amount of time to record
  • Not being able to edit the recording
  • No record of the recording on your personal computer
  • Relying on a particular service to submit lower quality audio
  • Clients not being able to or not wanting to share your demo with colleagues
  • A poor first impression of what you can do for the client

If you have the choice to record a really solid custom demo with proper equipment, don’t settle for providing a potential customer with inadequate audio and a poor first impression of your work. In most cases, if you are not prepared to record a sample of the script (and have the time and resources to do so), you may not be as interested in the job as you may have thought.
This leads us to our next category:

When the chips are down, do you really want this job? Client feedback has revealed that if a talent DOES NOT submit a custom demo and a script has been included for that purpose, the client believes that submissions without custom demos are not worth reviewing. Why? They interpret a stock demo as obvious disinterest in their project. Can you identify with them? If you truly want the job, prove it to the client and give them a taste of what you can do for them.

This goes for jobs both large and small. Even if the budget is only $100, the client still deserves to know how you intend to represent their company. Remember, you have the opportunity to be the voice of another corporation or organization, so take that to heart. First impressions are lasting on both ends of the spectrum. They’ve given you a good impression of their company, and now it’s up to you to follow through putting your best foot forward with a custom demo and a customized response / quote for their project.

Lastly, we’ll move ahead to one of the biggest hurdles some talent face when it comes to recording a custom demo:

The mindset here is usually “I’ve been the voice of superstar bluechip clients, and I don’t need to prove myself to you”. This is a dangerous place to be for a voice talent who is trying to find themselves work. Yes, it may be true that there are numerous credits which indicate your extraordinary voice acting roles, clients, etc., but, odds are that the majority of clients will have no concept of the breadth of your voice acting history – and in most instances, won’t make the decision to hire simply because of past credits and one’s clout as a voice-over phenom.

It all comes down to how you can serve the client and how you can serve the people in their charge, not about the latest voice acting project you’ve starred in or the most recent national commercial you’ve recorded. At InteractiveVoices, we want you to get work. That’s why we provide you with high caliber jobs, resources, marketing tools, and peer support forums to equip you with everything necessary to succeed as a pro voice talent.

We also have a strongly vested interest in making sure that clients are served with the same objectives, providing them with world-class talent and demos to match.
With the best interests of both our voice talents and clients in mind, we can keep moving forward, innovating, improving, and integrating the two worlds of voice talents and the businesses relying upon their services.

Previous articleCould Ad Profits Boost Video Game Budgets?
Next articleThe Golden Age of Radio
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of 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. These are all true, but even if you have all of the above and a great deal of talent to boot, I’ve found it to be the case that the client will very often imagine exactly what kind of voice they want, and if you don’t fit it spot on, curtains for you, Charlie.
    Part of the difficulty I have had personally is that my voice doesn’t fit exactly into the basso profundo category that people have come to expect from voiceover pros (Think Don La Fontaine, James Earl Jones) but with a little flexibility of mind, I would give any client a great VO for their money.
    In short, there is still an element that is beyond the control of any VO talent (chalk it up to fate or just to certain biological factors). All we can do is do our best.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here