First of all, I’m not saying you should never get good VO coaching. You should. Regularly. I’m just saying it might be possible in today’s world of content overload, to fill-in a lot of blanks FIRST with an incredible line-up of available resources.
Because good coaching costs good money…save the really important stuff for one-on-one encounters…in person if possible.
But in advance of that months-long Voice-Over encounter with Nancy Wolfson, or the weekend workshop with Marice Tobias (I could go on naming names, but you get the idea)…there are just tons of FREE (or bargain) voiceover resources that are readily available NOW.
First: the free stuff
Not just mine, but Paul Strikwerda’s, Marc Scott’s, Joe Thomas’, Randye Kaye’s, and more. The list is incredibly long, and the level of competence on nearly ALL of them is high. Best place to go to discover all the VO bloggers is the Google+ Community hosted by my friend Derek Chappell: VoiceOver Blogs. If you don’t already belong, ask Derek for an invite. Derek also publishes on his blog, a weekend Digest of all the top blog articles of the preceding week, and I bet if you press him, he’d share his list of blogs with you. There’s also a steadily updated list of blog articles on Derek’s Scoop.It page, and I keep an ongoing list of articles on MY Scoop.It page
ONLINE VIDEO PROGRAMS:
Here, I’m referring to full-production, lavishly-planned, high quality live or recorded, hour-long (pseudo-TV) programs that are free for the watching: EWABS, VO Buzz Weekly, VO Peeps, and anything on the Bill DeWees YouTube Channel. OMG, those four alone could keep you engaged full-time…but they’re ALL worth the time you take to watch, listen, and learn.
Loads of information can be found in these audio programs. Most are regularly-scheduled, or at least periodic episodes with top movers and shakers in the business. VOX Talk is the Voices.com podcast, just newly-resurrected after being silent for a couple of years. The VoiceOver Cafe with Terry Daniel & Trish Basanyi…John Melley, Rebecca Michaels Haugh all post regular podcasts with great guests and interviews. Please let me know if I’ve forgotten someone.
MASTERMIND GROUPS, AND ONLINE MEET-UPS:
These are a bit harder to find, so you’ll have to ask around, but right now World-Voices Organization is busy organizing and scheduling “chapters” which are online HangOuts that are not necessarily geographically organized. I’m in one now with three other people representing Spain, Israel, Australia, and well…Las Vegas. I’m also in a monthly MasterMind online Hangout with a group that invited me, and we loosely act as a Board of Directors for each others’ VO business. If nothing else, contact Larry Hudson and his VO Heaven Workouts. He has a vibrant online community meet-up all the time, and it’s roundly praised by all who attend. You can start your own. Just contact a few of your favorite fellow voice-actors, and ask them if they’d like to meet-up once a month. Finally, seek out MasterMind, Meet-up, or “feedback” get-togethers in your own city. If there isn’t one already, there could be one in no time! Cliff Zellman’s Dallas Voiceover Meetup group is an excellent example of a thriving association of metro-based peers.
‘Just too many to mention here. In my mind, the original, and still the best is the VO-BB. Virtually every popular Social Media Network has groups, communities, and lists you can join. I administer three on LinkedIn, one on FaceBook, two lists on Twitter, and 3 communities on Google+. There are scads more. Just go to your favorite social media site, and start searching. Here’s my Voice-Over Friends FaceBook Group. Terry Daniel has a popular FB group called Voice-Over Pros. The Google+ Community G+ VoiceOvers is gaining momentum. Wanna get on my Twitter list of voice over people? Email me, or message me in comments below, and I’ll add you.
Second: REEELY affordable stuff:
Not that long ago, I lamented the recent flood of VO webinars in my blog: Leveraging VO Learning. It’s true, voiceover webinars abound these days. That’s not a bad thing, but you hafta be choosey. Sign-up for the ones that you need…not just because it has a fetching title. John Florian’s VoiceOverXtra has a steady stream of worthy webinars, as does Julie Williams. That’s not a definitive list by any means. Anybody can host a webinar at any time these days. HangOuts are webinars. Conference Calls are webinars. Typically, though, GoToMeeting and Citrix are involved for the good ones. Regardless, most are in the $50 range, and for that, you usually get a lot for an hour or an hour-and-a-half.
Well, you knew I was going to throw this one in the mix, but honestly, more recent releases of Paul Strikwerda’s “Make Money in Your PJ’s”, Dan Friedman’s “Sound Advice”, and James Alburger’s newest edition of “The Art of Voice Acting” (due out this month), all make for excellent reading. I wrote the chapter on Social Media in Alburger’s new book, and of course, “More Than Just A Voice: The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success” is now out one whole week! (authored by yours truly).
CONFERENCES AND CONVENTIONS
The final entry under the REEEELY afffordable stuff is this category. Conventions and conferences are the big-ticket item, for sure. But when you closely examine the ROI they’re still a good buy. What you’d pay for a series of coaching sessions with ONE voiceover coach, you spend on a weekend FULL of VO coaches, plus you get the networking, the peer-to-peer relationship building, the vendors, the face-time, and much more. And what a choice you have these days! VOICE is the biggie. It’s a convention, and it happens every couple of years. FaffCon is the bomb, as is FaffCamp…but there are a limited # of these left on the calendar. Gerald Griffith’s VO Atlanta has a good foothold on the schedule after a couple of solid performances. There was a Midwest VO conference this year, and I’m pretty sure other conferences being planned in other parts of the country all the time. Drop me a comment below if I missed yours.
Your alternatives abound. Your opportunities to stay up with VO happenings and trends has never been better. In most cases you don’t have to spend a dime, or very little. These are things you need to take advantage of, and if your questions don’t get answered, THEN is the time to seek the VO coach of your choice.