This next entry is going to be about my experience with coaching and getting training and why I recommend it.
I have a slight confession to you all when it comes to this. When I first started getting into voice over, I was finding a lot of success with the projects I was auditioning for that I foolishly avoided investing into a coach. While yes I was technically doing well, I wasn't making nearly as much progress as I could've been if I had taken the time to dedicate to learning from someone reputable within the industry and my personal experience will not be the same as yours'. Coaches offer you support in a very competitive industry and they tend to be a very valuable connection. Go forward a few years later and I'm almost halfway through my coursework with the incredible Nancy Wolfson and Zeke Hardman (yes, they work together), working on commercial voice over specifically.
Now that I've gotten a taste of how valuable coaching is, I'll never be looking back and will always look into it!
When should *I* get coaching? Which training?
As SOON as a possible! The training I am going to recommend you specifically get at the beginning is for the type of voice over that *you* want to mainly do, however, something that should be said is that certain training will benefit you in the long run. Let's say that you have a lot of animation or video game experience but you're on a monthly budget of what you can spend on coaching (hey, training is expensive)! Realistically, you're going to want to get training in a field that you don't have much experience in and that would benefit your career overall. You also need to consider where you live. I live in Dallas, Texas, so opportunities for video game work and original animation can be pretty tough to come by. But commercial work? That's something anyone can do from anywhere, as long as you have a good home studio!
My top two training recommendations are for commercial voice over and for marketing. If I could go back in time, I wish I would've started with these two at the very beginning because these are SO valuable for a voice talent. An excellent commercial demo (plus training) is what is going to get you signed into of big agencies which means many more opportunities knocking at your door!
Why is that so important specifically? Because commercial casting calls are the most frequent and common and they pay VERY well and you want to be able to show big agencies that "yes, I can do commercial voice over"!
Okay, but why do I recommend marketing training? That one seems a little out of the box but it's not! Any freelancer in any industry will benefit from learning from someone who knows how to market to clients and keep clients. Another tip is that agencies like seeing talent they represent able to make their own connections and reel in their own clients. It shows how devoted you are to the industry and craft!
Marketing directly to potential clients is how I have received the bulk of my work the more I think about it. In fact, I've recently gotten a sweet gig that I'm currently working on because a year or so ago, I reached out to a developer on Kickstarter who really enjoyed my portfolio.
I am *not* a coach by the way, however, something that helped me when I was lacking a proper website at the beginning was utilizing websites like SoundCloud where I would post auditions from projects I tried out for (always get permission for this). Then I would share those links on my social media ALL the time which yielded my traffic and multiple people approached me asking to audition!
There are so many creative ways to show off your voice and what you can do and it doesn't always have to be grandeur!
Now finally, WHO do I recommend?
There are SO many good coaches to consider, but because this is your journey, you're going to have to experiment a little bit. I've met many wonderful coaches along my path that I can highly recommend! Some of these lovely folks are people I've personally experienced and others are ones my peers have had great experience with. But remember that there's so many other coaches out there not listed!
Commercial Training: Nancy Wolfson, Mary Lynn Wissner, Anne Ganguzza, Dave Walsh
Marketing Training: Marc Scott, Corey Dissin, Lisa Biggs
Facebook groups I recommend: The VoiceOver Community
I recommend that Facebook group because odds are your questions have been asked fifty times over before and you can simply search up "coaches" or "coaching" which will yield a lot of results!
Some final notes... I've personally experienced the value of investing in highly reputable coaches. While I still have a lot of learning to do, I already feel way more confident in my reads and the training I've received JUST for commercial training has improved my other reads for other branches of voice over as well!
Whatever you do, don't ignore the training!