This week we are going to explore a question I find in nearly every forum I frequent…
Should you get a voice coach?
This sounds like a simple enough question, and in fact has a simple enough answer…
While this blog was designed to help voice actors; I believe that you can extrapolate these concepts to anything you are passionate about.
So, Let’s dive right into this week’s topic…
To easily answer this question – YES you should absolutely get a voice coach.
Especially if you’re serious about the craft of voice over. If you’re just one of those everyday folks who believes that because someone told you have a nice voice, then you should become a voice actor. Please do some soul searching before getting a coach.
If you’ve been at it for a bit and know what you want to do, but you’re on the fence about it, then maybe I can help convince you to swing those stumps you call legs over to the darkside.
There are so many avenues that you could turn to for coaching, but it really depends on your specific goals. Here are some things to think about when considering a coach:
What do you want to accomplish as a voice artist?
If you want to break into commercial work, it wouldn’t make sense to find a coach who specializes in narration. You would want to find a coach that is currently working, or has previously worked in the niche you want to break into.
What’s your working budget?
These coaches don’t work for free, and definitely don’t work cheaply. Some will cut you a deal if you are willing to work in a group setting, which is fantastic for a beginner! You can feed off the energy of your classmates, and learn from their readings. The only downside is that you get less one-on-one interaction in your time slots. If you’re willing to pay a little bit more, then you could hire a coach to work with individually. This is the route I went, and I can honestly tell you that it has taken my abilities to levels I didn’t know I could get to.
How often do you want to meet with your voice over coach?
Most coaches will want to meet on a weekly basis, which I highly recommend when you are newer on the scene. This allows you to build repetition and develop muscle memory. You don’t want to wait too long between sessions, or else the things you learn won’t be fresh in your mind. Once you’re a seasoned veteran, you can think about scaling back on sessions. But honestly, it’s nice to have that constant guiding force in your career. I look at my coach as more than someone I pay for advice. He’s my friend, my mentor, and someone I truly believe has my best interests in mind. Find someone you trust, which leads me into my next point…
Should you hire a celebrity or well-known voice coach?
That is entirely up to you and your budget. If you want to work with those larger names in the biz, then by all means go for it! There’s nothing stopping you from chasing your dreams. Just make sure that what you are paying for is actually going to benefit you in the long run. I don’t want to see you pay a lot of money to someone who is coaching you, and not have you get the full attention you should be getting. In general I believe that it’s tougher to get the same out of these sessions, than if you went with someone with less star-power. Remember that this business is all about cultivating relationships. If you’re just another student in the class, then you aren’t really building a solid relationship with your coach, which in the long run isn’t going to help you as much.
How long do you plan to work with your voice coach?
Make sure that you define this with your coach. Is this a short term deal, or do you plan to make it an ongoing meeting. If you plan to do something short term, make sure that you carve out exactly what you plan to accomplish with your coach! Make the most of your time, because it really is too valuable to waste.
How much experience should your voice coach have?
I think that your coach should be a person who has a proven track record in the voice over industry. Make sure they know to teach too. Sometimes you may find that just because a person is great at something doesn’t necessarily mean that they are great at teaching it. Building a lesson plan is tough work, and if your coach isn’t serious about the endeavor, then find one who is.
Voice coaches can help find those rough skills that lay inside of us. When you’re green, you aren’t necessarily thinking about where to breathe, or how to pronounce certain words that you have pronounced your entire life. For example, I have a terrible habit of speaking in a very midwestern fashion. I will say words like one hunnerd, instead of one hundred. It’s a very important distinction that I would have completely missed had it not been for my coach. I would have never known when to use either instead of Eye-ther, Neither instead of NEYE-ther, and so on. . . My coach has helped me find pacing in scripts, how to read with feeling, how to add musicality to my voice. Most importantly my coach helped me define my voice and stop trying to be something that I simply wasn’t. This was the biggest ‘aha’ moment for me. He listened to my first few reads, and told me that he knew I was trying too hard, and that he wanted to get me to understand my natural authentic voice was my biggest differentiating factor. It wasn’t my ability to sound like someone else, which can be very important at times, but that my normal speaking voice would land me jobs.
Honestly, he was right.
I started landing more work once I started working with my coach. He was able to listen to my voice and bring out the natural tone, the same way a wood carver looks deep into a piece of wood and sees the very thing in which they are about to carve.
Well that’s it for this week! I hope these tips were helpful to you. If you know someone that would benefit from hearing them, please share it with them.
Thanks for reading, I truly hope you enjoyed my slice of content. If so, tap the like and subscribe buttons. Tell some friends. And remember, this is a large industry, so let’s take care of one another.