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How To Respond To “So…Tell Me About Yourself.”

Hey, there!

How many times have you heard that phrase, from a casting director?

Or an agent?

Or a manager?

Or a producer?

Or a session runner?

Or a director?

And have you been lost for words, or blurted out something trite, or mumbled something incomprehensible?

Fear not. I’ve got exactly what to say for you right here.

I get this a lot. I meet a lot of people, network like a pro, am at ease with general meetings, auditions, call backs and chemistry reads.

But, I’ll admit, that “so…tell me about yourself” thing was often a show stopper.

I’ve learned some tried and true lessons about what to say there.

(There’s a great article that is a more generalized version of what I’m about to tell you, with a couple of other options and tips, by Ashley Stahl, writing for The Muse, here.)

It actually couldn’t be more simple: start with an elevator pitch, and ice the cake with a very short story.

The elevator pitch is a short sentence that sums up the core of your brand. (It’s called an elevator pitch because you’re supposed to be able to say it easily in the time it takes to go up one floor on an elevator.)

And I know that your first inclination as a voice talent/actor is to say “Not possible. My brand is so complex, it would take 5 or 10 sentences to get across!” Get over yourself, and create a sentence that gets to the core. Show them other shades after you get the gig.

If you need help coming up with the right words to say for your elevator pitch, take the time, and set aside the money, to take Sam Christensen’s Personal Brand Workshop. It’s AWESOME.)

The very short story illustrates your approach, your acting, your voice, your on-set demeanor, your accomplishments, and/or why they’d want to hire you, represent you, manage you, or cast you. Come up with no more than three sentences that

Don’t talk about your MFA, or your childhood home, or your religious/political/sexuality views. You want to spend these very precious moments connecting with your partner in a way that helps them see you as an asset, someone who can help them solve a problem, and that you’re not a problem yourself.

Here’s how I answer that:

“Well, I’m kind of like Paul Giamatti meets Uncle Fester – you know, creepy, evil villain with a huggable side. I was sort of handed that brand on my very first paid acting gig, on Heroes. That job was only supposed to last one episode. We had such a great time that first day on set, that they re-wrote my ending and kept me alive for the rest of the next three seasons. It was great!”

See if you can identify the elevator pitch and the very short story. And in the comments below, give me what you might say that follows this pattern.

Once you get good at this, resist the temptation to do it differently every time. These are lines to rehearse, and get to know well.

So you can deliver them with ease, grace and confidence, and book the room/gig/representation more often.

Hope this helps.

David

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 #

    David

    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 #

    David,
    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!
    Shirley

  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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