Further Your Craft with a Voice Over Coach
Let’s talk about voice over coaches.
Why do I need a coach?
There is so much information in the industry that it’s sometimes hard to dig through all of the rubble to get to the gold. A coach is there to help navigate and teach what you need to know, and will help you find your voice as a voice actor. As much as we would like to think that we are the bees knees, there is so much more that we can learn — and coaches are here to help with techniques, fundamentals, coaxing a new voice out, learning to make a believable voice and so much more.
These wonderful and talented people generally have been in the industry for several years and have gone through the ropes of what it takes to be a voice actor. Their goal is to share their expertise, their knowledge and help guide you make great decisions as a voice actor.
**Do note: Since there are many genres in voice over, many different techniques and even different parts of the business, not every coach will be able to walk you through EVERYTHING about voice over. It is best to work with different coaches based on what you are looking to work on.
Here are some things to look for when selecting a coach to help you with your voice over journey.
It is important to find a coach that is still working in the industry. The voice over market is always changing, so it is best to hire a coach that knows where the industry is at. For this to happen they themselves need to be working as a talent or even as a casting director, creative director, etc.
Make sure to establish that the coach teaches the genre that you are looking to improve in. Most voice actors have a genre that they work mostly in, so their knowledge is going to be greater than someone who does “some” work in that genre. Do make sure to take a look at their previous body of work or look up reviews from other students to get a better sense of their specialty. You may even get lucky to find a coach who specializes in several genres.
One of the things to look out for is that not all "coaches" are coaches or are not experienced enough to be coaching. Nowadays anyone can be an "expert" of something, even without themselves have experienced what they are trying to convey in teaching. Other times some talent, as great as they are, have only been in the industry just a few years so they have not had enough experience to be teaching a specific genre or topic. I would recommend doing some research and looking at the reviews from other students or a referral from other industry peers to get an idea of the coach and their capability.
Lastly, not all people who call themselves coaches have you in their best interest. They are just here to make a quick buck and generally feed off of inexperienced talent. I cannot say this enough, lookup the reviews of the coach from previous or current students.
So how do I know the coach is a good fit?
As mentioned previously, it is best to do a little research on a coach before hiring them. Take a look at some of their reviews, any kind words or otherwise from peers and take a look at their resume — they may even have some videos where they talk about voice over, so make sure you see if the information they are sharing is insightful. If everything looks good, reach out to them via email or their preferred way of contact — ask them some questions and get to know them and how they respond.
If they seem like a great choice, book a single session with them and see how you like them. Do they share insightful tips? Help you grow? Give you some things to work on and think about? Lastly, if the session went well, the last thing I ask myself is — do I like working with them? Every coach has their own teaching style, personality, techniques, so not everyone will align with you personally or will reach you in your learning style, and that’s okay.
I have taken some amazing workshops with some amazing talent and have had several coaching sessions from voice acting coaches in the industry, such as, Crispin Freeman, Katie Zeiner and Marc Cashman.
A coach’s goal is to help you succeed and grow in your voice over career. Having an extra perspective will help bring a spotlight onto areas that you might need to work on in your voice acting. I truly believe that the best way to succeed in any industry is working on your craft and honing your skill — and a coach will help you in areas that need improvement.