A Great Voice Over Coach Is
... Your Ears! Learn To Listen
Note: The author recently published an excellent guide to voice over audio and equipment, Sound Advice - Voiceover From An Audio Engineer's Perspective. Click here for details.
By Dan Friedman
Audio Engineer, Producer & Voice Talent
Recently there was a post on a social media site that discussed voice over coaches. The talent (whom I do not know) wrote that he was discouraged by some comments that his most recent coach had made.
At the time I write this, the post has 48 comments, with some very popular names in the industry weighing in.
Getting some VO coaching is critical to your career, of course.
A GOOD COACH WILL ...
At a minimum, good coaches teach:
Many coaches offer additional instruction on other topics related to voice over, such as marketing, basic audio recording and audio editing.
And coaches provide encouragement, direction and might even be able to get you a gig or two.
APPRECIATE THEIR HONESTY
Voice coaches can be many things, and their role and importance in your career can change as your career grows and progresses.
The most important job of the coach is to be completely honest when evaluating your abilities and offering feedback.
This feedback is important.
HEAR IT YOURSELF
But at some point, you have to learn to hear "it” for yourself.
The truth of the matter is, you have the best coach with you at all times - your ears.
Voice over coaches are indirectly trying to get every student to open their ears and truly listen.
Learning to hear the differences and nuances in attitude, style, pacing, inflection, emphasis, amount of smile, etc. is, in my opinion, the real secret to doing voice over well.
Almost anyone can learn to do these things with their voice if they are aware of what to do and practice doing it.
However, being able to hear the subtle nuances of your delivery is what enables you to stop simply playing with words and allows you to become the communicator that every serious voice talent should work toward becoming.
Coaching deliberately teaches the techniques that get the brain, mouth and voice working together to physically do what needs to be done.
PIECE IT TOGETHER
But many voice talent fall short by failing to truly engage their ears.
This is one reason why so many voice overs are pieced together line-by-line by the engineers, whose job it is to use their ears every day.
While this is common in today’s world of fast digital editing - and even clients have gotten comfortable working this way, this is not exactly how it is meant to be.
You have two ears and one mouth to remind you to use your ears twice as much.
TRUST YOUR EARS
Record, read, playback, listen, adjust accordingly and do it over and over again.
Learn to use your ears. Use them purposefully, and over time you will learn to trust them.
You will know immediately what is working and what isn’t.
You will learn to fine-tune and self-correct.
ABOUT DAN ...
Dan Friedman is a voice talent who began as an audio engineer in 1994, working with live sound and then in radio and recording studios. He has been a producer with ProComm Voices for nearly 10 years, and since 2005, a voice talent with a growing list of of clients including radio and television campaigns. His comprehensive book, Sound Advice - Voiceover From An Audio Engineer's Perspective, provides an excellent foundation for understanding voice over audio and equipment.
Sound Advice book: Click Here
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success