Voice Coaches Blog

Volunteering Your Voice

Posted 8:34 am by David Bourgeois

…When The Time Is Right

There is no question that volunteering to assist a cause or a individual in need, can be a worthwhile gesture that will repay itself in the benefit you provide and the pleasure you feel in doing it. There are, however, occasions when volunteering can be unrealistic and actually not beneficial to the recipient.

What I am referring to is the act of volunteering your voice.

When an individual volunteers a skill or an asset, it is generally assumed by the recipient that the volunteer will posses a skill and ability level consistent with that expected in the volunteers field. I know many professional voice actors and nearly all of them volunteer their voices for charitable organizations. But again, these are professionals. They are not volunteering something that will “need a lot of work” or that is “pretty good”, they are volunteering a professional service.

The idea of volunteering in an effort to develop initial job skill and knowledge is flawed in that the volunteer is assuming that the recipient will be delighted with a sub-professional product. This might be similar to me volunteering to fly jets on charitable flights…with no pilots license. An extreme example, but you get the idea.

Recognize that while volunteering can be an active part of your career as a voice actor, and can also act as a great way to forge new professional work relationships, those you are volunteering for will expect you to be a professional.

Research the field, Educate Yourself. Build a Winning Demo, and then volunteer whenever you have an opportunity.

Best Regards!

David at Voice Coaches

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3 Responses

  1. Michael Lenz said:

    I recently began volunteering for a local PBS station that has a program that reads local newspapers and magazines over the radio to individuals who are visually or otherwise impaired and who are unable to read themselves. I did this after I had gone through your training program, created a demo, and begun working professionally. There are wonderful volunteers in this program who have not had voice training, and who have no desire to be voice actors. As a professional voice actor myself, however, I view this as a great opportunity to hone my skills while at the same time volunteering to help individuals in need. I agree with you completely that volunteering should not be the place you “learn” the craft of voice-acting. If you want to be a professional voice actor, get professional training. Once you’ve done that, volunteering can be a great way to hone your skills and feel great about helping a good cause.

    Mike Lenz

  2. David said:

    Thanks for your comments Mike!
    Whether it’s using your voice, or helping clean up a playground, volunteering should be on everyone’s list.
    You are absolutely correct in your perception of the advantages of skill building for Voice Actors through volunteering. It’s almost like getting free training!
    Thanks again for your thoughts and we look forward to seeing you at our event this weekend!

    Best Regards!

    David at Voice Coaches

  3. Larry Julien said:

    Hi, David.

    Yesterday at the Voice Coaches marketing seminar (a terrific event, by the way!), a question asked of the expert panes was whether it was good to add volunteer voiceover recordings to a demo. The response was an enthusiastic yes!

    I do a lot of volunteer book reading and recording for an area public radio station’s reading service for the blind and print-disabled. As a follow-up to the question asked yesterday, if I were to add samples of my recorded readings to my demo, would I need to be concerned about copyright infringement?

    Thanks for your time!

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