Earlier this week, as often occurs, I received more e-mails from people wishing to break into voice-over. I endeavor to respond personally to everyone who writes to me, but I rarely get an acknowledgement. I don’t know whether the information I provided was helpful. I don’t know if they received my reply since I send it from a different e-mail address than is shown on my web site. Sometimes I think people can’t be bothered to say thank you to people who help them along the way. I’m honest and sometimes blunt; I tell people what they need to know, which may not be what they wanted to hear.
One of the e-mails this week was from a person who wrote lines typical of so many messages that I receive:
my entire life I’ve been told that I should do something with my voice….I can also emulate just about any language, dialect, or style in a very short amount of time. I’m getting more and more curious about doing voice over work.
The person wondered if I would be interested in working with him. While I’m flattered when people ask me this question, I don’t teach or hire others to work with me. I’m a voice talent who is actvely marketing myself. Occasionally, I need to recommend a fellow voice artist for a role to work with me or as a contact for a job that I need to pass on. However, I have a short list of talent in that category.
At this time, I do not mentor anyone
outside of any help they may receive from my blog entries and my advice page. Since voice-over is a business, you need to have a business plan consisting of education, demo, marketing, MORE marketing, gigs, on-going education and maybe an agent….in that order. I hope that people are using this blog as part of their education, so I refer newcomers to these particular posts:
Before you do anything else, I recommend that you pay the $49 to download the teleclass titled Your Voice Over Business at braintracksaudio.com. Nancy Wolfson is an incredible LA instructor and casting agent; Anna Vocino is an established v-o talent. They thoroughly know the industry and give you a business plan, which starts with the right education.
If you decide to study privately with Nancy, please tell her that I referred you. I have chosen her as my new coach, and I would get a free session with her for the referral. I also highly recommend my former coach Susan Berkley, who has terrific teleclasses and boot camps. I wrote about her inner circle program in this post:
She also sponsors masterclass opportunities in New York for such wonderful teachers as the amazing and delightful Pat Fraley.
Another person wrote to me this week about a particular company’s workshop “package”. This company offered package price for a workshop on DVD, production of a :60 demo and hosting of the demo on their site for 6 months.
If I were spending my money for training, I would look elsewhere. For any company offering to host your demo, my answer to them would be “so what?” Are they also involved with casting? What kind of stats can they provide to you about searches made on their site and traffic patterns to it? In other words, what benefit does the talent receive from hosting a demo there?
If you don’t have your own web site — which is yet another necessity of doing business — I would want to have my demo on-line where it might actually be heard by someone casting a project. Of course, having it hosted by this company would be better than nothing. I am only pointing out that you need to research your options, any other providers and actual service/benefit received before investing any money.
I thought that that the aspiring talent in this instance was really paying for a DVD of undetermined length that doesn’t provide you with individualized instruction and practice. A DVD might be a good start, but you really need both individual direction and practice before creating a demo.
This company advertised that they will send music and scripts for your demo. However, you don’t know whether that same copy and music is used for other talent. You want your demo to reflect what is UNIQUE about YOU. You can’t get that sound from what appears to be the voice-over industry equivalent to a diploma mill, where they don’t know your individual strengths and vocal characteristics and tailor a demo to match them.
A couple of the producers listed on this site have only been voice talents for the last 2-3 years. They have had great career success and developed extensive client lists due to their own talents and marketing. However, I’m not sure about their experience on the production and casting side. I would wonder if they could provide enough guidance to make a competitive demo that showcases my individuality and strengths.
My first voice-over teacher was Paul Armbruster. He had about 20 years of experience at the time I studied with him. He made it clear in the first session of his 4-week intense workshop (24 hours of instruction and practice) that he would make recommendations at the end whether a person was ready to produce a demo. Only 25% of the participants in my workshop group earned his recommendation for demo production. In addition, he was selective about whether he would produce a demo for someone. After all, his name and reputation were being attached to the newcomer’s demo.
Know that you will always need training, and you will always need to make new demos if you want to have a thriving voice-over career. In the end, you must take responsibility and make all decisions about your path, including your training, as it is your money, your business, your goals and your life at stake.