Monday, October 5, 2009

Insights into the Mentor Program

"My passion is for the audition. If I get the job, that's just the icing on the cake ... but it's not the cake." -Bill Sleeper, Graduate of Such A Voice's Mentor Program

When Bill Sleeper decided to take the Master's Program with Brian Thon back in February, 2009, it was the culmination of 14 years of saying, "One day...". In fact, Bill had been working as a singer/songwriter/musician for decades when his passion for voice-overs rekindled, Life threw him a couple curve balls, and his tentative plans to get into the voice-over business full-time snowballed before his eyes.

Bill graduated from the Master's Program and immediately wanted to jump into Mentor sessions with Brian Thon. Having been exposed to many of the voice techniques already, Bill had more questions about how the industry runs and how to get his face (and voice) out there.

"Brian Thon not only brought his expertise to the table -- he brought his experience. That, for me, spoke louder than words."

Brian worked with Bill over the course of 5 months, meeting via teleconference once a month. Each session was focused on a different aspect of the business: how to create a jumping off point, creating branding messages, the necessity of the checklist, etc. Brian gave Bill real-life homework tasks to complete before their next session. Says Bill, "Having one month to accomplish my [homework] goals was the perfect amount of time: It was long enough for me to succeed at my task, but it wasn't so long that I could put anything off ... It helped keep me on task!"

Beyond sharing his insights into the voice-over industry, Brian also gave Bill great penny-pincher ideas. For example, when it came to finding the materials to set up his booth in his home recording studio, Bill went to CraigsList to find the carpet, drapes, boards -- everything he needed, for under $5! Brian also taught Bill how to get the most bang for his buck when it came to Google ad words, CDs, demos, and business cards. And it was all tailored to Bill's specific needs, voice-over niche, and market.

Brian and Bill worked together to get Bill into the local markets, and he is currently working out a contract with local colleges that looks like it could turn into repeat business. His voice can also be heard in a mockumentary that is soon to be released in the Portland area. "None of this would have been possible without the Mentor Program and Brian's help," Bill graciously says. "I already had the intangibles to the business, and now I know it's just a matter of time before I'm doing this full-time."

Bill's mantra is simple: "Go out and meet people. Get them to know you, get them to like you, then get them to trust you."

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