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Marketing – Who Is Your Demo For?

Your demo isn’t like a painting or a photograph – it’s not art, it’s a promotional tool. But are you treating it as one? Are you seeking validation from the wrong audience? Who did you make that demo for anyway? See who has the soap and who has the box in this week’s episode. Join us as The Bosses talk demos.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Proper demo practices and standards should be followed.

  2. A demo should be made for a very particular audience and its job is to get you work.

  3. All demo audiences are singular and have different wants and needs.

  4. Voiceover actors love to listen to each other’s demos.

  5. But the opinion of another actor isn’t necessary helpful.

  6. You have to put the right demo into the hands of the right person.

  7. Ask for feedback carefully. Does this individual know the target market and audience?

  8. Hire and trust producers who know the genre and understand the market.

  9. Seek the experts in a particular field.

  10. Range& variety vary greatly depending on the type of demo you are making.

  11. Diversity of sound is not as diverse as it was in years past.

  12. Acting range and character voice range are not the same thing.

  13. New casting and new platforms are creating new, specific, industry demos that are only for that one platform.

  14. Even talent agents don’t need ALL your demos.

  15. Clients can and do still book you directly from your demo.

  16. Clients listen to a demo for application – are you displaying an application they need?

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Voiceover Demo Production by Anne

  2. Recorded on ipDTL

Full Episode Transcript

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.




Anne: Hey, guys. Before we start today’s episode, I want to talk to you about a product that has been just killing it out there. It is our Book-out Builder, a way for you to communicate with your potential clients on a monthly or a quarterly basis.

Gabby: OK, I – [laughs] I don’t think Anne and I thought clearly when we launched this because we didn’t realize how popular it was gonna be.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: It is, it’s keeping us busy, that’s an understatement.

Anne: Oh yeah.

Gabby: One of the reasons I think we continue to see so much interest in it is because every single time we build these lists for people, they’re fully customized. So you’re not getting the same product as the next voice actor, or the next, or the next.

Anne: No two lists are the same.

Gabby: Never.

Anne: They’re custom-developed just for you.

Gabby: Yep.

Anne: And it’s a way for you to keep that top of mind.

Gabby: That’s what everybody’s after. Right? It’s how do we stay in front of our clients, how do we stay relevant, how do we not bug them, and how do we provide something that’s actually valuable to them? Well, this is it.

Anne: Book-Out Builder, guys. You want to find out more, go to the website,, click on the shop tab, and go to the monthly blasts tab, and you’re going to find out all you need to know about the Book-Out Builder and how you can sign up for top-of-mind marketing every month, every quarter, whatever you decide. Make sure you check it out.

Gabby: And if you still have questions, there’s also an option to go ahead and book a 15-minute consult with me and Anne on it. We’d love to do that for you.

Anne: Thanks, guys. Hey, everybody. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: Yo!

Anne: How are you today?

Gabby: I’m good. I’m Captain Morganing right now.

Anne: Oooh.

Gabby: I’ve got my leg up on a stool, in my booth, and I’m doing like the Captain Morgan pose.

Anne: Oh, I thought –

Gabby: It’s fun.

Anne: I thought you had a glass in your hand and –

Gabby: No, not yet. Not yet. 45 minutes more.

Anne: That happens later. That happens later.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: It’s 5:00 somewhere.

Gabby: True. True, true.

Anne: Almost 5:00 in your neck of the woods, actually.

Gabby: It is, exactly. No, right now it’s like booth yoga.

Anne: So you know, you and I have different genres that we specialize in.

Gabby: True.

Anne: And I see questions practically on a daily basis on the forums about what constitutes a good demo.

Gabby: Mmm… yes.

Anne: And what goes into a good demo and how much variety should your demo have in it, how much range should your demo have on it, and I figured we should maybe talk about that. Because we both specialize in these different areas, and I have my, my very staunch opinions on what goes into a good corporate narration demo or an e-learning demo, and I’m sure you have some wonderful opinions on yours as well.

Gabby: Well, yeah. Yeah. I think all demo creators, producers that have been doing this for a long time, we all usually agree. You know, we kind of come together on those finer points of what a demo should or should not, regardless of the genre. So yeah, I think it’s kind of fun to explore, but also look at all of the similarities that are there.

