Class Quest: Professional Voiceover Workshop

Professional Voiceover Workshop

“You’ve got a voice made for radio!”

Some of us are fortunate enough to hear that compliment that from time to time. It’s usually accompanied by our taking a moment to mull over the possibilities of a career broadcasting or voiceover work. Why not? Not everyone is blessed with an interesting, resonant voice that both captures and keeps the listener’s attention. It could be fun!

Then reality floods back in: “Vocal training is expensive. I’ll probably need a talent agent. I’ll have to join a broadcasters union. Recording equipment isn’t cheap and neither is studio time or audio software. Someone will need to show me how to use all that stuff. I’ll have to take some classes…” In an instant, it all shatters like a fragile pipe dream best swept to the curb. Lisa Foster

These are all valid concerns, but not well-founded. Thanks to an ever-expanding online entertainment and marketing industry coupled with the decreasing expense of sound design technologies, picking up a side-gig as a voiceover artist is now a more attainable dream ever.

Many will recognize Professional Voiceover Workshop instructor Lisa Foster simply by the sound of her voice. From nearly 20 years her golden tones have been a nigh-omniscient presence across the audio/visual spectrum. Foster is a multitalented person who knows broadcasting, engineering and vocal work from the inside out.

Foster packs her Professional Voiceover Workshop to the absolute top. That the one-night, two hour session I attended was full to capacity says volumes of the growing interest in voiceover opportunities sparked in those gifted with a “voice made for radio.”

The workshop is really an opportunity to play with possibilities. Foster spends what time she can giving you her own personal history in broadcasting and what she’s discovered through a lifetime behind the microphone. Where many may have burned out thanks to crazy work hours and erratic gigs, Foster figured out how to apply her talents to more than one facet of broadcasting. This makes her an incalculable resource to new voiceover talent.

After giving students an overview of the industry, Foster gets down to some basic tips for voiceover work. One point she emphasized over and over (and something readily forgotten by even the most seasoned talent) is the need for expression when reading…or more importantly: SMILE. “They can hear it in your voice,” and she’s absolutely right.

Professional Voiceover WorkshopFor the final portion of the class, Foster sets up her microphones, fires up her laptop recording software and passes out a series of 1-4 person audio scripts. Everyone gets a moment at the mic, but Foster saves her constructive feedback for once the class has wrapped. Foster’s primary goal for students attending her Professional Voiceover Workshop is in offering them a taste of what this business is all about, then letting them decide if they committed learning the ropes.

After taking down our contact information, Foster released us with the promise of emailing us feedback on our recordings. For me, this was the most impressive aspect of the class. Consider there were upwards of 30 people in attendance whose vocal samples Foster took home, reviewed and emailed with a personal note encouraging them to pursue a career in professional voiceover work or…to consider keeping their day job, as the saying goes.

Professional voiceover training and coaching organizations are in abundance in Seattle and Foster is no stranger to the evolving nature of this expanding industry. In addition to her reliable presence over the airwaves, Foster is also a coach and producer with Suchavoice, one of leading voiceover production houses in the region. Suchavoice offer classes, coaching, demo reel production and talent listings. Foster stressed time and time again that her workshop was in no way a recruitment effort for Suchavoice and students may opt out of anything relating to Suchavoice promotions. As someone who has spent a great deal of money and time on voiceover demos, auditions and networking, I appreciated her candor and her detailed insights into the business. I was sold on Fosters talents and background before the close of the class and, frankly, I would happily seek her out for classes, coaching and demo reel support down the road.

Learn more about Professional Voiceover Workshop.

Photo credit #1: Vancouver Film School_cc_2.0
Photo credit #2: Viget Labs_cc_2.0