My New Year’s with the guru

My key tactic for 2009 is to do something every single day of the year that will help advance me toward my voiceover career goals.

Some days, that may be as small as reading one good article or blog post, from which I take away valuable information. Other days, I’ll make bigger contributions — attending a class, getting some one-on-one coaching, or investing time in creating my new VO website and marketing materials. In between, there will be those pesky-yet-vital daily reads.

This being the first day of this exciting new year, I decided to do something special… but not too taxing. (It’s a holiday, after all.)

Pat Fraley is one of the best-known talents in the VO business, as well as a respected teacher and coach. On his website, Pat offers a series of brief podcasts covering a diverse range of practical subjects, everything from accents and dialects (one of Pat’s specialties) to specific techniques for creating character voices, from overcoming performance anxiety to narrating audiobooks.

A couple of months ago, I visited Pat’s site and downloaded the entire set of recordings. Then, as is my wont, I promptly forgot to go back and listen to them.

Today, as the Tournament of Roses parade marched by on my TV screen, I slapped my cans on and audited all 19 (my lucky number, serendipitously) of Pat’s lessons. It took almost three hours to get through the entire package, but by the time I was finished, I’d acquired a wealth of information. I’ll need to go back now and review each podcast with individual focus, so that I can take notes and strategize. In the meantime, though, I have a ton of new ideas floating around in my skull.

I was thoroughly impressed by Pat’s teaching approach. Even though each recording is only a few (between six and ten) minutes long, he gets right to the point in each one, and delivers straightforward, usable content. His style is engaging — I always had the sense that he was talking right to me, as opposed to a disembodied, anonymous multitude on the Internet.

Most of all, I’m amazed that he gives all of this wise counsel away for free.

Pat is based in Los Angeles, but he travels around the country to conduct coaching workshops. The next time he’s here in the Bay Area, I’ll make an effort to catch his class. I might even consider driving down to SoCal for a seminar one of these days.

One thing for certain: The more I learn about this business, the more I realize that I don’t know.

2009 is going to be a busy year.

Explore posts in the same categories: Celebrity voices, Reflection, Strategy, Voice acting, Voiceover

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