Voice Over Education Blog

July 2017

How to distill a script to the right length for your demo. Part 2 of 4.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 4-part series. Click here to read Part 1! Click here to read Part 3! Click here to read Part 4!

Last week, we demonstrated how to turn a print ad into a radio or TV commercial demo script. But for a Commercials demo, your cuts should each be 10 seconds (or so) at most. So now, let's look at how to distill it down to the mere 5-10 seconds you'd want to use. (Note: Demo cuts in some other genres tend to be a bit longer.)

You'll also see how, as in preparing a sauce, this "reduction" process often makes the script tastier!

As we demonstrated in Part 1, you can start with almost any decent print text, such as a magazine ad, a brochure, information in an encyclopedia, corporate training manual – whatever seems interesting, well suited to you, and right for the genre you're demo-ing. You'll also want to have some variety in your collection of clips.

How to cut copy down to 5-10 seconds

The original:

I have a problem when it comes to ice cream. I can't make an ice cream cone with less than 5 scoops. Because every time I start scooping Froball ice cream, I start thinking of all the reasons I love it. How do I lick this problem?

Now get out your blue pencil (or, if you used to work at Time Magazine, a green one), or your delete key, and weigh every word:

How to distill a script to the right length for your demo. Part 2 of 4.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 4-part series. Click here to read Part 1! Click here to read Part 3! Click here to read Part 4!

Last week, we demonstrated how to turn a print ad into a radio or TV commercial demo script. But for a Commercials demo, your cuts should each be 10 seconds (or so) at most. So now, let's look at how to distill it down to the mere 5-10 seconds you'd want to use. (Note: Demo cuts in some other genres tend to be a bit longer.)

You'll also see how, as in preparing a sauce, this "reduction" process often makes the script tastier!

As we demonstrated in Part 1, you can start with almost any decent print text, such as a magazine ad, a brochure, information in an encyclopedia, corporate training manual – whatever seems interesting, well suited to you, and right for the genre you're demo-ing. You'll also want to have some variety in your collection of clips.

How to cut copy down to 5-10 seconds

The original:

I have a problem when it comes to ice cream. I can't make an ice cream cone with less than 5 scoops. Because every time I start scooping Froball ice cream, I start thinking of all the reasons I love it. How do I lick this problem?

Now get out your blue pencil (or, if you used to work at Time Magazine, a green one), or your delete key, and weigh every word:

VO professionals' tips from Edge Studio's Tips Jar at WoVOCon


Our business is a wonderful combination of communication skills and the arts, with a strong sense of community and professional relationships. True of almost any business, but especially in our line of work, people realize that by helping others, they help themselves.

So at WoVOCon last month, we put out a "Tips Jar," inviting people to contribute whatever gems of advice or inspiration they have for their fellow voice-artists. We were very excited to receive so many VO tips, and here we'll share them ...

While we're at it, a further thank-you. We had a great time at WoVOCon, not the least as we served coffee and tea at the Edge Studio Cafe. In an industry that requires us to spend so much time behind the scenes, we are grateful for opportunities that enable people to step forward and come together.

As we observed awhile back, in our article A Strategic Approach to Voice-over Industry Networking, face-to-face conversation is important for a variety of reasons, including:

  • By connecting with other voice-over talent, you may eventually be referred for a job that another voice actor isn't right for, or doesn't have time for.
  • Almost anyone might have an eventual opportunity.
  • Being at events demonstrates that you’re a committed professional.
  • Visibility makes you more than just another name in their address book.

So you might recognize some of the names, faces and voices of the people below. They're in random order. Help yourself!

From the Edge Studio Voice-Over Tips Jar

Turn print copy into a commercial script for your VO demo. Part 1 of 4.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 4-part series. Click here to read part 2! Click here to read Part 3! Click here to read Part 4!

In our May 7, 2017, Talktime! session (that's our free call-in discussion on various topics each Sunday evening), the question arose as to where to find demo scripts. Various tips were offered, the most fundamental being that your demo coach should be able to guide you. (You do have a demo coach, right?)

But another good source is to convert print copy -- such as magazine advertisements, brochures, encyclopedias, corporate training manuals, and so on -- into an audio track for a radio commercial, explainer, narration or whatever you need. Just how does the average non-scriptwriter go about that?

The simplest answer is, "Write how you talk." That's what NPR advises its on-air journalists. In this article summarizing NPR guidelines, they demonstrate how a print news story is often not at all written the way you would tell it personally in conversation.

See the NPR article for details. To summarize, here's their list of how people talk:

Turn print copy into a commercial script for your VO demo. Part 1 of 4.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 4-part series. Click here to read part 2! Click here to read Part 3! Click here to read Part 4!

In our May 7, 2017, Talktime! session (that's our free call-in discussion on various topics each Sunday evening), the question arose as to where to find demo scripts. Various tips were offered, the most fundamental being that your demo coach should be able to guide you. (You do have a demo coach, right?)

But another good source is to convert print copy -- such as magazine advertisements, brochures, encyclopedias, corporate training manuals, and so on -- into an audio track for a radio commercial, explainer, narration or whatever you need. Just how does the average non-scriptwriter go about that?

The simplest answer is, "Write how you talk." That's what NPR advises its on-air journalists. In this article summarizing NPR guidelines, they demonstrate how a print news story is often not at all written the way you would tell it personally in conversation.

See the NPR article for details. To summarize, here's their list of how people talk:

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