We welcome you to read the thoughts and sentiments of some of our upper level graduates. See what they think, and read about their experiences with Voices For All from their own personal perspective. Students from all over the country choose to start and further their career in the voiceover industry with VFA, and we are proud to display some of their feelings about us here in their own words, unedited. Some students even choose to send us success updates. Please visit our Success Updates section to view them. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or inquiries you may have.
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Where to start? Well the best place, as they always say, is at the beginning.
My story will probably read like most in the beginning so if you want to skip that portion feel free to do so but it goes like this.
I was told I have an unusual voice one that is pleasant to listen to and one that comes across as being sincere and honest. I started hearing this already when my voice did the change thing, you know for those male children who lose their Soprano voices and then when answering the phone I was told I sounded like my Mom. My comments always were of course to myself sure people say that to everyone to make them feel good, but I can honestly say, I did hear this from time to time throughout my life and would always thank the individual but then pass it on as being nothing special. So for all who have made it this far, pretty much sounds the same right?
Well fast forwarding, many years have gone by and yes I still hear that I have a great and unusual sounding voice. I have done a considerable amount of public speaking over the years as well as singing either in choirs, quartets, duets, trios and yes even solos. Although singing probably helps, I don’t believe it is the key as to why our voices sound the way they do. It is as I have always felt my unique sound and that which I was blessed with. It is me and who I am. I have always kept that in mind and made certain when I used it, that it would be received as both a blessing and healing because, I do believe with all my heart that is possible. I do though enjoy making presentations to groups and as I mentioned have done so over the years for many years. I find it both exciting as well as exhilarating.
Moving forward again, my own profession which in and of itself is unique has not been doing well for many years. As a matter of fact and I am not ashamed to say this, it never has proven to become what I originally planned. They say having a special niche market is the key to success. Well I can tell you that is not so because I am the perfect example of that sad but true situation. So, what to do?
Well once a month I have a meeting with my chiropractor and it just so happened the day I was scheduled for my bones to be manipulated was the day that would start to change my life. As always, I was chatting with both the receptionist and my doctors wife. Little did I know that the associate doctor was listening to my talking. After I had my treatment, my doctors wife said, Noël, Dr. Miller was listening to you talk and said you have a unique sounding voice, had you ever thought of going into Voice-Overs? I told my doctors wife, no not really, and then I sort of received a gentle nudge to listen to what she had to say. She said, Pasadena City College has a course, Introductory I believe in Voice-Overs you should look into it. I thought to myself, yeah sure, here we go again, am I just fooling myself by thinking I have a unique sounding voice, or am I actually hearing another voice saying Go Check It Out.
So, I thanked my doctors wife, headed out the door and thought maybe I better go over to PCC (Pasadena City College) and look into this further, maybe Spirit is trying to tell me something. Things had not being going well for me and still really are not at this point even as I share this but I thought what the heck, I’ll go and check it out. I arrived only to discover the school was closed for the day, they have several times out of the year they are able to do this and it just so happened to be that day. Wow, was I crushed because I thought well here we go again with the luck I was having yet another wall just went up.
I went to my shop and thought well, maybe this is not suppose to be and thanks again Dr. Miller for your comments and thoughts but it doesn’t look promising. That night when I got home I thought well tomorrow is another day and I am going to head on over to the College and see about this Voice-Over class. I arrived and yes, school was in session so I at least had a good start there. I next went looking for where I had to register since it was for the Adult Ed Extension courses and when I finally found the location down several floors in one of the main buildings, I asked the individual about the class. Immediately he said, yes it is available but it is filled quickly because there are only 20 individuals who can attend. I thought, Oh Boy, here comes another wall, do I dare ask the question so where do I stand at this point? He said, there is only one spot left. I had to think quickly and knowing my financial situation thought well here goes nothing. I took out the only credit card I had because I didn’t have cash and didn’t have enough in my bank account to pay, if this is suppose to work out, there will just be enough in my credit card account to pay for the course. I gave the individual my card and said I want to sign up. While he was processing the card, I said a quick little prayer that if this was suppose to be then everything would go through and I would be the 20th and final person. Well I noticed it was taking much longer than what it normally does to process a card and I thought well this is it, your card is going to be rejected and you will not be able to attend. Good news, the person taking care of processing my card came back with the sheets to sign and my card went through. So, I would be able to attend but then I looked at the date and that was going to be 2 months away. That seemed like such a long time to have to wait. At least I was registered now it was sit and wait some more.
