I am not a Voiceover Expert. I am a student. I taught a class yesterday called “Intro to Voiceover” to a group of excited students who knew nothing about voiceover. Most of them were local Atlanta actors who wanted to break into the business or to wet their beak. But the first thing that I told them is that I myself, even after 15 years, am a student of voiceover. The second thing that I told themwas “this is an intro course and after this, you’ll need extensive training and coaching to really get into the business and I will recommend others who specialize in guiding your career.”
See here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s that I know that every day I am learning and in order to keep learning and grow my voiceover business, I need to keep the humility of a student. The other thing that I know is that many people in the industry with a cell phone camera bill themselves as a voiceover expert. Some of this is driven by the ability to sell courses, classes and advice to new students. Some of it is ego-driven and done for likes among peers. A friend who does a lot of great coaching and demo production once confided in me that there is more money in voiceover coaching and demo producing than there is in voiceover itself. I think that’s telling and a warning as to how students should invest their money in growing their businesses.
I do interviews as a way to learn valuable information from long-established and well-respected voiceover experts. I started it also to meet people in our industry and to watch them first hand conduct their businesses. Joe Loesch taught me to wake up every morning, get dressed and go to work in work clothes as I would for a corporate job. Dave Fennoy taught me to give every character a past, present and future. Anne Ganguzza taught me the value of consistency in marketing. And Joe Cipriano reminded me that relationships in business will help propel you forward faster. These are things that I may have taken longer to learn, but listening to voiceover experts whose opinions I value, helped put these things in perspective.
Why I Vlog
I love motivating people to be their best as I love being motivated by others. It cost money to buy equipment and travel to people’s homes wherever they may be. But I enjoy doing it. It pays when people recognize me and thank them for helping jumpstart their careers, but private lessons are a minuscule part of what I do. And after several lessons with me, I refer students to other coaches. That seems counterintuitive, but my focus is on continuous learning and advancing education. As for actual profit from vlogging, I make none. No ad dollars. No endorsements and no courses to sell. In full disclosure, my content is a form of advertising my business, but I mostly do this because I truly just love content.
Learning then Teaching
One of the biggest themes in my life has been learning and teaching. I am an avid learner. I grew up in a book store in New York that my father owned and learning was the central theme of my life. At a certain age, I realized that I had a passion for teaching people what I had learned. I eventually went on to work in the school system for 5 years. So, I love to impart information. In addition to wanting to share what I have learned in voiceover, I wanted to present that info in a fun way, in a way that you don’t see enough of online in our industry.
Telling Voiceover Stories
I wanted to fill a void that wasn’t being filled. There is plenty of advice in the voiceover industry. There are plenty of experts of varying levels doing podcasts, Youtube, Facebook Live shows and IGTV and I love a lot of that existing content. Some of the shows I enjoy are Ask Dave Fennoy and VO Buzz Weekly. But what I thought that I could do differently was to tell stories. I watch a lot of youtube videos from creators and enjoy the travel stories, the tech stories and the human stories that are told through video and narration. As a voice guy, I have always had a passion for verbally telling those stories. With a Panasonic GH4 in hand, I can tell those stories now cinematically as well as with my voice.