Breaking The Tape Sharply

Hey, there!

I often give an adjustment to my clients and students that asks them to take the copy again, but this time, break the tape sharply.


Here’s what I mean by that.

The tape I’m referring to is the finish line of a foot race.

Long before there was laser guided finish lines and digital timers. someone would stretch an actual ribbon of paper tape across the finish line, and the winner of the race would break the tape as they crossed the line.

Breaking that tape sharply, with gusto, is what the track coach wants. He doesn’t want you to coast across the finish line. When I ran track, if you ever made that mistake, you did laps. He wanted you to go for it – to keep your momentum all the way through the end of the race and beyond. I once got a great piece of advice on this: run the 100 as though it was a 220 – you’ll never be caught napping at the very end of the race.

So what does all this have to do with VO?

It’s actually a metaphor you can use for all your projects in life – do what you need to do to maintain your energy all the way through to the completion of any project. There’s nothing like getting things almost done and dropping the ball to ruin your confidence and waste everyone’s time.

And, in particular, when voicing a piece of copy, breaking the tape sharply means keeping character, intention and energy all the way through to the end of your performance.

Don’t get happy with yourself that you did the most of the spot well, or pronounced that one tricky word correctly, or got that turn of a phrase perfect, and then kind of tail off at the end, dropping your energy and your pitch. Music often is rising at the end of a spot, you’re going to be overlapped with some other commercial – don’t let your words be lost.

And it’s critical to make sure that if the brand name, product name or positioning statement concludes the spot, that you say it with the energy it deserves, and that it’s not just an afterthought. End with a flourish on an over-the-top read, a wistful ending on an aspirational spot, a final exclamation that lets the listener taste the cheese on that burger you’re talking about in the copy.

Don’t let your energy flag at the very last moment.

Seal the deal. Break the tape sharply. Then you can relax.

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!

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