Anne: Well, I think first and foremost, we should probably establish that a demo is made for a very specific purpose. And my goal –

Gabby: [laughs] Well, it should be. [laughs]

Anne: My goal, right, the demo’s being made so that you can get work, so that people can listen to it and say, “ooh, I like that voice. Let’s hire that voice.” So I think a demo, its ultimate goal should be to get a person work.

Gabby: In this specific area that the demo was created for.

Anne: Yes. You make a very important addendum to that. Yes, in the specific genre that, yeah, the demo is intended. So a commercial demo has a very different target audience than let’s say a corporate narration demo.

Gabby: Oh God, yes.

Anne: Compared to a radio imaging demo, right?

Gabby: Compared to a promo demo, compared to a commercial demo. We could play that game all day long. Every buyer has their own specific wants, needs, viewpoint.

Anne: So therefore what goes in to that demo, what goes into the copy that goes into that demo, the spots that go into that demo, the performance that goes into that demo has to be targeted to that specific, to that specific audience. So I, I would say that, you know, one of the issues that I see a lot is that voice talent like to listen to each other’s demos all the time. So if a new demo comes out, you know, people will –

Gabby: Well, sure.

Anne: – post it and say, “hey, what do you think?” They will get feedback on their demo. I think one thing that you have to be very careful about is to understand that maybe not everyone is familiar with the target audience for that demo.

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: So if they’re going to make a judgment one way or the other, whether they think it has enough variety or it’s performance driven –

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: – in the right vein, I think that we have to take that into consideration.

Gabby: It’s people in general, it’s the audience in general. Who are you putting your demo into the hands of and why? You know, this goes back to that story, I know I have told it once before where, years ago, I had given my radio imaging demo to a commercial casting director. And it was like, you could hear crickets. They were just –

Anne: Yup.

Gabby: – like, “what the hell is this?” [laughs]

Anne: Exactly, exactly.

Gabby: And it’s because that I put the wrong demo into the hands of a buyer who didn’t care about the genre. So lesson learned. But you’re right, we see that now sort of in reverse where it’s “oh, here’s my brand-new demo. Let me play it for other voice actors, my colleagues,” you know whatever.

Anne: Be careful with that, guys.

Gabby: You’re going to get a gajillion opinions. None of them are actually coming from people who pay you money.

Anne: That’s the thing, they’re not the ones hiring you.

Gabby: Right.

Anne: So I say with a grain of salt, ask for people’s feedback but also understand that they’re not necessarily the ones that are hiring you. So sure, they can give feedback, but understand that an intended audience – and I say this because I think that our genres have evolved very, very distinctly and differently over the years, right? There never was – you know, years ago there never was a corporate narration demo. It was either business-industrial narration, and that’s what it was. There was like one size fits all.

Gabby: Right.

Anne: Now we have super targeted demos, and just as we market our businesses to target markets, we also market our demos. And so therefore the performance requirements for a corporate narration demo may not be what you think, or may not be – because you’re not necessarily familiar with the market. So I say get out there and research the market that you’re going to prepare your demo for. And make sure that you’re very familiar with what it is that they’re requiring.

Gabby: Yeah, but how about trust your freaking producer?

Anne: Well, yeah.

Gabby: If you hired somebody, and you spent good money to create a demo with an expert in a particular area, trust them. They have done that market research already. They know what’s going on. They understand it. Look, for me, I’ve always said this and I’ve always had issue with it. I’ve seen in the last couple of years a whole bunch of producers who have kind of popped up that will create imaging demos for people.

Anne: Oh God, Gabby. I would never even think that I could.

Gabby: But you see what I mean?

Anne: That is so not my genre. [laughs]

Gabby: Right, exactly. But I see all these other people, and I’m like, “have you ever even voiced for a station? Why are you producing this demo? This is so not what you do.” Same way, you know, I send a whole bunch of people to you when they’re like, “I want to do e-learning and medical and this.” I’m like “yeah, go talk to Anne. Don’t call me.” That relationship should be strong, is all I’m saying.

Anne: Yes. Absolutely. Understand first and foremost yourself, when you are going to get a demo produced that you’re seeking out people who are experts in their field, just as you would in anything. Right?

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: One demo performance does not fit all.

Gabby: Nooo!

