At Soundswrite, I write scripts for the way I talk. I’m always using contractions. I don’t say “I will go to the store today,” I say, “I’m going to the store today.” Often when I’m in the booth doing a spot, I take the written word and make it conversational.
Great idea…but not for audiobooks!
I just had a big audition for a local audiobook production house. I was well rehearsed with my characters in mind. I knew that script…or so I thought until I heard the engineer in my headphones. “Ah, Pam… you have to say “it is” instead of “it’s.” You forgot an “a”. Reading for audiobooks is just that. It’s reading. You’re there to voice every single word that the author wrote, exactly as he wrote it. No ad-libbing allowed! I kept thinking, “Ah come on, it’s only a small word – “in”, “it”, “an”,” – but the sharp-eared engineer caught every single one and we had to “punch in” the correct words.
So warning, warning warning…practice reading books out loud! Practice every single word of that story. Then, practice it again. It’ll help you book the book gig.
Until next time….
In the old days, voice demos were about 5 minutes. Now, your demo should be no longer than 2 minutes. We suggest keeping it to a :90 seconds. Bob Bergen, the voice of Porky Pig? His cartoon demo is just :45 seconds!
Casting directors have a short attention span. You have to grab them in the first 5 seconds or you’re toast. One L.A. casting director we talked to says she plugs all the CD demos into her car on the way home from work. She gives them all 5 seconds and if she doesn’t like them, she tosses the CD into the backseat, never to be heard again.
Here’s a short list to keep in mind when making your demo:
1) Get a professional to do it. You’ll get great sound and nifty sound effects that will make your demo sing.
2) If you’re a guy, get a girl to slate it. If you’re a girl, get a guy. Even better if the person has an accent. It catches the attention of the listener. For your slate, all you have to do is say your name. Or your name and what it is. For example: Pam Jones, commercial demo.
3) Make sure your first couple of pieces show your best work and make sure they are contrasting. If you start with a piece about a giant snake squeezing the life out of someone, then you might follow that up with a funny character spot. Variety is key.
4) You can do an all ’round demo but you should also have separate demos. We suggest doing a commercial demo, a narration demo and a cartoon demo.
Soundswrite just started producing demos – people kept asking so we finally said “yes.” We only take on two clients per week due to heavy volume in our studio. So give us a call and we can find a demo session at a price that works for you.
Want to hear a sample. Here’s my latest demo:http://voice123.com/pamjones
‘Til next time…Pam