What Should a Voiceover Reel Consist Of?

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Photo Source: Jordan Sondler

Q: I’ve always been told that I have a soothing voice and have done characters for laughs. What should a voiceover reel consist of?
—@Kalsainz, Backstage Community Forum*

It is a wonderful asset to have a great voice, but there is so much more to voiceover than how you sound. It’s more about being a great actor and storyteller, and learning to communicate ideas honestly and effectively. How you use your voice to make people laugh, cry, think, question, feel—that’s the real secret of being a great VO talent!

A voiceover demo reel should demonstrate your vocal range and show off your unique skill set and personality: what you bring to the table. You want it to highlight your strengths and all of the areas in which you are most marketable.

When it comes to creating a demo, the first step is to work with a great coach or director to really hone your skills at the microphone and help you discover what type of reads are your strongest, and what kind of work your voice is most suited for.

Generally, you need a different type of demo reel for each genre of voice work you plan on pursuing. There are specific demo reels for commercial work, animation, audiobooks, promos, broadcast narration, video games, medical narration...the list goes on and on.

That’s why it is so important to work with your coach or director to discover the areas of the industry where you are most marketable. For many people, that is commercial work, but not everyone starts there. Start with what you are best at; you can always branch out.

When you are ready, whoever you hire to produce your demo reel will be able to answer all of your specific questions. You should never, ever try to produce your own reel, even if you have the recording equipment and technical experience to do it. Even the most veteran voice actors hire a director or engineer to record their demos.

*This question was originally asked and answered on the Backstage Community Forum.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Steph Lynn Robinson
Steph Lynn Robinson is an award-nominated voiceover actress best known for her animation work. Having worked on both sides of the glass—as a performer and on the production side—Steph Lynn has a unique perspective on what makes an audition pop! She has recorded nearly a hundred episodes of animated television.
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