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Profile of School of Voiceover

This is the Lessons.com profile of the School of Voiceover:

How does your service stand out?

• Recommended by all Twin Cities voiceover Agencies
• All agencies have voice talent who trained with us
• We help you get into the agency world, and move up.
• We help speakers, reporters, executives speak for results
• Our fourth decade working in Voiceover

What is your typical process for working with a new student?

We incorporate any requests, goals or expectations talent provide in advance.

Not everyone speaks well in the same way, so we evaluate a new talent’s existing skill set and tendencies to provide personalized goals and customized lesson plans

Performance anxiety, vocal delivery or reading skills can hold back a good performance, so sometimes we recommend pre-training. We do NOT accept everyone for training! Each talent must be approved or audition. The marketplace uses a very wide range of voice types, so only VERY rarely are vocal qualities a reason to not accept a new talent. We work with primarily non-actor beginners.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Besides the training and background of the founders, read about our dozens of pro faculty here: VoiceActingExpo.com/pro-coaches.html Each of the founders have many years of teaching and acting experience in a variety of areas.

Before beginning to coach voiceover…

Sarah Jones-Larson:
• Worked as one of the highest-earning voice talent in the Twin Cities (the fourth-largest US market) for decades and still earns much of her living as a professional voice talent;
• Took around 700 acting classes over 2-3 years through ACT Studios;
• Was as a professional dance performer for decades;
• Taught nearly 3,000 dance classes;

Dave Larson
• Performed improv and stand-up comedy before becoming an instructor of both;
• Co-coached with many of the Twin Cities best voiceover coaches;
• Works as a public speaker, notably giving the keynote at the Washington Government Conference on Social Media;
• Taught youth programs in on-camera acting and improv at the Academy of Film and Television;
• Performed theatrically as well as directing theater;
• Works as a voice talent for select clients.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Our curriculum for voice acting and voiceover specifically has three stages:

• The one day, all-day Voice Acting Expo (9 per year). Use code LASTCHANCE for a good discount. Most people start here. Intro tickets sometimes start at under $100. But each schedule is highly customized. Pros sometimes come to the Expo and buy $350 tickets in order to have more live mic time with top pros and get new demo tracks produced.
• Accelerated Essentials of Acting for Voice Talent. This is for beginners and pros alike. Not everyone accepted, so we do NOT allow online signup. You must be approved first. Seven coaching sessions (five recorded with a pro engineer), plus a home study course over five weeks plus career counseling. This is several hundred dollars depending on individual needs.
• Agent and Demo prep Advanced Coaching. Very limited acceptance. If you started working after taking Accelerated Essentials, and want to improve and get better work/get a better agent, this is for you. At this level, is $650 for three months, but you can

How did you get started teaching?

Dave Larson:
• Started teaching technical topics in the 1980’s while a technical writer for the United Nations;
• Performed improv and stand-up comedy before becoming an instructor of both;
• Taught youth programs in on-camera acting and improv at the Academy of Film and Television;
• Began performing theatrically as well as writing and directing theater;
• Began co-coaching new talent with top Twin Cities voiceover coaches before coaching talent individually.

Sarah Jones-Larson:
• Worked as a professional dance performer for decades and began teaching dance (nearly 3,000 dance classes to date);
• Worked as one of the highest-earning voice talent in the Twin Cities (the fourth-largest US market) for decades and was regularly asked to teach “how to get into the market”
• Began teaching voiceover formally in the early 2000’s

What types of students have you worked with?

All kinds imaginable.

Although we concentrate on voice acting, because we have ourselves coached over 10,000 individual, recorded 1-on-1 sessions with talent, and also because we have two dozen experts in a variety of areas we call in to work with our students, and because of our personal experience, we have developed expertise and techniques in almost every area of voice work, including:
• Commercial on-camera acting;
• Long- and short-form Improv;
• Standup comedy;
• Public speaking;
• Accent removal;
• On-camera reporting;
• Speech therapy;
• Remote interview techniques (such as for authors doing phone interviews on radio stations);
• Performance psychology;
• Autism-related speech issues;
• Programs for producers and directors;
• …and more

Describe a recent event you are fond of:

We recorded over *350* live sessions, each with a top pro coach and engineer in a single day, and developed dozens of demo tracks for talent at one of our more highly-attended Voice Acting Expos. Each talent attending got NINE hours of training, some of it recording on mic, and some of it in a variety of skillshops. We brought in a top producer, an agent, an agency owner, a top Guthrie coach and several top-earning talent as well as engineers who are both producers and working voiceover talent to work with every one.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Most want to get an agent but make a HUGE mistake: they don’t ask agents to refer them to coaches. Just check the websites of the agencies that you want to get represented by! If they don’t list recommended training organizations, just call and ask!

If you have a coach on the line, ask them “What will the agencies say when I call them to confirm that they recommend you?” Most training organizations are NOT recommended by agents and agencies. We however, are recommended by EVERY agency in the Twin Cities. And have been for many, many years.

Why? Because we bring agents and agency owners in to coach you! We hire them to work with you, and ask them how they want talent to be trained. Then we train you the way people in the industry WANT you to be trained.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
Everyone laughs and has a TON of fun, but clear your schedule a bit for a few weeks! Either take training or don’t, but don’t be half-assed about it. Are you ready to do some work or aren’t you?

For example, talent we accept for advanced training must sign a contract agreeing to practice and make all scheduled training or makeup them in a timely manner.

If you fail to, you will be kicked out and refunded. (You can also drop out at any time and receive a pro-rated refund).

Everyone THINKS they can practice ten minutes a day regularly, but not everyone will. Everyone SAYS they will work on practice exercises that can be done in their care a few minutes each day, but not everyone does.

Voice over training is lots of fun, but YOU are the main factor in how much you will learn and benefit. We’re over halfway to helping one hundred new talent get represented in the Twin Cities. Commit to do the work and you could be next!