Coach. Teacher. Trainer. Manager. Consultant. Mentor.  The field of people actively pursuing the role of VO instructor is booming. 

Four factors contribute to that:

  1. Interest in freelance VO work is high (and misunderstood)…creating a healthy need (simple supply and demand).
  2. 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.
  3. The incessant drum beat in our business to always seek fresh coaching.
  4. 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.