Q: Based on a low budget, should demos be equivalent to an original cast recording on Broadway or just a simple home recording on GarageBand?
The first thing to consider is Original Cast Recordings are made years after the original demos for a new show, so any producer listening to your initial demos should not expect distribution-ready recordings. Major recording studios have access to equipment and talent most of us don’t have in our home studios!
Yes, there are investments you can make to enhance the sound of your recordings from high-quality microphones to instrumental packs like Logic Pro, but don’t be dismayed if you are simply using a program like GarageBand. Demos are not meant to be a fully realized version of the score.
Composers have found just as much success from simply recording piano and lead voice as gathering Broadway talent to sing for the principal characters. Though having live musicians is always a plus, using computer-generated instrumentation is not only a common practice, but in many ways, an expected one.
The most important thing is to present enough in your recording to spark the imagination of the listener. Listening to a composer’s demo is a privilege few people get and any producer of merit will be able to appreciate the work even if it is just voice and piano.
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And for even more tips like these, check out The TheaterMakers Studio.