By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Join Voice Over Expert Peter RofÃ© in his lecture "What to Look For in a Voice Over Coach" as he discusses how to choose a qualified teacher for private and group voice over training. Peter gives you the tools to discern best practices, illuminates items to be wary of, and prepares you for studying voice over as well as some tips on how to go about planning for a voice over demo reel.
Peter RofÃ©, Peter Rofe, Voice Over Instruction, How to pick a voice over coach, Voice Over Training, Voice Over Coaches, Voice Acting, PDR Voice Coaching
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It's never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won't find anywhere else.
This week Voices.com is pleased to present Peter RofÃ¨.
Peter RofÃ¨: Hey, guys. This is Peter RofÃ¨, voiceover artist, coach and producer in New York City from PDR Voiceover Coaching. Just before I start this podcast, I just wanted thank the staff at Voices.com for asking me back to record another podcast. I hope that the previous podcast I did on how to breakdown and analyze commercial copy shed some light on the audition experience and the technique that's needed.
Today I want to talk about voiceover training whether that be private coaching or group classes and we'll also touch upon the production of quality voiceover reels. Now, this is something that I know a lot about since I am a producer and I am a coach but it's also something that I know about because I've gone through the process as an aspiring voiceover artist.
Voiceover skill takes time. It takes an open mind and a good coach to help you learn and sometimes just going online and search of classes being offered in your area can result in finding the perfect teacher but sometimes, it's not as easy as that and there are some caveats that I just wanted to discuss.
In any performing art, voiceover requires an audience, an objective set of ears that can listen, interpret and offer constructive criticism. You want to find a coach that works well with you. That's extremely important. Your coach should always encourage you and allow you the freedom to fail without harm. Remember the best way to learn anything in life is through trial and error. So, making mistakes is an essential part of the growing process and your shortcomings can reveal weaknesses that can only help your coach pinpoint the bad habits that you've attained.
Bad habits along with misguided preconceive notions can also easily be replaced with voiceover technique and proper etiquette which in return becomes one's strengths. That could be the difference between launching a successful voiceover career and being an amateur with a good voice. Your coach ought to be patient with you as well, allowing you to work at your own level and I know this from experience that it's exciting and it's rewarding for a teacher or a coach to also find the right student.
I always find that in order to get the best performance from my students, I will find something positive to say to them before offering them a note or a constructive criticism that will alter their performance. You know my students never feel like they don't belong in the booth. In this fashion, I have also witness how the human psyche learns new tricks quickly without resulting in a bruised ego and this is a universal truth which really transcends coaching in all its forms, whether it's on a baseball diamond or on stage or in a voiceover booth.
And let me talk just a little bit about group classes. I am in favor of group classes but I also believe that private coaching on some level is a requirement. You see, a voiceover class works on the assumption that everyone is learning at the same pace but of course we know that's rarely the case. Many schools offer a predetermined number of classes as part of a package deal that includes a demo tape. You've got to be aware of those classes because sometimes they can be a recipe for disaster. Remember, classes are seldom and expensive and some of them kind of revolve like a revolving door, you know, their motto is get him in and get him out as quickly as possible, charge as much as possible. Because we're offering a produced demo reel as part of these class curricula, we can charge you X amount of dollars for this class.
But again beware, those classes sort of assume that students are ready to compete with the big boys in the industry and that's not necessarily the case and also in our business as competitive as it is, you don't really have a second chance at first impression. So if you're reel isn't (up to snuff), your career unfortunately could end before it begins and this is not necessarily a reflection on you as a student but really a reflection on the class and how it's designed to maximize its earning potential. So just make sure that you're aware of those things when you're researching a class.
A 68-week voiceover class by itself certainly lacks the essential person one-on-one attention that a student needs to completely grasp voiceover skills. I'm all for classes that assess people's talent and innate ability before embarking on a group class. I think that if you work with somebody prior to a class, you'll have a better class and sometimes there are people in these classes that frankly don't belong there and that can poison a class environment. So, you want to have a group of people that are willing, able to work in the booth on somewhat of a professional level even though we're working toward a professional level.
And also I'm in favor of like these 68-week classes that allow people to sort of gather and get in the booth and work on copy and you know, sort of flex their voiceover muscles. I think that's also an essential part of competing in our industry is making sure that you're always learning. You can always learn more regardless of what level you're at, you make a $100,000 a year as a voiceover announcer, you make $500,000 a year, you make a million dollars a year. You always need a coach and you always could learn more and benefit from a coach.
