Nearly a month ago I got an email from one of my Sentinels (for those who don’t know who Taji’s Sentinel’s are… they are voice actors and professionals who send me news that they think I should write about and that my readers might find informative.) The email my Sentinel sent me included information that was all over the Voice Over blogs regarding a new trend in the voice over industry called the Video Voice Demo.
So for Short lets call it a VVD. Its a simple concept. Instead of just sending your client an audio file containing your collection of voice over highlights and range. You package it in the form of a video. My fellow canadian Bryan Cox decided to go ahead and get one done for himself. I Couldn’t figure out how to link it so I’ll have to post the link for the company that made the VVD for him and they include his demo on their portfolio page:
Breakthrough or Gimmick
I can’t really call a marketing tool a gimmick and make it seem like that is a negative thing. Some of the most memorable marketing tools have been gimmicks and since I worked on several marketing campaigns for companies ranging from telecom, to healthcare to automotive I can see the potential of the VVD and how it can be the decisive factor in someone getting chosen for the job or not.
To some degree if your video voice demo is well produced it can make you seem like a Pioneer, someone who is not afraid to take risks and invest in the future. On the other hand if your video is corny and badly produced then you will end up looking cheap and a follower… merely someone who decided to jump on the bandwagon.
So how do you go about making sure that your investment is not a waste of money and a potential Public Relations disaster.
Come up with an Idea
First and foremost the Video Voice Demo is a tool to promote yourself. It should be made by professionals and unfortunately for the guy who originally came up with the idea of the Video Voice Demo its not something you have to make with any 1 single company. Its too bad that you can’t patent an idea like that… but you can try to be the best and most affordable in the industry which means that other production companies will eventually start making these for voice over professionals and this might eventually become the standard way of presenting yourself in the voice over industry.
If you’re a good looking fella or gal you might think that it’s a good idea to keep splashing your face in the video to maximize exposure and association between your face and your voice… It’s not a bad idea… but unfortunately it lacks any creativity… after watching 4 or 5 of these video demos the producer or casting agent might just end up picking the best looking of the lot … and that defeats the purpose of making a video to promote yourself only to sell yourself solely on the virtue (so to speak) of your looks.
The video should be like a small commercial for yourself. It should have an idea… it should show your versatility and your creativity and deciding on an idea to promote yourself.
For example … I’m an arab… I primarily do Arabic voice overs and I live in egypt. Put all of these different factors together and what do you have?
For one you’ll have excellent locations (egypt has a gazillion monuments and locations for a arabesque video). If I wanted to further push the whole Arabic cliche thing I can go with the Bedouin in the desert thing and then introduce the different ranges of my voice by using the english written word (along with arabic) to showcase what I am focusing on in that specific part of the demo.
Each one of us has something unique about their personality. My friend Paul Strikwerda would probably go with the Dutch thing. Julia Lombardo might go with the exercise / personal trainer thing. Find out what is unique about yourself… and promote it.
So your assignment for today is… if you wanted to promote yourself via one of these new Video Voice Demos how would you want to portray yourself?
How Much Should You Spend
We spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to promote ourselves annually. Should you set aside a big chunk of change for this?
Honestly… If you’ve decided to do this then it’s gonna cost you. The company that did Bryan Cox’s demo takes around $200 to $300 USD for their efforts.
If you are going to go shoot on location and make a production of it… then you’ll pay more … much more…
and if you have contacts in the multimedia industry that can make something for you at cost with minimal effort then you are the wisest financially.
Ultimately I wouldn’t suggest you put something together by yourself using online free programs that create sideshows of your cat and car. Unless your idea is brilliant and doesn’t require much production… it will not only be disregarded. It will also reflect badly on you.
Get Some Feedback
Although we sometimes call ourselves voice actors… very often we do not have on camera experience or training. If you have decided to get yourself a VVD then please before you release it to the masses let a panel of your peers take a look at it and give you some honest to God feedback.
You might think its a brilliant concept… sublimely executed with possible Oscar potential.
But often times the truth is far from what is in your head. Get it reviewed before you start spreading it around.
Thats it for now.
make some noise… leave some feedback. Let me know if you guys missed me…. or not!