VO4TA: The Classes
(Heads up, this is a long page.)
The first VO class I ever taught was put together for me in a fairly standard format. I showed up, handed out two pieces of copy and gave feedback on reads. It was open to anyone interested. I think there were twelve people.
I have since refined my approach.
My classes are ideally for trained actors (BA, MA or certification) who want to learn how to apply their existing skills to voiceover. People who have public speaking, hosting or radio backgrounds can also find some of my classes (like the four week Commercial VO4TA Class) very helpful. But you will not learn how to breathe or articulate or do vocal warm ups in any of my classes. What you will learn is how to apply the skills you learned in your Voice and Speech class (or equivalent) to reading commercials.
I also realize that I am talking to actors at different stages in their careers. Some are actors with voiceover training but looking for more practice and critique. Some actors have no idea what voiceover is about. Some are working professionals.
Needs change at different experience levels. So I have organized my offerings specifically into Classes, Workshops and Masterclasses.
This is the breakdown of the VO4TA: Commercial Voiceover Development Workshop. I currently offer this class as a weekend intensive.
Almost all the classes I teach (except for Masterclasses) have some kind of a pre-class assignment to prepare so you come into the class ready to go. I assign pre-class work so that time can be used effectively and in the VO4TA: Commercial Voiceover Development Workshop, this especially facilitates getting into the booth right away.
Session One: The Personal Voice.
This session basically starts to answer the question: “How do I bring myself and my own internal emotional life to reading a commercial?” or in other words: “How do I emotionally relate to selling soap?” To that end I’ve developed a series of exercises adapted in part from Harold Guskin’s - “How to Stop Acting” so actors learn how to practice reading copy in their own voice.
Session Two: How commercials are written and how to use it to make a commercial alive.
Commercial voiceovers are written very formally. Meaning; they follow fairly consistent patterns in writing structure. Real, implied or otherwise - over time, rules have emerged in commercial writing that make a commercial, well, sound like a commercial. I show how to break this down in order to create clarity and specificity in a read.
Session Three: Interpreting Direction.
Commercial voiceover direction is contradictory, strangely written, unclear, over complicated and never says enough while sometimes saying too much. I help actors get through this by breaking down direction overall into type first and description second. And then teaching how to navigate direction strongly without ever disregarding it completely.
Session Four: Pulling it all together.
After three classes, we have a mock audition to get a real feel of what it is like to put all the theory into practice and then an open critique session where you bring in copy you would like to work on in the class.
In the years I have taught the Commercial VO4TA Class, I’ve found the ideal size to be eight. Ten is too many. Six can feel a little light in a class dynamic. Eight allows for a nice group of questions and feedback as well as hearing a wide variety of adjustments from me to actors in the booth.
Interested? Email vo4ta:voiceoverfortheactor.com
Workshops are feedback in nature. For example, my VO4TA Commercial Feedback Workshop is a two hour feedback class where actors who may have taken the four week VO4TA Commercial Class with me or a different commercial voice over class can get feedback in real time. I might describe this as a mid level class. Not in a negative way, but if you have voice over training and have been practicing on your own, feedback is especially valuable. Hearing others read and adjustments being made is also of great value. Eight people. And I email you a package of copy in advance to prepare. If you have a question - please ask! vo4ta:voiceoverfortheactor.com
VO4TA Masterclasses are by application only to qualified individuals. It is feedback in a peer based setting where I moderate dialogue. I listen, offer observations and then open the floor for constructive comments.The topic of the class changes. It is often Commercials, but it can be Promo, Narration, Audiobook, Politicals etc; but no matter what - it is focused and specific. My first Masterclass this year sold out at ten participants. While it was an excellent session, that was a little big. So I have adjusted it down to eight. Unlike Classes and Workshops, you do not receive copy in advance. That is a part of the process. You listen and prepare on site. But this can change if circumstances warrant. For example, in an audiobook or narration class copy will be provided beforehand. To apply email vo4ta:voiceoverfortheactor.com
I teach all of my Classes, Workshops and Masterclasses either in a recording studio or in a classroom with a recording booth. Currently it’s at Pomann Sound. I really love teaching there. It’s a place where professional voice over work is done daily. You can really feel the work going on around you.
The schedule is here.
If you are interested in something do not see it scheduled or cannot attend on that particular date, email us and we'll let you know directly when new dates are posted.
And thank you for getting all the way to the end.
Please note: “Seminars or classes are for educational purposes only and will not secure or provide opportunity for employment in the field or representation by an agent.”