Putting together a demo reel

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Evy
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Putting together a demo reel

#1 Post by Evy » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:38 pm

While I'm primarily an artist, I've had an interest in voice acting for a long time. The thing is, I have no acting background and very little experience with recordings. The one time I participated in a project was in a murder-mystery deviantArt flash game made in the mid-2000s.

I haven't had much practice because I'm rarely alone in the house (not to mention I have parrots). However, at Katsucon 2016, I got to participate in a voice acting workshop hosted by Bill Rogers and two of his colleagues whose names escape me. All three days of the convention, there were two hours devoted to the workshop; auditions on Friday, scene studies on Saturday and ADR on Sunday, which we unfortunately didn't get to do because of technical difficulties. There was a process of elimination throughout the weekend, and to my surprise/delight, I was among the few who made it to the end. I got a free t-shirt out of it!

There is a small issue though; English is my second language and while I'm good enough to be mistaken for a native speaker on numerous occasions, I have been told a few times that I have a slight accent. There's a bunch of words I don't know how to pronounce due to them never coming up in conversations. Plus... I tend to fumble with my words reaaaally often, regardless of what language I'm using. Thus, I seem to only be able to do short recordings at a time. Practice makes perfect, obviously, but given how rarely I get to do that, it might take a while still.

Now, as for recording. I have a Yeti microphone and a pop filter... and that's essentially it. I never figured out how to properly use Audacity's editing features. I'm interested in Adobe Audition since I tried it at a friend's place, but I would have to 1) acquire it for myself and 2) learn how to use it.

So, getting to the point: what all should I keep in mind when recording a demo reel? Just in case, here's a few questions.

-How many samples should I ideally have in the reel? What emotions are the most important ones to convey?
-I know that a variety in voices is nice, but that the primary goal is always acting. That said, how much does vocal variety matter to you?
-What kind of voices are more popular/sought, if that's even a thing?
-Is it really important to be able to take on different accents for certain roles?
-What are some of the Dos and Don'ts of recording, besides 1) not consuming dairy beforehand and 2) not touching the microphone?
-I heard something about biting into a green apple before sessions. What does it do?
-How do I advertise my work?
-What are some tools that could come in handy?
-Is being able to sing important at all?

Any response would be appreciated. Thanks! o/

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Re: Putting together a demo reel

#2 Post by rito » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:04 pm

Hi there Evy, I'm by no means an expert but am a fellow ESL speaker.
I totally get having zero clues how to pronounce a said word. For this there's something very simple--run your lines through a text-to-speech tool beforehand! It's helped me a lot with talking in the past.

As an aspiring dev, I'd say:
-I'd much rather have someone do voices they're comfortable with, and are good at, than force it. Way too many people say they can do child voices but the result is a cringey mess.
-Teenage/young adult female voices for sure. You can't go wrong with those.
-This isn't Japan, so singing probably isn't important. I think singing and voice acting are more likely to be seen as completely different skills in our community.

Sorry for the lack of expertise, hope it helps in some way.
ri·to (ɺʲito) n. 1.illustrator 2.loves capybaras

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Re: Putting together a demo reel

#3 Post by sake-bento » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:23 pm

Ooof. A little late to the party, haha. Hope this is useful anyway. >____>

-How many samples should I ideally have in the reel? What emotions are the most important ones to convey?
A demo reel is typically a minute-ish long, which each sample being around ten seconds. Easy math says that makes six voices, but that's really only a guideline. There's no emotion checklist you've got to fill. Best advice is to display the ones you're best at.

-I know that a variety in voices is nice, but that the primary goal is always acting. That said, how much does vocal variety matter to you?
You only need one marketable voice to work. Regularly, even.

-What kind of voices are more popular/sought, if that's even a thing?
Younger voices will always be in fashion. Anywhere between child and teens. But really, a natural sounding voice is the best.

-Is it really important to be able to take on different accents for certain roles?
Accents are great, but they're window dressing. Polish a few if you want to, but it shouldn't be your primary concern.

-What are some of the Dos and Don'ts of recording, besides 1) not consuming dairy beforehand and 2) not touching the microphone?
Stay hydrated. : D

-I heard something about biting into a green apple before sessions. What does it do?
Sometimes your voice can get "smacky." If your mouth it too dry (or too wet), the mic will pick up weird mouth noises when you record, and that's certainly not desirable. If you come across that issue, green apples can help get your mouth to where it needs to be so it doesn't make those noises anymore. A handy tool when you're in a pinch. If you're staying hydrated, probably won't be necessary too often.

-How do I advertise my work?
Most online VAs I know have a website and a YouTube channel where they showcase their work. Posting your demo reel on LemmaSoft works too.

-What are some tools that could come in handy?
Water. Stay hydrated! Since you have a mic, but I assume no studio booth, you might want to consider Kaotica Eyeball or something similar.

-Is being able to sing important at all?
Yes, but probably not for the reasons you think. Not too many roles require singing, but learning will help you with breath control, learning how to place your voice, and all sorts of other good things. But much like accents - largely not your main priority.

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Re: Putting together a demo reel

#4 Post by Evy » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:26 pm

sake-bento wrote:Since you have a mic, but I assume no studio booth, you might want to consider Kaotica Eyeball or something similar.
Oh wow, I didn't know that was a thing that existed. Looks like I'll need to save up some cash again, haha.

Thank you for the tips! o/

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