A demo producer wears a LOT of hats. Not only are they capturing your audio – your vocal only performance of a script – but the really good ones also do a TON more. There’s scripts, audio routing, recording, sound FX, music beds… on an on and on. Plus they HAVE to be completely in touch with current trends of each genre! Man, that’s a LOT to do!
Makes you wonder why anyone would ever do it, right? Well… if they’re really good as I mentioned, they do it for the PASSION. Sure they want to make a living- who doesn’t? – but the good ones are PASSIONATE about making sure they produce FOR YOU the best quality performance and audio they can create.
Check out these FIVE STEPS to know what to expect from your producer.
1. ASSESS YOUR DIRECTION AND ABILITY
First steps are to figure out what you want to do. Do you need a commercial demo reel? A promo or trailer reel? Imaging for radio? Narration or eLearning?
A producer should discuss all this with you and help you find what direction you want to go and prepare you for that direction. Right off the bat and up front you should be having conversations about what type of demo you want to produce, your skill level with that type, your likes or interests with that particular area, and HOW YOU WANT TO SOUND!
Your input is invaluable, and is a MUST at this point. BUT - don't forget to TRUST the producer! You have decided to work with them for a reason. So, within reason, and unless it's just way off base, TRUST what they say and which direction they recommend.
A VO Demo producer should provide help with your scripts. At the very least a good demo producer will work with you to find and create the best scripts to match your style and the type of demo you are recording (commercial, narration, promo, imaging, etc.).
A REALLY AWESOME demo producer will actually write the scripts FOR YOU and WITH your full involvement. I recommend working with a producer who will write the script for/with you.
Additionally, during the session they should work to get the BEST performance out of you! Also, if you need a little coaching they could also recommend good coaching in the VO industry.
3. NO AUTOMATION!
Look I have no big issue with all the mixing and mastering automation sites out there. Clearly there is a market for it. But if you want the BEST mix you have to have EARS ON!
The best mixes only come from a real person working to get it all just right. The automation software are only going to be as good as what you feed it. The old adage GIGO (Garbage in Garbage Out) REALLY applies here.
Only trust a professional who is going to work on your recordings and demos MANUALLY. They should be able to record, mix, and master (finalize) your entire project. You should definitely ask them about this, but be respectful. Questions are fine, but DON'T expect that they will describe and explain each step of the process with any granularity.
This is a DEMO RECORDING session and not an audio production class. They should know what they are doing and may even feel comfortable walking your through it somewhat, but they are also working within a set schedule just like you. Let them do their job.
4. THE RIGHT SOURCE SOUND
The BEST sound is a MUST. Do you have your own home studio? Awesome! Has it been tested? Analyzed? Listened to? By a professional? If not… you may have issues that you never noticed.
Look... a good sound HAS to come from a good SOURCE. And source has everything to do with your LOCATION. Your ROOM. The area in which you record your audio. You do NOT absolutely have to setup a perfectly treated and balanced professional recording studio or sound booth – BUT you DO ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO HAVE at the very LEAST an ADEQUATE recording area!
A good producer will work on this with you. And if you are not ready, they should tell you so! Same with your equipment, your mic, your interface/preamp and your software. Ask the producer and see if they will at least ASSESS your sound. If they don’t want to help you fix it then that’s their prerogative. I am sure they are busy. But it is possible a producer will provide tips and even REQUIRE certain things be done BEFORE you record your session.
Now they might do so for a fee and that IS appropriate. Their expertise did not come overnight and certainly wasn’t free, so don’t expect them to give it away.
Mastering (or finalization) should be included in any demo production package. Whether a producer does this in-house or contracts it out, this will be included in the price.
A demo producer should have samples of different styles available for your review. Listen for a crisp, articulated, and fresh sound. Check the music styles and the FX. Listen for the pacing, make sure it is exciting when it should be exciting and reserved when it needs to be reserved.
Check the length of each spot. Most average about 9-12 seconds or at most 15 seconds. Believe it or not SIX second spots are coming into vogue now as well. The total length should be about a minute, but no more than 1:10 or 1:15.
Listen to see if the first few seconds GRABS your attention. This is what YOU will want. Make sure the producer CAN and HAS done this already on other samples.
And that's that! It's an exciting process to FINALLY reach that day when you are getting your PROFESSIONALLY PRODUCED VOICEOVER DEMO completed! I hope you enjoy it and get as much out this as I do!
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Gimme a shout! GET STARTED on YOUR demo today! Contact me at either of the emails below:
email@example.com - or -firstname.lastname@example.org