While some of us for sure have more comfort in front of the mic than others right from the get go, and some people for sure have natural abilities that come out in one genre of voiceover or another, coaching- or professional lessons in the technique of voiceover, are essential to becoming a professional working voiceover talent.
Professional coaching covers many aspects of voiceover. First, coaching covers acting and performance technique. While the hot buzzword in voiceover right now seems to be the conversational read, a lot goes into the perfect conversational read. From understanding subtext to highlighting the right words, these are all skills that we work on as we build characters for each scrip. Whether practicing for commercial, eLearning, character work, etc… we need to learn how to mark up a script and self- direct.
Mic technique is also taught by our coaches. Learning how to stand in relation to our equipment, how to record, and how to edit properly is all part of what is learned when working with a good coach. Particularly for new talent, the coach should critique all recorded homework assignments and give feedback on all aspects of the recording, from the read itself to the EQ, compression, breaths, mouth clicks, etc. Sending out pristine recordings has to start somewhere.
Coaches should also set the standard for voiceover best practices. From teaching you how to use programs like ipDTL and source connect to talking about client/talent relations, coaches should cover all of this. While many best practices can be learned by some of the industry books, when you are working with the pros you can learn so many tips first hand from their years in the business. From policies on revisions and pickups to basic etiquette, working with a top notch coach is an essential foundation for a voiceover business.