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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10369

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:15 am    Post subject: Implied endorsement or recommendation Reply with quote

Coaches, courses, programs, teachers et al.

Unless someone has a recognised academic, technical/teaching qualification in our business specifically or more broadly acting in the context of our business I see no reason why I should promote their business simply to over crowd mine(ours). Do I fear the competition? No, not in the least. I have simply grown weary of the nonsense.

A few time a day one man post links to his free videos which in turn promote his teaching programmes. He a nice man, a funny man and probably makes a few dollars doing voice over work but there is no real knowledge, simply opinion. Should I allow him to be visible on my ZAPpow timeline? No. Should anyone else flogging nonsense be seen on my timeline? No.

In the UK I know someone who is both an MA and studied at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. In the USA I know someone with a PHD and a number of other relevant qualifications. I will defer to them if knowledge is sought, real knowledge that is.

Will my actions make a difference to the heady world of overs we call voice? No, but I'll sleep better knowing that NBG Demos and UniversalVoiceCoaching LLC (Guam) are not Piggybacking my social media presence to swell their coffers.

HOORAH AND HUSSAR! Another blow struck for freedom!
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3541
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently, my signature line contains, "I will not feed the trolls". I am seriously thinking of changing it to, "I will not feed the cult of personality", for that is what 99% of "services" to VOs are all about.

When investigated with any level of investigation worthy of the name (e.g. not just reading a press release or Facebook pitch)... it can easily be seen that the definition of "Industry Expert" is simply because the perpetrator has decided to call themselves one. That's it. "Experienced Industry Expert" means they've been in the business for at least 24-months. Testimonials that reinforce their status are usually from producers you've never heard of, other talents you've never heard of who may (or may not) have risen to the point of having a V123 profile, and their Mum (who only did it to stop the tantrum).

Unfortunately, we work in an industry which doesn't have any form of universal accreditation for either the technical or the performance side. We have to self-police... but we don't. Even when someone like Earl Hall comes along, all we do is mutter and whine to ourselves and post eloquently on social media (closed groups only... can't take a chance!)

So... we have some real experts (a few)... we have many self-proclaimed experts who are sticking to tried and tested MLM schemes... and we have an ever-increasing raft of people who are actually OK at what they do and have decided to get a slice of the pie before it's all gobbled up by the Earl Halls of the world. Personally, I ignore them all (as I'm sure the majority here do, also)... but if you're new and actually want someone to help, how are you meant to tell the difference? That is, apart from calling Philip or joining the VO-BB Smile

It's confusing and frustrating. Time for more Douglas Adams:

Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
- And are you?
No. That's where it all falls down, of course.
- Pity. It sounded like rather a good lifestyle otherwise.

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Bish a.k.a. Bish
Smoke me a kipper... I'll be back for breakfast.
I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls.
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Karyn OBryant
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 466
Location: Portlandia-adjacent

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just riding out the ebb and flow of people hanging out their coaching shingle because there are newbie dollars to be had in the VO universe. They smelled an opportunity in the market, and as soon as their students run out of money (or become tired of paying for no real progress), the well will dry up, and these folks will hang out a shingle in another, more seemingly-promising industry.

This too shall pass. It's just "cool" to say you're a VO these days. Another industry will become cool soon. The collective attention span of the populace is notoriously short, and there are always folks willing to shell out $ to be cool.

Also: the real teachers stay; the dedicated learners know who these teachers are.
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karyn OBryant wrote:
This too shall pass. It's just "cool" to say you're a VO these days.


I look forward to being as uncool as I actually am.
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Jack Daniel
Voice Talent / Man About Town
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bish wrote:
So... we have some real experts (a few)...


Every few weeks I am asked if I coach. (Stop laughing.) Just as often, I say "No." As Bish says, there are a few good coaches/mentors/experts undefined out there; people who've actually been in the business for many years AND have thought about how certain keys and insights can be profitably passed along, and oh yes who can in fact pass them.

ALONG. Pass them ALONG. I know what you are thinking and it disgusts me that you are thinking what I immediately also thought. I am also delighted.