Anne: I will say this, the performance required for character animation is absolutely not the same performance required for e-learning. And so therefore, what some people might just listen for and say, “oh, I’m not hearing a range from one spot to the next” – there’s a very different and distinct difference of ranges that you would have for e-learning versus something you would do for character. I mean, your performance is completely based on something different, you know? You’re entertaining with character animation, and not that you’re not entertaining in e-learning, but you’re probably not going to have a very specific compassionate, warm side to a spot on an e-learning demo because your purpose is to teach. Your purpose is to convey material understandably, intelligently, and so that you can engage the audience. And that may or may not require a very diverse range of emotion.

Gabby: Well but hang on a second. I think part of it is we have to define exactly what diversity or range means in the voiceover field right now in 2019, because it’s different than it was 10 years ago.

Anne: Oh, agreed.

Gabby: Demos right now are super narrow. You know, we’re not seeing these big wild jumps. And whenever I hear somebody say, you know, “oh, you know, I want lots and lots of variety,” I’m like “mmm hang on.”[laughs]

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Let’s define what that means for a minute.

Anne: Sure, maybe a variety of industries and a variety of particular instances or samples of the work that you would be required to do in that genre. I think that’s where that happens. And then I think also that that – that variety and range are based upon that and not necessarily some sort of a voice change or –

Gabby: They’re based on emotion, or mood, or manner, not necessarily what I call vocal gymnastics.

Anne: It’s acting, it’s acting range versus, let’s say, pitch range or character voice range. So guys, who are you making that demo for? Make sure that you’re researching those people and understand what their needs are. Very, very distinct needs, and bring that to your producer as well.

Gabby: Yeah, and if you feel that you need to consult with other voice actors, absolutely make sure they’re other people working in that specific genre. Because those are the opinions that are going to count. Those are the people who know and understand what’s happening and what the trends are. This is really interesting because this afternoon, I got a chance to be on one of the early phone calls, the training phone calls our new sponsor, for They have actually created on their platform a category. They’re calling it a highlight demo. That will ultimately be the primary demo put in front of buyers on their platform on their website. And they talk about how, sure, you can pick one of your existing demos. It could be the thing that you book the most, but maybe consider customizing or custom creating a highlight demo specifically for this platform. You may not use it anywhere else, but here it’s going to be valuable.

Anne: Yeah, great idea. Mm-hmm.

Gabby: And that kind of thing happens all the time. We see those trends in different areas all the time where it’s like, hey, I may have this one specific demo. I may only use it in one very specific capacity, and then for other areas I’m not going to do that. Like none of my talent agents, with the exception of the one agent who reps me for imaging, none of the rest of them have my imaging demos. Why would they?

Anne: I am so very much into the targeted areas in which I work. I have a couple of different corporate demos, a couple of different e-learning demos, all targeted to specific places that I’m sending and people who might be listening to them. And of course I have them all on my website, but when it comes to marketing each one of them, I will have a separate website or I’ll have a separate landing page. And those demos will go on that landing page. And you know, it’s interesting because there is, I guess, that myth that people don’t get hired off their demos anymore, but I can honestly say that the way that I’m getting clients coming to the website, they’ve already listened to my demos. And they come to me saying, “I really liked the way you sounded on that spot.” I just got an emailed again today saying, “I listened to your corporate demo, and I really liked this particular spot, and I’ve got a series of videos that I’d like you to voice.” Knowing these people are coming because they’ve heard a demo, they like a particular spot on that demo, because I distinctly targeted for those markets. Now if somebody listens to my demo and says, “I don’t hear a lot of range in that,” honestly, OK, if that’s your opinion. But again my purpose for my demo is not for another necessarily voiceover artist to comment on it. It’s really to get work.

Gabby: The person listening isn’t listening for range. They’re listening application.

Anne: Exactly. And –

Gabby: Have you done or do you have a presentation of something that is similar to what I am doing?

Anne: Exactly, and could you use that voice, right, in your particular application?

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: Is this a voice like for a corporate narration, is this a voice that can sell your product? e-Learning, is this a voice that can teach about your product? And that should go for every single spot on your demo, again and it has to make sense to the genre that you’re marketing to. Like if you’re looking for a specific variety or range in your demo, this goes back to the generic narration demos that used to be, right? It would have maybe a spot like a documentary style spot, then maybe it would maybe have an e-learning spot, and then maybe it would have maybe a corporate spot, and they would all be mixed together.

