As an expert in the voice acting industry, one of the UK’s most established voice over artists and producers, Guy Michaels has worked with hundreds of voice actors to help them craft the perfect set of voice reels. Contact today to see if he is the right producer for you.
What Should Be on a Voice Actor Demo Reel?
Voice reels are an essential tool for showcasing your skills and attracting potential clients. They serve as not only as a representation of your talent but also your versatility in voice overs.
Although it is common to create a custom demo for a client (using a small snippet of their actual script), voice reels can work as the powerful introduction to you and your voice.
Learn about Guy’s unique approach to
IMPORTANT VOICE REEL TIP: I suggest avoiding the creation of a mega mix type reel that encompasses genres and targets multiple markets. Such reels often end up trying to appeal to everyone but fail to resonate with any audience. For instance it’s advisable not to mix a children’s fiction narration with a monologue followed by examples of commercial work since these tracks cater to different audiences.
Tips for professional voice reels
When creating demo reels, it’s crucial to include the following elements to make a lasting impression:
1. Variety of Voice Samples
Your demo reels should showcase a range of your vocal abilities. Include samples that demonstrate your proficiency in different genres, such as commercials, narration, animation, video games and character voices. This variety will highlight your versatility and increase your chances of landing diverse voice acting opportunities.
2. Professional-Quality Audio
Ensure that your demo reel has high-quality audio. If you are attempting to produce a homemade demo, then invest in a good microphone and optimise your recording setup to capture your voice clearly and without any background noise. Clean and crisp audio will make a lasting impression and demonstrate your commitment to professionalism. Dodgy, hissy, noisy audio will simply expose you as an unemployable amateur.
3. Short and Engaging Clips
Keep your demo reel concise and engaging. Aim for a duration of around one to two minutes, as casting directors and potential clients often have limited time. Select your best voice samples and edit them together seamlessly to create a captivating reel that leaves a lasting impact.
No matter what genre you are creating a demo for (commercial, narration, gaming specific), work to create ‘shifts in energy’ throughout your demos to show your vocal range and keep the listener’s interest.
4. ‘Natural you’ first
Especially true for a commercial demo or corporate demo, start your demo reel (the compilation or voice reel) with a track that is as close to your natural speaking voice, energy and personality as possible. It is a serious mistake to begin demo reel of these types with a ‘character voice’ or a performance which is far away from your natural voice.
Show the potential client who you you are first, followed by what you can do after. The order of tracks in a commercial demo is a very important consideration and when I’m producing voice reels I spend a lot of time going back and forth until it’s just right.
NOTE: I would argue that as a voice over artist, you are likely to get booked more often using your ‘own voice’ than in work that utilises your acting chops. Although in such a massive industry, there is plenty of opportunity for voice over work that uses your acting ability, focus first on tracks that show your own voice to prospective clients.
5. Showcase a range of Emotions and Characters
Include samples that highlight your ability to portray a wide range of emotions and characters. This can include energetic and upbeat voices, as well as calm and serious tones. Demonstrating your versatility will make you more appealing to casting directors who are looking for voiceover artists capable of bringing various characters to life.
In a world of voice acting opportunities, voice actors should always consider having a professional voiceover demo reel showing different characters for the gaming and animation markets. Check out my character voice over demo service if you are interested in something truly unique and that caters to your and your skills.
NOTE: For a commercial demo it’s really more about ‘intentions’ rather than emotions. Most of the time, you’ll want to position the listener as the hero in the narrative and then influence them to make a decision – whether that is to visit a website or make a purchase. You want them to take an action. Look for the CTA (call to action) in each script and bear this in mind.
6. Professional Editing
Anyone who has been in the voice acting business for a while will know that voiceover work is about far more than the voice! It is generally expected that professional voices also have a home studio of sorts.
Invest in professional editing for your demo reel or if you really want to make an impression as a professional voice actor work with a voice over demo producer. Smooth transitions between different samples, background music if appropriate, and well-balanced audio levels will enhance the overall quality of your reel.
A professionally edited demo reel shows attention to detail and leaves a positive impression.
7. Updated and Relevant Content
Regularly update your demo reel to include your latest and most relevant work. As you gain more experience and improve your skills, replace older samples with newer ones that showcase your growth as a voice actor.
Keeping your demo reel up to date demonstrates your commitment to improvement and staying current in the industry.
Remember, your voice over demos are your calling cards in the industry. It is important to make sure they represent your skills, professionalism, and unique voice in the best possible way.
With a well-crafted demo reel, you’ll increase your chances of attracting the attention of casting directors and securing exciting voice acting opportunities.