You know summer is starting to wind down when everywhere you look you see "Back to School" sales and fall fashion trends.
As a voice talent with a family, the end of summer might mean you can take on a busier workload when the kids go back to school. If you aren't yet a professional voice actor but would like to become one, the end of summer might get you thinking about which voice-over training program is right for you.
If voice acting is a whole new career for you, whether you intend on working part- or full-time, there are several things to think about when you go shopping for a program.
1. How much coaching will you get?
Figure out how much individual and group coaching you will get right off the bat. While many people think they only want private voice coaching, don't dismiss the value of group coaching. Working with a group of people on your level will give you the chance to see yourself through your own eyes. It is likely that you will make the same mistakes as most people early on, and group coaching is the perfect way to learn more quickly by other people's mistakes.
2. How will you get this coaching?
Some programs offer coaching over the phone, and you might be lucky enough to find a private coach in your area who will only meet with you one-on-one. Again, if you opt for only private lessons, you're actually missing many benefits of training with a cohort. For the most part, your initial training sessions will be over the phone or Skype. Coaching over the phone, especially in the beginning, is a convenient way for you to work with some of the best coaches in the country who may not live in your area. While it is in your best interest to choose a program that will give you in-person coaching before your demo, there are tons of technique tips that you can learn over the phone.
3. What will you get in the end?
If you are going to make the financial investment to get professional voice training for your new career, make sure that you and your coach are clear from the beginning what you will get -- and at what price. I recently talked to a student who came from another program who had spent thousands of dollars on different workshops she was told she needed. It was only when she told the company she was taking her business elsewhere that they said she was finally ready to record her demo! (At an added cost, of course.)
You definitely don't want to get side-lined by hidden costs or tricky salespeople when it comes to your investment in your education. The best training programs out there will only record your demo when you're ready -- and not make you pay extra!
4. Who is recording your demo?
Leave it to the engineers! While voice actors record and edit their own material for voice jobs all the time, it doesn't mean they know how to choose your scripts, arrange the voice overs on your demos so that your versatility shines, and then pick contemporary background music to match. Engineers spend many years in school for a reason -- trust them! There's nothing more embarrassing than not being able to give an interested client your professional demos.
5. What about the other stuff?
When you shop around for a voice-over training program, do you think you only need technique training to succeed? Most students don't realize until they finish the training program that they're not sure where to start! For example, setting up a home recording studio is riddled with challenges that require creative solutions, and hopefully you invested in a training program that has a lifetime support policy.
What about marketing? Unless you have experience setting up, marketing and running a small business yourself, which isn't many of us, you'll need guidance.
Signing up for a voice-over training program is like going back to school! Making a career change shouldn't be taken lightly, and you should expect to put in long hours, get frustrated, and want to quit at times. It will make you feel that much better when you start getting the voice jobs and you realize you're making it!