Debbie MunroIn this world of technology and the global advancement of the voice industry how do you decide what course of action to take to advance your career?

Whether you’re new to the industry or a working pro keeping on top of your game is NUMBER ONE.
Each talent requires different training based upon their individual needs.
Debbie Munro has generously shared a list she compiled for evaluating voice over training options and addresses many of the questions, concerns, myths, successes and methods that she hears on a consistent basis when choosing the right training options.

Finding the Right Training Program For You

By Debbie Munro
I’m going to share with you my list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding the right coach or training program. I share this with you in hopes that you will not waste your hard earned dollars on the wrong style of training.

As a talent first, I care how I invest my money and I’m always striving to be the coach I would want for myself. In this industry we seem to invest more than we make so it’s important that we spend our money wisely.
Perhaps you can learn from my experience, both personally and through other trusted sources.

Debbie’s Don’ts

๏ Don’t work with a coach who makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t ever forget that you are paying them, they are not paying you.
๏ Don’t work with a coach who you feel belittles you in front of a class. As coaches we can get comfortable. We’ve said it and taught it many times before and I suppose we can forget our sensitivity. Hopefully this is all it is, but if they are not treating you respectfully, pull them aside and let them know how you feel.

๏ Don’t work with a coach who makes it obvious that you are a direct threat or are competition to them. I had a student tell me once that her coach said, “I can’t produce your demo, you are a direct threat to me so why would I?” Can you imagine? So sad and so rare.
๏ Don’t work with someone who seems to cause a lot of controversy. There are many.
๏ Don’t work with just ONE coach or participate in one workshop. You need to take a little bit from this one and a little from that and then create your own personal style.

๏ Don’t join workshops that offer you package deals including demos unless you’ve thoroughly researched the company. There is the rare exception such as Pat Fraley’s audio book demo class, however, normally this is the BIG RED FLAG! If they are offering you a demo without even knowing your skill level, or hearing your voice, they may NOT have your best interests at heart. The training is 100% up to you. It depends on how serious you take it and how much time you want to invest in you and your skills.

๏ Don’t invest thousands of dollars into training without getting your hands wet first. Make sure you’ve taken at least a private session or workshop before you invest in a long term contract for VO training. There aren’t many SCHOOLS that offer specialized training in this area. Workshops and private lessons seem to be the most successful.
๏ Don’t limit yourself to just local coaches. Thanks to modern technology, many coaches are teaching via Phone, camera, and chat programs such as Skype.

Debbie’s Do’s

๏ Do find a coach who works with your style instead of implementing their style on you. A variety of coaches and workshops will help you find your own unique style that will help you stand out. à¹ Do find a coach who is suited to your skill level. You might be surprised at how much you can learn at any level. à¹ Do find a coach that you like personally. It’s important that you pick the right coach / coaches. This is part of your networking group who will help to support you and keep you in the right direction.

๏ Do be creative so that you can earn free training. Many coaches need help… especially in marketing and hosting. Consider hosting a workshop in your area and earn a free class, not to mention more one and one time with the coaches. à¹ Do consider online training. Many are skeptical but this can save you time and money, it’s convenient and successful.
๏ Do invest more so you can make more!

๏ Do research and use referrals. There is a ton of free coaching info online.
๏ Do try to find a coach who sends you home with a recording of everything you did. Not all coaches do this, in fact there are very few who do so that they can protect their work (understandably so).
There are many other do’s and don’ts but I want to take the opportunity now to go over a number of training options:

Different Training Options

In Person Workshops
This is an excellent opportunity to work for longer periods of time with your coach. You will learn a TON by watching others take risks and more with pros and newbies. This helps your nerves and is much more entertaining.

Online workshops
The same benefits apply as a workshop setting however you are not in person. This can have its disadvantages but usually this method is quite successful.

Going to a school allows you to learn at a more steady pace, and walk away with a certificate, diploma or a degree. It’s very important that you research the school well before investing. Degrees are not necessary in this industry but can be very beneficial.

Private In Person
One on one time with your coach. No interruptions. Great if you need very specific skills or just want more personal time with your coach. I highly recommend taking frequent sessions so that you are seeing results. Too much time between sessions can be a waste of money (depending on your skill level).

Private Online
Extremely successful. Not much different than in person with the right coach. Not all coaches offer this service. We don’t need to see you, just hear you, but if you prefer we can get in touch via web cam and watch you perform as we watch and give you direction. Many teachers will be able to record the entire session and then upload it for your review.
I myself cover all the long distance and whether by phone or Skype I am able to record both sides of the conversation and upload for your review. Remember we don’t need to see you, only hear you! I’ve found this method VERY successful, even with demos. Remember though, you must also research your local market needs.

There are tons of great books, take home workshops (CD Workshops), podcasts, newsletters, subscription services, forums, and more that will offer you a great start to your VO Career (if you haven’t done so already).
If you’re interested in more info or my recommended coaches send me an email to Thanks for reading.
Until next time!
Debbie Munro

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  1. Debbie,
    Thanks for the timely advice. I have studied with a coaching service out of Chicago. Took several one on one coaching sessions with them, cut my demo with them and have continued to take one on one coaching sessions with them via the Source Connect.
    I recently decided to get another coaching view and have signed up with a prominent voice coach and talent to get their assesment of my skills or lack of. I will take a series of 5 coaching sessions with them and toward the end of that if I find their suggestions and advice to be helpful I may sign up for another series.
    I read over your do’s and don’ts and feel comfortable with the choices that I have made. One thing I think all of us who have been around in voice over is that no one has all the answers and no one has the market cornered. This is a constant game of learning, practicing and pitching your craft. I and I know others appreciate advice like this and hope to hear more from you and others in the future.
    Best Regards,
    Craig K

  2. Well said, Deb!
    If a coach wants you to Mimick what he or she does, they’re essentially trying to create a “mini me.” You want one who develops YOU in to YOUR best, in YOUR style. Because that’s what gives you the competitive edge. There is only ONE YOU.
    BTW, Pat Fraley’s audiobook workshop is awesome. Pricey, yes. But more than worth it.
    Julie Williams
    VoiceOver Insider

  3. This list of Do’s and Don’t is great!!! I’ve recently been looking into schools and coaches and this list will help me out tremendously. I knew that I would have to be careful and considerate of the choices I’ll have to make going into this field but now I feel more confident that I’ll make the right choices when the time comes. Again thank you so much for writing this!


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