Acting : What is the Ideal Voice Reel? by Marlon Dance-Hooi

Marlon Dance-Hooi

What is the Ideal Voice Reel?

Hello lovelies, I've been mulling this over in my head and sniffing around the google machine to try and answer this, but I'd appreciate some community feedback. AS a voice ator, what is the ideal length of a showreel, the ideal content, and how many showreels should one have? I personally feel that I should split my character voices and commercial voices into two separate showreels, but are there even more divisions possible? I'd appreciate your thoughts. Is there even a right answer?

Earl McLean

Marlon... there is no one magical bullet. There are rules that depending on the actor and his/her goals, are adjusted or kept in line with. i.e - length of demo, whether or not to mix genre in a demo. If you don't know your strong suits (what you bring to the table) you wont craft a demo that best reflects .. the best of you (get a coach who can help). If you know what you represent but can't execute (get a producer who understands the genre your looking to enter) If your unsure as what to do - get a coach or mentor, or both and proceed

Diane Akam

As a producer, I appreciate when I can listen to narration demos vs character voices. It's annoying when I send a client a demo link that has it all together - clients generally have no vision and would find it difficult to separate a character voice from the narrative style that I would be recommending to them. Hope that helps.

Kay Shelton

As far as length of each demo...1 min? Fade or complete spots?

Jordan Yanco

Try to capture the gist of the spot and your voice in a few secs, show variation but a common theme. Shouldn't be longer than 1 min or even 1.5 min unless absolutely necessary. Pick spots that identify your type of voice. Craft a demo that shows it. Animation, Commercial, Narration, there are many different categories. Try to have a common thread that holds them all together. That will serve as your brand. You will know it's too many when someone doesn't have the patience to sit through the rest. Also depends on where you live and of course where the auditions and work are. Hope this helps!

Rhonda Husak

It helped me!! Thanks

Una Love

Hi Marlon, check out for a free course where David H. Lawrence XVII himself personally answers your exercises with advice. I know because I signed up for this course myself. I haven't finished it yet myself but I'm sure there's advice on voice reels...

David H. Lawrence Xvii

Thanks, Una. Marlon - I'm happy to help. There's a fair amount of strategy that goes into creating a portfolio of demos in voice over. Like the portfolio of headshots we create as on-camera actors to allow us to submit for various types of roles, each demo we create allows us to fine-tune our submissions in VO - a separate reel for separate buyers: commercials, animation, narration, a number of different audiobook demos, IVR, etc. Start a commercial demo, and then choose other demos based on their potential for work. Audiobooks, if you have the constitution for them, are usually next. Your character voices would work for an animation, video game or accents/dialects reel. Let me know if I can be of any further help - and do grab the free class that Una mentioned if you like: David

Marlon Dance-Hooi

Thanks Una!

Marlon Dance-Hooi

Thanks very much David, I'll definitely be in touch!

Pat Savage

Good stuff! I am starting into voice over work this week and these tips are most appreciated :)

Kris Kyro


Joe Becker

personally, I wouldn't go over three minutes, and one minute should do for character voices. think of what you would want. you're getting 100s of submissions a day, how long do you want to listen to each one? it depends on the number of voices you can do. if you're another Mel Blanc, you can go longer, though you could probably get enough voices in a minute to get the idea across. so really, a minute seems plenty to me. you should have a link to more, if you can't fit what you want into a minute or two. a website with plenty of samples of varied voices and styles (commercials, characters, and narrative, logo drops) would be great. start and end with your best stuff, and leave them wanting more. you don't have to have the full commercial on the demo. just a clip of each commercial style is enough to let them know what you can do. as far as dividing into categories, I think you should only divide into what you want to do, and what you're good at. the above parenthesized list is a good start. you can categorize by type of job, but some of them have cross over. so think in terms of which types of jobs are similar and lump them together. listen to other people's reels. go online and see what others are doing. you can get a feel for what you like, and what you'd want to receive by figuring out which ones you'd hire and why. so go at it like you're the buyer in search of the perfect voice. only put your best stuff in your demo. if you're not good a logo drops, don't add that category. my best advice is, don't overthink it. just do it. the best VO reel is the one you do and send out. the one you never do because you're sweating over perfection is not going to do you any good. the more you do it, the better you'll be at it. so make a reel. listen to it. imagine someone just sent it to you. would you hire them? if not, do it again. if so, send it out.

Diane Akam

Good advice Joe. I think I'll take it for myself! Need to get my video demo updated... Love "the best is the reel you do and send out."

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