Now, let's talk a little bit about the reel for a second here. Make sure that your reel that's being produced is part of a separate process that has nothing to do with class, okay? Now, the person that's teaching that class could be the producer and the coach of your reel but it has to be a separate entity because whoever it is producing your reel, they need to take the necessary time and effort to understand what your best abilities are and then to showcase them properly. So, picking copy for your reel should never be a random process, make sure you pick copy that exhibits your sense of style, your voice quality, your sense of humor, the ability to be taken seriously as an announcer and as a real person. You definitely need that to be part of your reel and that's what agents and casting directors are yearning to hear.
So, when you're researching your class options make sure that you're going to be working in a fully equipped recording studio. It's vital to train with the proper equipment. Your class should also provide you with the recordings of all your sessions in the booth along with your coach's comments and feedback because this gives you the opportunity to continue to learn in the comfort of your home and do your research. Don't make any quick decisions on choosing the coach or the class that you will be learning in. Remember you have to be comfortable in the environment you're working with and you have to be comfortable with the person that you're working with. So, if you don't feel completely comfortable with this particular coach that's probably not the coach for you.
You should have an assessment session with that coach or a consultation with that coach because the coach should also be looking at you as the right student and you should be looking at the coach as the right coach, so it's a two-way street. You have to sort of agree together to work together. And some of the great ways of finding a good coach is certainly here in the online community, you know, where you could visit blogs and see what people are saying about coaches and certainly listen to what people have to say because word of mouth is the strongest form of advertising and remember, just because a voiceover school or coach places a full page ad and a well-respected trade publication doesn't necessarily mean that they have the ability to launch your career. I mean there are a lot of - well, there are few self-proclaimed voiceover coach who make a nice living at luring an experienced talent. So, just make sure you're not one of those people. Be weary of the coaches who take you on as a client without assessing your talent level first.
A coach should always ask questions of his potential client. Have you ever work in voiceovers before? What kind of voiceovers do you want to do? Where do you want to take your career? How much money do you want to make with this? What's your schedule like? All of those questions, those logistical questions as just as important and that initial dialog can help a coach determine if you're a student who's ready and eager to learn, not just another client with a lofty dream and a checkbook.
And always ask the prospective coach to play their client's various demo reels because your own instincts can tell you if their reels sound professional. So, if someone already has a reel or is looking to update a reel you may want to heed this advice. The more you take your career seriously the more the industry will take you seriously. Well, this is Peter RofÃ¨. I'll be signing off for now but I wanted to thank you for listening and I hope that some of the advice that I've offered here today can make a positive impact on your career.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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When Peter RofÃ© began his career -- like many actors -- he searched long and hard for a decent way to support himself. He discovered that voice-overs could be an extension of one's acting career and a respectable way to earn a decent living without compromising artistic integrity.
Peter believes from experience that voice-over artists benefit greatly from studying with a coach who has a good ear, a wealth of knowledge, and plenty of industry experience. That's why former clients will tell you that Peter's hands on approach and work experience make him one of New York's City's top voice over coaches.
Peter offers a wide range of services, from teaching clients privately to conducting group workshops, producing high-end demo reels and offering introductory classes and marketing seminars. He has also taught voice over courses at The Barrow Group and Stonestreet Film & Television Studios (Tisch School of the Arts, New York University). In addition, Peter has coached veteran television broadcasters and business executives for speeches and corporate functions.
Coaching sessions focus mainly on technique and copy interpretation with a strong emphasis placed on commercial, straight announcer, and animation reads. Special attention is also given to non-announcer (conversational) reads, which have become so fundamental in today's industry.
Demo reels are produced in his state of the art recording studio with an experienced engineering staff. It is strongly advised that all of his students produce demo reels when they have reached a competitive level." I try to produce tapes that agents and casting directors want to hear, so copy is carefully chosen and tailored to exhibit each actor's style, versatility, and sense of humor." Many of Peter's clients have signed with top commercial agents and have landed work in commercials, promos, cartoons, and industrials.
Peter also co-authored a book with Randy Thomas, called Voice For Hire: How to Launch and Maintain a Lucrative Career in Voice Over. It will be published by Backstage Books and will be available in bookstores Spring 2008.
Voice Over Experts is the industry's most downloaded educational podcast featuring renowned voice over coaches from US, Canada and abroad. Join us each week for pearls of wisdom and tricks of the trade to improve your voice over career. Listen online or subscribe in iTunes to hear from leading experts in the field of voice-overs.
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