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Guides

Guide to Writing Scripts for a Voice-Over Demo Reel

Donald Hollifield

Donald Hollifield

5 January 2024

Guide to Writing Scripts for a Voice-Over Demo Reel - Voquent

Voice-over scriptwriting requires more than just words on paper—it demands a keen understanding of the art.

Your demo reel is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and the best scripts can lead to the best performances.

In this exploration, we delve into the essence of crafting compelling voice-over scripts for demo reels, unravelling the secrets that not only bring words to life, but provide potential employers with the variety they need to truly understand your vocal capabilities.

Let’s get started.

 

Need a Quick Fix?

Use Examples

Voicereels have a huge script library for voice-over demos and individual samples. They are all royalty-free and might inspire your own writing. The best part? You can filter for scripts based on medium, tone, and style so you can find examples of the exact aspects you want to show off.

Write My Scripts for Me

There are sites with a write my essay option to make school easier, and professional script writing services will help your reel stand out, too. Contact Voicereels to enquire about their bespoke scriptwriting services.

 

Understanding the Basics of Voice-Over Scripts

What makes a compelling voice-over script?

A Voice-over script is the prewritten text that you read while recording a voice-over. It is used in e-learning courses, commercials, podcast introductions, audiobooks, and when creating video content for social media.

There are several steps you should follow when writing a voice-over script. Firstly, write as the character or brand voice would speak. Get to the point as quickly as you can. Keep sentences short and easy to fathom. Don’t hesitate to make pauses for dramatic effect. Calculate the length of the text so you know the duration of the speech. And, of course, read it out loud to check how it sounds.

To sound persuasive in commercial content, you need to incorporate an audible authority into the read. To sound believable in character content, you need to implement clear emotions and intent. While the words are important, it’s your performance that sells the product or story.

You should also pay attention to pacing while you write a script. If you tell bombastic information too fast, the audience won’t know what hit them. However, being too slow will make them bored. You need to find a balance to entertain listeners.

Man listening to headphones under fluorescent lights

 

Are there specific formatting guidelines for voice-over scripts?

Use a font with Serif, perhaps Times New Roman, or 12-point Courier. This is the standard font for Hollywood scripts. However, if you’re writing a script for yourself, then this isn’t necessary.

You should also double-space your script. It is easier to read and gives space for performance notes between the lines. And don’t write all in caps. You can, however, use capital letters, bold formatting, and italics to highlight words that should be emphasised.

Emphasis and pauses are essential parts of the voice-over script. If you don’t emphasise crucial words and sentences, you’ll risk sounding monotone. Pauses should also be used when you want the audience to pay extra attention to what was just said.

 

Tailoring Scripts to Showcase Versatility

While these are the basics of voiceover scripting, demo reels have their own purpose. Your reel is your one shot to get the gig if there is no audition, and you MUST provide enough versatility to show your full range of capabilities.

How to choose genres and mediums for a diverse voice-over demo reel

Did you know there are four main genres of voice-over? There are commercial, character, narration, and business-style voice-overs. Selecting your genre depends on the industry you want to work in. You can choose between animation and gaming, advertising and marketing, corporate and training, and film and television.

If you struggle to strike a balance between popular and niche genres, try to diversify your skill set. Develop proficiency in diverse genres. Invest time in honing your skills for different styles within each genre to showcase versatility. And, of course, the more specialities you have, the more voice-over jobs you can apply for.

Many voice actors will have multiple reels so they can submit the most appropriate demo for the production. Let’s take the narration style as an example. This reel could include audiobook, radio play, documentary, movie trailer, educational, and audio guide examples. Each should have its own varying tones and vocal characteristics to display your full range and give the casting director all the information they need.

Girl in fluorescent lights recording voice-over

What are the key elements of a script that highlight vocal range?

What is the information that must be presented? How does the character feel about it? And which vocal characteristics will sell that feeling?

Before you write a single word of the script, these questions need answers!

While different tones and mediums are essential to commercial, narration, and business reels, emotional variation is especially important in character reels. You want to show that you can convincingly portray anger, sadness, happiness, and comedy. For extra credit, you can break this down further. The character isn’t just angry but livid, sarcastic, or grumpy.

You can find a list of vocal tones and characteristics here.

 

Optimising Scripts for Demo Reel Production

What is the ideal duration for a voice-over script in a demo reel?

The duration of your voice-over script depends again on the industry you work in. The ideal duration for commercial reels is between 90 and 120 seconds. Longer scripts run the risk of boring casting directors or featuring individual reads that are too long. Furthermore, you should start speaking within the first few seconds. That way, you capture listeners immediately.

Character and business reel duration should be between 90 and 120 seconds, too, while narration reel duration is between two and five minutes, as you also must prove the ability to insert optimal pacing within longer reads.

Remember, each individual read doesn’t need to sound like a full project, but just enough audio to show that you can successfully portray the emotions and tones within it, and there should be 6 – 8 individual reads in each reel.

One girl showing lots of emotions

How to edit and refine scripts for a polished demo reel

There are several rules in script editing for demo reels you should follow to avoid common pitfalls. Firstly, be very careful when using a template of a script from a real project. The client will be trying to picture your voice as the voice of their brand or character, so they don’t want to hear the famous phrases and taglines of other productions.

Write numbers as they sound. You know that 2023 can be read as ”twenty twenty-three”, ”two thousand twenty-three”, or even ”two zero two three”. This includes dates, phone numbers, decimals, and fractions.

Similarly, avoid abbreviations. If you would rather say “for example” than “e.g.”, then write it that way.

Grammar errors are never acceptable in schools, but they can be used as a tool in voiceover. Even when it’s technically incorrect, you might want to add a pause with a comma in the script’s text.

It’s not about whether it’s written correctly; it’s about whether it sounds right.

 

Conclusion

In summary, creating great voice-over scripts involves understanding the basics, like what makes a script interesting and how to format it correctly.

It’s important to consider emotions and pacing in your writing. When tailoring scripts, think about showcasing a variety of genres, vocal tones, and mediums in your demo reel.

Don’t forget to highlight your vocal range. For a polished demo reel, keep scripts short and original. Mastering these aspects will help you present your voice-over skills in the best light to get cast in more voice-over projects.

 

Listen to Voice-Over Demos

Become a Voice Actor

Donald Hollifield

By Donald Hollifield

Donald Hollifield is a seasoned professional in the field of scriptwriting and voice-over production. He possesses extensive experience in crafting engaging and effective scripts tailored for voice actors, showcasing a deep understanding of the nuances of vocal performance and audience engagement.

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