Do not start before the start: A different take on voice over demos

Posted May 23, 2016 by

Do you start your auditions on p2p sites by slating your name? There might be an unpleasant surprise waiting for you because there is chance your auditions don't get listened to ...

Over the past eight-plus years of bodalgo, I have probably listened to more than 20.000 voice demos (i.e. the audios you upload to your profile) and auditions (the audios you audition with). Many of them start the same way: A voice (usually not the talent's) slates the name of the talent, sometimes followed by the type of recordings the listener is about to hear.

Don't get me wrong: Back in the days where you sent out CDs or perhaps even music cassettes it probably made sense to slate your name at the beginning of an audition. But auditions used with online casting websites do not need this.

Demos vs. auditions

It is important to understand that there are two types of recordings: There are demos you will upload to your profile page. And there are auditions (including custom demos) that you will use for auditioning.

"And, um, what's the difference, smarty pants?" you might ask.

Shot in the foot

Don't shoot yourself in the foot by slating your name in an audition – buyers could get easily annoyed with this

It. Is. Huge. Demos and auditions serve completely different purposes. Where the demo boasts about your skills in general, using all kind of sound f/x, music bed and what not else to impress the audience, the audition wants to sell your voice for a specific job. Just like a shop window (your demo) will try to attract as many people as possible, the clerk (audition) will want to sell you a specific product.

Now put yourself in a buyer's shoes for a moment.

Imagine you have posted a job (with a proper briefing as you had read "How to create a great job posting" before) and received 30+ auditions. Now you need to go through all of them to identify which voice suits your project best.

So you start listening and each and every single audition starts with the talent's name and type of recording before getting to the point. Annoying! You are not interested in the talent's name because you already know it! It's written right there! Right next to the audition! Always there for you to remember (isn't the internet a beauty?).

But it gets worse: After listening to the 20th audition that starts with the name, chances are you will skip to the next altogether before even listening to the audition.

Do you see the difference? It's okay for your demo to have the name and category slated (although I am not even convinced this is necessary for demos used on online casting websites) but it can instantly kill your chances when you are auditioning.

So there you have it: Your auditions need a different approach than your demos. If a script was posted with the job, there is no doubt that reading an excerpt of the script will increase your chance of nailing the job (I am very well aware that this is difficult topic. Yet, nobody can deny the truth. I will blog about "custom demos" in the coming weeks). But no matter if you provide a custom demo or use one of your existing demos to audition: you want to strip away the name slating opening unless the buyer has explicitly asked for it or you know for a fact that you are dealing with an audio producer/casting director or similar which are used to this kind of process.

No time to read the feature? Check out this summary: Demos and auditions serve different purposes. While it is okay for demos to have your name at the beginning, do yourself (and the client!) a favour and refrain from slating name, client, job-id or anything else when auditioning on an online casting website. Your audition might not be listened to at all when it "starts with something before it starts".

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