Be Selfish – That Person In The Mirror Is Probably Mistaken

Hey, there!

I spent some time recently in San Francisco with some of my students, and self-perception versus the perception of the casting director came up.

I listened carefully to the students’ answer to this question: “How do you figure out what the producer/writer/casting director wants, so you can give it to them?”

Right off the bat, that sounded like there were no right answers, because it was the wrong question to be asking.

And the answer to that very wrong question is very, very simple.

“You don’t figure it out. You don’t even consider it.”


Glad we dodged that bullet, right?

But what do you do instead? If you’re not going to wrack your brain being the best “Morgan Freeman-esque with an edge” VO announcer you can be, what do you do?

That is simple as well.

Just be you.

Don’t do anything but what you’d do anyway. Bring YOU to the party. Make sure YOU and your brand shines.

Even if you have to ignore that screaming voice in your brain to “FIGURE IT OUT! YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH! BE BETTER THAN YOU ARE!”

So, why are we so drawn to giving them something they want, rather than what we are?

That, too, is simple.

Because we don’t trust that what we are and what we show the world is enough.

And yet, it is.

But we insist on telling ourselves every day just how flawed we are, just how much we don’t have, we constantly remind ourselves of our shortcomings and on and on.

And we often do it directly to ourselves, via a simple device.

Our mirror.

We get up, we complain about how we feel, about how we look, we pick at our faces, we apologize for morning voice, we put on clothes we complain should fit better, we put on makeup and creams and product to make our bodies “better.” And that’s just in the first 45 minutes or so.

Then we get an audition or twelve, and instead of instantly going to “I got this. Let’s do it,” we assume that once again, we don’t have what we need, we’re not skilled enough, some celebrity’s going to do better at this than we are, the casting director isn’t going to hear what s/he put in the breakdown when s/he listens to the audition, and so much more.

We literally talk ourselves out of the competition.

Why? Because we’re not selfish enough.

I don’t mean the hoarding, exclusionary type of selfishness.

I mean the absolutely essential selfishness of owning your talent, your brand and your potential.

Don’t ever give that away. If not for you, then for the people you work with, audition for and perform with. They are counting on you to be the way they see you, not how you see you.

More on that in a moment.

When I work with VO clients, in class or in private sessions, I feel like I spend a fair amount of my time giving those clients complete carte blanche to be awesome and successful. I find myself saying, “Give yourself a break. Go for that strong choice you really want me to hear. Give yourself the permission to be spectacular.”

I get that is hard for some people to hear, because it’s not the way we’re programmed. From birth, we compete for attention, then are told to mind our manners. There’s value in being polite, but “mind your manners” sometimes becomes “don’t show everything lest you be told to be quiet.”

Don’t hold back. Give me YOU. Give your cast mates when you’re on set or in studio or on stage YOU. Not what you think they want, or what you think the CD wants or what you think the director wants. You.

You might be surprised to learn that in almost every case you can imagine, you see yourself completely different than do others. And by “different,” I mean “less than.” Friends, family, castmates, audition partners, agents, CDs, and even me. We look at you as a glass 5/6ths full, as opposed to something close to empty.

Here’s a great video I want you to take 2 1/2 minutes to watch. At about the 2:17 mark, just near the end, you’ll get a piece of wisdom you can take to the bank of life. Then, come back here for some final thoughts.

Watched it? Great.

Is that you? The one downing themselves, being self-depricating, calling out faults, minimizing the good? Was it surprising to you to see that even the strangers on the other side of the mirror are rooting for you, see you in a great light, and notice your strengths? Can you imagine for a moment how the people who care about you look at you?

I’m going to ask you to ignore the voice that you sometimes hear calling out to you when you look in the mirror. And I’m going to ask you to be selfish.

Everywhere. Especially in front of a microphone.

And I’m asking you to give yourself a break, go for that strong choice, and give yourself permission to be spectacular.

If you do that, I can help you even more.

If you would, share with me what kind of conversation you’ve been having with yourself in the comments below. And give me some idea of how you’re going to change that if change is needed.

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

Leave a Reply