When I started in VO in 1989, it wasn't necessary to have multiple demos. Generally, a commercial demo was all you needed. There was no such thing as an eLearning project or explainer video back then unless it was on a VHS tape! Many L.A. talents had documentary narration demos, but back then, getting this kind of work was tough unless you were on an L.A. or NY roster.
These days, the game has changed. Multiple demos are becoming a must with so many different categories in the voiceover business! We have commercials, eLearning, explainers, documentaries, audiobooks, IVR, promo, imaging, video game, animation, theme park announcements; you name it! I highly recommend multiple demos if you have the skillset to do more than just commercials.
If you browse various voice actor and talent agency websites, you'll notice that many talents have multiple demos. Think of the different genres you can target with more than one demo!
Should I have animated characters on a commercial demo?
I would strongly advise against this. Commercial demos should be marketed to clients who produce TV and radio commercials. Agents use these demos to sell their roster voices to their clients and if the client is looking for the right voice for a Subaru or Great Clips commercial, they will not want to hear a bunch of animated voices! It works the other way around as well. If you're going after video game character gigs, the client will want to hear a variety of different voices and a commercial demo isn't going to cut it.
This is why having several demos in your portfolio is so important, especially in this era of voiceover, where many different genres exist. More demos give you more chances to book work. Not everyone has the skills to do a character demo but never sell yourself short. If your voiceover coach encourages you to go after more than just commercials, you should listen and respect their opinion!
It's like a photographer who shoots weddings, landscapes, senior photos and baby pics! They show samples of all of these different categories on their website and because they have the versatility to photograph more than just a wedding, they get a ton of business! This works the same way with voice actors who have a variety of different demos.
If you're interested in coaching with the UVT coaching team and getting a few demos professionally produced, please visit the Coaching Programs page of this website.