Twice a year the local university publishes a continuing education catalog, inside it lists all sorts of interesting personal enrichment classes. I have taken a few painting classes over the years--but the class I had been dying to take was the voice-over class. The only thing stopping me was the price.
In January, I was reading a blog about barriers. What really got to me was a question at the end of the post:
What do you really want to do that you keep putting off?
I felt like the entry was speaking to me and within five minutes I had booked the voice-over class. For the past four weeks I have been taking lessons with the fabulous, Alice Whitfield, and I've been loving every moment of it.
Here are five lessons I have learned in the past month:
- Not everyone can do voice-overs. Voice-over acting is part learned skill and part innate ability. It is way more than just reading into a mic.
- You have to be willing to take direction. Great voice-over artists have three skills; 1) they listen well, 2) they have great instincts, and 3) they can take direction. If you can't handle constructive criticism this is not the field for you.
- It is not about "me". Being a great voice-over artist is all about transforming the copy and making it come to life. It is acting and as soon as I start worrying about me in the performance--the performance will end up terrible. The first time I was in the recording booth to tape a commercial, I was really nervous. Alice had to remind me that it was about the copy--not me and there was no reason to be nervous.
- I am a natural. There have only been two times in my life when someone has called me natural at something. The first was when I became a teacher and this is the second. I credit my ability to a number of factors. First, I come from a family of great readers. Second, I have taken acting classes, performed on stage and competed in dramatic poetry readings. Third, I have made hundreds of podcasts (although my students would argue that they are not very exciting); Fourth, I read aloud frequently to my students and I try to make the passages as interesting as possible.
- Regret. I don't regret many things, but this is definitely one of them. I can't believe it took me FIVE YEARS to sign up for classes. I could hit myself I am so upset. Five years I could have been making extra money on the side. Ugh!
I enjoyed the month of lessons so much I have decided to continue with private lessons and work towards making my demo reel. I will be writing follow-up posts that go into more detail on how one becomes a voice-over artist.
So, what do you really want to do that you keep putting off?