How to evaluate voiceover coaches

There are a lot of people these days who have hung out a shingle proclaiming themselves voiceover coaches. I’m not writing this post to criticize any of them specifically because honestly I don’t know anything specific about the vast majority of them. I’ve personally studied with (in chronological order) Dick Orkin, Pat Fraley, Nancy Wolfson, Marla Kirban, Marice Tobias and Richard Horvitz; and I’ve worked extensively with only Nancy Wolfson and Marice Tobias.

Again, this post isn’t about specific coaches, but rather an attempt to help you figure out who you should study with. Or maybe more to the point, who you shouldn’t study with. One of the blogs I read frequently is called The Simple Dollar, a blog about frugality and personal finance. Trent writes a review of a book every Sunday and this past weekend his subject was a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Bait and Switch,” a book about getting a white-collar job in the USA. Take a few minutes to read his review, and in particular his summary of the key points from the book at the end of the review. Now, think about what he’s saying in the context of voiceover coaches.

  • Don’t try to get jobs you’re not really qualified for; instead build up your own qualifications.
  • Don’t believe that coaches and workshops will put you where you want to go. Coaches and workshops can help, but you have to do the work of building your business yourself.
  • Networking events aren’t the magic answers either. Networking is something you do, not something someone else sets up and does for you.
  • Success comes from a long climb up a ladder, not an immediate leap to the top.

Yep. Sounds about right to me.


  1. Bob,

    Once again, great blog. For me, this is timely because I had been thinking along these same lines for awhile now; am glad to have my thoughts confirmed and enforced! Slow and steady wins the race.


    Comment by Heather Jane Hogan — February 1, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  2. Bob
    I’ve often received roles/jobs in the past for reasons other than skill. For instance I landed a lead role in a play for reading well, when never studying theatre or acting. Needless to say I didn’t take the role for just that reason.
    I believe that if you get to the job before you’re ready, you’re going to spend most of the time waiting and wondering when folks are going to figure out you weren’t ready to begin with.
    Thus ending up a failure for lack of confidence that comes with experience and success.

    Great Blog Bob,

    Comment by Barbara~Ann Horne — February 1, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  3. This was (still is, I think) the subject of a long discussion on Linkedin — but you sum it up just right. Thanks for that!

    Comment by Heather Henderson — February 1, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  4. Reminds me of Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” character’s signature line in the second DH movie: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    Great post, Bob!

    Comment by Rod Schwartz — February 1, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  5. Fantastic post and excellent observations. Made me think…alot!

    Comment by Pam — February 1, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  6. Should be equired reading for every newbie, and a great reminder for all of us still studying…

    Thanks Bob.

    Perry Norton

    Comment by Perry Norton — February 2, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  7. […] How to evaluate voiceover coaches […]

    Pingback by Topicco – Blogs » The Right Coach — February 2, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  8. Perry,

    Thank you for your very kind comments.

    Be well,

    Comment by Bob — February 17, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

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