Sound Design & Demo Production

Sound Design & Demo Production

Disclaimer: For professionals only. Should not be attempted at home. You may be in possession of great sound equipment, and have become a very astute self-director— WARNING…DON’T FALL INTO THE COMMON TRAP. Merely being able to control a soundboard doesn’t qualify a person as a VO demo producer. It’s almost the same as switching on a light switch and thinking it qualifies you as a union electrician. During the course of the last forty-five years, I’ve listened to a variety of well-intentioned self-inflicted disasters.
        Hopefully, you’re hooked up with folks who have been doing sound editing and direction for enough years to have become proficient at their craft. Years and experience go hand in hand. During the course of my career as a sound editor, designer, and director, one word prevails as the single most important factor in producing anything of value: “preparation”.
        Your individual demo could turn out to be the single most important commercial project of your professional life. Your demo is your calling card. Who you are—your truth—is on display! Don’t become impatient. Don’t rush, take a class! We call our’s DEMO PREP. Prep is short for preparation. Our goal at Kalmenson & Kalmenson is to prepare you as a professional actor in the highly competitive field of professional voice-over acting! Don’t do it yourself. Very few are occasionally successful as professional demo producers.

“Most self-indulgence smacks of amateurism”
Harvey Kalmenson

        Music and sound effects should never be the star of your demo presentation. The intent is to provide a showcase for your work, not entertainment provided by production values. Here’s where it often becomes confusing for the actor to understand.

        The purpose and importance of music and or sound effects, whether they’re natural or manufactured, is for those enhancements to push your voice forward in order to sell the sponsors’ product, or provide the salience and importance of our life’s narration. Music or effects must never detract from an actor’s message. The sound designer’s creative goals are established before the actual recording of your demo. Nothing should be taken for granted. While the sound designer must be free to create, they must also have a complete understanding of what you intend to accomplish. Silence can be a marvelous background for an important message. Where that message goes, in order of appearance, on your demo is of equal importance. So let’s etch this in stone.

Music Selection

        Music can help a mood, signal change, create a helpful regional quality, add suspense, while at the same time pushing the voice into a favorable and prominent position.

Sound Effects

        Whether mechanical or human, sound effects provide an assist in getting the message across and can provide a degree of humor without detracting from the actors’ intent. Every word, every sound, and every verbal innuendo is of great importance in order to add or when deleting from your demo.

Harvey Kalmenson

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