Hey gang! Got a VO related question? Need a demo critiqued?? Just need an ear to eh-buh-beh-eh-bend? Ask away!!! Glad to help out!
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  • Hey Martha!

    Glad you enjoyed VOICE!!!!

    I say this over and over, but keep in mind my demo critique always comes from the LA point of view. No idea what works (or not) in your market. That said, and I said this at my VOICE seminar, if folks outside the larger markets approach their demo/marketing with the larger market point of view, they are bound to be miles ahead of those in their area who don't.

    OK-much of what I feel about your demo I said to Amy in the post below. They sound like demos. I just don't believe that is a McDonald's spot. The production on a demo needs to sound broadcast quality. And broadcast contemporary. That music just sounds very library and dated. Also, there's no variety from read to read in the mix. Sounds like the same mic, same studio, etc. It may not be, but that's how it sounds. Like I told Amy, by virtue of having a demo, you are saying to the world you are as good or better than everyone else working and represented in the business. So even if the spots are produced solely for the demo, they still need to sound real.

    I also have no idea who Martha is. I want to hear more personality. You need to establish a brand, a style, that sets you apart from all the other voices out there. Check out voicebank.net and listen to the top VO folks in LA from the top agencies, such as SBV, CESD, AAA, WMA, DPN. You will hear what is competitive. And you'll hear the caliber of acting that you need to live up to.

    As for the narration demo, I hear you reading. I, again, need to hear more personality. Also, strive to have more network cable spots on your narration demo. Food Network, Lifetime, E!, etc. That's where the work/money is these days when it comes to narration. If there is a lot of industrial narration in your area, think about having a separate industrial demo. Also, lose the fades. You want tight, voice attached to voice edits. If the demo fades, the listener fades. OH-and lose the slate at the end. We use to do that in the 80s but it's not all that common these days. Unless it's slated on the agent's webpage or voicebank.

    Bottom line: I wanna hear more Martha!!!!!!!!! Hit me with your personality! More conversational. Don't caress every word.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! And if you do an update I'd be happy to take a listen!

  • Hi, Bob. Just popping in with a big Thank You for your presentations at the VOICE 2008 events in LA this past weekend. Also would appreciate it if you could spin by my demos at www.vfademos.com/mharvey and give me some tips. I'm hoping to give myself a birthday present and attend your Dallas workshop in October. It was a treat to meet you. Thenks a yot, puddy tat!
  • Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your valuable advice. I will be working to redo my demo and working on my voice acting skills as well. Thank you so much for your time and advice.
  • Hi Amy!

    I took a listen to your demo. You have an interesting sound. But I'd like to hear a more conversational delivery. Much of the spots on your demo sound pushed. I hear you reading. Conversational is really big these days.

    I can also tell this is a demo and not real spots. And if they are real, they aren't demo quality. The mic levels sound the same, the music sounds library, and I can hear popping "P's" from time to time.

    Every demo is competing with those working actors whose demos consist of real spots. There's a natural variety in production from these demos since each spot came from different sources. You need this same variety in production of a demo that is made from scratch as well.

    Also, there are gaps and some fading between spots. You want tighter edits. That makes the demo move faster and prevents the possibility of the listener jumping ahead or even turning it off. A good tight edit, with voice attached to voice attached to voice is best. Stay away from gaps, music or sound effects between spots, etc. And have varied energies and deliveries next to each other rather than a moment of establishing music adjustment. This will give the illusion of your versatility, rather than the demo producer's.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Hi Bob,

    I am very passionate about the voiceover craft and I am constantly trying to improve. Could you do me the honor of critiquing my demo located on my home page? I would greatly appreciate it and hopefully in the future I can be an expert and pass advice forward.

    Thanks in Advance!
  • Yo, Bob!

    Thanks for the reply. You're correct. The spots are not real. I haven't landed a commercial gig yet. These were recored at a local audio post house and the music came from their library.

    I got a kick out of the comment about getting different opinions from different folks. I posted the demo on a couple of BBs I belong to and got these responses.

    Critique #1
    "To me at least, the only weak bit (and not all that weak) is the second clip."

    Critique #2
    "To these ears, you committed demo hara-kiri by leading with the weakest clip. I'd lead with the second bit, which showed both range and emotion."

    Just shows to go ya!!!

    I do thank you for your opinion. All comments (good and bad) are welcome. I look at all the comments I receive as a learning tool. If multiple people have the same things to say I can be pretty certain there is something to it.

    Mostly since I am so new and have only gotten one paid gig I have been trying to determine if I have any spark of talent. Everyone has commented that the raw talent is there but needs to be refined so I am now determined to keep plugging along, working at the craft and trying to improve every day.

    Again thanks. Oh....please say hello to Porky for me.
  • Hi Bob,
    I would love to hear your critique of the demo I have posted, whenever you have the time. Thanks in advance!
  • Hey there, Ron!

    Thanks for your nice note!

    I've said this before, and here it comes again. My opinion on your demo is just that, MY opinion. Others may differ. You can play your demo for 10 people and get 10 totally different opinions and advice. This will drive you crazy!!!!!!!

    But since you asked, here ya go!

    I absolutely hear your talent! I'd love to hear a bit more personality/branding. Your read is nice! But it needs that lil something extra that sets Ron apart from everyone else.

    I'd be very surprised if any of those were real spots. The music sounds library. There's a consistency to the music and your mic level that says "demo."

    Even if an actor is making their first demo from scratch, they are still competing for representation and work with actors whose demos consist of real spots. Every actor's demo needs to sound not only real, but contemporary and competitive.

    I'd also not label a demo "generic." It's too....uh, generic. Make a demo and label it for the genre it represents: commercial, animation, promo, trailer, narration, imaging, etc.

    Final note. Never post or submit a demo you don't feel is as good or better than everyone else represented and working, Many feel that because technology allows the opportunity, they should post a demo because they think if they JUST had a demo the work will come.

    If they have a brilliant demo the work might come.

    But it still needs to be brilliant, The talent pool is huge! And folks have a long memory when it comes to a demo that isn't up to par with working actors. It's very hard to get a second listen if someone passes on a demo that isn't competitive.

    Again, I hear your talent!!!! You are so on the right track! I look forward to hearing the next round!

  • Hey Bob,

    I really enjoy reading the advise you hand out. It's nice to find such giving people as yourself and many others on this and other boards. As a newcomer to this work it was truly refreshing to find so many successful people who are willing to lend a helping hand.

    I have spent the past two years working on the craft and auditioning for almost everything that has come down the pike. Although I know I need to work more on the acting I finally felt it was time to get a demo. I wonder if you could give me your opinion. The demo is on my home page here and is a "first draft" so to speak. I have the option to make some changes. It's a commercial not a character demo but I respect your opinion and from the other critiques I have seen you post I know you will be honest with me.

  • Hi Pocholo!

    Howthehellareya from Los Angeles!

    Thanks for the nice note!!!!!!!!!!

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