Or, Do You? Here’s what some Top-Notch VO Pros Shared...
A couple of weeks ago, we sent out a Voice Over Audition to find a VO Talent to replace someone in a film we were doing. The auditions started to roll in. They ranged from meh to yep. Some recordings took place in cars, on smart phones, or in roomy rooms with subpar sound. Others had magical studio quality. But, the thing that really prompted conversation was that we kept hearing people being a voice. Their slates were their most authentic selves and without a beat, chin pulled in, hand pressing on the cans, BIG, GIANT VOICES appeared. Somewhere between the real slate and the script, they got lost behind their voice. The voice that, undeniably, has made them mucho bucks. But perhaps has become more of a caricature of WHO they are? In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of specs that insist on having Improv Actors and there’s a reason for it. These Actors are flexible, can go off the page, don’t climb behind their pipes. They rely on choices and listen. We wondered how many Voice Talent were continuing their education, going to classes, getting coached, honing their Improv skills and working out after they had made their demos?
We asked three Coaches from our OnlineVOCoaching.com Roster to weigh in: What do you think about VO Talent that comes to a grinding halt after they have made their Demo or landed an Agent? Is continued training important? If so, how do YOU personally continue to learn, study, practice?
The truth is, you are never “finished” training and learning. In addition to learning how to market yourself and seek out opportunities to use your skills and talents, it is necessary to learn all that you can about your business, your equipment and continue to explore new ways to improve. This business is SO competitive. If you are new to the business, it is critical that you understand that you are competing against people who have been doing this for many years in addition to the new people who try to get into this everyday. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how you sound when you are alone in your booth. What matters is how you come across to the listener (especially the listener casting the job) in the context of the hundreds of others you are competing against. This is why you should continue to work with Coaches and Directors who can help you stand out among the crowd. Personally, I began taking singing lessons almost two years ago at age 48 and I have found the experience to be incredibly rewarding on many levels. The parallels to the work I do in the Voiceover Industry both as a Talent and Coach have been remarkable. That training, in addition to my years in acting classes, working with Voiceover Coaches, Directors and my 20 years of experience having worked with hundreds of Voiceover Talent and Clients on both sides of the glass has made me a better Coach, Audio Engineer, Director and Talent. There are no substitutes for proper training followed by experience.
As a twenty-five year veteran Voice Actor, I still have new things to learn daily. About performance trends, vocal care, what Casting Directors want in a read. I regularly take part in Improv groups and my own coaching to always be my best and to keep growing in the business.
Like any performing art, VO is a practiced skill that will atrophy if not exercised. It can be said that acting is the most social form of art. Since VO is acting, VO artists are at a big disadvantage currently due to our inherent and increased social isolation. While it is a given that we continue to audition on our own, just practicing alone in our own booths is not enough. Practicing alone lacks social interaction. It decreases objectivity. Every Actor needs an audience. I think a lot of Actors get bored just recording in their booths by themselves. They need human contact. That’s the root of all acting. Back at the agencies, the quality of the auditions was always better when the Actors recorded live with me in the booth even before I gave any direction, just because I was there watching and listening. It is difficult to keep up the “fun factor” when working alone. That is why VO Actors need to keep studying. Continued coaching is the best way to keep sharp, be inspired, and stretch to new heights. I feel very lucky that I am able to keep myself sharp while helping others to become the best VO Artist they can be every day, and have a lot of laughs while doing it. I get as much from my Students as they get from me. Purchase One-On-One Online Voice Over Coaching Sessions with DAN FRIEDMAN, NANCY GERMAN and STEVEN REISBERG by visiting FIND YOUR COACH on OnlineVOCoaching.com!