I just got home from a weekend workshop in Henderson (just outside Las Vegas) with Marice Tobias. It was an all-woman workshop with 10 working pros held at Melissa Moats new voiceover studio The Voice Actors Studio. Marice does this same thing with all men and also co-ed. The women’s workshop is usually – OK, pretty much always – a lot more emotional therapy along with the voiceover component. It was a wonderful weekend for many reasons and I think it has shown in the auditions and the projects I have done since getting back to my studio on Monday.
Getting coaching is something that a lot of working voice talent does during the course of their careers. Some do it a lot, some never and some fall somewhere in between. I’m probably in the in between camp.
And you can break it into categories: one-on-one, small groups of pros or very specific genres of VO, mid-sized groups of pros and large groups with voiceover people of all levels.
The larger groups tend to be mostly for beginners – pros usually find that they get more out of a really large conference by hanging out with their friends. The mid-sized groups have more substance for the working pro with something gleaned by the end of the weekend – sometimes lots and lots of things. Small groups can work specifics and hone in on approach. And of course, one-on-one is all about specifics.
This weekend was a small group and we worked on some specific approaches to what we do, lots of insights into our business as it is today – and our mental health.
The interesting thing for me is that after I get back from one of these weekends in a small group or with a one-on-one coach, my conversations with agents who I book with on a regular basis worry that I am going to change my basic delivery.
No, my goal with these workshops is to hone in on the real me – the person I am with my friends, with my speech patterns and energy and believe-ability.
Not change me, but be a better me.
We spend so much time in a vacuum these days that we second guess who we are when we get a piece of copy. So, while the read is good and the client is satisfied – the read COULD be great and the client can’t think of any reason not to hire you again for another project. I want to continue to be in that group – a voice that people remember the next time they have a project that needs a VO.
So, when the opportunity arises, I will continue to attend small workshop, or a mid-sized conference like FaffCon. And maybe I’ll pony up for a one-on-one every once in a while.
But for right now, I will be reflecting on this most recent experience and try to bring the “real” me to new auditions without losing who I was before.