Perfection Versus Shipping

Hey, there!

My fellow VO artist Gary Terzza has posted an awesome article on his blog about something I see as a crisis in our business.

And it’s one that can be addressed, but it’s going to take some personal energy.

But if you suffer from it (and you probably do), you can fix it.

Here’s how.

His article is called Perfection Is Killing Your Voice Over Work.

This is one of the biggest challenges artists face – I see it all the time, and try to help them fight it at every turn.

Somebody very smart once said “Don’t let perfection get in the way of shipping the product.”

And all our lives, artists are told how special they are – and to help perpetuate this myth, they feel the need to execute again and again, making things “different” and “better.”

Hopefully, we’ll all learn to get over ourselves and simply tell our stories.

Take a cue from Clint Eastwood, who rarely films the scenes he directs more than once or twice (industry average: 4-7). He works with pros (like you) and expects you to get it “right enough” the first time, and only use any successive takes for technical quality.

There’s a famous interaction that Matt Damon shared with David Letterman about his first scene in the film Invicta – where director Eastwood rolled, was happy with the first take, and said, “Let’s move on.” Damon was like, “Wait, wait…I want to do this again – I want to get it right for you, and I’ve got a bunch of options,” and Eastwood said “Why? So you can make us all wait? Moving on.” Eastwood had gotten what he wanted, but it shows even Matt Damon can doubt the excellence he delivers.

I want you to consider the fact that you’re a working pro, far ahead of students, newbies, amateurs and others who every well might need several takes, just to find the ballpark, let alone hit it out. You’ve moved to a different place. Try not to fall prey to the temptation to do a bunch of takes and then frankenstein together a finished audition from all that.

Give yourself the permission to occupy that status. Enjoy your skill. Remember that you are working toward having so busy and profitable a schedule that you NEED to be efficient. And trust your instincts when you’re performing.

Do you find yourself doubting your first takes? Do find it difficult to imagine that you just might have the talent to do it well right off the bat? Let me know in the comments below.

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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