The VO Newcomer Challenge

by | Jun 1, 2020 | Analysis | 2 comments

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:

Peter O’Connell’s Voice Over Entrance Exam.

Dee Bradley’s I Want To Be a Voice Actor website.

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: 

VO Coaching Conundrums
Qualified to be a VO Coach?
The Trouble With Trainers

 

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“.  

when VO newcomers flail around in exuberant ignorance, they end up in the clutches of repugnant outfits like Voices.com or predatory coaches and demo mills Click To Tweet

And yet, anymore, my email is full of come-ons like this:

BIG VOICE Productions logo
BIG VOICE Productions
 
Great At-Home Business: Voice Acting!
You could be the voice of Audio Books, TV or Radio Commercials, Animation or Gaming, Explainer Videos and more and do it all from HOME! Learn how with BIG VOICE Productions, LLC, one of the premier Voice Over Coaches in the country. We teach you EVERYTHING about Voice Over! Now, get a HUGE DISCOUNT for private, by-SKYPE Voice Over lessons to help you learn a great, at-home business that is in great demand worldwide. Our VO training is the most comprehensive in the business, and includes: Workbook, demo productions, FREE Windows recording software, home studio set up and much more, including potential casting in actual TV & Radio commecials. 16 Private, 90-minute SKYPE or ZOOM lessons for only $3,000. Credit card, PayPal, cash or check accepted with several financing options!
Limited time offer! Expires 07/27/20

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:

https://learn.fiverr.com/courses/voice-over-for-real-people-complete-freelancing-guide

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.

CourVO

 

 

 

 

and…

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2 Comments

  1. steve Hammill

    I never encourage anyone to get into VO these days for countless reasons. However, they are moths to a flame so if you are willing to waste your breath, it’s your breath.

    Did I ever tell you about all the guys missing fingers when I was a merchant seaman?
    I asked one of them about losing his fingers. He said he was on a fishing boat. The old-time fishermen wouldn’t help you until you lost your first finger because until then the new kid was too smart to listen.

    I considered becoming a coach. I never did because the tech to do it didn’t exist when I was considering it. And I’m not very flexible, so I only know one method, my method, and I’m not sure that it is good enough to hold up as a model to emulate.

    Reply
  2. Bob Hurley

    Dave, the above is far from an endorsement, yet he says, “…over the past 20 years becoming widely known as one of the preeminent VO coaches in the U.S. and is endorsed by Harlan Hogan, Dave Courvoisier, and our many students!”

    Preeminent? I know a positive self-image is the key to a happy life but…..

    Reply

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My Second book is available now!

Dave Courvoisier releases a new edition of his popular book More Than Just a Voice, The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success. This new book has all new content, a full six years in the making!