VAM 038 | Q & A Session 03 – Finding Voice Acting Coaches & Classes

VAM 038 | Q & A Session 03 – Finding Voice Acting Coaches & Classes

Welcome to episode 38 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

For this episode, I thought I would play another of the voicemail questions that I’ve been getting from my listeners and do my best to answer it. For those who don’t know, in past episodes,  I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer a question from Charles of Reno, NV. Charles wants to know how to find reputable coaches and classes who can help him develop both his voice acting craft and his knowledge of the business, including information about demos.

Charles may not have realized it, but his question speaks to the emotional core of why I created this blog and podcast in the first place. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of amazing teachers in my life to whom I am eternally grateful, and as a teacher myself, I take the student-teacher relationship very seriously. If an earnest, sincere student comes to a teacher for guidance and training, then I believe it is vitally important for the teacher to do their very best, using whatever skills they have, to help that student grow as much as possible. So I spend this episode answering Charles’ question in detail. I hope you and the many others I have encountered who have asked this same question will find my response useful.

In this podcast, I not only explain how to find coaches and classes, I also outline 4 criteria for evaluating them:

  1. Does the coach work in the field you’re pursuing?
  2. Does the coach’s teaching style appeal to you?
  3. Do other people recommend that coach?
  4. Be wary of all-in-one courses that offer you a demo at the end of the course.

I think you’ll find my in-depth explanation of these criteria very helpful.

As a reminder, the number where you can call in and ask your question is:

323-696-2655.

Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

I also reference a number of websites in my podcast. I’ll list those websites here:

Voice Over Resource Guide (VORG): http://www.voiceoverresourceguide.com
Internet Movie Database (IMDB): http://www.imdb.com
Voice Acting Alliance (VAA): http://www.voiceactingalliance.com
Voice Acting Club (VAC): http://www.voiceactingclub.com
Voiceover Universe (VU): http://www.voiceoveruniverse.com

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #38 Here (MP3)

 

25 Responses to “VAM 038 | Q & A Session 03 – Finding Voice Acting Coaches & Classes”

  1. James 'StarRunner' Rolls says:

    I know it wasn’t because of anything on my part, but It’s quite the amusing that you release this episode not long after my last comment. I think what you presented just reinforces my decision to concider you as a coach. You nail the four criteria I’m looking for.

    But as I said before, I have to wait a while until my financial situation isn’t as dire.

  2. Pat says:

    Very useful advice! I imagine you learned all this from trial and error: do you have any particularly noteworthy stories about teachers that didn’t work out for you?

    And also, is there an anime industry term for that extended gasping stuff that characters do when something even vaguely dramatic happens? It’s something that I only ever see in anime, like shortness of breath and stuttering combined, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some shorthand, like “Okay Crispin, now we’ll be doing *term*”.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’ve had some acting teachers that were less than ideal. They usually had no coherent way of explaining their process to others. They would spout platitudes like “have fun with it”, “be in the moment” and “just be yourself” as if they were the Oracle at Delphi. I never found that kind of advice terribly actionable. After all, how am I not myself?

      And yes, there are little jokes about all the inarticulate acting noises that are so common in anime. At Bang Zoom we called a gasp where you inhaled a 101. A gasp with an exhale and then an inhale was a 102. I’m not sure if they worked out any other codes for those noises. The best note I got on one of those noises was when the director said, “Could you make it less of a ‘Hunh?'”, which basically meant “Act better.” It was pretty funny at the time.

  3. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I oh-so-desperately want to take your workshops, Mr. Freeman. Which will happen! Sometime next year, I’m sure. Keep on the look out!

    Anyway, thank you so much for this critique sheet of questions to ask yourself. My university is hosting a Hollywood actress to come and teach a really long workshop that’s not exactly cheap. I would love to go, but I have doubts that I would benefit from it after going through those questions. Saved me a few bucks!

    Lovely podcast, as always. Can’t wait for the next!

  4. Caitlin says:

    I was just thinking about this topic before I watched the episode so that was interesting. Great tips too, when looking for a coach most don’t think about all of that background information. I know I wouldn’t have so I’ll definately keep that in mind.
    Anyway I was wondering how you start off a class online with someone when first meeting your student. I’m interested in your classes but need to save some money up first.
    I also want to add that I just recently watched episode 138 of Shippuden and I have got to say that your performance was simply amazing. Itachi died and it was so sad, but your acting made it so believable (my sister actually cried). I love watching both you and Yuri as Itachi and Sasuke when they interact. I’m always thrilled at the performances, very inspiring!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you found the podcast useful.

      As far as your question about my online class, I’m not sure I understand. I start my online class with a short lecture where I lay out the vocabulary that I use for approaching voice acting. Then I work with each of my students one at a time on scripts that I’ve sent them ahead of class. Then I give them new sides and we do a second round of characters. Does that answer your question?

      I’m glad you liked my performance in Naruto. That was an emotional episode and I wanted to make sure I got it just right.

      • Caitlin says:

        That does answer my question, sorry to confuse you. I just wanted to know how you began a class.
        Thanks for answering 🙂

      • Terance says:

        Do you discuss character types at all in the online class?

