AC: Voice over actors definitely need a reel. But if he or she doesn’t have a reel, what’s a good place for him to start creating the reel?
Paul Liberti: I would like to clarify: it is 2010, actors need a DEMO. Reels are something we had in the 70s and 80s when they actually were ‘reel to reel’ tapes. That term ‘reel’ is going away more and more. If you want to seem current in the business, an actor does a ‘demo’—not a reel. I also have people ask me, “Can I send you my demo tape?” They mean CD but they just gave away how long it’s been since they marketed themselves as a voice actor!
It is AMAZING how many actors produce their first demo, send it to me and when I ask “How many other demos have you heard before you made this one?” The actor has usually heard few—or NONE!
The first step is to go to a web site like www.voicebank.net and hear great working demos. You can find any actor on either coasts that has an agent on the site. Listen to what is good, hear what is bad, hear what works and learn what is current.
To only hear demos that your coach has produced is shortening your sights. Listen to demos from the best voice actors out there. Pull up star voice actor names like Ruby Dee, Tony Roberts, Richard Dreyfuss, Demi Moore and hear what they are using as a demo as well. Those are the people you will be compared to. Not because you sound like them but because star voice actors are in touch with THEMSELVES and sound like no one else.
The same is true for you: tap into the truth of who you really are! That is what I explore in my New York voice over classes!! LISTEN! Learn all you can and be READY to do a demo when the time is right. Don’t just do a demo to get one done. That demo may stay around a long time, even after you grow and improve! Know who your competition is!!
Paul is currently co-leading “Professional Voice Over Tune Up” on Mondays at 6:30 pm. Click here to learn about the next class he will be teaching.
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