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Voice Coaches Radio #467 – Producing Your Demo

Voice Coaches Radio. Everything voiceover. And welcome to this week's edition of Voice Coaches Radio. I am Josh Heller. Delighted to have you joining me as we are each and every week. Right here from White Lake Music and Post in Albany, New York. The mothership, as it were. Hopefully everyone is doing alright.

Um, there's been some crazy weather going on. So, uh, so hopefully everyone, uh, who is, uh, who is listening in is doing okay. Uh, obviously the weather, the weather here has been... It's been dumpy. It's snowing right now, actually, as I speak, um, but that's not unexpected for February in upstate New York. But I do know that there's a lot of places right now that are, uh, that are getting hit pretty hard, so hopefully everyone is doing alright.

Hopefully everyone is, uh, is staying safe, staying healthy. That's obviously the, uh, the most important thing. Um, second to that, hopefully everyone is following through on all of their wonderful little New Year's resolutions. Right, trying to, uh, uh, trying to, uh, to follow through on that. I know we have crossed the, the halfway point in February, and statistically speaking, mmm, pretty much 80% of people who have, uh, who, who have any kind of, uh, New Year's resolutions have given up on it by now, which is super depressing, by the way, but it does go to show how arbitrary New Year's, you know, resolutions are, like, why to wait to the first of the year?

Why don't we do whenever? Which is actually a fairly good point, if you have not started with a, a New Year's resolution, or maybe it's fallen by the wayside, start it up again. Right? What's the difference between January 1st and, I don't know, February 19th? Nothing. Nothing. Just a mindset, really. Just a mindset.

So go in with the mindset that February 19th is, that's the, uh, that is, that is the day. Right? Or, or, I don't know, if you want to wait till, till Monday, that's fine, you can have the weekend off. Um, or maybe, you know, March 1st, that's coming up. Do it March 1st, who cares? Who cares? Um, because again, it's all just about having that follow through.

Now, I did have a, uh, a, a, a listener, Tina, uh, Tina, a, a faithful listener to the podcast. Hi, Tina. Thanks for listening. Uh, she, uh, she wrote in with a question. By the way, you can always do that. Josh at voicecoaches. com. That's how you find me. Josh at voicecoaches. com. Not too complicated. I'm Josh, by the way, in case you were wondering.

And, uh, uh, she did have a question, and, um, and basically she was recording some sample scripts and recording them on her iPhone, uh, and she was using WavePad, um, since Audacity is not something that, uh, that you can do, WavePad is a, uh, is a free service, a, uh, a digital audio workstation, a DAW, we've talked about those in the past, um, however, she keeps getting ads that keep popping up, and the only way to get rid of them is to purchase the ad remover, which is basically spending money, which, The whole point of using, you know, open source like that is not to have to do that, right?

Um, so, the question was, should she just go to a recording studio? Is there another app she could do on her iPhone? So, um, you know, I've never actually used, to be totally candid with you guys, I've never actually used WavePad personally. Uh, so I don't, um, You know, I don't necessarily have a good background in that in particular.

Obviously, I've used any number of different DAWs, but haven't used that one in particular, so I don't know the intricacies of it. I also haven't done really any type of recording and editing on my iPhone. All of that I do either here at the studio, obviously. But, uh, you know, also my, uh, my laptop at home is where I do most of that.

Um, so, and Audacity is one of a number of different programs that, that I do use, uh, or have used. So, I did want to kind of, uh, look at this in a different way though, and that had to do with, you know, should you just go to a recording studio? So, you know, it, it sounds, Tina, like you are, you know, recording some sample scripts to try to put together, you know, a, a demo, a type of reel that you can send out to people.

What I will say is, and I say this to everyone, I cannot, um, I, you should not be recording and producing your own demo. And I say that not as a producer being like, you should use me, I'm awesome, I mean I am, but. That's not why, right? You should not be producing your own demo. And, and the reason for that is, you know, there are things that you may think you're good at or not good at, and that may just not be the case.

We don't hear ourselves in the same way that others hear us. We don't have that impartial ear and we need an impartial ear to make sure that we are choosing pieces that are good for us, doing them in ways that are good for us. Um, you know, even recording and listening back to yourself, there's only so much you can do.

Self production is very difficult, especially if you don't have a background in. production and ear for that. Now I tell you this as someone who, you know, do as I say, not as I do, who did that, uh, my first demo I'd, I'd started here a few years ago now, uh, I'd probably been here for maybe about six months or so.

Uh, so I, you know, I'd gotten my feet wet, had done a bunch of producing. I produced a number of demos and you know, I wanted to get my own demo up and running. And so I thought, well, I mean, I know how to produce, I do that. I produce demos all the time. I can produce my own demo. Right. Err, wrong. I mean, I did.

