Class offers view into world of voice-overs
Class offers view into world of voice-overs
By Timothy Chipp | May 2008
Attention all wannabe voice actors: your time has come to get the information needed to get a start in the field. That’s because West Seneca Community Education will present “Getting Paid to Talk,” an introductory version of a voice class for those who think this is a career they might like to pursue.
Voice Coaches, the Schenectady, N.Y.-based company that works nationwide at helping voice talent achieve success, will be at West Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 21. The class introductory Mike Massa said, will be an introductory look into the world of voice acting. “It’s a great way for people who are curious to learn a great deal about the industry in two and a half hours,” said Massa, who is an example of how far a person can go with a career in voice-over work. Starting out as a student of Voice Coaches, Massa recorded a demo before finding work as an actor. But now he works for the company as a recording producer and an instructor. Before working for Voice Coaches, Massa enjoyed a public relations job at MTV in New York City. But the Schenectady-area native decided to look into voice acting. “It’s a way to have fun and make money and not have to rely on corporate America for a paycheck,” he said.
David Bourgeois, president of the company, added that the class will feature conversations on topics that include what a voice-over is, the types of voices hired today, where the opportunities are and how to prepare a demo. “We’ll give everyone who attends the opportunity to do a short recording,” he said. He did warn that this class isn’t going to prepare interested individuals to enter the field, because there simply isn’t enough time to prepare people for work. He also cautioned those looking for work in the broadcasting, saying that Voice Coaches is exclusively dedicated to voice acting training and does not offer broadcast career training services. The class, which usually numbers between 10 and 25 people at other venues, is not a private training session, he said. “We cannot guarantee training just because they come to the intro class,” he said. “Our students need to meet basic speech-language requirements before we take them on.”
Voice work is featured throughout the world, said Bourgeois, and there is considerable growth opportunity in the field. “When people think of voice-overs, they usually think of commercials,” he said. “But the truth is, commercials make up about 10 percent of the work available.” Bourgeois, who has been in the business for 17 years, said there are plenty of areas outside commercial work, including narrative work on television stations such as Discovery Channel, audio books, and even car and elevator voice-overs. Massa agreed, adding that Internet and video games are other growing markets for voice work. He said that the video gaming market is the No. 1 growing source of employment for voice-over talent. “It’s a great class,” Massa said. “We play a demo. We help record a demo. My favorite part is when I play it back for them. It gives people a good sense of what their voice sounds like with professional equipment.”
Voice Coaches has a long list of professional clients, both famous and anonymous. Most notably, it has recently begun work with former “Dynasty” star John James, training him in voice acting, Bourgeois said. According to Bourgeois, James had been meaning to get into the world of voice acting and finally did so three months ago. But the company’s work isn’t just limited to voice-acting classes, Bourgeois said. It often works with clients with specific needs, most recently corporate leaders in Massachusetts, often working to keep voices healthy with speech-language evaluations, he said.
In addition to Voice Coaches, Bourgeois also owns and operates the White Lake Music and Post, a professional recording studio where he has done many pieces for various media around the country. “We’ve done work for TLC, Discovery, HGTV, WE and numerous other local, regional and national clients,” he said in an e-mail.
If interested, Bourgeois said, these classes are the best way to find out about the business without a vested interest. However, he said, success requires an entrepreneurial spirit. “Some people find great success in this business,” he said. “But many others don’t have the drive.”
For more information or to register for the class, call 677-3107.
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