How to Use Voiceover Demos to Find the Right Talent

By Roy Applewhite

You must go through the process of interviewing candidates to select a voiceover artist that would fit your project. Demo tapes can greatly help you and the whole panel in judging each candidate and selecting the one who will get the role.

Judging candidates through voice over demo tapes is a more efficient method than asking each candidate to audition and perform a voice over test in your office. A talent will be able to give his or her best performance in a demo tape as a job interview can put undue pressure on anyone, even on seasoned professionals. You just need to set a standard consisting of essential voiceover qualities when judging demo tapes. Here are the qualities you should listen for:

1. Pace of delivery. Be aware of the talent's pace throughout the piece. You will surely need a voiceover artist who can shift from speaking slowly to rapidly comfortably. Pacing is crucial in any voiceover script as stated in the book "You Can Bank On Your Voice" written by Rodney Saulsberry. An improperly paced delivery is painful to the ears and confusing to the mind. Look for talents who demonstrate good pacing.

2. Attention Grabber. A good voiceover artist can easily arouse your interest at the start of a piece. Experienced artists will put the right stress on particular words and phrases to match their tone and personality. Look for tapes that grab your attention in the first few lines.

3. Accents and Dialects. A good voiceover artist will have a certain style but a talented artist can easily adapt his or her style to imitate different accents and dialects. Artists who can speak in different accents and dialects are usually able to play different characters.

4. Rhythm. The rhythm of a monologue or conversation is a critical element of the professional and successful voiceover. If the candidate is able to capture the right rhythm, the audience will be able to remember the script more easily and even resonate with the brand or product you will be promoting. Listen for a steady 'beat' as the artist says each sentence to determine if they have the mastered the skill of rhythm.

5. Humor. Having or portraying a sense of humor is often an important element of voiceover scripts, especially those that are more commercial in nature and involve a conversation. Look for examples of lighthearted tones, jokes and humor on the demo tape; can the talent easily share a joke and make you smile? Or is the delivery strained and difficult to understand?

Use voice over demo tapes to help you judge every candidate to pick out the best talent that would fit your voice over project. Listen to each demo tape with the above qualities in mind so that you will have an objective standard to base your decision on. Good voiceover artists possess these qualities and are able to easily exhibit them in a demo tape. - 30538

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