I saw this voice over class on the internet… Should I take it???

Recently I got another email inquiring about some super-duper, lots-o-flash-no-picture – voice over class available to people on the internet for the low, low price of who cares – it’s garbage anyway…

Below – you’ll find more of my opinion on things:

I personally, in 15 years or so of recording and 12 or so of coaching have never run into anyone who was working, or hired anyone for that matter who was a “graduate” of the “boot camp” you’re talking about. The program is marketed by a master marketer looking to snare people into a canned, non-customized program built on the backbone of successful marketing techniques – full of pamphlets and CD’s laced with more buzzwords and marketing lingo. The information available there is freely available on the web. It has simply been scraped from the world and compiled into a package that is in turn sold to people looking for information. That is not to say that there isn’t valid, truthful information included – but there isn’t anything in it that can’t be obtained through a lot of research and asking questions in internet forums.

For someone looking to actually get into the business on any level you’re going to need 4 main things before you can get started:

1)  A small studio setup with the proper mic, digital audio interface, editing software and the knowledge of how to use them properly.
2)  A quiet, acoustically treated environment in which to record.
3) Some direct, personal, one-on-one coaching to learn performance and delivery techniques at a level that is required by the business.
4) The ability to take direction and record your rehearsal sessions – as well as having someone to review them and give you further guidance.

None of those things come cheap, or fast. And it takes a lot of effort to obtain them and maintain them. Any class you take that doesn’t get you further along in that direction is wasting your time and money. Anyone can sit back and listen to you read some scripts over the phone. Not everyone can do that and teach you all of the above. And many won’t try either. Why? Because it is much easier to sit back on the phone and make comments for a while and then head off to Nobu for dinner.

The one truth that I wish people would share with prospective students is that you couldn’t pick a worse time to try to be a novice in this business – nice voice or not.

Right now the lower end of the business – i.e. the entry level – is flooded with rank beginners and many experienced talent who have lowered their standards and started taking lower paying work out of pure desperation.

This has built a significant hurdle for anyone trying to get into the business on the cheap. There are simply too many people fighting over the same scrap of meat and the only way to elevate yourself above them is to not be like them – and go out and get some hardcore quality training, great equipment, develop a great sound and learn how to deliver (over a period of years) a tremendous product. None of those things are going to be found in a short term, band-aid class that was written and compiled long ago and occasionally retread and then sold again.

My suggestion to you is that you need to continue to do your research before making any kind of investment. There are no easy breaks. It will be years before you see any kind of decent return, if you see any at all. Without bringing yourself to the level of other talent in the industry you won’t be able to adequately complete against them.

Look at these little internet voice over programs as toll booths on the highway… Sure – you can pay – and they’ll let you ride on the road for a while. But there won’t be any exits and all you’ll be able to do is look around at the trees and grass maintained by the road crew. The big buildings you see will always be inaccessible from the highway. Eventually the road will end… And when you try to turn around and come back – they’ll want you to pay again. There is no better investment you can make than direct investments in yourself where they concern you and only you – and aren’t compilations of crap being fed to a large group by people with very little skin in the game.
I perform and produce voice over, cast talent for projects, direct sessions for some of the biggest health care and animation companies in the country, design and build voice over isolation booths and am the chief engineer at the studio that handles all of that business. And I do it every day. I’ve got skin in the game – almost all of it in fact. The things I’ve learned after being so deeply involved in the craft are immeasurable when compared to some of the stuff being hawked to people out there. There’s a damn good chance I’ve forgotten more than they’ll ever know…
But I digress – it’s just my opinion.
Keep your eyes and ears open for a while and your wallet in your pocket.

Caveat Emptor..

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