Thoughts from John

John BurrSeveral people have written me this month, asking for advice about their demos and/or websites and/or auditions.

In every case, I observed a lack of preparation, severe under training, an inability to be realistic about what is needed to do this work, and very overdone websites that reflect too much self-obsession, and which do not focus on the needs of the potential client.

I’m convinced that several of these people want their egos stroked, rather than be given solid, useful advice. When I told them, in some depth, what I felt they were doing wrong (at no charge, I might add), all except one did not even reply or thank me. Of course, I have no idea whether or not they were trolling me as one of many sources of potential advice.

My last blog referenced the fact that many, many wannabees in this business lack sufficient training to do this work. In my opinion, many of these people are trying to convince themselves that they are already competent enough to do this work, and with just a few voice over lessons and some tips from the internet, they can set themselves up for a successful career in voice over work.

“Well. I’ve been told by everyone that I have a terrific voice” is a familiar refrain I hear all the time (as if that even comes close to being what is needed to do the job).

In an age of instant gratification, a significant number of people think they can do anything without working patiently and diligently on a long-term goal, and be willing to contribute considerable resources toward that end.

The best students I have trained, who came to the evaluation with considerable ability still needed twelve to fifteen lessons before they were ready for demo production. Most of my students needed over twenty.

This is not easy. Don’t let anyone lead to you believe it is. This is a set of skills that very few people possess. Reading aloud from copy is the least understood and least mastered of all language and acting skills.