As the barriers to entry in the voiceover field lowered and the global thirst for content exploded, the need for voice over coaching increased as well. You may find a myriad of voice over coaches offering you a leg up in the industry, myself included. How do you know which one to pick? What should you look for in a coach? As a leading voiceover pro for over 30 years, here are my personal seven top tips for finding a great voice over coach.
#1 Industry Experience
Someone who has voice over and industry experience, ten to fifteen years in the industry is my personal benchmark. That way they have a wealth of information and tips and tricks to share. If they’ve done anything else along the way that has supported and enriched their knowledge of the field (directed, cast, written, produced, etc) they may have a specific lens that can help you better your performances. They need to understand how best to navigate, survive and thrive in the challenging world of voice over
Go for what you can afford, but not less than that. A voice over coach has spent a lifetime building up a knowledge base and outlaid a lot of their own money to do so. A successful voice over artist loses recording time when they coach, they have sorted what their minimum hourly rate is. A newer voice over coach may have less demands on their time, so their coaching price tags might be lower. Shop around, set your budget. Look at the differences between private and group classes and set priorities of current needs.
#3 Proven Track Record
A voice over coach who has had sustainable success in the industry. They’ve weathered at least one market shift and have managed to stay on top through it. The voice over industry markets are constantly shifting, the best voice over coaches continue to polish their craft to maintain momentum. If they can’t make it in the industry then how on earth are they going to teach you to do it?
#4 Find a Voice Over Coach Who Knows How to Teach
Not everyone does – some people are great teachers, some are not. A great teacher has found a way to isolate and explain how to do what we need to do. Reviews are a helpful method of determining what kind of coach you will be dealing with and if you aren’t sure, ask the coach what makes them a great teacher. What kind of methods do they use to help you find your way? Can they break it down in a way that you understand?
#5 A Flexible Coaching Method
What works for one voice over artist may not work for another. This is where one on one voice over coaching really shines, it’s tailored and personalized to you, rather than a group. Preferably your coach will have worked in the area of the industry you are most interested in (eLearning, animation, commercial, gaming etc.), but they should also have a wide range of experience. And be able to give suggestions and insights into the best area of the industry for your voice and interests (because passion will always be a massive factor)
#6 Offers Voice Over Coaching Options
A voice over coach who doesn’t lock you in for a set number of sessions. Again, it’s a personal choice, but I am not a fan of a set number of sessions. Now, a prospective coach may have found over the course of several years of coaching that most people need a minimum of three or five or fill-in-the-blank number of sessions with them. Or they may have created a specific curriculum, like my wonderful (recommended) colleague Sean Pratt.
But ultimately, you should have the option to pay as you go and remain in the driver’s seat re: whether you continue working with them. There are many scams out there. Do your due diligence. Use your googling power to check out reviews and recommendations. A coach or service that locks you into a package plan is (IMHO) a first red flag.
#7 Who Feels Right to You
Yes, get recommendations from others (whose opinion you trust and ask them what specifically they got out of the coaching experience), but when it comes down to it – trust your gut. ‘Nuff said about that one.
Voice Over Coaching Bonus Tip!
Despite being a successful voice over artist myself, I coach regularly and STILL invest in coaching from others on an annual basis. At this stage of the game (for me) it’s not easy to find people who have new things to tell me, but I find different perspectives to keep my work fresh. Ask if your voice over coach still polishes their craft and seeks performance skills from others.