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AJ’s Voice Reel Tips for handsome people



A chance to show potential agents and casting directors your ability and range. This is your 59 seconds to get your foot in the door baby!


What do I need show?


Acting ability. That is the TOP thing. You need to be able to take printed words and bring them to life. Just doing “Funny voices” without acting ability is like a car with no steering wheel... good luck.


The main idea is to sell yourself as a capable actor above all things. Voices are great, but the priority is always ACTING. Many folks make a solid living by just doing one kind of “voice,” but with impeccable acting.




Your second priority is to showcase your versatility!

Make it hard for us to believe this is one person - from the tone and pitch of your voice to the range and quality of your acting.


Agents want to see you dance baby! Razzle dazzle! It’s part of the job. You’ll likely have to cold-read some scripts / characters when you do meet with potential VO agents; so explore your range now!


In one session you might be asked to do multiple characters on-the-spot. So just be familiar with your voice and what you can do.

How do I make a VO reel if I’ve never done anything?


The absolutely awesome thing about a voice reel specifically is that you don’t need any pre-existing footage or audio. Unlike an on-camera reel, all you need is your talent & a microphone! It’s perfectly normal and ok to start 100% from scratch! Everybody does it. Trust me.


59 seconds


Keep it under 1 min. This is what I’ve been told from many different agents. It’s weird, but if you got the goods, 59 seconds is all they need. I hear you thinking...”but can I just add...” NO! Keep it 59 seconds or less. Your gift to the person listening isn’t those extra voices, it’s that you wowed them in such a short amount of time. Keep it brief ya dingus.

What to put on your reel?


Your Name!


Plain and simple. State your name in a clear and natural way at the head of the reel. This is called a “slate” and something you will be doing a lot once you start auditioning.


Now the fun stuff:


For your final reel you will want about 6 characters: 10 seconds each.


However, make a list of 10-15 Characters to get some variety. You won’t use them all. But better to have a wealth of material to pull from!


Write them all here:

  1. ____________________

  2. ____________________

  3. ____________________

  4. ____________________

  5. ____________________

  6. ____________________

  7. ____________________

  8. ____________________

  9. ____________________

10. ____________________

11. ____________________

12. ____________________

13. ____________________

14. ____________________

15. ____________________


Here is a freebie!


YOUR voice. Who are you as an average person? For me that is typically a Tom Holland / Micheal J. Fox type. That is where my voice naturally sits in conversations.


For that particular “natural voice” do a scene with some humanity right up top. Make us like YOU as a person. That is who people will be dealing with after all, and very likely what you will get hired for most.




Write them all down. Every authentic accent you do! Adding an accent to even your “normal” voice can do wonderful things! Just play around.

Who are you if you do a New Zealand accent? Or Irish? Sometimes it changes your personality and you become a different character. Use it!

*Note: It’s very important that you are sensitive and aware of the cultural changes in voice over and that portraying any sort of stereotype is an absolute no no. You are not winning any favors with an Apu impression; times have changed and so must we.


Keep it YOU!


Anybody can do a Peter Griffin, Christopher Walken or Wicked Witch. Agents are looking for what is unique about you! I guarantee you have something wholly unique about the quality of your voice. WE ALL DO.


Ask around!

This can all be overwhelming. Ask friends & family what voices or characters you do that they remember. It’ll surprise you what they say and what you’ve forgotten.


Maybe you do an impression of your neurotic Mother? That weird mumbly Janitor ? Your friend Ivan who sounds like he gargles rocks? Write those down. Those are gold!




Sure impressions are great. But I recommend ONLY doing weird or obscure celebrities that haven’t been done to death on SNL and Youtube. Save your Stewie Griffin or Arnold Shwartzeneger for your friends.


Voice Matching

Now impressions ARE super useful IF you can get them out of the realm of “impression” and move them to the “holy shit” territory.

There is a weirdly secret element of Voice Acting called “Voice Matching,” where a celebrity is either too expensive or doesn’t want to do their own voice-work. This can be anything from a commercial to the actual dialogue in the film.

Voice actors do this all the time and some *casually throws glitter on self* even specialize in it ;)

The point of this is to be absolutely seamless. So just keep this idea in your back pocket, it won’t necessarily be of use on a voice reel, but it is something to consider.

If you do an absolutely PERFECT impression of someone (the more obscure the better) throw it in.

Combining Impressions!

The best thing about having impressions is combining them. Have a Robin Williams and Alan Rickman impression!? COMBINE THEM! Drew Barrymore and Cher? COMBINE THEM. You’ll get some really funky and unique stuff this way. It’s especially handy on-the-fly in a session!

This also goes for BAD impressions. Sometimes an impression is so bad it becomes its own unique character.


So each Character you are doing needs it’s own mini scene.

Keep them between 2-3 sentences or roughly 10 seconds. Just little snippets of the character at a really important moment. This doesn’t mean everyone is crying or screaming, you just want to show them being the most “them.”


For Example:

●  Jafar Maniacally Monologuing

●  Peter Parker tells MJ his feelings

●  Rick telling Morty what a piece of shit he is

●  Batman interrogates Joker

●  Miracle Max explaining “to blave”

So where to find lines?

●  Comic books (very useful)

●  TV shows: Find weird moments nobody would recognize. Not a fundamental part of

Game of Thrones or something iconic. Go obscure and shift around names / words.

●  Make them up!

Tip: Try to stay away from recognizable movie moments UNLESS you are subverting it or doing an absolutely spot-on voice match.


I use Adobe Premiere since that is what I understand. You can use Audacity to record (which is free) or any sort of editing software.

Remember: Keep it short and sweet! Use only the best moments. Have people you trust listen to it and make sure it really shows off your range! Have that impactful moment land and then BOOM - next scene.



Yes! Include music and sound, BUT make sure it isn’t loud or in any way detracts from the performance. Nobody cares about the sound effects, they care about YOU. Having appropriate music will make the scene feel full and alive.

●  Use music without lyrics... obviously.

●  Comb through Movie & Game soundtracks for the appropriate tone for each scene.

*Note: I’ve never had anyone care that I’ve used copyrighted music. You are using it to get in front of agents, not sell it.


Razzle Dazzle!

Inevitably you will have voices that sound similar; keep them far away from each other on the reel. Each transition to a new scene should be head-spinning. You want the listener to go “WAIT!? Is this the same person!?”

That’s it!

Listen to it a million times, send it to friends and then... the hard part: Getting an agent.

Pick up a copy of “Call Sheets,” familiarize yourself with the agent's work, don’t be a creep or weirdo and start mailing!

If you follow these steps you are in much better shape than 99% of the folks out there and won't immediately piss off the agents you encounter.


Best of luck!



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