View Full Version : Commercial Demo (work in progress)
11-29-2008, 06:03 PM
Hi folks! I'm putting together my first commercial demo, and I wanted to get some feedback. This is little long by about 35 seconds, so I need to scrap some things, and I'm thinking about rewriting some of the scripts to remove or minimize references to product names, unless you guys think it's ok to leave them in.
On the technical side, I'm recording with 2 different mics, a Marshall MXL v67 and an AKG Perception 120. Since I don't want it to sound like I recorded it myself, I want each spot to sound like it was recorded in a different studio. I'm using Audacity to capture and normalize, and then using Garageband to add music and effects/compression. I've tweaked the LowShelfFilter and EQ settings to change things up a little.
Ok, enough techno babble. What I'm really looking for is... am I on the right track with the scripts and the voice? I'll keep plugging away at it until I get it right. I welcome any and all criticism/praise. I need both :-) Where do I suck, and where am I getting it right?
Thanks in advance folks!
11-29-2008, 08:16 PM
Let me get the ball rolling here.
Let's first just discuss the actual demo in terms of pacing, length, variety, sound, etc.
You already mentioned it's too long, and you're right by it being about :35 too long as the entire thing should be roughly a minute or so, but why is it too long? For one thing, EACH clip is too long. The opening Honda piece is 30 seconds. It sounds like you put the entire commercial there. Wrong. Put in about ten seconds of each clip then move on forward to the next. You want the listener to wish they'd heard more of what they just heard, instead of wishing it would just move on. You could cut that Honda spot at about :12 in, after "special financing program from Honda."
Ironically, the next byte, the Lenswear, is about the perfect length. Travelocity is a little long, or at least seemed like it. And so on. In a 1:00 demo, see if you can't fit perhaps 6 different clips that showcase a bit of variation in style, energy level, presentation (for example: humorous vs. corporate vs. classy, etc).
As far as the sound, I know you're trying to make it sound like you're in different studios, but it's very distracting to me. Any top-notch talent will have clips that will all more or less have similar quality to them. The contrast between a somewhat muddy sound (to my old ears) and the sharper clips was pronounced to the point that it drew attention to itself. And since my ears do prefer crisper high ends, the bytes that were more muted sounded dull and muddy to me. Aim for consistency in terms of sound quality. That goes for things like popping plosives (as in 'pesto') too. Be sure to clean that up.
Finally: variety. There's a little here, but not much. I didn't hear much of a range of style. Now the style you have is pleasing, and doesn't sound bad. You have a very pleasant conversational tone which is good, but if that's not what I as a client am looking for, this demo wouldn't convince me you could do anything else.
Generally speaking, we voice talents should never ever compile our own demos. There are some exceptions. Some of us are pretty accomplished audio producers/engineers. Still, we can wear blinders in terms of what really needs to be a part of the demo and where each part should go. A client should be drawn in immediately and all of a sudden be surprised that the demo is over; he's become so engrossed in it and wrapped up in it. This one isn't to that point. It's pleasant and inoffensive, kind of like a baked potato. But it's also a bit bland. Kind of like a baked potato. Don't give 'em a spud, dude. Give 'em filet and lobster. And that will take a demo with more 'forward movement', more variety, and more consistent sound quality.
But you can do it.
11-29-2008, 08:50 PM
Thanks Scott! Just what I needed :-) All great points.
I've been looking around for better scripts to record. The ones I've found, you are right, tend to lend themselves to the same style of delivery and there's not much variation. Gotta get rid of the "spuds" and find some better "fillet and lobster" spots!
I will also go back in, cut the junk, and reduce the audio tweaking to give the clips more of a crisp high end sound. They were all recorded pretty much the same, the sound difference is purely artificial. I wasn't sure what people liked more, deep and warm, or crispy highs. I've been using a lot of the demos on voicebank.net as a guide. Some vary widely, and others have even sound through out. Not sure where I read this, but I was under the impression that the demo was supposed to sound like a collection of real spots, that would have been recorded from various sources. I guess I'm wrong, but I tend to get a lot of conflicting info out there :-/ This is not quite an exact science unfortunately!
My speakers suck by the way, so I've been monitoring everything with some Sony v150 headphones. When I can afford it, I have to get some decent monitors. Also, I can't afford to hire a pro studio/director at the moment. I have decent mics (for a newbie), and I'm pretty good with audio as long as I know where I'm headed with it. Direction is another story. But unless I find a buddy in the biz willing to chip in a favor and record me for free, I gotta do it myself, rely on my instincts and choices, and hope the listeners in the forum can steer me down the right path ;-)
Thanks for listening!
11-30-2008, 07:21 AM
Thanks Scott! Just what I needed :-) All great points.
You're very welcome and thanks for being open to critiques and suggestions.
I wasn't sure what people liked more, deep and warm, or crispy highs.
DO NOT adjust the highs or lows based on MY preference. As I said, I prefer cleaner highs, due to the fact that (seriously) I'm middle-aged and I don't hear high-end frequencies as well as I used to. However, I've also tweaked my OWN recordings lately due to the fact that mine were too crisp-sounding and needed some rolling back on the upper frequencies. The point is, they should ALL sound GOOD. Adjust them to what sounds best to YOUR ears. But I would try to go for more consistency in the overall sound.
I've been using a lot of the demos on voicebank.net as a guide.
Excellent. That's where you'll find some of the best of the best. Those are the demos and talents you want to aim for.
I was under the impression that the demo was supposed to sound like a collection of real spots, that would have been recorded from various sources. I guess I'm wrong...
No, you're exactly correct. You DO want them to sound like real spots done for a variety of clients. But the truth is, most talents will record either at their home studio or at the same on-site studio, thus lending audio consistency. You make the clips sound different via your use of delivery, music, sound EFX, pacing, etc., but not via artificially tweaking EQ (In my opinion, at least. Others may certainly disagree).
Again... GL. You're on the right track. You just haven't arrived at the destination yet.
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