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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Teaching Voiceover? Try These Tips to Help Your Students

It’s not uncommon for many voice over actors to take on the role of educator at some point in their career. There are always new aspiring voice actors, and teaching them the ins and outs of the industry is a great way to share knowledge and give back (and make a little side money if you’re doing it professionally). I've been amazed at the things I learn while teaching others! Teaching can be challenging, though, so use these tips to better connect with your students and pass along the valuable information that they need to succeed.

     Ease tension and nervousness. For newbies (and even some experienced actors), being nervous is pretty standard. Voice over requires you to put yourself out there, oftentimes getting well out of your comfort zone. This can be stressful, and when you factor in the other people in the room, it’s only amplified. As an instructor, it’s your job to ease this tension by providing a comfortable environment and helping students relax. Try incorporating music, movement and other sensory elements that can dispel tension. Ask questions, get to know your students, and encourage interaction among them.
     Teach for real world scenarios. When teaching, discuss real world situations that your students are likely to encounter in the future. Talk about these scenarios and what options they have for dealing with them. An example might be how to work with a fussy client who keeps wanting re-reads, or what to do when you’re faced with a project that requires you to make a moral decision.
     Provide samples. Support what you’re teaching with samples of your work or other actors’ work. Your students need to hear and see these things in practice so they can make a correlation to what you’re teaching them. They often need to "get over" the sound of their own voices and concentrate on the messages they are voicing.
     Allow for plenty of practice. This one is VERY important. Make sure to provide plenty of time for practice.  Nothing teaches better than “hands-on” learning opportunities, and this is critical for your students to take what you’ve taught them and put it into practice.
     Show students how to transition to the professional world. Finally, don’t make the mistake of imparting all this wisdom and then just sending them out the door. Show them how to transition to the professional world by providing information on marketing, branding, networking, etc. 

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