I did do it. Um, you know, and it was in studio, so the quality was, was fine. It was fine. Not great, but fine. Um, it was not good. Not only was it not good, it didn't get me work. Um, essentially. Um, and it wasn't good because, you know, it's funny, I redid my demo and I actually worked with another producer here.

In order to do that, and not a single piece from my original demo made it into my, my updated demo. Not a single one. Everyone was like, nope, that's garbage, throw that out, you shouldn't be doing that, that's not a good piece for you. But we need that kind of impartial look at it, right? It's important to have someone's ear, right?

You know, uh, people, I have people all the time, when I talk to them, they're like, well, you know, I, I, you know, I can do character voices, I read to my kids at bed at night. I mean, so do I, but I shouldn't be doing character voices because I'm not good at them. My son thinks I'm pretty good at them, which is all I really care about, frankly, but I shouldn't be doing them.

I know that now. Um, so we, we need an impartial ear and someone to, to be honest with us, right? Honesty is so important, right? You know, if you want to do something, but it's just not what your strength is right now, then you want to continue working on it, but you don't want it on your demo. Remember when it comes to demos, they're very short.

We're talking a minute to a minute 15 give or take. They are short and because Because they're short, we have no time to waste. No time to waste. Right? You can't have a bad piece in there. You can't have a soft piece in there. Everything has to hit and it has to hit hard. Because that producer is only going to hear 60 to 75 seconds of you.

Every single one of those 60 to 75 seconds has to be gold. Has to be. Right, that's why we say when you're putting together your demo, you want it to be your, your voice personality, which is what you do absolutely at your best, and your strength range, which is what you do really, really well. Now, as you mentioned, your voice personality, that's something that usually doesn't change very much.

With age, it can a little bit, but in general, it doesn't change very much over time. Your strength range does. That one can, can be developed, that can be worked on, right? That can be added to, depending on what you're working on, right? But when it comes to, to those things, that's what, you don't really want to go far afield from that, right?

You don't want to. Stretch piece, quote unquote, as it were a piece where you're like, well, I mean, it's not, it's not my best, but it's, you know, it's kind of fun. No, that's not what a demo is about. A demo is about hitting and hitting hard every single piece. So you want to make sure that you have an impartial ear to not only tell you which pieces are going to work best for you, but to make sure that you get the best out of those pieces.

And that's just very difficult to do on your own. And I say this as a producer who tried to do that, I'd listen to my current demo. I've also listened to my older demo. It's not good. It's not good. Maybe we'll, uh, uh, I'll, uh, I'll, I'll swallow my pride and, um, and put them up on the, uh, uh, on the podcast.

You guys can take a listen to the two and hear the difference. Um, maybe, maybe I'll do that next week. Have a chance to, uh, to, to put those both up there. Assuming I still have the old one. I may have, I may have burned that in effigy. I'm not sure. But, um, if I do have it, I'll, I'll try to dig it up and see if I can, uh, see if I can find that.

Because, again, I mean, it wasn't terrible. Like, it didn't sound awful, but it just, it was not good. It wasn't good enough. That's the point. So, so Tina, you know, when you're recording onto your phone, right, when you're, when you're, you know, listening to that, that's great for practice. That's great for experience, but that's probably not going to be your best bet.

If you are putting down pieces, recording samples that you want to ultimately stitch together to a demo and send out. So I hope that answers the question a little bit. Um, you know, as, as far as, um, You know, putting those things together. It's, you know, it's great that you're doing this and it's great that you're trying this out and it's great that you're spending time and practicing doing it.

That's amazing. That's amazing. Keep doing that, by the way. Absolutely, keep doing that. And if there are ads on it, eh, whatever. Um, you know, better than having to pay for it. But again, when it comes to putting together a demo, we need the demo to be that network quality demo, right? So we need to make sure it has that network quality sound where it sounds professional, but more than that, the pieces that are picked for it and the way that it's put together has to be done professionally, has to be done in such a way that is going to accentuate and highlight what.

you do best. So, but again, Tina, thank you so much for listening and thank you for, uh, for reaching on out. I really appreciate, uh, I really appreciate the email again. Uh, anyone else listening can, uh, can send in an email as well. Uh, josh at voice coaches. com. All right, josh at voice coaches. com is the best way to get in touch.

Um, and uh, any questions, concerns, be happy to talk about them on the podcast. Remember, it's not just my podcast. It's yours as well. It's yours as well. So, hopefully everyone is doing well, staying warm, staying healthy, staying safe. And until next week, so long everyone. Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

Josh answers an email question from loyal listener Tina about recording and producing her own demo.