Friday, April 23, 2010

8 Week Voice Acting Classes now offered Wed's, 9/1-10/20

The next voice acting classes:  
Lakewood, OH - Mon's & Thur's 9/27-10/21, 6-9pm
$500 Includes 5 hour Marketing Seminar, Sun. 10/17,11am-4pm
Pittsburgh, PA - Thursdays, TBA  Donna Belajac Casting

Copy & Paste the contract below, and send it with your payment to:
Jean Zarzour 2300 McKinley Ave. Lakewood, Oh 44107

Find Your Voice - Voice Acting Institute
Contract Agreement 8 Week Class and 1 Day Marketing Seminar

This letter shall serve as an agreement between Jean Zarzour of Find Your Voice – Voice Acting Institute and (print your name here)  X________________________________________________________________

This contract is for 8 Week Class: (dates here)____________________________________ A fee of $500 includes a 1-Day Marketing Seminar held on (date here) ______________________11am-4pm.  Or, you may attend the 1-Day Marketing Seminar only for the amount of $150.
You may attend the Marketing Seminar at any time, once you pay. They are held every 2 months.

The first 7 weeks of class and 1 day Marketing Seminar will be held at the home of Jean Zarzour at 2300 McKinley Ave. in Lakewood, Ohio.  Your 8th class will be at Colors Audio. Directions will be emailed to you. Studio location subject to change.

A maximum of 8 students are enrolled, per class. All recording equipment and copy will be provided. All you need to bring is a bottle of water to cool your chords!  The focus of the 8 week class is on voice over technique. Jean Zarzour does not guarantee that students will be able to earn a living as a voice over artist after taking these classes. Jean Zarzour will offer all of her advice and knowledge about the proper skills and best practices necessary to launch a voice over career. Hand outs will be emailed to you on a regular basis.  All research of potential employers, marketing and other efforts to obtain employment as a voice over artist is the sole responsibility of the student. The focus of the one day Marketing Seminar is on the tools, techniques, best practices and resources for marketing your brand in the voice over industry, and other performance industries like stage, film and television.

Jean Zarzour is a freelance actor and, as such, may be presented with work that conflicts with this class schedule. In the event that Jean Zarzour cannot teach some of the classes, she will find a suitable replacement for those classes or reschedule for a time that is convenient for all. If she cannot teach any of the classes, Jean agrees to either refund your entire class fee or reschedule the classes for a time that is convenient for all. This decision is at the discretion of each student.  There are no refunds for any missed classes on your part, but you may makeup the work you missed when you return to class. Personal recording of this class is not permitted at any time.

I voluntarily assume all risks of accident or damage to my person or property. I agree to abide by all rules and regulations and hereby release from clam, liability or demand, all employees, representatives, trustees and officers of Jean Zarzour and Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Institute, as well as their heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns for any personal injury or damage of any kind. I understand that the above-mentioned parties are not insurers of my personal safety during this activity. This release is entered into freely and with full knowledge of its contents and effect and will operate for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns.

Please send a check or money order with your signed agreement to Jean Zarzour at 2300 McKinley Ave., Lakewood, Ohio 44107 for 1 of the following:
$500 for the 8 week Class
$150 for the Seminar only.  (Attend the Marketing Seminar any time, once you pay. They are held every 2 months)

A copy of this contract, with Jean Zarzour’s signature on it, will be mailed or provided on the first day of class.  We need 6 people for the class. The sooner you pay, the sooner we know we can go forward.  The undersigned agree to the terms of this contract.   Signed on this date ______________

Jean signs here______________________________________________________  

Jean Zarzour 216-521-3831                                                           

You sign here ________________________________________________________

Print Your Name:  _____________________________________________________
Address:  ____________________________________________________________
Cell:   _______________________________________________________________
Home:  ______________________________________________________________
Email:  ______________________________________________________________

End of Contract 

What You Should Know Before Studying VO!
I am very excited to be in the midst of my 3rd 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 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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. is a good place to start for Cleveland talent demos.

3.  If you are interested in Find Your Voice-Voice Acting Institute classes, visit 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.

1 comment:

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