A Word About Using Brand Names on Your Demo

There is a slight difference of opinion about what should go on a demo between the US and the UK (Europe too).

The US market has traditionally thought that demos are just that – a demonstration of what you can do – not necessarily what you have done.

Not so across the pond. They feel very strongly that anything you have on your “demo” that mentions brand names should be for work you have actually performed.


We’ve talked a bit about this in class. It is fairly easy to change up a brand name into something that sounds real. I have mixed feelings about this. If it is for a huge international brand with identifiable voices, then don’t use it on your demo. If it is for a lesser known brand, then it may not be an issue. But use your common sense.

What the producer is listening for is your ability to interpret the copy – whatever it is. They want to hear the story you are telling. Not hear you reading. So, focus on that. Find good scripts. Find a variety of products and subject matter. Find a variety of pacing and attitude and point-of-view. Hear the clips fully produced with sound effects and music. Think a bit like a producer as you find selections. Then take that hat off and bring the words to life.


Demo Advice from an Agent

We will be talking about demos throughout the class. Your first assignment was to listen to demos. I hope you are continuing to do that! Demos and anything and everything that is voiceover. Part of your job is to listen to what is being produced, so that you can be relevant and marketable.

This article was posted on Marc Scott’s blog and was written by Tanya Buchanan; Owner of Ta-Da! Voiceworks

It has some great advice about what a demo should be – including that commercial demos should be around a minute or so.

However, keep in mind that the business is evolving and some with some demo players like VoiceZam, you can piece together lots and lots of very targeted snippets that would end up being longer than the “industry standard” of about a minute. VoiceZam is a paid service and integrates into you website and has a feature that lets you track who listened to your demos, in what order and how long they listened.

Or if you have a profile on Voice123, you can have a main demo that plays a lot of snippets, and then you can add a bunch of shorter, customized bits salted with key words for searching.


So, you think you know what a demo is all about?

Many beginner voice talent think that the first thing they need is a demo. NOT! A lot of misconceptions about what the voiceover business is all about.

There is so much that needs to happen before you produce a demo, that anyone offering to produce your demo after a single introductory class or even a semester of classes addressing the business as a whole is doing you a great disservice and probably just taking your money.

Before you produce a demo, you need to know where you fit. What you do well. You need to know how the business works. Know how to audition. Know where to find auditions. Have an acoustically treated environment where you can create clean audio tracks for auditioning (and now more and more, final tracks). Know how to capture the sound. How to edit the sound. How to save the sound. How to deliver the sound.

You need to know who wants to buy what you have to sell. You need to know how to negotiate…to invoice…to collect.

All of this needs to happen BEFORE you spend a lot of money creating a demo. Should you produce a demo yourself? Well, that depends on the kind of demo you are producing. Voicemail. Yeah, you can do that yourself probably. Audio book. Yep, probably. eLearning. Maybe. As long as you know how to find/create scripts that showcase a variety of products/subjects and points of view – oh and show your real personality.

OK, one in a million beginners will be discovered and jump in without any of this and actually need to produce a demo. In that case, they will have many handlers helping them. You probably don’t…

So, let’s say you have all of this planned out and you are ready to create a demo.

There are more misconceptions about what should be on a demo and how it should be put together. Here is an article from Backstage that sums it up nicely. It was written by Kate McClanaghan – a casting director, producer, founder of Big House Casting & Audio and Actors’ Sound Advice, and Backstage Expert.


Here are the misconceptions. Read the article to find the REAL story!!!

1. “My make-shift demo oughta hold me for a while until I start working steady—then I’ll make a ‘good’ demo.” 

2. Your demo was created solely for talent agents.

3. Every spot on your demo is a something you were paid to voice.

4. Commercial and industrial spots can all be included on the same track. 

5. You’ll spend less time producing your demo than recording an audition. 

6. You need to update your demo every year. 

7. You should include dialogue spots on your demo to show you can act. 

8. Include random dialects and character voices. 

9. You can produce your demo yourself.