Gabby: But that’s it, that’s why we don’t do that anymore.

Anne: That’s why we don’t do that anymore, exactly.

Gabby: Why do we have all these demos in the first place? It’s so that a client can say, “oh, that’s it, that’s what I do, that’s what I need,” and listen to just that example. Look, the other thing, and I know, I know how you feel about this, but I gotta get on my soapbox for just a second.

Anne: [laughs]

Gabby: One thing that bugs the hell out of me when I talk to voice actors and they say, “oh, I’m building a new demo with so-and-so, and you know, I’m picking my own copy,” and I’m like, “you’re doing what? Why? Why are you – no! Why?”

Anne: Noo!

Gabby: I feel like, first of all, I feel like it’s so lazy, right, on the part of the producer and the person creating the content. I’m like, “seriously? You can’t help this person to brand the material? Like what? Like what are you doing?” That really gets on my nerves.

Anne: Move over, I’m standing on the soapbox with you. [laughs]

Gabby: Right? I’ll always share my soapbox with you.

Anne: Aww.

Gabby: But then the end result is when I hear those demos, there’s no connection!

Anne: There’s no connection, there’s no branding, there’s no market thought about, is that spot going to serve the market that you’re trying to sell to? Oh my goodness. And if you are just starting out, of course people in the beginning, they should coach, coach, coach. Not get a demo until they’re ready. But when you do make that first step and make that demo, make sure that the spots on that demo are going to serve the market that you are intending them to. And if you pick out the copy, I, first of all, I say no.

Gabby: [laughs]

Anne: Just don’t. But research that market. Research that market like until you like could work in it. Like day in and day out, and then figure out what type of copy you’re going to use for your demo and not until then. And that’s not a short process. I mean, that’s something that I work through with my students for like hours. And hours of researching and scouring the markets to make sure I’m relevant and current myself, and I work in the market. Like when we talk about marketing your business, it doesn’t stop with your own social media presence and reaching out to people and clients. It’s also investigating the industries in which you want to work, and staying relevant, and staying current with those industries, so that you know how you can provide for them to the very best of your ability.

Gabby: Yeah, because I mean, sorry, guys, otherwise what else are we doing here?

Anne: Bam, period, end of sentence.

Gabby: Yes, yes! Yes. Put an exclamation point on that [beep], call it a day. [laughs]

Anne: [laughs] Yes. It’s true. It’s true. If you are not – if part of your marketing plan is not immersing yourself in the industry in which you want to work, and learning, and listening, and culminating facts, and writing notes about what it is that they do, what’s current, what’s relevant, what do they need, how can I serve them, what types of voiceover work are they hiring – my goodness, you have to do that. And that is not – it’s no small task. That’s why if you are hiring somebody to create a demo for you, make sure that they’ve researched that market, they understand that market, and you know, hey, if they work in it, that’s even, I think that’s even better.

Gabby: The moral of the story here, what Anne and I are saying here, the same way we’ve said in the past, don’t be the voice actor who gets out on social media and promotes to other voice actors.

Anne: No!

Gabby: Don’t build a demo that is built for other voice actors.

Anne: Right.

Gabby: Build a demo for your client.

Anne: Your demo needs to be built for your client and your client only. And if you get feedback about that demo, take it with a grain of salt. Understand that that feedback could be coming from any place, from any level of education regarding that market, from beginner to you know “oh, I work in the market every day.” Well there, Gabby, it’s been fun sharing the soapbox. I love standing next to you on the soapbox.

Gabby: I know! You’re a good soapbox partner.

Anne: Well on our soapbox, I would like to give a shout-out to one of our favorite sponsors that allows Gabby and I to connect on our soapboxes together, and that is ipDTL. You too can record and connect like a BOSS and find out more at

Gabby: And our other sponsor,, who we mentioned earlier. If you want to go check out what I’m talking about with this highlights demo –

Anne: Brilliant.

Gabby: – reeeally suggest that you do this. Take a look at what they’re doing. This is the casting sites we’ve been asking for, guys. This is what this industry has been missing. They’re making it happen.

Anne: All right, you guys have a great week, and we’ll catch you next week.

Gabby: Bye!

Anne: Bye!

Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.