Hopefully you’ve taken enough training now that you KNOW you are ready to make a demo.  Depending on the demo director/coach/producer you choose, you may want to help create your demo copy.   Keep in mind we are talking about demos that are created from scratch, not demos that are samples of your current work.   Also make sure you’ve worked with this Demo Director/Coach/Producer prior to recording a demo. 


Many demo producers have the copy prepared for you, while others like your participation.  However if you are totally writing it without any further help from your coach/producer, this isn’t recommended.  Each demo is completely different of course and I can only speak for my own personal methods, but I prefer that the talent help me in creating their demo scripts as this helps to bring out originality but more importantly the personality of the talent.  My job is to make these scripts sound original, demo worthy and not be a copyright infringement.


The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should NEVER use copy from websites or workshop/seminars that offer you scripts.  There are many reasons for this but the most obvious is that this is a small industry and the decision makers listening to your demo recognize this OVERUSED copy.  For example Edgestudio.com offers tons of scripts and recording contests etc. and I hear these scripts on demos and that is something I STRONGLY advise against.  This copy is overused and very recognizable.  There is much more to choose from than using copy already done. 


For commercial demos - I like to use magazines and websites for particular products.  For example their signature catch phrases can be turned into a creative spot etc.  I also always try to find some humor within the demo (depending on the personality of the talent however).


For Narration demos – I like using manuals for the tutorial type projects.  I also use websites once I’ve thought of a company to narrate for.  Previous e-learning jobs are good to use (as this isn’t aired on TV or anywhere it can get saturated and you actually voiced the job).  I also like using books, magazines and libraries for documentary type copy. 


Audiobook Demos – Good old fashioned books are up for grabs.  No re-writes necessary.  Just make sure you are looking for different genres and writing styles (in all your demos)


Animation/Video Game – this is much more complex.  Work with your demo coach on this one and either create copy that’s original (NOT FROM ANIMATIONS, FEATURES OR VIDEO GAMES) or work on copy through comic books and ad libbing.  This is the hardest of all copy to create as you need scenes for animation, not just what the character would say.  Video Games are bit easier to create lines for.  In this category, better safe than sorry in this category.


Imaging Demos – use your creativity if you can here.  You can have tons of fun with imaging.  Really listen to radio stations of different genres.  This should help prompt some great ideas.  Also your demo coach/producer will more than likely provide you with most of the copy.


Promo Demos – time to watch TV and create promos to suit a certain show.  Your demo coach should be working closely with you on this one as well, if not picking the copy for you.  This is also a very creative process, but the producer needs to be able to have a digital copy of audio bytes from that particular show you are promoting.


There are many more, but this will give you a good idea of where to start.   There is the never ending debate on copyright, but the more you add some originality to your copy, the less you have to worry about the debate.  I’ll save the debate for another article in the future.


Until next time,


Chef Deb


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Comment by Debbie Munro on March 27, 2012 at 6:57pm

Hey Scott - thanks so much for your questions on the copyright issue.  It's a never ending debate to this day but I've consulted a lawyer on this matter and it is suggested that using actual book copy is just fine. The thing is that if a client REALLY wanted to make a stink about it on ANY kind of demo - they could, but to our knowledge, in the history of demo production, no one has ever been sued or frowned upon on using actual material such as what we are suggesting.  There are other circumstances that have been questioned in the commercial side of things - which is why i like to create my own copy for commercial and animation demos, just to avoid any questioning and keep it original and suiting to the personality of the talent.

Here is what Rob Sciglimpaglia (lawyer/voice talent) suggests:  It is fine to use passages from books for audio book demos.  It should not pose a problem at all.  Authors are generally not concerned with people recording short portions of their books for demos.  Of course, if it is being done without permission, then they can make a stink, but it should not amount to a big deal, and if there is no harm, it should be just fine. 

So as you can see it is to our discretion - but here is the thing - even in commercial copy - this is FREE advertising for the client - and most people don't frown upon free advertising.  It's not sensible to write your own copy for an audiobook demo - as first of all that is a lot of writing - and well, you'd need to be an excellent writer and know how to write in different formats - which most of us know how to write in one format - not several (example first person, third person, dialogue etc)

I don't go for originality in an audiobook demo - but I do look for originality in content.  What is most important on any copy is what the talent does with it, not the material used....but you don't want to use something EVERYONE uses - cause then decision makers, agents etc, have heard it before and that leaves a sour taste (at least it does for me)   We spend a lot of money on demos - so we deserve to keep it fresh and not something everyone uses.  It's also important to find our personality in each of our choices.

So as you can see, it's not incorrect to think the way you are thinking, but the likelyhood of it being a problem to date - are pretty much slim to none.  There are many ways to obtain audiobook/narration content.  If you need any help in this area, please don't hesitate to contact me for help.  

I Hope this helps you with your concerns.  Sorry for the delay.

All my best

Comment by Scott J. Smith on March 26, 2012 at 11:31am

Could you elaborate more on the copyright issue?  Wouldn't reading any book (unless it is in the public domain) be a copyright concern?  Should the demo also feature originally-written content here, too?

Comment by Debbie Munro on March 24, 2012 at 5:11pm
Thanks for your comments and questions. I say absolutely NOT to edge studio scripts. I know most of them off by heart and that is not what I would want to hear on a demo. And many do use them even edge. But I wouldn't. Magazines r written different yes but they r a good base to start with to use company slogans and I like starting with that and then getting creative and making them original to suit the personality So your coach is right but I am a good creative writer. I also like using company websites to find slogans and branding etc. I also make sure and write each script so it sounds like it comes from different writers. Not easy so this is why you should use help with those r experienced to do so.
Many coaches have different methods. What matters the most is that your personality shines through
Best of luck to you and thank you so much for taking the time to comment and ask questions
Comment by Alexis Serrano on March 24, 2012 at 4:31pm

My coach told me that magazine copy is not written the same as copy for audio.  What about using the scripts on the Edge Studio site or Voices.com? 

Comment by Maggie Phillips on March 24, 2012 at 3:39pm
Thank you Debbie. You are saying all I say and believe, as a teacher and demo maker.

Anyone can put up a shingle. Not everyone is a teacher or creative demo maker. And your demo will be nothing if it is not creative and completely styled around you.

Thanks, Deb!

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