EWABS Episode 151 July 21, 2014 Demo Demo DERBY!




Show Log

Episode 151, July 21, 2014

Demo Demo Derby

Guests: Cliff Zellman and Uncle Roy Yokelson

0:00:00  Incomparable Promo (with echo SFX)

0:01:02  Intro Video

0:01:46  The opening, complete with monster truck voicers.

0:02:41  Ground Rules for the Demo Demo Derby.  Tonight will be about technical quality.

0:03:15  Cliff tells about his work with demos.

0:03:46  Roy describes his work.  

0:05:01  Cliff describes what the modern demo must be.

0:05:38   Dan describes tonight’s goal to look at production of the demo and audio quality.

0:06:49  First demo (audiobook).  

0:08:29  Critique.  They liked the performance.  Roy thinks it needed more breaths and pacing was off.  Recording quality good, though George said levels were low.  

0:11:15 George on mastering.  RMS was -25.  It should be closer to -20dB.  It appears almost raw.  

0:13:19  Sponsor words.  

0:14:46  Next demo.  Commercial demo.

0:16:02  Discussion.  Cliff wanted more variety.  Roy wanted to see more range demonstrated.  

0:17:35  Roy talks about sequencing of demos.  

0:18:21  Cliff says a demo must be entertaining.  

0:19:40  J.S. Gilbert commented that it wasn’t actual broadcast spots.  Don’t break out with the nationals that you didn’t do unless you really pull it off.  

0:21:00  Don’t try to fool the casting director.  

0:22:45  Cliff comments on how he can hear a director push a talent.

0:23:40  George said it sounded flat.  

0:24:10  Roy asked what a typical casting director listens to demos on.

0:25:10  Cliff says a demo is the same as an audition.  Audio quality is 51% of his decision.  Uncle Roy adds his thoughts on audio quality.

0:27:42  Break  (includes SpongeBob Square Pants’ “drop”)

0:28:56  They’re back.  

0:29:50  Roy emphasizes that the demo is a “pre audition.”

0:30:20  Next demo.  Character demo.  

0:31:25  Discussion.  Cliff liked original and rule breaking nature of the demo.  

0:35:20  Next demo.  Another character demo.  

0:36:30  Discussion.  Cliff and Roy wanted more variety and greater entertainment value.

0:39:33  Next demo.  Commercial demo.

0:40:05  Discussion.  Short and sweet: Dan asks what’s the perfect length.  Roy heard what he needed and then it was on to the next.  Cliff wondered about the casting for spots in the demo.  Miscast demos stick out more than any benefit.  

0:42:10  Dan said, “You gotta wow ‘em right from the start.”

0:42:39  Chatroom question: What would you guys do to master a demo to make it sound better?  Discussion follows.

0:44:27  Dan: “So in other words, if you don’t know what something does, don’t use it!”  Knob twisting doesn’t work, Cliff says.

0:44:55  Cliff then says, “You can process whatever you want as long as I don’t hear it.”  Discussion.

0:45:56   Q: What do we mean by “range”?  Discussion follows.  Roy says it’s the emotions.  

0:47:44  Cliff describes a TV ad that struck him because it was so well voiced.

0:48:20  Roy says we don’t want to hear “the sell,” we want warmth to be the sell, the smile to be sell.  It’s too obvious when someone tries to “sell.”

0:49:18  Another commercial demo.  

0:50:30  Discussion.  Roy asks about the demo’s length.  He’s not sure anybody would get to the last two spots.  He liked the beginning, heard the range, liked the production.

0:51:10  Cliff thought the demo didn’t know when to stop.  It was 1:10.  Discussion.  The first 15 seconds were key to the demo’s success.  Cliff liked that it sounded like the voice actor’s talent and not someone else.

0:53:48  Break

0:55:02  They’re back.  

0:55:57  Another demo.  Commercial demo.

0:56:57  Discussion.  The character in the middle broke the flow.  Otherwise he liked it.  Roy liked the range the character voice in the middle, but thought it might distract a casting director who’d miss the next spot.  You don’t want to surprise in that way.  George thought it needed a little mastering.  

0:59:29  Dan asks “Should you produce your own demo?”  Dan plays a demo he worked on with Roy.

1:00:13  BEFORE: Dan’s demo, original version.  His voice is overwhelmed by background sounds.

1:01:15  AFTER: Dan’s demo after Uncle Roy fixed it.  Voice and music blends much better.  Cliff says there were subtleties that came out in the repaired version that he didn’t hear in the first version.  Roy says the direction and script were good, it just needed to be mixed better.

1:04:21  Q: How long does it take to a demo?  A: 3 hours to 2 months.  Cliff likes to work one hour at a time, take time off (days, week), do another, and so on.  Roy says you won’t get that at a “demo factory.”  Roy says Cliff produces whole spots that are “demo worthy” and then pick pieces from them.  

1:06:38  Cliff answers question about how many different segments should you have?  A: no answer, as long as it’s entertaining and not “same-y.”

1:07:48  Roy, each session is a highly concentrated coaching session.  Just because a spot aired, he needs “killer” spots to work with for a demo.

1:09:09  Dan says it’s critical to work with someone you trust.  And you need to be able to reproduce what’s in your demo in a job.

1:10:09  George talks about the educational program at Edge.  They’re reworking it.  They’ll have a three-tier rating system for talent.

1:11:56  Cliff uses talent’s audio from home.  

1:12:50  Roy has a student who went through a demo factory and was told to read to time.  

1:13:27  When Cliff sends out auditions, he makes it clear NOT to time to 30.  He wants to hear interpretation, not rushing to read.  Roy wants to hear the acting, hear the story.

1:14:20  Roy says, “Don’t be embarrassed.”  If you’re not happy, get satisfaction from the source; if not, then contact him or Cliff.

1:15:05  Cliff asks Roy if he’s dealt with updating demos with one or two new pieces.  

1:16:16  Segue to Harlan Hogan ad.  Harlan has the stuff you need.  http://voiceoveressentials.com/  

1:19:49  Next demo.  Commercial.

1:20:50  Discussion.  Cliff didn’t think he’s featuring his money voice.  The stuff at the front is well done, but the style was common.  The higher register woke Cliff up.  He wants more of that.

1:22:02  Roy suggests a re-sequence.  

1:22:55  Q: Do all samples need a music bed and Q: How important is music?  A: Dan says it’s everything.  

1:23:55  Cliff echoes that thought.  Old music will make your demo sound dated.  

1:24:30  Cliff also likes to hear warm reads, without music.  

1:25:30  Roy and Cliff talk about music for intros to narration demos.  

1:26:58   Q: What should some expect to pay for a commercial demo?  A: The better you are, the cheaper it is.  

1:28:09   Roy: $500-$1500 depending on what’s required.  Roy says to freshen, $500; a full blown, $1000; animation with a lot more sound design, $1500.

1:29:14  George asked them which demo stood out.  Diana Birdsell was the consensus. Her demo was produced by Chuck Duran.

1:30:30  You can reach Roy at http://www.antlandproductions.com/ and Cliff at http://www.dallasvo.com/

1:31:50  Thanks to the wives and staff.  

1:32:39  Rudy Gaskin will join us next week (July 28) to talk about the Voice Arts Awards.  We’ll be “dark” (no show) on August 4.  On August 11, Dave Courvoisier will be on.  

1:33:58  All four sign off, thanks to sponsors including Edge Studios.  

1:34:17  EWABS Chorus.

1:34:42  End of show.