My day job is a teacher. I am the STEAM teacher for grades 3-5 at our school. STEAM is a more kid friendly term for Critical Thinking using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math(STEAM). Prior to this position, I was a Third grade teacher. One of my favorite things to do as a teacher is to read to the students. It is super cool to be able to read and engage people in a story. The added bonus is that you get to see their reactions in real time and in person. I don’t get to do that as much in my new position. In my spare time, I would play acoustic guitar and sing at local establishments or participate in a local theater production. It is through these things that I was constantly being told that I had a really good voice. People would tell me that they liked listening to me speak. “You should get into voiceover!” someone said. The thought of staying at home during the day, in a self-made recording area, drinking coffee(or should be tea) and getting paid to just read was very inviting. So that aided in the start of my rabbit hole expedition.
After trying to start a Voice over career completely on my own(which I have heard can be done but was really stressful for me, so I don’t suggest it to anyone), I realized I was going to need some guidance. Someone that already knows how the voice over business works so that I can figure out how to navigate my way to obtaining a career in Voice Over( which is my ultimate goal).
I am not going to tell you exactly who or how to get a coach, but just that getting one is extremely helpful. Coaches are needed for many reasons. They help you hone your craft of reading scripts without sounding like you’re reading a script. They can help you understand how to audition for jobs, find jobs, and find people with the jobs. They also help you understand the technical aspects of recording and how to properly manipulate your recording space to get the best sound. They will also, usually, be straight up with you about what to expect in the Voice over industry.
Now there are some people out there(many people actually), that are totally looking to cash in on people that are interested in doing voice over but don’t know where to start. This can make things difficult when you are trying to select a coach. Here are some tips for finding good coaches.
Look for Highly sought after Voice over artists. Many of them also coach and if they don’t, they can refer you to someone they trust. These people have loads of experience about all aspects of Voice over.
Look for coaches that will not only coach you but do other things to. Try to find coaches that will also help you with things like: demos, websites, marketing, home recording, branding, landing jobs, etc. Look at and listen to the work they have with their other clients. You will start to see major differences here if you look at enough of them. If some coaches only do some of these, but you really like what they are doing, go for it. Usually their might be a team of coaches that work together to help with all of those things.
Don’t be afraid to have more than one coach. It may not be affordable at first, but over time, being able to talk to different coaches with different perspectives and skills is awesome and worth while. Many voice over people I have spoken with have mentioned having more than one coach.
To wrap up, although I am sure I have missed things that I will think of later, Do your research! Getting into Voice Over is going to cost you money. Make sure that that money is spent to your advantage and not theirs. However, understand that they should not have to work for free to help you make money. Although, it never hurts to ask if they can cut a deal or bundle lessons and demos together at a discounted price. You never know what they might say. Just don’t ask if anything is for free. They don’t like that.