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8 Ways to Create Audio Samples for your Voquent Profile

By Miles Chicoine | 4th October 2019

Voquent is a pioneer of the most extensive and detailed audio attribution system ever created in the voice-over industry.

We offer a global marketplace for producers, agents and casting directors to identify suitably skilled and experienced voice talent for their productions. We make online voice-over casting simple by allowing prospective buyers to quickly explore massive volumes of audio material and ultimately identify the exact attributes and qualities they are looking for in a voice and the emotion they seek to evoke from their respective audience. 

So, if you've created a Voquent Profile but not uploaded any Demos yet, your odds of getting shortlisted for voice-over jobs are reduced drastically. It's about your audio, not your profile.

Without Demos in your profile, you can't be easily located in search. Casting directors typically have a specific role to fill, e.g.

Young Male, UK Liverpool accent, Inspiring read.

If that's you, and you've got an audio Demo that matches those attributes, you've got an excellent chance of being shortlisted and booked! 

To help maximise your visibility in search, you need as many audio Demos as possible. You'll also maximise the visibility of your profile by uploading material in your best tone(s) style(s).

If you perform in a variety of styles, we recommend uploading Demo Samples in the following specific tones for each accent or language you perform best in:

There are, in fact, twelve primary tones on Voquent that you can use to show off your skills. 

The six above offer the broadest cross-style reach, which means that having them on your profile will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the most common voice-over jobs. Corporate videos, explainers, TV commercials, online promos, eLearning and audiobooks.

Each Demo Sample you upload should ideally be 15 - 45 seconds in duration. For Narration style Demos, we recommend up to 90 seconds. 

Longer Demo Samples are acceptable, but customers rarely listen past 30-40 secs (we can see the play stats). Instead, consider adding Reels to your top 6 Featured Demo slots. To unlock Reels, you'll need 15 Samples minimum or a verified home studio.

Here are eight ways to create Demo Samples for your Voquent profile:

1. Delve into your own portfolio

If you're an experienced voice-over actor, the best way to build your Voquent profile is to go through your work archive. Listen to what you've got. Then decide which ones best match the recommended styles and tones. 

For example, a radio commercial where you play a whistling window cleaner might work well in the Conversational category. A chocolate dessert advert would be a good fit for the Enticing type. Or a severe appeal to the Red Cross would suit the Nurturing class. 

Provided you have a decent catalogue of work, that's half of the most commonly sought-after tones already covered. But it's also worth thinking about the age of your material. Fashions change and content dates, so if the audio sounds behind the times - it probably is. 

Similarly, if one of your Demos talks about a brand that went out of business or was rocked by a scandal, you'll probably want to avoid using it. 

Voice-over casting is highly subjective, so be sure to use audio material that's fresh, contemporary and relevant – and keep updating your profile with new Demos as work comes in so that you always have something new to share with the world.

2. Write and record copy yourself

If you can write as well as you can voice, and you have access to a professional studio, then scripting and recording Demo Samples could be a great way to add to your Voquent profile. You need to know your voice well to do this. Playing with words is fine, but you also need to play to your vocal strengths and make sure that the copy suits your projects' style(s) and tone(s). 

The overall message should also sound professional and credible. So, it might be best to stay away from name-dropping big brands (so as not to create a false impression that you've worked for them) or to invent company names that don't sound right for their industry sector. Credibility and relevant experience can play an essential role in the selection of a voice. Unless you have real-world experience of writing good copy for a target audience and you can make a mock-up sound like the real deal, it might be a good idea to seek guidance from a professional who does.

At Voquent, we frequently help voices record new material for their profiles, but many other companies offer showreel production services.

3. Read an excerpt from existing videos or literature

Video hosting and streaming sites (such as YouTube) offer access to a vast array of material that you can use to modify and prepare a script for your own recording. Everything from adverts and promos to tutorials, explainers and animation voices can all be easily transcribed and adapted for your needs.

When it comes to literature, both classic and modern books can offer deeply evocative and memorable reference material that will engage with the kind of audiences you are most eager to work with, from meaningful self-reflection to compelling narratives and dialogues.

If you've developed a profound psychological connection with the written work of any author, this will inherently support and enhance the conviction and delivery of your performance. Remember that novels and fiction are best suited to Narrative and Character Demo Samples.

If you're looking to record Demo Samples for Guides and Explainers, think about how many Instruction manuals and QuickStart references you have laying around the house or even online via access to software applications and portals. Non-fictional material on a subject of personal interest offers an outstanding resource for you to start offering Informational style Demo Samples such as documentaries and news. Keep in mind that promotional material is the one area where existing literature won't help.

You'll need to consider other sources here if you want commercially orientated material for businesses or consumers.

4. Work with an established voice coach or producer

If you’re still building your voice-over portfolio and you’re not comfortable with writing your material. Working with a professional Reel/Showreel producer is also an option to build up a collection of Demo Samples and Reels that will be relevant to the styles of work you want. 

