Why You Need a Demo Reel

Tara Parachuk | May 3, 2022

Making (or updating) your demos needs to be a key part of your marketing strategy if you’re like the 64% of voice actors in the 2022 State of Voice Over Report who reported plans to grow their VO business by more than 50% year-over-year. 

In today’s increasingly attention-challenged market, demo reels are rapidly becoming one of the most important marketing tools. Read on for more information on getting the most out of your demo reels (yes, you should have more than one)!

In this article

  1. Demos Showcase Your Talent
  2. General commercial demo reel
  3. Narration demo reel
  4. Animation or character demo reel
  5. Demos Showcase Your Audio Quality
  6. Your Turn

Demos Showcase Your Talent

Whether you’re just getting started or are trying to improve your hire rate, your demos should be your first priority. 

Not only should you be creating and refreshing your demos at least once per year, but you can actually optimize them to be the most effective marketing tool for yourself as a voice actor. 

Follow Evan’s advice from the above video and create specific demos for your most proficient roles and styles to showcase them separately from one another. Doing so helps potential clients find you in search results, be it on a search engine results page, or the results page of a marketplace search like on Voices.

You’re going to want to give your demos the attention they deserve. This is not a time to skimp. It is, however, a time to consider your options. In the world of demo reels, there are three main types to consider starting with:

General commercial demo reel

These fast-moving compilations of commercial voice over work should be built out of quick clips, no more than 10 to 15 seconds each, illustrate your range on behalf of a variety of advertisers, and range from low to high-energy and everything in between. Edit tightly to maximize flow and keep it within 60 to 90 seconds in total length to paint a picture of your vocal capabilities in the advertising space.

Narration demo reel

For more complex voice work, like eLearning, audiobooks, or business presentations, pull together longer-form segments that highlight your range and consistency both within a larger project and across different narrative styles.

Animation or character demo reel

This is where you get personal: With characters that you’ve either created on your own or that were voice matched. Include, as applicable, segments that highlight your foreign language, dialect, and character voice skills.

Of course, these are simply suggestions. You are not compelled to create one demo of each type. In fact, given the fact that we live in such a sound bite-driven world, a 20-second demo that zeroes in on a specific accent, character, theme, language, or voice will in all likelihood be a far more powerful means of highlighting your capabilities than a too-long, all-encompassing demo.

Keep it short, keep them wanting more, and make sure you never compromise on sound quality or production values.

Looking for examples of these? Check out the Voices Leaderboard to see what the top 100 most successful voice actors on Voices are doing with their demos!

Demos Showcase Your Audio Quality

Not only are you demonstrating your range of skills, but you’re also exhibiting your audio production abilities. Nowadays, clients expect the file to be delivered in a ready-to-use format. Your demo, being the best audio quality possible, will tell potential clients you’re a well-rounded voice actor who is able to provide performance and reliable audio quality. 

Senior Manager of Customer Success, Julianna Jones, shares some quick takeaways from her years of receiving feedback on audio quality on the Voices platform. While she speaks to auditions, the same goes for demos.

Tip: Not fully up to speed on your audio production skills? Tap into our resources to help yourself learn to be the ultimate one-person-show. 

As for your demo? Hire a fellow freelancer to get your demo in tip-top shape while you’re still learning. Who knows, you may learn more about audio production from that experience.

There’s a lot more to say on why you need a demo reel. We cover it extensively in this chapter of our Voice Acting for Beginners Guide

Your Turn

What tips have worked for you when pulling together your demo reel or voice over demo? Drop us a comment and let us know.

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