Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Tree of Ripe Peaches


But which fruit do you pick?


I've been doing voice work for all of my adult life. The first twenty-five years were in broadcasting and the next thirty have been peppered with on-camera and voiceover projects that I did while pursuing a public relations career. Now, retired from the PR work, I focus my efforts on the voice business. Training is an important part of this business because we need to try to stay ahead of the curve and trends. Some fields of work call it continuing education. In the voiceover business we call it coaching. It's important to have someone you trust and can work with to help move your career forward. I feel bad for the young or old entering this field of work for the first time. There are so many choices. It's like trying to pick the best peach from the tree.
There's Bill, Penny, Chuck, Harlan, Crispin, Tom, Marc, George, Terry, Bev, Susan, Lau, Tina, Anne, Maria, Marice, Leslie, Linda, Scott, Barbara, Julie, Sherri, and the list goes on and on and on. How do they choose? I'm in the same situation and I've been in this business all my adult life.
I really don't know the answer to the question I posed. You could ask other successful artists who they work with. However, there are several factors at work here. There's cost. Location plays a role. There's cost. Specialty is a factor. There's cost. The number of experts is a factor. And finally, there's cost. Hmmmmmmm.
It seems to me there are as many experts as there are students to learn and the cost to access those experts could be somewhat prohibitive, unless you have unlimited resources. It must be a good business to be in if there are so many experts. I've heard many people say "Those who can, do and those who can't, teach.” Well, I could never be that harsh. There are many many great experienced voice coaches. However, there are some that have no business coaching. Some only coach because it's a cash cow.
So, here are some questions those coming into this line of work need to ponder, and I DON'T have the answers:
  1. How does a person select the right voice coach ( both personalities have to be compatible)?
  2. Are voice coaches credentialed?
  3. Is the coach I select interested in me and my career or just watching the clock?
  4. Will the coach work with me “one on one?”
  5. If I'm in Pocatello, is it possible for Skype sessions or Google hangouts?
  6. Does the coach expect me to come to New York, Dallas, Atlanta or Los Angeles for the learning experience?
  7. Should the trainer be the one to put together my demo or just be an advisor during the process?
  8. How much should I be willing to invest in this coaching/training?
That last question is one being bantered about today relating to higher education, also. People are starting to question the high cost of education and wondering if there ever is a return on the investment. Student loans amount to the lion's share of consumer debt today. I'm sure this is also a factor in the voiceover business. The experts are quick to point out that success in voiceover is contingent on having a good business attitude and a routine that supports that. I agree. But, I continue to wonder about the other factors. So, I toss out one final question.

Where does one draw the line on the cost of this continuing education?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jerry,

    This is exactly where I am....I'm a working VO but I know I need some coaching. I am driving to Atlanta, spending money on a hotel and for an all day event that will probably be helpful. But is it really worth the time, money and trouble? Drive 4 hours for some information? On the other hand...I need more than knowledge right now...I need motivation and this is why I decided to go. I have not been totally committed to this VO career and I know what it takes to be good and how much work it takes to get yourself out there...marketing...all of the stuff I don't really want to do but know is a must if you are going to succeed. I hemmed and hawed about going to Atlanta for a month....where shall I put my money...who do I trust...everyone is a coach these days because like you said...they too are struggling to be working full time in VO so they become coaches. It's a competitive business and I personally feel like a little coaching and a lot of marketing is the way to go.

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