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          Absolutely. In fact, I try to cast you as close as possibly to your natural character type in the online class. Then we talk about how those characters suit you and where you can go next.

          The difference in the LA Character Archetype class is that I allow you to cast yourselves. I can only do that in LA because when we’re physically in the same classroom, I can spread out hundreds of characters on a table for you to pick and chose from. That’s much more difficult online. I chose your characters for you online, unless there’s something specific you’d like to work on. I like to tailor my classes to my students. If there are specific characters or character types that you’d like to develop, I’m happy to work with you on those characters.

          Hopefully that answers your question.

  5. Angelican Marcos says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman thank you for this helpful podcast as usual. You’ll always be my favorite #1 voice acting coach. Probably in the near future I might take one of your voice acting classes I hope. Well have a nice day Mr. Freeman. 🙂

    • Angelican Marcos says:

      Hello Mr. Freeman there’s another thing I might add that’s off topic to this podcast. Remember about Bioshock 2 where you said you voice acted Elliot Nelson. Even though you might not remember this but you also voice acted Thomas when he recorded an audio diary called The Definition of Despair. This might take you a long time to remember but you can search this audio diary in a Youtube video or search it up in the Bioshock 2 wikia for it. I might recall that it was a man named Thomas who spoke in a somewhat of a British accent. In a prison who probably got looney or insane, recorded his last diary, and probably drank to death or got murdered either way you might want to look up the rest later. Okay have a nice day… 🙂

  6. Eric Rivera says:

    If I was looking to buy a book or DVD on voice acting, would the same sort of questions apply here? Should I check out background information on the author before I purchase such things?

    Also, I’ve been using twitter for a while (mostly to tweet about pro wrestling, I’m a fan you see) and sometimes I get a little more than upset about certain points. Question being, when I go out to the professional what should I do about my facebook/twitter accounts? Should I close the re-open them, clear them, or leave them as is?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I believe the same criteria I outlined in the podcast would apply to books or DVDs as well. Do you want to buy a book on how to voice act from someone who hasn’t had success doing it? Would you buy a cookbook from someone who doesn’t cook?

      As far as your twitter and facebook accounts, I would make sure that you have a different persona for those accounts than the ones you use for your professional accounts. What I mean is, when I’m talking about voice acting, I’m using my voice acting persona meaning I’m trying to stay very close to who Crispin Freeman is as a professional voice actor. However, when I start talking about mythology and storytelling, I put on my more professorial persona since I’m now talking from a more scholarly standpoint.

      If part of your wrestling persona is to get emotional and/or excessively critical of others, you may want to separate that persona from your voice acting one. Does that make any sense?

      • Eric Rivera says:

        Yes, I see what you mean. Thank you.

        however…I have another question.

        I got a little money for Christmas, I’m debating whether to buy a new microphone (Avid M Audio Vocal Studio Microphone from Best Buy) or use the one I have (Microsoft Microphone for Guitar Hero) and buy a voice acting book. I guess I’m debating between practicing and studying vs practicing and trying to put myself out there. Any suggestions, sir?

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I am not familiar with the Avid M Audio Vocal Studio Microphone, however, from my initial research on it, it does not seem like a true professional voice over microphone. Vocal mics are sometimes called that because they’re designed for singing, not necessarily for voice over or voice acting. At only $100, I doubt that microphone is really professional studio grade for voice over. If only have $100 to spend on a microphone, I think the Blue Yeti that I recommend in the toolbox section of this website is a better choice.

          However, no microphone will turn you into a good voice actor anymore than buying an oven turns you into a cook. It is always advisable to do whatever you can to improve your skills. You can always buy a microphone when you need one. Developing your artistry and craft as a voice actor takes more time and dedication. Are your voice acting skills professionally competitive? If not there is no point in “putting yourself out there” if you’re not able to compete. In that case, I would focus on improving your skills before improving your tech.

  7. Meg says:

    Hi there, Crispin 🙂 I really like that episode- it was quite helpful. I have good news, I was thinking about that I wanted to do some film acting during my college to get out of my comfort zome just like when I done some photographed/fashion modeling- I went to the audition couple days ago and it seem quite well 🙂 Thank you so much again and have a lovely day

  8. Eric Rivera says:

    It’s finals week at the university I am attending. I’m about finished with my first acting class. I asked my professor about what I can do to practice over the winter break until my Acting II class starts, and he let me borrow this book “Theater Games for the Lone Actor: A Handbook,” by Viola Spolin. I wanted to see if I could get your opinion on it before I started.

    I also bought “The Art of Voice Acting: Third Edition” by James R. Alburger.

    Once again, Thank you for your time and wisdom.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I am familiar with both Spolin’s book on Improv and Alburger’s book on Voice Acting. Unfortunately, I have not read either of them. However, Spolin’s book has been around since I was attending college back in the early 90’s so I have a feeling there’s good stuff in there or else it wouldn’t have stuck around this long. I’m sure Alburger’s book is good as well. I’ll be curious to hear what you think about them and if you find them useful.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: