Creating a voicereel
Creating a voicereel shouldn't be a complex and stressful process. In fact, a lot can be said for going back to basics. Ask yourself, "What makes me the kind of voiceover artist someone would want to employ?" Is your unique selling point your clear, booming voice? Does your ability to go from cartoonishly crazy to sensual and seductive in 60 seconds flat set you apart from the others? Perhaps your strongest skill is in how you interact with your clients, recognising their needs, and using your voice to help them meet their goals.
The voice reel should quickly deliver an indication of your style, both on and off the mic. It should give a firm indication of your vocal tone and - from between the lines - speak volumes about your professionalism.
Have a think about the kind of work you'd like to take. If you're a versatile artist, voicereels are great places to show off this ability - but remember, casting directors don't want to plough through hours of audio to get the voice they need, so think about creating a number of tailored voicereels with titles such as 'Commercial', 'Corporate' and 'Drama' to increase your exposure. When applying for a job, always point the employer to a tailored voicereel in your gallery that closely matches their role.
- Make every second earn its keep. Think hard about why you're including each clip. If it doesn't add anything, cut it.
- Make sure your first few seconds are as strong as they possibly can be. Unfortunately, you can't assume that anyone is going to be patient with you.
- Showcase your ability to meet an employer's needs. Experienced voiceover artist Jay Britton advises that you work hard to match your voice to the product: "[There's] no point putting a Coca-cola advert on your reel if it doesn't sound like an advert Coca-coca would run!"
- Prepare a variety of scripts that reflect your different styles. VO artist John Harley suggests that "a good commercial read, a good corporate read and a good dramatic read" are "the basic 'building blocks' of a demo."
- Shop around. Research voice reel companies, and look at the artists they have recorded to get an idea of what they can offer you.