Thursday, January 30, 2014

There are only 2 weeks until the
Next Voice Acting Class in Cleveland
3/3-4/21!
Call 216-832-6557 to Register!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What You Should Know Before Studying VO!
I am very excited to be in the midst of my 8th year teaching Voice Acting Classes under the
Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Institute shingle in Cleveland and at Donna Belajac Casting in Pittsburgh. Over all, I've been teaching this work for over 25 years. In all these years there are a few "constants" that I felt were worth sharing if you are thinking of taking a voice acting class or producing a demo with me, or someone else for that matter.


Browse this blog or www.jeanzarzour.com for more information about me and the classes I offer.
In my experience, people who are new to voice acting/voice over work have many misconceptions about the work, and therefore, can be prey to scam artists with empty promises. The most common misconception is that if you have a great voice, can read and speak English, then you can make a living in voice overs! How hard can it be for crying out loud?! Harder than you think.


Here is just some of What You Should Know Before You Study V.O.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO LEARN IN A VOICE ACTING CLASS?
Proper breathing techniques, vocal warm-ups, elocution exercises, body placement, copy interpretation skills, how to train you "ear", voice maintenance, home work exercises, studio/business etiquette, other resources for learning and everything in-between toward expanding your voice acting repertoire for a wide variety of "reads". Where marketing is concerned, you should learn the best marketing practices for your region. There are subtle differences in the way that artists in large markets like New York, Los Angeles & Chicago do things from the way artists in smaller markets like Ohio, PA & Michigan do things when it comes to agency representation, self marketing, home studios, websites and demo production. That's just the tip of the iceberg. If you are new to this work, a group class will offer much more than private coaching and it is much more affordable.


WHAT SHOULD I BE WARY OF?
1. Any voice over training that is offered by phone! I don't mean telecasts or other media classes that only disseminate information. I mean sessions where you are reading copy and getting feedback from an instructor. They are out there. There are a dozen reasons why this is a bad idea, but mostly because a good instructor needs to see and correct how you breathe, use your body and facial muscles, while you work. Tension is the death of voice work. If I can't see it, I can't correct it.

2. Any Voice Over school visiting your town for 1 day, telling you that you have a great voice and can earn a living with only a few weeks of training. After that 1 day introductory class, you will have to get the rest of your training out of town and/or over the phone! They charge thousands of dollars which includes a full length demo that can't possibly compete in the real world with so little training. Not to mention that these demos entirely too long and contain little to no production sweetening (sound affects and music). I've heard these demos from students who come to my class after an agent told them that their demo won't cut it. This is no

way for the novice voice actor to train. 

Note:
Your demo is your calling card to the world.
It tells producers that this is the very best you can do. You should never produce a demo until you have learned and practiced what the pros know about being a voice over artist. How long do you suppose they spent training? I can assure you, it was not just a few weeks and they didn't spend thousands of dollars to produce their demo.

A full length demo is a 1 minute mp3 and/or CD, consisting of 8-13 cuts that you carefully select and rehearsed with an experienced Demo Producer/Director, and recorded at a professional recording studio AFTER you have trained for a bare minimum of 8 weeks if you already have some acting training and much more, if you don't.


A demo produced by any reputable producer in Cleveland or Pittsburgh should cost you no more than $700-$900.
With Find Your Voice, that fee includes between 4-6 hours of preparation, rehearsal, recording session, sweetening (sound effects and music) and post production revisions. If you take the time to do it right, no one will ever know that you are a newbie and you won't have to revise your demo for a few years.

3. Beware of an instructor who has only ever been a director, producer, engineer or ad agency exec, but has never been a voice over artist - especially if you are new to this sort of acting. Voice over work is acting work, no matter what you are voicing. You'll gain much more knowledge from someone who has been successful behind the mic and behind the desk.
 


DON'T SOME PEOPLE JUST HAVE NATURAL ABILITY?
Even if you are an experienced stage or film actor, there are specific techniques that you will only learn in a class or on the job. (but trust me, no one wants to pay you to learn!) Even if you were born with a warm, rich voice, it doesn't guarantee that you'll be able to interpret copy with the proper 'point of view' and acting skills needed. Some of the most unusual voices work behind a mic because, in part, they have learned to interpret 1 piece of copy in a variety of ways and how to market themselves like a business owner.

WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE CHOOSING A VOICE ACTING CLASS?
1. Get a few books on the subject at the Library:

- There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: An Insider’s Guide to a Career in Voice-Overs - by Elaine A. Clark
- Secrets of Voice-Over Success: Top Voice-Over Actors Reveal How They Did It - by Joan Baker
- The Art of Voice Acting - by James Alburger

A book won't teach you how to do voice over work, but it will reinforce what I'm telling you about training and give you a good idea about the business end. You'll also read great war stories from the most successful voices in the business.
2. Listen to professional voice over demos so you can compare any instructor's demos with the ones from the top artists who are making a living doing voice overs. http://talentdemos.com/female_voice_talent.htm is a good place to start for Cleveland talent demos.
3. If you are interested in Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Institute classes, visit http://findyourvoice-voiceactinginstitute.blogspot.com for class description, demos that I've produced at area recording studios, class info and more.

Now, more than ever, your investment should produce measurable results, whether you pursue a voice acting career, or not.
 
The Next 8 week Voice Acting Class in Lakewood, Ohio runs Monday's 2/3-3/24 2014 6-9pm. Click the link at the top of this home page for details about that class.

The Next 8 week Voice Acting Class at Donna Belajac Casting in Pittsburgh runs Tuesday's 2/4-3/25 6-9pm. Visit www.donnabelajaccasting.com for details and registration.

Monday, December 30, 2013

FREE Voice Acting Class!
One Night Only - Thursday, January 23 6-9pm at
2300 McKinley Ave in Lakewood

I know that it can be difficult to decide whether or not a class is right for you. So, in honor of my 8th Anniversary offering Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Classes, I am offering one FREE Class to new students only, in order to help you decide whether you'd like to enroll in the 8 week class which will be held on Monday's February 3 - March 24, 2014 6-9pm. 

Visit http://findyourvoice-voiceactinginstitute.blogspot.com for details.

In this 3 hour class on Thursday, January 23rd, you'll learn key tools on the following:
- Breathing techniques for optimum vocal delivery that doesn't lose it's mojo!
- Script interpretation techniques that help you create at least 2 completely different takes for each spot
- Commercial reads as a subtle character
- Commercial reads as an announcer
- E-Learning delivery
- 2 person spots
- Auditioning techniques that will get you booked!
 
Everyone is coached based on their level of ability, in a direct but nonthreatening manner. You will walk away with more knowledge than you ever imagined you could learn in just 3 hours AND a follow up email with a link to your mp3 recordings to listen to at any time.


I want you to succeed! Register NOW for this unique opportunity. Class is limited to 20 participants. All participants will get to work at the mic at least once.  Please reply to jeanzarzour@gmail.com with your name, phone number and mailing address or CALL 216-832-6557 with your name and phone number and I'll return your call to confirm your registration.

Have a safe and joyous New Year Celebration!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Below is an ad for my Voice Acting courses. But it's a no frills, down and dirty ad. So, don't look for eye candy.

If you've done research about Voice Over Classes, then you know that what is being offered right here in North East Ohio and at Donna Belajac Casting in Pittsburgh, is the most comprehensive course for the least amount of money anywhere in the USA!

(Confetti, Marching Band and Stilt Walker here)

That's right! The Entire Country!

Now, if you would rather pay $2,000-$4,000 to feel you're getting value, I'll be happy to take it! That's what a select number of companies charge for online, phone or 3 day courses. Really!

They come through town and offer their 1 night teaser courses at Community Centers, Libraries and Colleges for $40.THEN they sell you the 2-$4000 courses, gushing over your remarkable talent, promising you a glorious career in VO!

Well, I wind up teaching many of their former students who were left unsatisfied and feeling ripped off.

Now, read carefully...add more confetti and champagne if you'd like to...

You don't have to pay that much money for a comprehensive, fun and valuable course in voice acting.

You can take my course and learn more than you ever expected in 8 weeks and 1 Saturday, in a real-world environment, from professionals who actually work in the industry.

And NO ONE will blow smoke up your skirt or pants about where you stand with your ability.

I want you to succeed, but I won't lie to you.

The great news is that MANY of my students are making money as voice over artists! NICE! I LOVE hearing their success stories, but believe me, they didn't do it without investing a lot of time, a reasonable amount of money and proven marketing tools.

The hard, cold truth is that it is NOT likely that you'll become a working Voice Over Artist in 8 weeks. Probably not in 16 or 24 weeks! Like those of us who have been at this for more than 20 years, you TOO will have to work at it.

You'll need to practice in ALL of your spare time, take other acting courses that will aid your voice acting skills, and treat this work like a BUSINESS - a business that sells a product you know better than any other - and that product is you.

That's just some of the truth about Voice Acting Work.

Learn More at the Next Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Class

Monday's February 3-March 24, 2014 6-9pm
Marketing Seminar
Monday, March 31, 6-9pm

Call 216-832-6557 to register.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Find Your Voice-On Camera Coaching Session

This is a coaching session with an on camera spokesperson.
The goal is to take Chris from
"talking head reading a prompter" to "authority with a stake in your success".


video

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feature article in The Lakewood Observer by Kathleen Vagi


The Lakewood Observer