The day came and there along with 19 other individuals I received from Eric Hunt who happened to by my instructor the incredible and interesting story behind Voice-Overs and what it was all about. The first thing Eric said, this industry has really changed and continues to grow and they are no longer looking for The Voice Of God, but the voice of the neighbor next door. I thought to myself, hey maybe I do have a chance and it started to sound better and more doable as Eric continued the course. Now I can tell you, I have been to classes similar where you are going to be taught how to, those especially that are going to make you allot of money but this was not like that at all. This class was so amazing as was Eric who immediately came across not only honest but sincere. No pressure whatsoever. There are, as you most likely are aware I am certain, schools similar to Voices For All out there and other businesses that not only take your money and run never to be seen or heard from again and all during the class that day, I never heard or felt this. There was never any pressure, it was, here is what Voice-Overs is all about we at Voices For All are here to help you especially if you decide to move forward and attend the Master Class. I did not hear a sales pitch being presented every 3 to 4 minutes as to why we should attend it. There was absolutely no pressure, and in this day and age the sale is the key and most important factor of any company doing business. That’s what doing business is all about. This really appealed to me because again, I have been there done that and I don’t like to be constantly reminded about signing up especially today before we are gone because you will not have this opportunity again.
The class continued and the information became even more exciting. Eric, is one amazing individual and has a special way of presenting what you need to know in order to possibly make that decision. The end of class session was drawing near and it was time to do our special recording that would go back with Eric and if you wished have someone contact you to let you know how you did and again only how you did, nothing about signing up for anything else. Well, I was really excited up to that point but then reality hit back home again and there were two issues with me, one I didn’t have a phone number to place on the sheet for someone to call because my line had been disconnected due to not being able to pay my bill, the second option and just as critical was a second number that could be called and again, I had the same problem with my home phone. Of course, guess what?, this affects your email too, so at the end I had to tell Eric, well thank you for a great class, I will have to get back to you when things change. Eric was so kind and said we will be here so contact us when you can.
Bummer, right, well not really. I had someone who helped me get my phones reconnected and so I wrote a letter to Eric at Voices For All and asked if it were possible to hear from someone as to how I did and where I stand. I received a phone call shortly after my letter had arrived from VFA Representative, but not until after a few calls back and forth. The representative from Voices For All was so kind and gracious. I told him first how much I appreciated Eric, what he taught and that this Voice-Over profession was sounding better and better to me. He then proceeded to provide my critique of how I did with my sample recording in the class that day and to my shock and amazement, I did better than I thought. The thing that struck me immediately while he was sharing all those factors as to what makes my voice unique to me and where I would fit in the mix came across exactly the same way Eric did when teaching the class, sincere and no B.S. I truly felt all the time I was talking with him, that what he was saying was not only sincere but once again not trying to sell me on having to take the Master Class. I never once during our conversation (and it was really longer than I realized) did I ever feel pressured or was asked every 3 or 4 minutes “Noël when do we sign you up?” Actually after the VFA Rep went through everything I needed to hear about my session there at PCC, I then engaged him in asking when would it be possible to take a class and how much. I have to say I gulped at least several times and not because of the cost, because even now as a graduate of the Master Class, I feel that what I paid was well worth the amount requested but it was how am I going to pay for this and I want to get started right away and the soonest would be December. To many what if’s started hitting again and yet in ending our conversation I told him that I would honestly try to see how I could raise the money and hopefully attend in December.
