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
shingle in Cleveland and at Donna
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 ofWhat 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
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 demois 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?
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
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.htmis 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.comfor 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
Ever wonder what it would be like to appear in a movie with Jake Gyllenhaal, Rob Lowe or Joe Pesci? One Lakewood woman has had the pleasure of those experiences. Her name is Jean Zarzour, actor of film, stage, television and radio.
An actor for over 25 years, Jean has been featured in “Love and Other Drugs” with Jake Gyllenhaal, “Proximity” with Rob Lowe and James Coburn, “The Public Eye” with Joe Pesci, and many other movies.
This multi-talented lady can also sing. Most recently, Jean appeared in the role of Belle Carroca in “My Favorite Year” at the Beck Center and was a national understudy in the roles of Earth Mother and Power Woman in “Menopause The Musical” at several theaters nationwide, and at the 14th St. Theater in downtown Cleveland.
How does someone from Lakewood, Ohio wind up in several Hollywood and other national productions, and what was it like? Jean says, “It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and ongoing instruction. You also have to love the journey because, no matter how talented you are, so much of it is filled with rejection. Like any job, it's first a matter of establishing solid relationships and then it's a numbers game - the more you audition and market yourself, the more work you'll get. What is it like? Like winning the Lottery! Not quite as much money, but so thrilling!”
Bringing her craft to the small screen, Jean was a featured actor in “Detroit 187” with Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) and has appeared in television ads for such organizations as the Cleveland Cavaliers, JC Penney and The Ohio Lottery, just to name a few. According to Jean, whether landing local jobs or Hollywood movie roles, hard work, perseverance, and ongoing instruction are paramount to success. Jean has been sharing this formula with students for over 15 years at other Arts Organizations from Cleveland to England, and for five years in Lakewood through Find Your Voice - a Voice Acting Institute. Classes run for eight weeks, and are forming now. Here’s the link: http://findyourvoice-voiceactinginstitute.blogspot.com, or give her a call at 216.521.3831.
I am a 24-year resident of Lakewood, and work as a legal secretary at a downtown law firm. I have only recently met Jean Zarzour when I sought out local voice acting classes after having attended a presentation by an out-of-town voice acting company.