Join Voice Over Expert Michael Minetree in his lecture “How To Be a Better Voice Over Student”. By keeping your expectations where they need to be, rehearsing copy aloud and listening to people who are successfully working in the business, you’ll experience better results and be a better student of voice over. Take your time, be dedicated, and remember to always be yourself!
Michael Minetree, Minewurx, Studying Voice Acting, Voice Over Coaching, Voice Overs, Voice Talents
Transcript of How To Be a Better Voice Over Student
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
Now, for our special guest.
Michael Minetree: Hello everybody. My name is Michael Minetree. I’m a voiceover coach in Washington D.C. and I’m up for the challenge of a lifetime here which is trying to only do something for five minutes. The first time I recorded this podcast, it was over 45 minutes long. Full-length version is on my site but I’m going to have to trim it up here.
It’s about being a good voiceover student and being a smart voiceover student. You know, when it comes to being a good one, you got to be a smart one. It all starts with leaving your wallet in your pocket and keeping your purse strings closed. It’s the very first rule. Just don’t spend money on a thing until you’re absolutely positive and sure about what it is that you’re really, really spending your money on.
When you decide to get another stuff and you’re pursuing, maybe getting some training and you know you’re going to dive in head first, dive in head first but not without knowing how deep the water is. Get an understanding of how long it takes and in how much it costs to do it right. If you’re planning on getting private coaching, ask around, read around, and confirm the types of things you’re hearing about the coach. And ask the coach, you know, “What are you going to teach me? What am I going to learn from you?” If they can’t tell you before you pay them, chances are they’re not going to be able to tell you afterward either.
Take an honest kind of look at your life and see how does voiceover fit into your life? If you’ve got a big 50, 60, 70 hour a week job and you got kids running around the house, this isn’t the right time for you. It’s not the time to get into this because it’s certainly not the way to get out of the job that you’re actually making money at. I’ve never seen a worse career decision than to say, “I’m going to quit my job and get into this voiceover stuff.” You know, hold on to your purse strings until you truly understand what you’re getting involved with.
Make sure you have a real clear understanding of what it is you’re spending your money on and that includes equipment and people. You know, if you’re looking for a coach, make sure you really understand the program and who they are and what they are and what you’re really getting involved in when you decide to spend a buck on it. When you’re going out to buy equipment, read about it. Know about it and understand it before you go to the store. Not just run out and start spending money all over the place or you can – you’re going to be out of it pretty soon, and you won’t have any to buy the things that you really need when it comes to taking care of getting involved in this and learning how to audition.
Probably the best one there is trust your gut. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, it’s probably not right. Always trust your gut and if your gut tells you not to do it, then just don’t do it. It’s a balanced self-preservation. Your expectations when you start out have to be very realistic. You got a – if you’re living in a small town in the Midwest, don’t be planning on taking Hollywood and New York City by storm. You know, learn the craft, study the craft, get your coaching, and then you know, try to get on the air in your own hometown first and then maybe the town right next to that. And if you start getting on the air in those little towns, maybe start thinking about a bigger town but just make sure your expectations are really where they need to be.
Then when it comes to practicing voiceover, practice your copy as much as you can. At least three times a week, 30 minutes to one hour a day. You know, read it out loud, record it, listen back to it, read it standing up, read it sitting down, read it while you’re walking around the room, rehearse it in your car, rehearse it in the shower, it doesn’t really matter. Get familiar with your practice copy and learn to kind of know what’s in – like every in and out. Doing this is going to allow you to really understand what it feels like to take possession of it.
Then when it comes to reading anything, be sure to read it loud. Reading under your breath isn’t going to do anything for you except cause you to form a lot of bad habits. It’s not going to teach you anything about speaking out loud and actually having delivery style, you know, and recording yourself every single time you sit down to read is also really important. Just as important as it is to listening back to it. Read anything you can find. It doesn’t matter what it is. Copy out of magazines, thesis papers, medical reports, commercials that you see on television or hear on the radio and just about anything that you can get your hands on to read is going to put you a leg up on a lot of other people who don’t practice this as much as maybe you want to.
Listen to the people who are actually out in the craft. Go out and listen to people’s demos. Listen to the people that are working in this business and use them as role models. I mean, they’re the ones that are doing what you want to do. So, why not study from them? And it really kind of the three most important things when it comes to learning this is take your time, never be in a hurry. Now, this is number one, take your time and never be in a hurry because it really takes time to learn how to do this stuff right.
Number two, be really leery of anybody that tells you, you can do this in a few weeks or a few months or a weekend because you can’t, you know. And you’re welcome to challenge me on this anytime you want. I mean, anytime. I’ll take anybody up on that. You can’t do the stuff in a couple of weeks or a month or a weekend. You know, there’s no one at the top of the voiceover food chain that made their demo last week. We’ve all been working at it for years and you know, the people who are really at the pinnacle of it have been working on it even longer than that.
And the most important one here is, no matter what you’re doing, always be yourself. I mean, when you’re first starting out, be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself sound like anyone other than you because, you know, if you’re straining to make your voice sound a certain way, it’s going to sound like it and anybody that cast talent or listens to talent all the time is going to know right away. And so the best thing that you can really do when you’re setting up to learn how to do voiceover is learn how to be you and how to talk like you before you ever try to learn how to be like anybody else.
And you know, it’s unfortunate and it’s hard to believe but that’s all the time we have. And you know, like I said, full-length podcast is on the website. You’re more than welcome to come by and ask any questions on the forum, read the articles, do what you have to do and I promise I’ll spend a little bit more than five minutes with you. All right? Thanks a lot, guys.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover 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 voiceover career online, go to Voices.com and register for a voice talent membership today.
Links from today’s show:
Your Instructor this week:
Michael Minetree of MineWurx Studios takes a realistic approach to voice over instruction, teaching in a fashion his students can understand. As a working voice actor in the business for 14 years, Minetree makes no bones about sharing his experiences and mistakes with his students so they in turn don’t make them. He’s on the phone daily with producers, listening to their concerns. He’s holding ISDN and phone patch sessions on a regular basis. Each day Michael Minetree is sent copy from around the country and sometimes the world, going through the same struggles all the time that voice over students will be and are facing. By sharing those stories, along with tenured guidance with his students, Minetree is able to provide real voiceover training, from a real voiceover guy. Someone who has not just been there – but is there. Minetree relates, “I thirst for this stuff. You have to love it or there is no sense in doing it. VO is a lifestyle, as well as a craft.” Michael Minetree has an education in broadcasting at a New York broadcast school and has worked in broadcast radio.