“In a world...”
In reading those three little words, you likely conjured a low, ominous growl in your head—the signature of famed voice actor Don LaFontaine. But how do you carve a path as the voice of Pine Sol or Geico or Siri?
The Voice Shop, a new voiceover school based in New York City, offers a full roster of classes that cater to every level of talent and experience. Students do a mix of classroom and studio work, depending on the class level, and an online component lets remote students join in via a video conferencing app. It’s the brainchild of Mike George and Mike Zirinsky, voice over pros who wanted to pass along the skills they learned from years in the industry.
“There are other schools out there,” said Zirinsky. "But what was missing was a school that was able to not only teach someone who was new to the voiceover business, but to effectively coach talent that has been in the voice industry for a number of years, and wasn’t just starting out.”
With a sparkling Manhattan studio—there’s a 20-foot skylight and views of the Empire State Building—The Voice Shop does more than just educate, however. It can also help students book jobs. The school comes out of Creative Media Design, a company (owned by Zirinsky) which casts and records voice overs in 84 languages. Students at The Voice Shop who hone their craft can be added to CMD’s roster of voiceover talent.
“We have a platform to give students work,” said Zirinsky. “And sometimes it’s not even that someone is the best of the best. It’s that we have a need for a certain type of voice.”
Working with current voice over talent at CMD has also informed the classes at The Voice Shop. Unique offerings include classes on how to self-direct a recording session—something that’s becoming more common as major clients get less involved in the voiceover recording process. There are also special offerings for theatre actors and singers who want to transition into the world of voiceover. According to George, stage actors are uniquely equipped for voice work. “Theatre actors have very good control over the technique from the very beginning. They learn it their whole lives,” he says. "They may just want me to name it for them and definite it.”
The most important thing, says George, is discovering your authentic voice. Of course, that doesn’t mean simply showing up to an audition and being yourself. "Voiceover is an applied art. But if we can find your authentic voice and develop it, and match it to the marketplace, you’re going to book a lot of jobs. It’s impossible for you not to book jobs.”
Visit VoiceShopCoaching.com to learn more about their class offerings. As part of a special limited offer, The Voice Shop is also offering free 15-minute mini coaching sessions that anyone can use to prep for an audition or a job, or simply ask questions about the voice over industry and process.