Well, the next time I called, I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney Thayer who was able to pick up right where I left off and again I noticed how each individual I kept meeting with Voices For All responded with the same, warm, friendly and ever so willingness to help. I asked Courtney if it would be possible to let me know if someone happened to drop out of the December class, please contact me hopefully I would have the money needed to attend the class. I received a call as well as an email and there was an opening, my problem though, still no money to pay for the class and the only other options available would be January 2010 and then again February 2010. I let Courtney know I would do everything in my power to get my funds there before the December class, but it just wasn’t meant to be and really things were not looking good for January or February either. However, I did have a change take place and so, I mailed my check, at least I thought I did to Voices For All for the February class because January was not appearing to have anyone drop out of the class. So, February it was and that was I know meant to be since Eric Hunt would be my classroom instructor. I was really pleased because I thought well Eric knows me or I hope knows me from when I took the class at PCC back in May of 2009 and that would be helpful to both of us.
In the meantime while waiting for verification my check had been received I also met Casey and Andrea through email, reminding me of what to expect and let me know my check had still not arrived. Oh, was I embarrassed when I discovered that, I failed to put the State and zipcode so the post office returned my letter with my check. I immediately got on the email trail and let Courtney, Casey and Andrea know what happened and sent the check out once again with the proper address.
The letter arrived along with the check and I received my email saying Welcome, meet at the hotel Friday at 7:00 p.m. where you will meet with Eric and start your journey. Excited, so much so, I read it wrong, and thought I had to be there at 7:00 a.m. that morning so, I made a trip twice that day but that’s all right, I found it the second time really fast and was anxious to get started.
The four days that I had with Eric were incredible, everything and more than I truly expected. That same warm helpful desire was that those who represent Voices For All was there waiting to start the class. I was pleased that Eric did remember me since May last year was a long time back and I am sure the instructors see and meet many over the years scheduled classes that are provided both from the introductory class to the Master Class and of course that is not to mention the other special classes one can take after the Master Class. The class setting was really great and intimate so that it made it so much easier to work with my fellow students whom I truly enjoyed and had fun with.
Each day as it unfolded presented what I would need to not only know but to be capable of using in order to become involved in the Voice-Over Profession. Even though I may not personally have shown as much excitement as others, inside I was truly appreciating the talent of Eric and his ability to bring the very best out of each member attending. What especially stood out was how patient he is/was because I know even when he would say to me for instance, try it this way, my trying that way was still not correct and then a kind word would come again with yet another suggestion or recommendation saying well try it this way. It was especially fun working with my fellow classmates and helping as best I could to assist still being really so new. What I especially appreciated was Eric’s explanations of all that we were to be taught and his willingness to be interrupted when asked a question during each session. The examples on the screen were not only excellent but extremely helpful too. I know that I still have much more to learn based on those days spent at class and I do read and re-read my binder that is so beautifully prepared to help me. This in and of itself is such an incredible tool that will make it much easier, but more important and again this was made known constantly during the class sessions as well as from all at Voices For All, we are only a phone call, email away with whatever help you need. We are here to make your experience a lasting experience and don’t hesitate contacting us. Now I ask, how many other courses offer this type of assistance and constant help, but more important the love that you feel from each individual you are in contact with always willing to help really comes through like gangbusters??? This next answer you probably know already, but I would venture a guess, the majority of Class Offerings such as what I attended would maybe say thank you from the organization but mainly just take your money and say good-bye.
My final day of course with Voices For All was preparing my Demonstration Recording, that I would be able to download and have to re-distribute or send someone needing to hear my voice to a very professionally provided Website where individuals can hear me too. Now I ask again, how many other organizations would do this?, and of course you know what the answer is. That day was really special and I got to observe and watch Eric’s patience kick in even higher because, although I was the last person for that day, I wasn’t the only person and not only did he have to be tired but ready to call it a day by the time I arrived. I have been in recording studios similar so, that was not new but what was really neat was to actually work with Eric and his assistant taking read after, read, after read and always being so gracious in helping me to do the very best possible. I was sorry to see that day conclude but was pleased with all that had transpired.
I can say without a doubt, I am so pleased I became a part of the Voices For All family and did graduate so that I now can move forward and start working towards the goals I have set in Voice-Over work. Everyone at Voices For All and I know I have not met them all yet are the most incredible people to have come into my life. Even if I never pursued this line of work, I feel I am so rich with the individuals at Voices For All who have helped in making my life better.
