What’s the old saying, “Those who can’t do teach.” This may or may not be true in the ever fragmenting world of voice over and voice acting, but it sure seems like a lot of voice over artists are mining for gold in the brave new world of voice over coaching.
A few months ago I caught up with an old friend of mine in a large city that is a biggie for voice acting work, let’s call it one of the big five. This professional voice over guy was someone I worked with a number of years at an unnamed radio network. I knew he had moved on to voice over a few years ago (actually he was doing VO as a side-gig way back when). Yea, back in the day when the only way a cis-vo-artist could make a living was to have one of those baritone voices all the guy’s (and a lot of the girls) swoon over. Well, he had one, smooth as molasses on a well oiled plate. The point here is that he told me during our conversation that he, “Doesn’t do much VO work anymore, he’s mostly coaching.” And it’s not like he was a one-trick-pony, he couldn’t only do the big-assed trailer voice, I’ve heard his latest demo, he’s great with a conversational read. Obviously somewhere along the line, he’s made a conscious decision that it’s easier or better paying (or both) to just do VO coaching.
I was on a VO conference call a few months back with one of those big-named VO guys who is also a coach, you know him, everyone in the biz knows him, he’s very successful, well known and award winning. I asked him the question, “Why do you coach if you are so successful and book constantly, is there more to be made coaching than Voice Acting?” He laughed, the host laughed, and said something to the effect that he made far more money doing VO’s than coaching. I kind of got the impression (and it might just be I was reading into it, it’s been known to happen), that he is doing it to pass along what he’s learned and as kind of an act of knowledge philanthropy. Look, I worked as a broadcast consultant and I never gave away the secrets of being a personality on the radio “out of the goodness of my heart.” I wanted cash for that, not just kudos. By passing along your knowledge of something all you’re doing is creating more competition for yourself. Yea, I’m, a bit of conspiracy theorist, I’ll admit it, but I think there is more going on here than meets the eye.
- Maybe it’s easier to coach than it is to constantly chase down new leads and prospect for new clients. After all, you really don’t have to deliver a product, just an opinion.
- I really wonder if all the disruption in the VO world with pay-to-plays and the declining lock-in the agents and big named talent used to have on the biz, gigs are actually declining for some of the bigger named voice over actors by the entry level and mid level talent. A sort of a death by a thousand cuts, like being nibbled to death by a thousand pilchards.
Sure, I pay a coach, cause I sure can be a hell of a lot better than I am at talking words. But I would say this, pick them wisely. Do your homework and make sure that they really do have the “goods.” But somewhere in the back of my tiny little pea brain, I still have to wonder, if there is all this coin to be made in voice over, why are so many of the veterans turning to coaching? I think that being a voice over coach would be a pretty cherry gig. If I was more of a professional narcissist and had less of that good ol’ midwestern “don’t think more of yourself than you are kid” that my parents and grandparents handed down to me, I’d get the business cards printed and hang out a shingle. Until then, I’ll only feel like I have the shingles looking at the endless cadre of all of the “coaches” out there selling their verbal wares.