You’re getting them too?
Of course you are. Emails from interested newbies.
Anyone with half of a professional reputation in voice-over is being inundated with people who want to “pick your brain” about this business.
Especially with the COVID lockdown, people are re-evaluating the possibility of freelance work-from-home, and they’ve heard that voiceover work is tantamount to having a Treasury Department Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in their basement.
Not true of course, but let’s look at your responsibility as a fellow freelancer and mentor, and if you’re a coach, your culpability in the marketplace.
If you DON’T take a few moments to lead the newcomer to an ethical and knowledgeable vector from the start, you’re only hurting yourself. I explain why in this blog: ARE VOICEOVER NEWBIES WELCOME?
Basically, when they flail around in exuberant ignorance, they end up in the clutches of repugnant outfits like Voices.com or predatory coaches and demo mills (more on that below). Voiceover has a rich and storied past, and much has been achieved that a newcomer can build on. Let them stand on the shoulders of someone with a conscience.
Here’s the most sensible newcomer email letter I’ve gotten in a long time:
I suppose it’s possible that as a pro in the VO field, you’ve received countless inquiries from people like me, seeking to lean on your insight and knowledge. If this is true and you’re exhausted by said advances, please feel free to stop reading here and if it strikes you as polite, send me back a quick response of “no thank you”.
If you made it to this paragraph I guess I can go on to explain why I have contacted you.
Recently I was googling COVOCO reviews and came across a FB post you made 2 years ago about your exposure to COVOCO and your uncertainties of it. I am curious if your opinion has expanded since that time?
I am completely new to this industry and I am trying to do some research and gather some information about VO in order to sketch out a potential path for myself.
As background, I am a normal, average, middle-aged health care worker from Canada who has been prompted by the pandemic to follow-up on some of my more creative passions in hopes to further enjoy the next couple decades of my work life. I am following my heart, and just taking one step at a time, as I am exposed to new information, websites, opportunities (such as this one-writing to you). I’m not a center of attention kind of person but more of a calm and soothing wallflower -with an inner silly, animated, self assured Weirdo wanting to shine as well.
I would love to find a mentor, as I explore this field of work. I know I have so much to learn-but in my heart, I know I have so much to offer as well.
If I’ve peaked your interest at all, even if I’m just a way where you’d be willing to share some quick advice, recommended readings, reliable sources of informations, I would be truly grateful. I am excited about this new opportunity for me.
(BTW, it’s “piqued” your interest…not “peaked”…but I digress)
I took the time to write a meaty reply to this person, and left her with these two links that I find to be helpful:
PART TWO: Coaching
I rarely take controversial positions, but here, I’m going to agree in principle with Erik Sheppard: who said “…it’s basically irresponsible for coaches to bring newcomers into the business these days…” (paraphrased).
See my blogs:
The caveat is that a “good” coach is an absolutely necessary part of a successful entry into voice-acting. But there’s no coaching accrediting certification agency or official curriculum. So it’s all self-regulated. Anyone can claim anything. A “good” coach would have to be excruciatingly ethical and responsible in their dealings with the new student, and that’s outlined in WoVO’s “Best Practices for Coaches” and Demo Producers“.
And yet, anymore, my email is full of come-ons like this:
|BIG VOICE Productions|
I dunno…maybe this guy is legit, but the ad just reeks of hucksterism, and the cost is a little daunting. $3K. Check out this blog I wrote about how to spot unscrupulous players in this field: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from VO Scammers.
Here’s another recent ad that seems suspect:
Right away you can see the source is Fiverr…so buyer beware.
Still, I know there are VERY GOOD coaches out there who are worth every penny, who love what they do, and who have an excellent track record/reputation. Ask a seasoned voice-actor, and they will pass along a name. I’ve tried posting a short-list of good coaches in the past, and inevitably someone gets left out…so just ask around.
Finally, since there exists no accrediting agency, no qualifying exam, no higher-education curriculums in voiceover, please think about joining World-Voices Organization® (WoVO), as a founder and past-president, I can tell you that this worthwhile advocacy non-profit is committed to drawing a line in the sand for good practices, strong mentoring, upholding credible rates, and creating a strong community. We are already hundreds strong. See the above link to join.