I am glad there are no accrediting bodies for coaching, with their attendant opportunities for graft. And I'm sad that people spend money on being fed opinions by folks who have a full 2 months' more experience. But you can't legislate wisdom or prevent guile, much less guilelessness.

Most of those from whom I would learn don't teach, or if they do they do so sidelong, and without charge.
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Jack Daniel
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Karyn OBryant
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 466
Location: Portlandia-adjacent

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Daniel wrote:
Most of those from whom I would learn don't teach, or if they do they do so sidelong, and without charge.


Yes. This.

And sometimes we'll prattle on about performance techniques, script breakdown, and what-the-hell-is-it-with-all-this-"Method"-nonsense for you if you buy us an extra whatever-we're-drinking-at-the-time. Wink

PS: *I* think you're cool, Jack.
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karyn OBryant wrote:
*I* think you're cool, Jack.


I'll take it, Karyn :)
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Jack Daniel
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10369

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I to am glad there aren't any accreditations for Voice Over coaches because "Voice Over" in itself is not a thing, it's about positioning. If there is nothing under your voice it can't be over, can it? Voice Actor? If I am simply reading something, whilst they are not my views or words, if there is no performance then it is simply me reading out loud. More often than not the people who supply the text are not writers, they have typed something and I am required to read it. I try to put my work through QC but it is a waste of time when I am sent a 90 word polysyllabic sentence. Acting? NO! Endurance? Yes!

"Did Philip do a great job?"

"Well, he got through it"

"Awesome! GREAT JOB!"

This is how the heart works and I can fix it - Doctor and his knowledge.
This is how TV promos work - Voice Coach and his opinion.

Our world is full of the latter, endorsed by the many for the benefit of the few.

Would a Voice Coach Accreditation programme work? No. Why? Social media and the brave new world of polarisation. We actively seek to exclude anyone who dares to challenge us, disagree with us or who simply asks questions we would rather not answer. Our world, not just the voice world, is infected by something much worse than a virus.

Podcast

Host - "Philip, you are one of the leading influencers in the Voice Over community and .."

Me interrupting "I sincerely hope that isn't true!"

Host - "Eruble burble erm (giggles)"

The above an example of the intellectual giants in our business to whom we listen.

What I genuinely contribute to the VO-BB is complete and utter b*ll*cks! Long may that and that alone continue.
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Bob Bergen
Lucky 700


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 784

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is another byproduct of the internet. As well as the message that comes with it: It's all about making money at vo! That is the selling point for most coaches today. Not the good ones. But the majority that keep popping up. And it's not just the coaches. Too many actors post about making money, getting paid, asking how much a gig should pay. It's a viscous cycle. You cannot just blame the coaches.

Making money was never discussed in a vo class before the internet. Classes were for craft, period. It was a huge red flag for an acting, and in this case a vo coach to use making money as incentive to study with them. But the vastness of the internet, combined with the desire to break in fast and cheap, makes it harder and harder for newbies to weigh out the professional and the unprofessional. Especially when those many perceive as professional perpetuate this unprofessional behavior.

The other day I saw a thread on another forum where the original poster asked the best way to vet a vo coach. The most common suggestion was to "find out if many of their former students are working." If that were a criteria no one would have studied with Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, or Sandy Meisner. The majority of their students never worked. But they studied to become great actors. And they knew that their odds of booking were higher if they were great actors. People today don't study vo to be great. They study to make money. Any money.

Now, this may sound like a contradiction, but I do believe newbies should question working actors to research whom to study with. Most ask those on the same or smaller boat. They ask other students, and risk getting a referral for that shady coach who promised the world. I mean after all, who doesn't want the world??? But if they questioned those who have the career they strive for, odds are better they will find better coaches.

