By: Ian Russell
From: The British Voice
My blog last year highlighting VO gifts that had a voiceover vibe went down so well, that we have decided to make it an annual event.
Christmas… the Season of Giving
One key element to the voiceover business is to find and use coaches, demo producers, and trainers that not only understand the current trends in the industry but that also understand your current requirements and can help you along the way. There are many talented VO educators out there and perhaps a gift of a coaching session or a new demo might the perfect gift this year.
Many of you may know this already, but my voiceover career might not have existed at all if it were not for a Christmas gift my wife bought me back in 2012. A 1-day Introduction to voiceover workshop with J P Orr at The Showreel in London.
Since then, I have coached and trained with many great people, many I now count as friends, colleagues and mentors.
This year I am giving them a shout-out for anyone looking for the experiential gift of Voiceover. Some names will be more familiar than others, but all have helped me along in my career.
Shelley Avellino – Voiceover Performance and Business Coaching A fellow Brit here in the USA – Shelley is a wonderful coach and support. I’ve had help from her with International Marketing and E-Learning/Corporate performance. She is a wonderful narrator, knows just about everyone, and has a deep understanding of what makes this industry tick.
Lisa Biggs –Dream Bigg Lisa Biggs –Dream Bigg Voiceover Coaching & Classes – Unstoppably positive and upbeat, you can’t help but get carried along – Lisa has been a wonderful champion in animation and marketing. Her advice led directly to my animation demo being nominated at One Voice 2021. She also coached both my kids. Her Voxy Summit 2022 is next month and is all about empowering women in VO & creative media.
J Michael Collins Coaching – I first met JMC at VO Atlanta in 2015 (Not sure if he remembers) when he was beating the drum about the Online casting platforms. His advice improved my P2P performance and I still refer to it regularly. He’s coached me on corporate reads and most recently wrote and produced my Promo and In-Show Narration demos.
Stanley Fisher – My history with Stan is almost as long as my VO Career. I met him 3 days after I landed in the US. I coached with him weekly for almost 2 years and he created several demo reels for me that I still use, and book regularly with. He’s recently co-founded The Voice Acting Institute down in Florida and he is already making waves.
Gravy for the Brain – Surely you all know about this initiative from Hugh Edwards and Peter Dixon. An online learning platform that has a little bit of absolutely everything. I recently took some workshops focusing on LinkedIn as a marketing tool and it has really helped me to up my game on that particular social media platform.
Jeff Howell Voiceover Services – I’ve only coached with Jeff once but was extremely impressed with his laser focus on tiny details. I needed some help getting started on Promo Reads and had been referred to him. The resulting work got me noticed by CNN. Do I need to say any more? – I’ll definitely work with Jeff again.
Yvonne Morley Your Voicebox – I fell on my feet taking workshops with Yvonne as a newbie. A former head of Voice at LAMDA, Yvonne is a wonderful acting coach. She knows how to draw a performance from you and, importantly, how to look after your voice.
Kevin Patrick Murphy The Actor’s Center of Asheville– Murphy is my acting coach locally at TACA Asheville. Murphy knows the craft, the business, and the techniques to help get you in front of the camera. I try and use him for all my major self-tapes. His personable and confident style has helped me book more in the ‘acting’ end of the VO business such as gaming and animation.
Rich O’Donogue io Audio– Rich is fast becoming one of the ‘Go To’ names in demo production in the UK. When I needed a new E-Learning demo reel and happened to be in the UK at the time, he welcomed my mother and I into his studio. Personalized scripts and sharp production skills, my E-Learning Demo was subsequently nominated for a SOVAS in 2020.
VO Atlanta – I have to recognize Gerald Griffith and his team. Over the years I have met so many great people and made dozens of valuable business contacts. This was my first ever VO convention in 2015 and I want to “Resolve” to attend their last VO Atlanta convention, Spring 2022.
VoiceOver Network – This dynamic training team led by Rachael Naylor in the UK work tirelessly to bring outstanding opportunities to its members. You get the chance to learn from the world’s top coaches from various performing genres to business and marketing.
My VO career started with a Christmas gift of coaching, and it really has been the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you are gifting VO lessons, coaching and demos for yourself, or dropping heavy hints, I hope this list helps to lead you to where your calling, might be.