Sarasota Studio 2010
Straight Talk On the Voice Over Learning Process
Becoming a first-rate voice over talent is challenging. It involves a real commitment to the learning process, a willingness to accept constructive criticism, and a great deal of patience, particularly with the early stages of training.
There are a number of training programs out there that include one or two-day seminar/workshops that lead directly to production of a demo. Other programs offer packages that involve a small fixed amount of voice over lessons with demo production thrown in. This is often recommended as a follow-on to an introductory voice over workshop, where the instructor has heard each person perform one or two readings of short scripts, and based on this brief performance, uses it as the basis for recommending one of the voice over lesson packages he or she offers. I can’t imagine how an assumption can be made that a voice over career is in the cards for someone who has not been given a chance to read a wide variety of material that is characteristic of the production marketplace, as well as to have the time and opportunity to observe proficiency in skills such as pace, timing, breathing, inflection, comprehension, and the like. I have resisted these all-inclusive offerings because I believe that the only way to make significant progress in a reasonably short period of time is through one-on-one voice over coaching, or in a small intimate weekly class of 8 to 12 participants.
In the overall learning process, voice over seminars and workshops are very worthwhile. However, most of the conventional wisdom tells us that one usually walks away from long seminars with a lot of useful notes and maybe four or five very important and memorable pointers. So, for me, at least, they should serve as tools to make better what you already do well. For a beginner, however, to expect a long weekend program to be your primary source of instruction in building your technique is wishful thinking.
What I offer instead, is a hard look at your potential through a two-hour evaluation, a candid, in-depth critique of your ability and potential, and if the results are positive, a program of one-on-one instruction with in-depth voice over lessons. Then, as you progress, we will determine the proper time to produce your demo.
Performing voice overs is a great way to make a living. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can learn to do it overnight. It is a process, and it is different for everyone. In this business, there are no short cuts.