Self Directing and Self Evaluation in Voice Overs
How Do I Evaluate My Performance in an Online Class?
If you we're taking a live class with me here in beautiful Burbank, California, I could give you instant feedback on what's working and what needs to be improved. The online classes are a bit different. I can tell you how to do it and give you a clear example of the correct "read" but it is up to you to listen to your recordings and evaluate them to hear if you are achieving the desired goal in your performance.
The online lessons are divided into two sections. The first part explains the particular concepts and skills we're trying to develop in that lesson. And the second part lets you record some spots that utilize and develop the skills that are discussed. I give you a sample reading of each script so that you can hear an interpretation that uses the concepts you just learned. By comparing your performance with the example performance you develop the skills required to evaluate and improve your skills as you grow in your voice over career.
Self Direction Is a Required Skill in Voice Overs
This ability to "self direct" also has a wider application. Back in the "good old days" whenever you auditioned, you went to a casting company or an agent and you had a booth director that would evaluate your audition and make suggestions as to how to improve it. You obviously had to "take direction" well but at least you knew you were on the right path. Nowadays with internet auditions and casting you have to completely "self direct" and pray that your read is in the ballpark of what the client has in mind.
But even in the days of booth directors they never directed you in the details of your performance. They might tell you "a bit faster with a touch more energy" but they wouldn't tell you how to phrase the sentences, which words to punch, what to do with the pitch of your voice, where to put a beat, or the emotion required on each line. Those aspects of your read constitute your "style" and "interpretation". Creating a unique, exciting audition is your responsibility. That's why they pay you the big bucks!
So AUDITIONS have always been extremely self-directed.
And in the new world of voice overs many of the JOBS aren't directed anymore. In about 60% of the work I do, the client sends me a script, I perform it, directing myself, and then upload the audio files to the client. It's up to me to determine the feel the spot needs, which words to hit, any emotional interpretations, and all of the other possible choices. They client has a good feel of my style and abilities from my demo or my audition and they trust me to recreate that feel in the actual job.
In the Online Classes You'll Learn Self-Direction and Self-Evaluation
Sooooo... what I've tried to build into the classes is the instruction needed to acquire these self directing skills. In the classes you don't just "learn voice overs", you "learn about voice overs". You learn all of the different changes you do with your voice to communicate. Such skills as phrasing, beats, word emphasis, inflection, pitch change, volume change, personality, attitude, tone of voice, emotional changes in each line and many more. By learning these concepts you also improve your ear. You'll start hearing more detail in the commercials you hear on the TV and radio. And then the world will be your teacher. You'll be able to hear when styles change and what the current styles are so you'll always have auditions that fit what the clients of the day are listening for.
I teach you how to look at the copy and determine which of these "vocal parameters" to use in your auditions and jobs and how to control them to bring out the meaning of the copy and to make the copy your own. Self-directing comes down to making clear, decisive artistic choices for your read and then having the ability to execute those choices accurately. Learning this "craft" of voice overs will allow you to self-direct in this way.
But Even Tiger Woods Needs a Golf Coach
It always amazes me when they hire a baseball player for 10 million dollars a year and then they have a batting coach instruct him that earns a fraction of that. And why does Tiger Woods need a golf coach? What's up with that? Well, it turns out that we can't always evaluate ourselves. Our perspective on our own performance is influenced by the same skills and assumptions that we bring to the game. So even if you're an experienced pro it's a good idea to work with a voice over coach. A good coach can listen to your performance, analyze it, and tell you in a matter of minutes what's working, and what needs to be improved and how to improve it. An occasional coaching session can make sure you're on the right path and identify any shortcomings that need to be corrected before they become bad habits.
Email Evaluation and Online Coaching by William Williams
To add the personal element back into your training I'm offering two solutions.
Solution One: Class Performance Evaluations
First of all, to guide you in the individual lessons I'm going to offer an email evaluation program. It will work like this. You take a particular lesson, complete the study, and record your best takes. I'll give them a listen and record an MP3 evaluation of your performance with clear recommendations to improve your performance and email my evaluation MP3 back to you.
The regular price for these evaluations is $24.95 but for a limited time I'm going to offer them for $14.95 to get the process started and work the bugs out. You are allowed ONE $14.95 evaluation PER CLASS TAKEN. Any additional evaluations for that class are $24.95.
Solution Two: Individual Coaching via Phone Patch or Skype
For more individualized instruction I am also offering one-on-one coaching sessions via phone patch or Skype. This session lasts about and hour and a half and we'll cover instruction that is personalized to particular areas that you need to work on. You can be on mic at you home or I can record your voice (phone quality!) and the session will be available for you to download and listen to in the future.
This more intense one-on-one training is available for $125.00 per session. When you make your deposit we will schedule a coaching time that is mutually convenient. You call my phone patch number or contact me via my Skype ID through Skype. Any cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance or your deposit is forfeited.
I'll get this process set up in a few days so it shows up on the class list and your home page. In the meanwhile if you're interested CONTACT ME and we'll work out the details.
Good Luck and Keep Talking!