Why I like being a student of life

Why I like being a student of life

I have always been willing to ask for every single answer I want in life. Can you imagine how nuts that made my mom when I was a kid? Still, we shouldn’t allow pride to get in the way of soaking up some new, useful knowledge daily, so that maybe we can live to our full potential. Everyone has something to teach us (even if it’s just what we don’t want to be like.) And, keeping ourselves open to discovery promises kid-like ‘wow’ moments over and over again.

In the professional world, it’s more important now than ever to stay current – why? Because seemingly every trade is evolving faster than ever before, so it’s really easy to get left behind by those who are more cutting edge.

In voiceover, I’ve found that coaching is non-negotiable – something I learned from Josh Goodman, who has taken me under his wing as a mentor, but only after I introduced myself via email and met him for coffee after hearing about his v/o path through radio compadres.
That was tough to swallow, though. I need voice coaching?? After years of being a commercial production director and copywriter???

Absolutely! Whatever you specialize in, there’s always room to go deeper (unless perhaps it’s time to move on to something completely new.) Any voice actor, regardless of where they are in their vocation, needs coaching:

  • Working in the isolation of our home studios rather than the old days of going downtown and being live-directed, how are we to know what the client has in mind? Someone with more experience and recent working knowledge has to provide some direction.
  • Up-and-coming’ers are trying to break into an industry that’s chock full of unbelievable – and very well established – talents. You have to have some idea how you’re going to set yourself apart (in good ways.)
  • BECAUSE we’ve worked in radio. No matter how much we’ve enjoyed listening to ourselves – and believe me, I used to sit up on Friday nights drinking beer and listening to my reels – a staggering number of clients in all genres of v/o want to pay decent money for a professional voice actor who will get underneath their story, crawl inside that copy, and take it on as if it were their very own. I am so glad I committed to coaching as one of the very few overhead costs of voiceover, and it’s thanks to the advice of Drew Carpenter and others who had already been down the road I was traveling.

My first coach, J. Michael Collins, helped me discover some possible niches that I possess, and helped me with a professional demo. He pointed out my strengths and gave me some confidence, as well as showing me some crucial tips for dealing with clients. Dave Walsh showed me a whole new world by teaching me his patented “Trutell Method,” which opened me up to the “deliciousness” that is inside every piece of copy – and requires you to become someone (if you’re not already) who is 100% qualified to tell the story, and to understand the underlying essence of every line, which is usually very carefully written, hence the importance. Working with Thom Pinto, my current coach, I have discovered the value of being daring and bold in whatever direction I choose for the read – noticing turns in the script – developing a bank of prototype characters – and even thinking about what music would fit with the story and letting that play a part.

Coaching for voiceover is an escape for me. It’s a secret door that I crawl through once a month that takes me on an AMAAAAAZING ADVENTURRRRE! (Woof – there I go with the announcery stuff again.) It’s scary to think where (or even if) I would be if I didn’t ask for direction in life.

I advise you to throw your curiosity out to the universe. I went to tech school four times before I found something that stuck, which was media arts. Turned out I wasn’t a mechanic, a welder, or an HVAC guy… but, studying those helped lead me to a better answer; so don’t give up if you don’t know where you want your journey to take you. Just bring what ya got!

People hardly ever become successful on their own.
So my question to you is, what is your version of all this? What if you took your greatest interest and found someone who knows more about it than you, and humbly asked them to let you in on a thing or two? I enjoy being a student of life, as there’s always a ‘next.’

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