What is my future? I don’t know, but what I see and feel, it is looking better than what it has been these past years. I even think about wouldn’t it be nice to get a job for National Geographic or any of the Nature Series on PBS? I think what makes me really feel special, unlike any other profession, this industry really cannot discriminate against your age or ethnicity and I have faced that so much these past years, because those requesting an audition unless you physically attend them and that doesn’t seem to be the case in most auditions one will apply for, they have no idea how old you are, what you look like or any other stereotypical possibility that might exist like when you are looking for work with a company. It all boils down to (and this I did learn immediately thanks to Eric) whether or not you have the exact Voice that firm/company is looking for. Nothing more, nothing less and that is a great way to approach this industry. You know and understand this going in right at the beginning. How neat is that?
So “Thank You” Voices For All for coming into my life. I really appreciate all of you and know that we will have a continuing and ongoing relationship that is just going to mature and get better. You are one amazing organization and I hope to make you proud.
Noel B. - CA
Hi Paul, I just wanted to say how great the Master Level course was. The class time with John Pruden was excellent. He has a command of the mechanics, artistic process, and marketing needs - and he delivers on all of these in a very professional manner, with humor and real life examples. The voice work in the class room was great. The time in the studio was invaluable for a wannabe VO artist and the Demo generated was awesome. I had great fun. I also want to mention that Eric Hunt was excellent in the course I took before getting involved with the Master Level course. I recommend this to anyone considering a vocation in voice acting. Moreover, the resources provided after the course have been great. Lots of information on the web site and great advice and help getting things started.Jack R. - OH
At last I can do what it is I was meant to do, talk and get paid. But really, I thank you so much for the beginning of a great and fun journey.Douglas Y. - MI
As a whole, being in the "Biz" for over 20 years, I can say with confidence that VFA is an excellent program. The atmosphere is relaxed, fun and excitng. Attention to detail and overall professional instructional style at VFA is right on point. If you are one who is "on the fence" about VFA, do not miss your opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. VFA is worth every penny! John Knight. Actor, Voice Actor, Model and Acting Coach.John K. - NJ
Exciting! John made the class fun from the moment we walked in. There's nothing like learning and having fun at the same time. The studio experience was great and the demo is unbelievable! John is a great teacher and a great coach. Many thanks to John and all of the VFA staff who have encouraged and helped with a smile!Nettie U. - MO
I am so glad that I took the class at my community college with Eric Hunt, which lead to taking the Master Class with John Pruden. The class was intense & very informative, leaving me with a precise idea of how to proceed. It wasn't until I heard my demos that it hit me how cool it all is. Nothing but praise goes to the entire staff for an amazing experience that is continuing on.David P. - PA
The VFA Master Class covers every aspect of Voice Acting. This is the real deal.Tom S. - NY
SUCCESS UPDATE UPDATE: I've had a lot more happen since my last success update when I first wrote VFA. I voiced an actor-read product testimonial for a wood preservative product; spiritual readings for website videos; voiceover for an iPhone application and I'm the narrator for an upcoming internet play titled "They Did Take It With Them", by Retro Radio Plays. I've also had the opportunity to be on-camera as well. I auditioned for a local cable company commercial that needed a voiceover experienced actor. Since I didn't have on-camera experience, I didn't think I'd get the part, but I did! I was also able to get a part in a movie as a "snitch". My character was pistol-whipped by a corrupt FBI agent in the movie, Tarts, Fools and the G-Men. I owe all of this to Voices For All, because if it wasn't for VFA I would have never had the necessary tools to make this happen! Thanks again! SUCCESS UPDATE: Since the class: I did the voiceover work for a marketing company in my hometown of Portland, OR. I narrated their website sales video and created "how-to" tutorials for their existing customers to help them navigate the website. Thanks for giving me the tools to make this happen!
