Strange title, right? Maybe, but it could very well be true, and if so you need to know why I may not be the right voiceover coach or demo producer. Everyone learns and communicates differently, and sometimes styles of communication and learning aren’t the most compatible. Just like love, opposites attract, but they can also repel and lead to unsatisfactory relationships. Before you choose a coach or demo producer, you need to learn more about their process and style.
Broadly speaking, coaches and demo producers fall into three distinct categories:
1.) The Didact
The didactic coach or producer is extremely detail-oriented. Often very type-A on a personal level, the didact will have you thumbing through workbooks as frequently as you are on-mic, will deconstruct scripts by diagramming sentences and infusing every word with meaning, and will expect you to be attentive, studious, and every bit as engaged with minute points of voiceover academia and philosophy as they are.
The didact is a teacher at heart, as are most coaches, but they aren’t afraid to rap your knuckles with a ruler when they deem it appropriate, and what is intended as constructive feedback can often seem harsh or cold to those who aren’t prepared to be held to rigid account for each decision and choice they make.
Didacts work very well with people who have backgrounds in academics, science, logistics, and senior-level corporate management. They sometimes struggle to connect with talent who are more right-brained and artistic. Didacts are efficient, effective, good at what they do, and they know it. They have little time for those who can’t keep up.
Didacts rarely let people into their inner sanctum, but once you have been allowed beyond their outer armor they can be a champion for life.
2.) The Technician
Technicians teach from an analytical perspective that incorporates the, “why,” of a piece of copy as much as the, “how.” Technically-minded coaches expect you to learn how to intuit what a scriptwriter was thinking as they crafted their work, how the buyer or client anticipates the audience receiving the piece, and how to adapt your read to that intent.
Technicians tend to be patient but will expect you to understand the fundamentals of grammar and broader industry trends, as well as the tastes and peculiarities of various target demographics.
Technicians work well with people who enjoy the adventure of learning and the thrill of the light-bulb going on when they start to, “see the Matrix,” as the messaging and purpose of scripts become apparent to them.
Technicians tend to work well with most talent as they blend elements of detail with creativity, but may struggle with talent who are rigidly on either extreme of the left-brain/right-brain divide.
3.) The Creative
The creative coach is all about the more ethereal and spiritual elements of a performance. They are far less concerned about the details than they are about your personal connection to the copy. Are you authentic? Are you real? Are you feeling the truth of your performance or that of your character? That’s what speaks to the creative coach or demo producer.
Creative coaches and producers tend to be very extroverted, extremely patient even with talent who are frequently late for sessions or somewhat disorganized and will be much more willing to hand-hold than Didacts and even Technicians, while still peppering their feedback and advice with a dose of reality, important truth about what the industry will expect from you, and the rare stern correction if needed.
Creative coaches and producers tend to work very well with right-brained artistic types who think in abstract and non-linear ways and sometimes struggle with Type-A personalities and rigid left-brain talent who expect them to sweat every single detail.
When choosing your coach or demo producer, you first need to do some self-analysis. Are you strongly right-brained, left-brained….somewhere in between? Are you super Type-A and sensitive to the slightest sibilance or click in your audio, or do you trust your performance to carry you through and focus on the art first? Then, do your research on the coaches and producers you want to work with. How would their students describe their style and methods? And you can always ask us directly as well.
Me? I think I’m a hybrid somewhere between a Creative and a Technician. To me, details and analysis have their place and inform the fundamentals of voiceover, but the thing that books is how connected your soul is to your performance.
Does that mean I’m the right coach or demo producer for you? Maybe….but also, maybe not.