Coach. Teacher. Trainer. Manager. Consultant. Mentor. The field of people actively pursuing the role of VO instructor is booming.
Four factors contribute to that:
- Interest in freelance VO work is high (and misunderstood)…creating a healthy need (simple supply and demand).
- There are little-to-no formal (read: higher ed) institutionally- approved voice over curricula – creating a huge opportunity for unaccredited teachers to fill the gap. With no formal certification as a VO coach, ANYONE can claim to be one.
- The incessant drum beat in our business to always seek fresh coaching.
- Newbies who don’t know where to look, and fall prey to ubiquitous, glitzy come-ons.
On the pages of this blog, I’ve cautioned about over-reach and fraud in that realm (See: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From VO Scammers).
But of course, there are many talented, knowledgeable, ethical, and helpful coaches and demo producers. I prefer the instructor who is actually no longer (or never was) a voice talent (See: Too Many Coaches, Not Enough Mentors), or only accepts occasional pro VO work. Why? Because I think it’s tough to maintain two career vectors and do them both justice. Notice I said “tough”… not impossible. There are a very few who can do it. Pat Fraley. Dave Walsh, Elley-Ray Hennessey, and a handful of others.
I feel the same about this as I do about Social Media “experts”. Self-acclaimed “experts” are suspect. There are so many social media experts that I think they outnumber social media students!
I would more trust an exceptional and successful talent who DOESN’T advertise as a coach, and approach them personally to see if they would coach me. I would gladly pay. Wouldn’t you? If they turn me down, I would respect them even more. Not everyone is a good coach, and I’d rather have someone who is honest with me about that, than someone who makes empty (expensive) promises.
The trouble with trainers in the current climate — I believe — is a trend of playing fast ‘n’ loose with the definition. Is a coach the same as a consultant, the same as a mentor, the same as an agent, the same as a casting director, the same as an instructor, the same as a manager?
Who’s regulating all this? Shouldn’t someone/something? In the absence of that, our entire profession suffers from hucksterism.