VO Demo FAQ

 

 

What do I need?
There are different types of demo; commercial, narration, documentary, political, character, real people and talking book. None should be longer than three minutes long. You should also have :60 edited mp3 versions of each demo that are created small enough to email and put on a website. Most people start with two, commercial and narration. 

Where does the audio come from?
Normally, we choose parts from all of your existing reel-to-reel, DAT or CD masters, sometimes from VHS videotape or DVDs. If you have material on cassette, we suggest you re-record the sections of the material you need for the demo.

What if I don't have any masters?
Then we start from scratch. That means getting copy together and recording here at my studio. I suggest bringing eight pieces of copy for each type of demo. With eight, we can decide which ones work best for your voice and style.

What kind of copy?
For commercials: Price and product retail, hard sell, straight pitch, warm and fuzzy, mom, dad, young guy or gal, older guy or gal.

For narrations: Training, medical, technical, marketing,

For documentary: Think Discovery, PBS, History Channel. Being a voice for National Geographic or Discovery takes a lot more than you might think.

For political: warm and fuzzy, prideful, patriotic, fear, secrecy, contained outrage, disappointment.

For characters: You got 'em? We'll decide.

For real people: A difficult style to carry off well. Usually because the copy isn't what real people would say anyway. We'll decide as we go.

For talking book: You might want a mix of fiction and non-fiction.

                            
Click here to hear some demos I have produced for other people.https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r9vmxyxdbeknnk0/ZvpjYfUUvX

"I made my first audio demo tape with Ty Ford in 1997 and I've been working as a professional voice talent ever since. Ty's professionalism, knowledge of the business, and attention to detail make him the absolute best choice for creating a new demo. You'll love this guy."

Molly Moores www.mollymoores.com


"I've always valued Ty Ford's advice.  Plain and simple, he knows the audio business.  Besides his past experience, he stays current as today's technology changes.  His ear is faultless.  All that, along with great instincts for what works and what doesn't work, is why I go to Ty.  Serious knowledge, and a great sense of the business.  Plus he makes working a joy." 

Tom Blair tb.blair51@gmail.com


“Ty always pushed me to do better and to stretch my abilities. His input and guidance are invaluable.”

Rich Levinson richlevinson@yahoo.com


Where can I get copy
From taping radio and TV while you're watching and listening. From magazines and books. I have some here, but the time and energy you invest in your own search is invaluable in teaching you about the process.

How do I know if the copy is right for me?
I'll help you with that here. I know every mistake you make from the inside out because I've already made them and have figured out why and what to do about them. That's why you're coming to me and not someone else.

How long will it take?
That depends on your level of experience and how much pre-recorded audio you bring in. At a minimum, it takes about 2-3 hours to sort though masters, edit the parts you want, put them in the right order, smooth the transitions, make new masters and burn new CDs.

If you need to record new voice tracks, we also need to choose new music beds and mix each of those sections. Then we assemble the parts, making little editing and mixing adjustments.

One of my more recent students took 20 hours of training before he was "studio ready." That's very important. Anyone can slap a demo together, making you sound OK, ten seconds at a time. It may take ten minutes to get that four sentence paragraph, but do that enough times and you have your demo.

The problem comes when and if you get hired. You can't spend ten minutes on a four sentence paragraph and expect to be hired again.

My training prepares you so that you get the first job, do it well and get asked back. Return business is the only way you can make a living.

Bottom line, how much will this cost?
If you come in extremely well prepared with pre-recorded material and know exactly what you want, (and few do) maybe $200-$250. More typically, the bill ranges from $350 to as high as $1200. The average is about $600. That's for a narration and commercial demo. $1200 is a lot of money, but if you’re union, four narration gigs or five local radio spots and you've paid for it.

So you train as well as produce demos? I'm a member of the Washington-Baltimore AFTRA/SAG Conservatory. I give narration seminars throughout the year to our members. These sessions are usually with six members and last about 2-3 hours. Check with the SAG/AFTRA office in DC to get registered. 301.657.2560.

I also do one-on-one training with members and folks who hope to get good enough to become members. Normally these sessions are 1-2 hours long. We start recording on the first session. It's you and me in the studio working on copy, delivery and interpretation. Depending on your level of experience, this can take some time. I charge $65 per hour with cash, check or PayPal due at the end of each session.

I can't just do it all in one session?
No. It's a learning process, like learning to sing or play an instrument. You can't get better as a performer until you can improve your ability as a listener. They work hand in hand. The proof of this sometimes confusing concept is that no experienced performer will let you listen to their very first demo because, although it was the best work they could do at the time, their experience has allowed them to hear problems they couldn't hear at first. It's not uncommon to redo your demo every year or so for at least the first 5-10 years. Usually you're adding new examples of work you've done.

Is there any way to save a few bucks?
Yes. Some folks with little or no experience start with one demo that combines commercials and narration. It's usually about three minutes long. As they get work, and experience, they collect the material they need to make separate commercial and narration demos.

What do I get when I'm done?
You leave with a master CD which can be replicated and any CD replication facility. I can refer you to the folks who do mine. I keep a master here just in case you lose yours or it gets destroyed. If you want mp3 files, we can do that too. I can also put up to three minutes of video and scanned in headshots and a pdf file of your resume on the CD. 

How many CDs should I order?
CDs are not as effective as having your clips on a web site these days. So get a hundred CDs to start and make sure you also get a nice artwork made for the liner and label. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Why should I choose you?
I've been making recording, editing and producing commercials and narrations audio for over 20 years. I've been a professional voice talent for over 20 years. Each style of voice work has it's own special requirements. I know them all because I do them.

I've been training voice talent since 1990. I'm a member of the AFTRA/SAG Conservatory. I give seminars in V/O work. I've been doing this a while and I'm still here because I do the right thing, which for some is to discourage them from going after something I don't think they have in them.

Could that be me?
There is no way to tell. The learning curve is different with everyone. Some folks have natural abilities that give them a head start. Others learn more slowly, but pass others once they learn the basics. It takes a lot of practice. If you don't have at least fifteen minutes a day to work on the basics, don't even bother trying. You don't just "get it" and move on. This is something you have to work on over a long period of time. The journey is more important than the destination, because you never really reach the destination. 

Where are you?
I’m near Towson, Maryland, north of Baltimore.

I'm too far away. Can we do it by phone?
It’s much better if we work face to face, but I am now doing SKYPE webinars for people who can't get here.

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