Hello Voices For All Team! First of all, thanks so much for the Voices For All Master Class! I had so much fun learning about the voiceover world and what it takes to get started. Voice acting has been something I've always been interested in, but didn't know how to break into the industry. John our instructor was a fabulous teacher and great at explaining the in's & out's of voiceover and how to get started. I absolutely enjoyed the 2 hour one-on-one in the recording studio; that was so fun and my demo turned out sounding incredible! Thanks again for making this a reality for me!Rich H. - OR
The VFA crew has been wonderful. They do right by you and mean what they say about Customer Service! Andrea is an awesome instructor and advisor!John S. - PA
SUCCESS UPDATE: I thought I would give a quick update on my voice acting career following my June 2007 Masters Class. Unfortunately, I had a delay getting things moving due to recovering from a disability in late 2007. So, recently I finally invested in the recommended home studio. I realized that before I stepped off the audition bridge and commit myself as a professional voice actor, I better be in a position to respond to the needs of my prospective clients. It has been two years since my Masters Class. So, I spent months practicing in the studio, getting comfortable with the equipment, and studying the VFA guide. Most of all getting to know the Pro Tool software! Paul from VFA, and Martin from FullCompass, get a lot of thanks for getting me on the right track with my studio. ProTools is a fantastic product. Although the VFA template gets you going, and is a fast track for voice acting, one must still be efficient about editing and generating the necessary files to your customer in a timely manner. I feel the practice has set the stage for being successful and responsive. For me, it has been slowly but surely. I am now on a steady course for making this all happen. Thank you VFA!
When I was sold on the idea of attending the Master class, I was skeptical. I was concerned about the value for my investment. Wow! What a great value. Completing the Master Class and having access to the related resources was definitely worth the time and money. It far exceeded my expectations, and actually prepared me to be a â€œprofessionalâ€� voice-over artist. Truly, I experienced a paradigm shift related to my understanding of the art and the business side of voice acting. The Master Class was not only a great value, but I also enjoyed the entertainment value of John Prudenâ€™s presentation, his command of the class, direction and his coaching. THANK YOU!
Tim S. - IL
I have been wanting to write to thank you for the amazing Master Class of a few weekends ago.
I have been a teacher for over thirty years, and one of the occupational hazards, Ive learned, is that teachers dont always take too well to being taught. We spend a lot of time in conferences where presenters presume to teach us methods to better conduct our classrooms while employing none of them themselves. I actually left an adult education class in Italian, a language I was eager to learn, because the teacher was so ineffective.
So it was with great admiration and respect that I was so wonderfully a part of your three-day seminar. You have all the qualities of a fine teacher: you are personable, receptive to your students, clearly an expert in your field, and efficient beyond imagining.
Never once in the two-hour Friday presentation (after a full days work and a two and a half hour drive), the nine hour Saturday session (whew! who works nine hour days?), or the three more Sunday morning hours, did your energy flag or your optimism droop or your plans go awry. Your students attention never wavered, not even when you talked about things we didnt necessarily understand or in which we didnt necessarily have an abiding interest. Your presentation was aptly mixed between the technical and the hands on, between our participating and our listening.
Materials, too, for which Im sure your input was vital, complemented the activities of the class. (Yet never once did I feel as if I was simply being read to, as happens so often of late with Powerpoint presentations and handouts.) You taught us to use the notebook and familiarized us with its content, but provided us with information, inspiration and intelligent commentary far beyond its covers.
It seems that everywhere I go someone supposedly in charge cant make the decision, doesnt know where or how to seek the answer, is on the phone to someone else, or cant figure out what Im talking about, or, if trying to conduct business on the phone, I am lost in a labyrinthine trail of voice messages that gets me no where.
So watching you stand gladly, firmly, assuredly, intelligently, gently in control, and ready, willing and able to teach us what we needed and wanted to know, was such a thrilling relief and a testament to true teaching that I wanted to cheer, or cry. It is so good to know that hard work and a healthy attitude still exist. (Just the little things, like coming into the room and your already having the technology up and running - are you aware of how truly seldom that happens? - was refreshing.)
So thank you. Thank you for teaching me about voiceovers. Thank you for making me understand how to set up a home studio. Thank you for showing me that ProTools might not be impossible for me to learn. Thank you for your careful coaching at my recording session.
But thank you, too, for your can-do attitude, your old-fashioned connection to family, your far-too-rare-in-this-modern-world decision to do things rightly and well, and your ultimate efficiency!
