Get a coach? I’m not an athlete, or a singer, or a dancer. I didn’t think I ever needed one; this is exactly why I did. You see, it’s easy sometimes to think you know everything-especially after you’ve been doing something for a bit of time. Come on, I know I’m not alone in this, right? Be honest.
I started in the world of radio broadcasting at the ripe old age of 18 and was immediately thrust into the advertising side of things by cutting spots for everything under the sun, well, that was under the sun in Kalispell, MT(Go there immediately for a visit if you can find a good deal on a flight!). I was never given any advice on this side of things from the program director, the sales people, the clients, or other jocks. It was basically "Hey Matt’s got a pretty great voice, go ahead and pass the copy onto him" I was thrilled; I could read these scripts however I wanted! That my dear friends is where the problem begins. I started on the foundation that this is nothing more than “reading”. Anyone can do that. So I began my voice over career not putting any sort of attitude and emotion into these scripts while focusing on the sound of my pipes to get the job done. Big mistake, people don’t talk like that in real life. Do you think about how your voice sounds instead of what you’re saying when you talk to people? And that’s where the true foundation really needs to begin. What are you trying to say with this copy and to whom?
The more and more coaching I take the more I realize how long I went down that dark path of despair and dread of nothing more than reading a script with a nice tone. That may be a little dramatic, but you get the point. I hope you’ll heed this ex-radio fellas advice, even if you aren’t from a background in radio, to get some vo coaching. This is coming from someone who was almost completely against and thought it was just other vo folks conning the news guys. I thought I could learn everything from videos or just listening back to myself. Everything changes when you have the honest, but caring opinion of a coach.
I can’t tell you who to choose as your own personal voice sensai, but I will say to make sure they either have their own track record of success or many satisfied and working VO professionals under their belt. Also, have a quick consult with them to let them know your goals and what sects of voice over interest you the most. You will see if they are a good fit to guide you on your way. Until next time, don’t be afraid to show those feelings.