Finding the right voice-over coach to work with can be challenging. There are many coaches out there, but how do you know if you’ll actually benefit from their training programs? How qualified are they to provide coaching? How can you tell which ones are fly-by-night and which are legit? Professional voice talent and voice-over coach, Karen DeBoer, demystifies what you should consider before hiring a voice-over coach in this episode of Voice Over Experts.
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Karen DeBoer is a full time voice-over recording artist serving clients around the globe. With over 20 years of experience in voice-over, on-camera, and print modeling, Karen also offers private coaching and mentoring for aspiring and established voice-over artists.
Private lessons are conducted via phone or Skype and are customized to meet individual needs. Karen assists with script breakdown and interpretation, how to connect with a specific audience, following creative direction, breaking bad habits and creating a unique style.
In addition, Karen provides technical instruction, including setting up a quality home studio, how to record and send files in the proper format, recommend recording software, editing tips, and very importantly, how to market yourself once you are ready to launch you voice-over business. Karen can also assist in creating a professional demo.
Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
Karen: Hello, this is Karen DeBoer and today we’re going to talk about how to go about finding a voice over coach that’s right for you. The key phrase here is right for you, as there really are a lot of great voice coaches out there. Sometimes it can be very confusing figuring out who’s the right one for you. Now, unfortunately, there are also some not so great coaches out there, and it is important to exercise your due diligence when searching for a coach, to make sure they have the experience and the knowhow needed to truly help you reach your goals. I think one of the most important qualities to look for in a coach is industry experience. There are so many resources on the internet, available at our fingertips, that really just about anyone can do a little research and hang out their shingle as a voice over coach or mentor, but does that person have years in the trenches personal experience? I really believe that there’s just no substitute for firsthand experience when it comes to voice coaching.
I think it’s so important that your coach has personally experienced all phases of the voice over industry, so they have a complete understanding of all the nuances involved, that includes basics like script breakdown and analysis to understanding current industry trends and, really, everything in between. After you’ve located coaches that have that all important experience, then it’s time to set up a phone or Skype visit, to see if the two of you click. I personally offer a free 15 minute consult, to visit with my prospective students. Find out what their goals are and have them read a short copy. It’s a chance for the prospective student to find out how we would work together as well, and if they’d be comfortable working with me. So it’s a two-way deal, and we both need to feel like this is going to be a good fit and a good click for both of us.
My approach is to basically be a cheerleader in a fun and relaxed and supportive environment, because I think that’s the way to bring out the best in my students, but I also do believe in giving an honest assessment that will include areas that need improvement, how to capitalise on strengths to turn what may be good into something really great, but every coach is different, and each will have their own unique approach, so it’s really important that you know upfront if that approach works for you. Now, another important part of your search is finding a coach that not only will help you with all aspects of your voice, but also has a keen understanding of how to market yourself once you’re to a point where you have a quality demo that’s ready to be heard. When I was starting out as a voice over artist, over 20 years ago, the competition wasn’t nearly as fierce because, at the time, no one had their own home studios.
Everything was recorded at a professional studio and when you landed a job it was usually based upon your demo or was for a repeat client, and marketing was just a smaller piece of that voice over pie, so to speak. Now, today marketing really is key in your ability to land a job because, really, there’s just so much more competition with the advent of the home studio. That’s why it’s really important to find a coach that will give you the tools you need to find the work that’s out there, once you’re ready to go. There are a lot of strategies to finding voice over work, including online market places, such as voices.com, as well as direct marketing to production studios and advertising agencies, and there are others as well, but the question is do you know how to find the best person to contact at those businesses? Once you find the business, who do you talk to? So that’s just an example of what a good coach will be able to assist you with. The details of how to go about marketing yourself.
Now, another thing to consider, when selecting a coach, is what is your niche and what’s theirs? Versatility is great in the voice over industry, but most voice over artists find that they have a few genres in which they book the most work. For some it may be the character voices, such as animation and video games, and for others eLearning and business is their strong suit, or you may find yourself gravitating to narration and audio books and, of course, there are always the TV and radio commercials, and that’s more of a straight sell approach. So it’s important to figure out what you do best, and a good voice over coach can help you determine that, and for what it’s worth, I’m quick to recommend my students over to other coaches if they’re looking, for example, for character voice training, because that’s just not my niche. So it’s important that you find a coach that understands your strengths and has the background to assist you in developing those strengths to the fullest.
The last thing I’d like to talk with you about today is will your voice over coach be able to help you get a great demo put together, that will be your main marketing tool? Be sure to ask a prospective coach upfront if they offer demo services, and almost all do, but don’t be shy about asking what the price will be, because you really want to know what you’re going to be receiving for you investment of time and money. Don’t be afraid to ask for details, and a good coach should always be willing to divulge any and all information that you need to know to make your decision, and also just make sure that you know what an average rate is for demo production so you aren’t paying more than you need to but, at the same time, the old adage you get what you pay for is never truer than in the investment you make in your demo, and a price that’s too low can also be a red flag.
Of course it’s impossible to learn everything you need to know about selecting a coach in a short podcast, but I really hope this information has been helpful to you as you move forward with your voice over career. So whether you’re just getting started in this great industry, or have many years of experience, just about everyone can benefit from a good voice over coach from time to time. Just make sure you take plenty of time to research your options, and learn all you can before selecting your coach, because it really will be one of the best investments that you can make in your career. Until next time, cheers and happy voicing.
Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.