I got lucky with my first vo coach. I just called someone I saw in one of the top trade magazines, like Backstage. Again, there weren't many vo coaches back then. From there I would just question working actors. Not just working actors, but those with huge careers. I knew that's where I wanted to be. So logic told me, if I want to play in the big league, get advice and rub elbows with the big league. And it was harder back then to even reach the working actor. Today everyone is available on the interest. One of the plusses of the internet. The irony is there are really no excuses to get screwed today! From commercials to animation, games to e-learning, it's not hard to find those at the top to reach out to for advice. And rarely do they refuse.

I have a handful of coaches I recommend. I think actors should train with as many different coaches as they can. I myself will work with a variety of coaches from time to time. My list is not long. But it's solid.

One thing that has not changed. The cream floats to the top. Today, like always most whom I am honest with in regard to my advice on the most professional way to pursue, the sheer amount of study, time, and investment, seek further advice elsewhere. The seek something easier. That's fine! Those who did not have the "it" factor have always steered away from the best. They don't have what it takes. But the very few, those who hear the obstacles and hard work needed just to be the best actor they can be, they stay the course.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10369

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know someone who went through the rigorous selection process to be an RAF fighter Pilot. He ticked ALL the boxes so was accepted, and started his training. He wasn't a "straight A" student but he plodded along nicely. When he eventually moved on to do fast jet training, something was wrong. He knew it and his instructor knew. It was just WRONG and his standard of flying fell dramatically. What ball did everyone including the student miss? He had acrophobia. Yes, a fear of heights. He didn't realise he was managing it until the workload of flying a fast jet took all his resources so he had none left to fight his fear.

Me? I frightened of floors, a height never killed anyone.
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Banks wrote:
"Well, he got through it"


Thanks for the near spit take, Philip! Only the terror a having to buy a new keyboard kept the coffee in my mouth. Oh, and lightning-fast reflexes; almost forgot the lightning-fast reflexes.

Philip Banks wrote:
Our world, not just the voice world, is infected by something much worse than a virus.


It pains me to agree.
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Jack Daniel
Voice Talent / Man About Town
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3541
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asking for peer advice can be difficult... and part of this is the aforementioned, "cult of personality". If someone new to the business chooses a coach to work with and comes out the other side unscathed... probably not a better VO... but impressed at the insights the old-lag coach "personality" gave them, how do they answer a request for appraisal from a peer? It's very unlikely they'll say anything negative... after all, this person was a, "VO Personality" (so any failing must me their own fault)... also, they need to justify their own expense, so will probably "talk-up" the experience... after all, they are now "more experienced" than the person asking advice of them. To some, climbing one rung is simply a way of having those below them look up.

Am I being cynical (heaven forfend!)... but except with the most egregious offenders, the very unhealthy habit of constantly spewing unicorn poo seems to be prevalent. No... everyone and everything isn't wonderful... stop pretending it is!
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Bish a.k.a. Bish
Smoke me a kipper... I'll be back for breakfast.
I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls.
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Jack Daniel
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Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Bergen wrote:
You cannot just blame the coaches.


Yep. The pecuniary bent of so many posts makes the trade seem a bit grubby. I prefer to talk about "the biz" with my VO peers outside the high-school halls of social media. One might argue that such an approach is fine *if* you have such access; but then I worked reasonably hard to make those connections, as can anyone with a dusting of grit and a dash of politeness.
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Jack Daniel
Voice Talent / Man About Town
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Jack Daniel
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 402
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bish wrote:
[A]lso, they need to justify their own expense, so will probably "talk-up" the experience...


This phenomenon keeps sketchy VO coaches and car companies in the black. And the magic it makes for gear vendors... Such black magic!
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Jack Daniel
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Lee Gordon
A Zillion


Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 6534
Location: West Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Bergen wrote:
I do believe newbies should question working actors to research whom to study with.


Agreed. And those who do, have a fighting chance to succeed in this business. The problem is, an awful lot of newbies don't know whom to ask, don't know what to ask, don't know where to ask, or don't even know they need to ask. And, of course, there is a segment of that newbie population that actually does seek information, but refuses to accept it if it isn't all sunshine and roses. That's why I believe much of the effort to "educate" people who want to get into voiceover, as well as those who are relatively inexperienced consumers of voiceover, while admirable, is largely futile.
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