A Demos TRUE Purpose
Happy New Year Everyone! This month, we actually don't have the video part. Im sorry about that! We've been putting the final wrap on a Funimation show Im the lead in as well as SWAMPED with other projects. So I'm only able to write a blog post this month but hopefully it helps! I know some people, myself included, actually retain information better when written so maybe switching between the two mediums will help you guys :)
This month, I wanted to clear up some misconceptions about demo reels and what they are TRUELY for.
A lot of people believe a demo reel is a HUGE factor if you ever get work, and in a sense, they are completely correct about that. Where things get a little off is with HOW a demo helps make a career. Think of a demo more of your business card than the complete foundation of your career. Its important to get it right, to showcase your skills, and to show how seriously you take this business. But also, fall short on the marketing or talent side of things, and even if you have the BEST demo in the world, your chances of making this field a career are slim. I'll talk more about this in next months post.
A demos purpose is to show all those things mentioned above, but its main purpose is to get your foot in the door with studios. This is why you see many voice actors fall behind with updating their demos once they have a strong studio presence.
When youre approaching a game/animation/ anime company, your demo's true purpose is to get the directors to call you into the studio. Normally for an audition, but sometimes they wills tart you off with background/ walla.
From there, your business sense and acting talent will help you get further work. But that demo, that demo is what got you in there! With other companies, it can be what gets you through the gatekeeper. Many game companies have someone who listens to demos to see if youre a good fit for their talent roster. This is also a demos moment to shine. To showcase your voice, range, and talent so they will accept you into the roster. Then you can start getting emailed auditions for games and projects.
A common mistake I see actors make is instead of focusing their attention on other facets of their career: Acting training, marketing, social media, website design, ect.
They instead UPDATE their demo every few months- two times a year.
While I think updating a demo when you have the time is very important. It is, after all, your business card, you want it up to snuff and to show your current talents.
This time would be better allocated to the previously mentioned aspects.
Its also important to remember, at a certain part in an actors career, they begin to get hired off of previous work they've done, rather than their demo.
Now please don't misunderstand, a demo is one of the MAIN things an actor needs to make the move from the online only projects to starting to work with bigger studios.
But the purpose of this point is to stress that it isn't EVERYTHING an actor needs.
A great demo with no social media or marketing reach, lives on youtube or sound cloud with little or no views.
A great demo with no business sense of how to interact with clients can lead to blacklisting once you GET in those studios.
A great demo, but none of the acting training to know how to think on ones feet for characters and cold reads, leads to disappointed directors wondering why they called you in.
A great demo is great, but don't forget about the other factors in acting.
Its a calling card, not the make or break of a career. Normally. Now with that's said, lets cover why its important to have a great demo.
Demos represent you and who you are as a 'company'
And that's what you are in this business, youre own independent company.
So you don't just want to slap something together and send it out to everyone you can.
First, there's a time and a place to promote your demo. I'm sent demos all the time. Im normally not looking for new talent when I am. Some even think that sending me their demo will get them into Funimation. That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works...
Only promote your demo when specifically asked for it, or leave it in your signature of your email.
Also, make sure your demo is industry standards.
Some companies have what are called "Listening Parties" where they collect bad demos and listen to them all at once and make fun of them.
Its cruel, I know. But you don't want to be one of the talent who gets known for being one of those demos.
Sending poor quality demos can also effect your representation. One thing you don't want to do starting out, is send a demo you feel very happy with to every big company and people then flag you as not ready. That makes it so much more difficult to get your foot in the door years later when you've grown.
In short, demos don't make up EVERYTHING about getting work in this field, but when it comes to moving your work up to the next level, that's half their purpose. Don't underestimate the power of a poor quality demo, and don't over estimate what a demo can do for your career. You still need other factors to level up in this field.