What Is Voiceover Coaching and Why Do You Need It?

What does it take to excel? What does it take to be an expert at your chosen endeavour? There is this persistent claim of 10,000-hour rule – the idea is that you invest at least 10,000 hours in practice in order to reach meaningful success in your chosen field.

However, the same expert who propagated this claim says, “You don’t get benefits from mechanical repetition, but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal.”

A lot of voice actors started their interest in the industry by being told that they have a great voice and should be heard on the radio. But it takes more than a great voice to be successful in the industry. One should have the ability to make every script believable and real. More than your voice quality, you should have the skills in acting as well as timing. A natural talent and excellent voice quality may give you an edge or get you started, but coupled with PASSION, PREPARATION and PERSISTENT TRAINING will make you a voiceover success.

Voiceover is the art of using the voice to inform, sell, and entertain, and through voiceover coaching or training you will learn the different techniques in order to bring these devices to life. There is no standard curriculum when it comes to voiceover coaching, however the fundamentals are the same. One core lesson for a voiceover talent is understanding the proper vocal technique – learning about sound, tone, pitch, tempo and volume, and how to apply or use these concepts.

Voice Acting Courses

There are various universities or institutes that offer drama and theatre acting programs also offer courses in voice acting. Academy of Art University – offers certificates as well as Associates, Bachelors, and Graduate degree programs including distance learning. They offer a variety of programs for art and animation, as well as a program focusing on voice acting.

New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia – Located on Broadway in New York City, this school offers a program in voice acting as well as other performing arts majors and artistic fields such as animation.

California Institute of Creative Arts (CICA) – With small classes and a professional staff, the CICA offers a variety of programs including voice acting and online courses

Florida Atlantic University – Offers undergraduate and graduate level degree programs in small classes for voice acting and other performing arts. Some of the expected learning outcomes from university/institute based voice acting courses are:

  • Learn skills in a variety of media: film, television, theater, voiceover, improvisation and musical theater
  • Understand and communicate meaning and depth of the character and script
  • Learn skills to bring spontaneity and utilize improvisation as part of the acting process
  • Learn to demonstrate vocal range, resonance, breath control, and appropriate vocal power
  • Be able to complete demo reel that is dynamic and marketable

There are also voiceover classes or workshops mentored or facilitated by industry experts. They offer one-on-one coaching or mentoring, technique courses, and advanced performance classes. Participants may learn basic mic techniques; the fundamentals of sound and voice; technical knowledge and tools for the voiceover business; improvisation and timing techniques; study method and practice techniques; understanding the script or copy; demo production; and many more.

Voice Over Coaching and Training

Some studios or classes that offer voiceover coaching and training are:

HB Studio The voiceover workshop at Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City introduces participants to specific techniques necessary for commercial and radio voice acting

Edge Studio – They offer courses in different phases from introduction to the voiceover industry and learning the ropes, to understanding the voiceover business and continuous learning for industry pros

Voice Actor Training – Is a comprehensive training website for voice talents. They also offer more personal training through Skype for one on one coaching lessons in order to help the talent determine the area of the industry they need to focus on.

Voiceover Coach – Offers online voiceover coaching sessions, studio practice workshops, private coaching and more to help talents improve in their techniques and skills.

Though the idea of “practice makes perfect” does makes sense to some extent, the secret to true and continued improvement is not in the amount of time you invest in practicing but the quality of that time.

The real main predictor of success according to psychologists is DELIBERATE PRACTICE – this is persistent training, with your full concentration, guided by a skilled expert, coach, or mentor.

Those who found success in their domain not only practiced more than 10,000 hours but is guided by an expert who was able to identify aspects in their performances that need improvement. The feedback loop allows you spot errors as they occur and correct them. When you practice alone, without proper concentration and feedback may lead you to just practicing “good enough performances”. This sets apart the amateurs from the experts. Amateurs are content with being proficient, to coast through the motions more or less effortlessly.  No matter how much they practice, their improvement is negligible.

On the other hand, experts diverge and do not cease to grow. They focus on refining their performance and keeping eye and ear to the feedback given by a seasoned coach. It is continuous and focused learning that stops them from hitting a plateau. If you are aiming for the professional level, become an expert, you should stop pressing the autopilot and shift your gear to active and corrective attention.  

Emma Jaimeson

Emma is a voice over and marketing fanatic. When she's not talking to the top voice talent and agents, she's putting her thoughts down digitally and disseminating the information globally.

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