Have Demo, Will Travel

by | Aug 21, 2015 | Demos | 5 comments

soundboard-bIn a new twist to an old scam, certain demo producers are apparently willing to bring the total demo solution TO YOUR HOME!

This is just so wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start.

Think I’m kidding?

Notice on a San Diego Craigslist post 3 days ago:  [click here]

I’m an experienced voice actor with a professional (Pro Tools) mobile set up. 
I can come to your house with all my equipment and record that personal professional demo you’ve always wanted to do.

I can also provide tips and advice on your recording and once we’re finished you’ll be able to email and post it wherever you please. 
Email for rates – all depends on what your looking for, how long, and how far of a drive it is!

I guess the word on the street persists.  The word that doing voice-overs is so darn easy and inexpensive that virtually anyone can do it!  I mean, it’s “just talking” right?

That perception spawns the above Craiglist fraud and other misrepresentations and scams that play on people’s dreams.  I know, I know…there’s a sucker born every minute.  But that doesn’t give ANYONE license to take actually advantage of people. 

This blog is not meant to be a philosophical treatise on morals…just a lesson in reality.  Be educated.  Voice over success for 99% of those who jump on this train — is a marathon, not a sprint.  There are no short-cuts.  Just for the record, here’s a short list of why this ad is just plain wrong:

  1. You can’t START in VO by producing a demo in your first weekend/day-long session.  (that comes after a lot of practice, immersion, study, coaching, and… uh…more practice)
  2. This guy is going to coach you, direct you, AND produce your demo all at once?  (there are precious few professionals who can do this, and you can’t afford them)
  3. “Tips and advice” on posting and emailing your demo.  (…and he’s a marketing expert too!)
  4.  And when he leaves with his great equipment…how do you reproduce that sterling sound in your studio (if you have one)?  (it’s common practice for demos to be done on YOUR OWN equipment, so you don’t misrepresent your sound)
  5. How would you even know what’s a decent rate for this sham-of-a-service?   (rates for specialized services like this require lots of research and consulting with knowledgeable industry insider)

Honorable mention:  Where are his references, a client history, and track record? [even a professional website with examples of his work?] (hopefully he has this stuff, and is happy to share it with you)

Craigslist:  the last place to look to get your demo done.

CourVO

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5 Comments

  1. Susan Manhire

    “Have Demo Will Travel.” You nailed it, Dave! It is difficult to help those entering the VO industry grasp the concept that like most new careers there is no instant path to success. I recently had an inquiry from someone considering joining our industry. They too felt that having a good voice, mic, and laptop set them up to begin their career. After I spent some time sharing much of the advice you shared in this article, I gave them the “golf” analogy.

    Just because you have arms, you are not equipped to immediately succeed in golf. Just because you have golf clubs, you are not yet equipped to win. As any golfer would share it is a process of learning the correct stance, practicing the course, using the right equipment, and continually taking lessons that results in the win. Why would a career in the Voice Over industry be any different?

    Thanks for your article, Dave. It gave clarity and much needed guidance to the demo topic.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Thanks, Susan for taking the time to share your thoughts. That analogy works well. Gotta remember that one.

      warmly,

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  2. Jack

    I saw this ad as well. I believe it was on Craigslist. These are just scam artists trying to make a quick buck because they are too damn lazy to do what it takes… hard work. The sad thing is, you see this all the time. It’s like the 7-11 of voice overs, there is no such thing.
    I like your analogy of golf Susan. Years ago I taught golf. But you can’t teach unless you have been taught properly. It is a process which requires hard work and perseverance.

    I thank Dave as well for this article regarding the so-called “easy way” of being a voice talent.

    Reply
  3. William Williams

    I agree that this is a disservice to any aspiring voice over performer. It preys on the ignorance of the recording client.

    First, it assumes the person does not have the ability to record themselves at home, which of course is de rigueur to even entry level participation in this business.

    Second, unless the recorder is towing a whisper room behind his Yugo he is going to be at the mercy of the room acoustics where he records which in 99% of the living rooms, etc. will destroy the quality of the recording.

    Third, assuming the ability to record, coach and direct at the same time (yes, I can do that and yes, they can’t afford it) there is no provision for selecting copy that matches the talent, which is the most important part of the process.

    And finally there seems to be no provision for editing, music, sound effects and sequencing, which make a professional demo sound, well, professional.

    I’m usually a caveat emptor kind of guy (wow! Latin and French in the same post!) but I agree, this does border on fraud.

    (my apologies to Yugo)

    Reply
    • CourVO

      William,

      I love the way you write…thanks for your thoughts…and I don’t think Yugo is even a company any more. 🙂

      Best,

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply

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