When I stumble on this new career path, I will remember your smiling voice saying "Stan's Surf Shop", and I will try harder. Its a relief to know there are people in the world who still care about a job well done.Ruth D. - NY
As a training developer and director myself, I was very impressed by the quality of the VFA workshop. It was intense, fast moving, and filled to the brim with everything one needs to know in order to start a voiceover business. Not a moment was wasted, and with the interesting and varied mix of topics interspersed with some brief voice exercises, the class time flew by.Kathleen M. - PA
John really knows his stuff, both in theory and in practice, and shared it in a way that was fun and understandable. Our class was full, intense and set the table for us to succeed.Al A. - VT
The Master Class I took with Andrea Langworthy was top notch. The session was well organized and Andrea is both an excellent listener and helpful coach. I recommend this course to anyone wishing to learn how to be knowledgeable and successful doing voice overs.Dr. Ann E. - NJ
SUCCESS UPDATE: I wanted to let Voices For All know how the Master Class has impacted my life. I completed the class in June of 2008 in Bellevue, WA. John Pruden was the excellent and encouraging teacher. It was the highlight of my year building my confidence and inspiring my imagination. While it was clear that one could expect to make money with this training, I am enjoying a reward of another kind. I work at University Presbyterian Church (UPC), a very large congregation in Seattle, WA. We have about 3500 people in worship on Sundays. My pastoral role involves developing ministry for those in the second half of life. As our church is getting more and more tech savvy, with many web-based communications and opportunities, it occurred to me there is still a layer of oldsters who are not computer people. So with the encouragement of my husband, I began a ministry out of our home that anyone with a phone can easily access. It is called Pray the Word. I brought in a 2nd phone line and every weekday, I prepare and record a 4-minute outgoing phone message of scripture and prayer that people can dial up and hear anytime of the day. The recordings are produced out of our simple home recording studio, which the VFA class helped me design. After a couple of weeks, UPC asked us to put Pray the Word on a church phone line, which we did. In the course of a few weeks nearly five dozen people stopped me in the halls of UPC or emailed me with words of appreciation for this offering. I was somewhat surprised that people in age groups other than seniors were listening. A request for a podcast soon followed. At the beginning of May, a Seattle radio station, AM 630 KCIS Radio picked it up for their Quiet Time program which reaches 50,000 listeners every weeknight.
SUCCESS UPDATE UPDATE: Our audio ministry, Pray the Word, (PTW) is celebrating its 1 year anniversary on Jan. 13. PTW is a 4-minute recorded message with a few verses of scripture and a brief reflection on that scripture. As of today I have written and recorded 255 different scripts which are now heard every weekday on two telephone lines, online at www.upc.org/secondwind, and on AM 630 KCIS a local radio station. I've developed quite a "tribe" of listeners! What a ride! The Lord is good! So is VFA-- Thanks! ~ Ann
My purpose for making the investment in the VFA Master Class and the creation of the demo has to do with the Call I believe God has on my life using the gifts He has entrusted to me. It has been a great blessing to be able to use my voice in ministry as a pastor over the last 16 years. The VFA Master Class has offered a positive and natural next step in my pursuit of that Call. My personal mission is to use the spoken word to encourage people to recognize God's sincere interest in the daily doings of their lives. Through voicing audio books, narrating documentaries, and/or instructional materials, or developing "slice of life" commentaries I can encourage people with humor, hope, and wonder. The instructive guidance I received in the class and the high quality demo that is now posted on my Webpage confirms my desire to continue on the path toward the dream that has been rummaging around my heart ever since I could speak. John Pruden is an inspiring teacher. He demonstrated a depth of patience that got the best reading out of every person in the class. For my demo, he selected scripts that not only built on my strengths but also zeroed in on my personal convictions. He directed my recording session (at the end of a very long day, I might add) with focus and great encouragement. The resulting demo is drawing positive comment. I wouldn't be hearing these heartening accolades without the incredible Master Class. Thank you, Voices For All, for this professional and hope-giving experience. It has been a blessing!Ann T. - WA