Want an evaluation of your VO potential? Get it in writing. Part 1 of 2.
Jun 08 2017
NOTE: This is the first post in a two-part article. Click here to read part two!
Do you dream of becoming a voice artist? Maybe people have told you you’d be great at it? But what do they know? How do you know? The obvious answer is to get a professional opinion. But opinions vary, and for that matter, so do professionals. Some, although they may be great at what they do, are familiar with only their particular niche or genre of the industry. Others aren’t up on industry trends. And still others, unfortunately, have an ax to grind or will tell you whatever you want to hear.
What’s the solution? Get a comprehensive assessment from a broadly qualified industry pro. And get it in writing.
A written evaluation is important for several reasons:
1. It puts your evaluator on the record. This is partly a “BS filter” – it’s one thing to give you verbal feedback. It’s another to express an opinion thoughtfully and tangibly on the record … in writing.
2. It serves as a checklist and reminder of what you should work on. As a beginner, of course you should work on everything. But different people have different strengths and weaknesses. Getting a written list will help you focus your efforts fully and properly.
3. It helps you understand. Experts sometimes forget that novices don’t absorb all the industry “good talk” on their first hearing. There are a lot of concepts and words that might be new to the prospective student. Some of these thoughts and terminology might even fly right past you unless you have them in writing, to go back and look at later. Many a progressing VO student has looked back and been amazed at how some things that seemed technical or subtle when they started, soon became obvious and easy to grasp.
4. It lets you communicate to other professionals. Suppose you go to another coach. Will you have to start from scratch? With a comprehensive written evaluation from a respected VO professional, you two might get up-to-speed more quickly. It might even help you convince a popular coach to take you on.
It also helps you confer with another VO professional – someone who you might want to evaluate the evaluation, so to speak … or elaborate on it, whatever. For example, at Edge Studio, our Training and Demo program includes a telephone or email follow-up* by one of our Career Advisors. They work from such a written assessment.
*(your choice … some things are more efficiently discussed by speaking, rather than email)
6. Once you are learning, your written evaluation (along with written internal progress reports) lets Edge Studio coaches confer. As we said, coaching styles, professional voice-acting backgrounds, and creative opinions differ among coaches, casting pros and directors. So, when we at Edge Studio greenlight a student for voice-over training, we encourage the student to learn from a variety of coaches. Along the way, your Edge Studio coaches confer to evaluate your progress and fine-tune your curriculum. A written evaluation is at the core of this communication.
7. If the assessment is borderline, you deserve a written explanation as to why further actions are needed for a clearer determination, and what those actions should be. Furthermore, if the assessment is negative (suggesting you not pursue training as a voice actor), you should receive an honest opinion in writing. It should be polite and respectful, but clear and candid. It would not benefit your reputation (nor ours) for someone to give you false hope.
8. Ultimately, you’ll develop your own written “assessment,” in the form of a voice description to help position you in the voice-over marketplace. As you progress in your professional training, you’ll most likely fine-tune it to help casting professionals understand how you fit their needs. Maybe you’ll even revise this description a lot, as you discover the full range of your capabilities.
But for now, the professional assessing you can give you a sense of where you stand, by writing it out for you, as you appear to their trained ears. For example,
Female voice actor, age 20 to 35 with a friendly and folksy vocal delivery. Specializing in commercials, documentaries, and corporate training videos.
That doesn’t make you a pro yet. But it helps you understand where you’re headed as you prepare to write your own ticket.
Next week: The essential qualities our Investigate Voice Over session evaluates
PHASE 1 Investigate Voice Over Class, With evaluation report