Learn from the Masters
If producing your own voice-over work seems like a daunting task, there are professionals who work from their own recording studios who are eager to help you succeed.
Before you drive a car you need to learn how to drive. While that may be obvious, starting out as a voice actor presents its own stipulations such as learning how to use the instrument (your voice) and the talents you were born with. Just because you have been talking all your life doesn't mean that voice over will come naturally to you!
It's all Acting
Voice acting is an art, and very truly, it is acting. Although most voice work is recorded in the privacy of your own studio away from the glare of the cameras, a voice over will serve as a performance for the hundreds if not thousands of people who will receive the message you are giving voice to.
Study with a Coach
Studying with a voice over coach who will help you to assess your talent and develop your skills is the best preparation and nourishment that you can invest in to build a solid foundation for your voice over career.
Before the home recording studio, or calling agents for representation, it is more than advisable to consult a teacher of voice over who will instruct, mentor, and prepare you for a lifetime of using your voice to make a living.
When you are ready, your instructor will encourage you to record a professional voice over demo. A voice over demo is a brief sampling of your capabilities that demonstrates your personal style, brand and highlights your natural talents.
Finding Help on the Internet
Voices.com provides service and support to both clients and voice talent with online help sections, a Frequently Asked Question database, and answers questions by both telephone and email. Voices.com is a reputable, transparent organization with clear, focused goals and open business practices. Explore the site and the opportunities available to you to make an informed decision and read testimonials from both voice talent and clients that have used their site.
Coaches & Teachers
It's not only helpful but quite wise to enlist the services of a voice coach or vocal instructor before jumping in the deep end of the pool. There are cases where the roles of voice teachers and coaches vary, however, their principal objectives are to see that their clients improve their technique, style, and overall vocal health. Some talents will bring their voice-over work to their coach to ask for advice. This is not uncommon, however, an even more common reason for approaching a voice coach is to prepare for recording a voice-over demo, especially if the demo is a first effort by the student.
Classes, Tele-classes, Seminars
Voice coaches can teach you how to warm up your voice, how to breathe properly, assume a proper posture for voicing, and help you to develop unwavering intonation, phrasing, fluctuation, elasticity, versatility, and allow you to explore the potential of your voice in a friendly and secure environment. Classes can either be private or public depending on the arrangement selected with the instructor. Many talent prefer individual coaching sessions to group lessons.
Since many of the coaches are in large centers such as New York City or Los Angeles, tele-classes are offered via the telephone enabling talents that do not live in the same city or state as their coach to still participate and learn from their mentor. Coaches may teach tele-classes on a weekly basis with a curriculum that they would like to teach for a matter of weeks. These classes can be short or can run for over an hour. Again, these could be private coaching sessions or, as is increasingly becoming the norm, group lessons taught in an ongoing educational course format.
Seminars are almost exclusively on location. The very word "seminar" means a conference or meeting for discussion or training, a term often used to describe lectures given at universities and colleges. A seminar gives participants the opportunity to interact directly with the instructor and their peers in a public place. The organizer of the seminar, most likely the teacher themselves, lectures on a given topic and has a question and answer segment. Lecturers may also take questions throughout their presentation and even be accompanied by guest speakers.
Written by Stephanie Ciccarelli