Although one of the Voice Over - How To pages on my web site is titled “How To Read Copy”, it is very basic practice information for you and not in any way meant to be a substitute for working with a Professional Voice Over Coach! When I started working as a voice over talent, there weren’t as many people out there coaching voice over. Many voice over performers began as radio personalities or DJs and started doing voice over for commercials that way. Some, like me, came from an acting background and migrated into the world of voice over. And, yes, people had always told me I had a great voice, too, but then, as now, that is not nearly enough to help you become successful as a working voice over talent!
When I produced my first voice over demo, I found ad copy from magazines and other sources including radio station DJs who shared copy they had at the station. I probably even picked up some from Soundworks - known as Cook Sound back then- where I was producing the demo. Not having a coach, I relied on the expert guidance of the audio engineer who produced the demo to direct me. Later, I always created demos from snippets of spots I had actually recorded for clients. At the time, that was what everyone wanted to hear - actual work you had done.
Today, everyone with any experience in voice over will tell you that it’s best to study with a qualified voice over coach and only create your first demo when you are ready. You can waste a lot of money producing a bad demo which may not help your career and could, in fact, end it before it begins! There’s just too much competition out there. Agents will not want to represent you if you present them with a substandard demo, and producers will not want to hire you directly with it either.
So, how do you find a qualified voice over coach? Word of mouth and referrals from working voice over talent are the best means of locating those coaches who can truly give you what you need to succeed. Then, you need to talk with the coaches, which may require paying for a session in some cases, in order to determine whether personality types mesh and to see what kind of a feeling you get for how this coach works and how they plan to help you reach your goals. This is an important investment in your career. Getting into voice over requires an investment, especially if you intend to build your own home studio as well. (More about that in another blog!)
If you’re still not convinced that you need a voice over coach to give yourself the best shot at succeeding in voice over, please know that after over 25 years as a professional working voice over talent, I studied with coach Nancy Wolfson, of Braintracks Audio in order to stay current and in top form. In addition, I have worked with others in workshops and tele-seminars. You always need to keep learning. In my blog post titled “I’m Not a Voice Over Agent”, I list Nancy’s link as well as links to other reputable voice over coaches I know.
I hope this helps you on your journey into voice over!