I remember my first voice over demo. It was Y2K, astonishingly the world hadn’t ended, Justin and Britney were a thing, the shouty, over-excited announcer was the ‘it’ voice and being a radio announcer meant, by default, I was a qualified voice actor.
It was on a cassette tape. Editing it together was a bitch. But easier to commit my voice overs to tape from the radio station logger (a real-time capture of everything that went to air) than to sneak into the production studio to burn a CD and have the producers lose their crap cause I fiddled with their settings.
My voice over demo had my first ever read on it. It was for Adrenaline Sports—the local skate and snowboard shop. I was coached by the station copyrighter and ex-jock with the patience of a saint. I had no concept of mic placement or how to read to time. I was full of plosives, mouth noise and ugly breaths. And when St Copywriter told me to back off a bit, I thought he thought I was hitting on him. I still have no idea how the producers managed to cobble something together from that 2 hour session that could legally go to air.
I mailed that TDK SA 60 with 5 minutes of voice over on side A—Adrenaline Sports included—to anyone remotely relevant. It wasn’t even my best 5 minutes. It was my entire 5 minutes. The 10 x 30 second spots I’d voiced in my entire voice over career to-date. I figured the lucky TDK recipients could use side B for a mixtape or something.
18 years later and how easy is it to get your stuff into people’s ears? There’s so many options for voice over demos and mine are constantly evolving. Like the time I had that on-brand mouth image printed on my demo’s CD label—thanks CDs for the additional marketing real estate. Way more thoughtful than cassettes. And yes, that’s a MySpace URL printed right thurr.
While I’ve long moved on from the physical demos I mailed with reckless abandon, the objectives of my voice over demos remain the same:
- make it quick and easy for you to work out if my voice fits your project
- present my work in the most authentic way possible.
And with my brand-spanking, batch of new audio nuggets, below is the thinking behind how I’ve chosen to present them
Or, if you’re the type that flicks to the last page of the book before you finish the first chapter, you can hear my new stuff right here. No judgements.
I’ve always opted for real work examples—although Adrenaline Sports didn’t make the cut this time round. Probably for the best…
Using real work examples demonstrates I am, in fact, a working voice actor with loads of experience.
It also shows the types of work I am currently booking—how producers and agencies are using my voice right now.
It gives you a feel for how I interpret someone else’s words, make them my own and bring them to life.
No bells and whistles
I haven’t called in the professional production big guns. They’d likely tell me to piss off for fiddling with their settings that time I tried to burn a CD.
My voice isn’t hidden behind any filters or effects. Sounds great on Cher, but I’m still not entirely sure what she sounds like post-that believe song.
My demos are just my voice with a little background music. It’s basically the audio equivalent of that dream where you go to work naked and there’s no strategically-placed tree to hide behind. Just like that, hopefully minus the awkward.
This is what I sound like in my studio, using my equipment (obvs with the exception of my promo demo—those tracks were recorded at the TV station I worked at).
But it’s always nice to know how a voice can end up post production, so I’ve added a featured voice over on my homepage and now voicing posts to my blog. These are real-life, unleashed to the public, spots that have been tarted up by producers who know their stuff.
Using my own, unproduced work for my demos means I can update them quickly and create new demos for new purposes.
My latest demos are from work over the last 18 months so you don’t need to worry if I still sound the same or can channel that same style that would sound great on your project.
What you hear is a current, true representation of me and how I can deliver a read. I’ve learnt a lot about mic placement and plosives over 18 years.
Straight to the point
I know you’re busy and don’t need to hear all of everything my voice has ever been whacked on in the history of forever.
I include a diverse selection—not just more of the same. And no demo is over 2 minutes long. Go on, time them. You producer types always have a stopwatch on hand.
I’ve used MP3 versions of my work so I don’t use up all your data the first time we meet. That’s just plain rude.
Corporate, telephony and commercial are my big three currently, although for a good few years I moonlighted as a network promo and character voice too.
This is traditionally how I have been booked and how I have presented my demos.
I’ve also added a natural / conversational demo. Conversational is such a diverse genre—so it’s useful to demonstrate the broad spectrum of gigs I’ve successfully delivered under the guise of ‘conversational’.
More and more I’m finding that voice over styles cross genres. A character could be used for eLearning. A corporate explainer may call for a hard-sell read. An on-hold message may sound brilliant as a natural / conversational style. So have a listen to everything and don’t be restricted by how I’ve categorised my demos.
Once you’ve had a listen and you think my voice is the right fit, get in touch through contact me and we can chat about your project. I can also voice a sample of your script to show how my voice works with your words.