Any voice over actor worth their salt knows that one of the keys to success is in continuing education and professional development. For many actors, this means enrolling in classes or workshops where they can learn new techniques and hone their skills. If you’re ready to enroll but are struggling to find the course that’s right for you, consider the following tips:
1. Pick the right instructor. VO workshop instructors fall into one of two categories: they either know what they’re talking about or they don’t. All too often, actors with less-than-successful careers decide to teach to help make ends meet by heading up workshops or other classes. While it’s great that they’re trying to diversify, it’s not always so great for the actors who enroll in the class, who think they’re being taught by an expert in the field. When looking for an instructor, check their credentials and experience so you know who you’re working with. If you can, get referrals from colleagues or others in the industry who you trust. Just be aware of the unqualified people out there who may continually advertise all over the internet their workshops but have little to offer as instructors. Spend your money wisely... do your research first!
2. Make sure there’s a focus on acting. Voice over work is more acting than reading, so go for a class that emphasizes this. When you’re in the class, there should be ample opportunity for you to be “in character” so you can sharpen your acting skills. Check with the instructor ahead of time to make sure this element is in place.
3. Find out what the class size is. Class sizes of about 10 to 15 people are usually the best. Any less than this and you’re denying yourself the opportunity to learn from a variety of people with different backgrounds and experiences, and any more than this means that you’ll probably have less time behind the mic.
4. Ask how much time you’ll get to practice. A good workshop will allot plenty of time for each student to perform in front of the class. This allows you the opportunity to practice, as well as receive feedback from the instructor and other students. If there’s not a lot of mic time, then you’re not getting your money’s worth for the course.