There are many professional voice coaches and showreel producers worldwide. First and foremost, we’d suggest asking trusted peers, colleagues and contacts for a personal recommendation. How well you gel with a voice-over coach or Demo producer is super important. 

They need to help you deliver a performance that plays to your strengths.

 ALSO READ: How to Choose the Best Voice Coach for Voice Acting Work

It also helps to work with a voice-over coach focused on working with people who have your level of experience. If you’re an ascending voice-over actor at the early stage of your career, you should work with a coach dedicated to helping you reach the next level. 

Equally, suppose you’ve been working in the voice-over industry for several years. In that case, you’ll benefit more by working with a voice-over coach that specialises in expert techniques—helping you to optimise and maximise your performances. 

Most good coaches or showreel producers have accumulated extensive libraries of scripts. Similarly, they will have an ear for what scripts will suit your voice best. Of course, before working with a coach, it’s worth checking that you will have the right to publish and promote your recordings of their scripts..

5. Work with a copywriter to build custom scripts

As with any professional, you generally get what you pay for when commissioning a skilled copywriter. It makes a big difference to reach out to copywriters that already have experience writing for media producers and, ideally, those who’ve specialised in a specific style. Voquent tracks twelve different key styles for voice-over audio:

  1. Announcer

  2. Business-2-Business (B2B)

  3. Characters

  4. Documentary

  5. Education

  6. Explainer

  7. IVR

  8. Narration

  9. News

  10. Promotional/Commercial

  11. Comedy

  12. Singing

Suppose you seek a copywriter that can produce material that will complete your existing portfolio of audio recordings. In that case, you can commission someone who earns a living writing material specific to one of these styles. 

If you don’t have any previous acting experience and you’re just starting in the world of voice-overs. We suggest focussing on someone who can offer materials for business-related styles and leave the challenging types like Characters until you have more experience behind you. 

You want a copywriter that provides good value for money and reliable service. Ideally, you’ll get your best results if you can speak with one who’s willing to listen to your voice and write the kind of material that suits the pitch, pace, and tone you feel most adept. 

Social Media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer great platforms to gather recommendations for copywriters in the industry.

6. Adapt audition material

If you’re still short of Demo Sample material for your Voquent profile, another alternative is to tweak and rewrite some audition copy.

Not every voice will feel comfortable writing and editing copy or using material that resulted in somebody else getting a gig, so it’s up to you to decide how much the material needs to be altered where appropriate. One reason that might put you off is that the voice who got the actual gig may complain that you appear to be imitating or passing off their work as your own. The merits of such a concern are justified to the extent that if we (Voquent) receive complaints about this, we are likely to deactivate or remove the Demo Sample whilst the ownership of any copy is disputed and consequently resolved.

To minimise the chances of a complaint (and of Voquent being asked to remove your Demo Sample), it may be best (and less distracting for the listener) to drop any brand names from the read and to alter the copy in places. You could use the essence of the manuscript as inspiration for a message about another product or service entirely, which will also help distance you and your performance from the original wording.

Please remember, that brands don’t sell a voice-over performance. A good voice-over performance sells the brand. So, if you’re planning to go down this route, the most important thing is to focus on generating some compelling copy and reading it well.

7. Record royalty-free voice-over scripts

A quick search on Google for royalty-free voice-over scripts will lead to a range of sites that collectively offer tens of thousands of scripts to choose from. 

These sites may require you to register for full access but should not cost any money. Many offer a wide variety of material, allowing you to decide what works best for your voice and personality. This is also a good starting point for any voice talents that need immediate access to copy or wants to break into a new style that they’ve never performed before.

Alternatively, it’s worth noting that there are numerous websites and self-proclaimed trainers that market and sell access to private collections of voice-over scripts as part of a paid membership plan. Unless you are working with an experienced voice coach that is handpicking specific material for you, this approach offers only minor advantages (if any at all) over the freely available scripts.

Again, you can edit any of these scripts to make your distinct versions.

8. Borrow old scripts from a colleague or friend

Perhaps a safer way to demonstrate your skills as a voice-over artist and fill your Voquent profile is to borrow actual scripts from a trusted mentor, colleague or friend. 

Again, if it’s full of brand names and well-known slogans, it’s probably best to lose them for the reasons outlined previously. Name-dropping prestigious companies that did not commission you can harm your credibility. Always be mindful that if your Demo Sample doesn’t sound genuinely believable or relevant to the script, neither will you. 

In most cases, buyers want to hear clear, honest reads that match the accent, gender style and tone they require. 
Credible copy, coupled with a convincing, authentic performance, will help sell your Demo to the listener. And if you’re the right voice for the client, you’ll also be the right voice for the job!

Learn more about voice-over jobs with Voquent

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Miles Chicoine

Miles Chicoine

Managing Director and co-founder of Voquent.

About Author

Miles Chicoine

Miles Chicoine

Managing Director and co-founder of Voquent.

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