It’s human nature to conflate cost with value. Want proof? Lurk around the sales racks at any store and eavesdrop on the conversations. How often do people mention the original price of a marked down item along with the sale price, and proclaim something along the lines of “such a deal!”? An economist would tell you that original price should be irrelevant – the item is either worth today’s price or it’s not. But how many times do you walk out of the store with something you bought because of the “bargain”? I do it all the time. The notion of cost has added perceived value.
This idea holds true when it comes to paying someone to teach you a new skill. As a beginning golfer I was once given an instructional video hosted by a very charismatic martial arts master. Not a golf pro, a black belt. Red flag much? The format was mostly him standing in front of a classroom full of people who had undoubtedly paid hundreds of dollars to hear him apply Karate principles to the completely unrelated sport of golf. The guy probably sold a ton of videos. I watched it over and over, practiced his “proven” techniques…and ended up adding a nasty slice to my game. Did I mention that the buddy who gave me the tape liked to wager on our matches?
So, how does this relate to embarking on a career in Voiceover? In my journey from stage and on camera actor to denizen of the VO booth, I’ve met quite a few fellow travelers who only seem to value the knowledge and information that they pay someone to bestow upon them. Don’t get me wrong, based on testimonials there are many excellent coaches and instructors out there who do great work; but I’d be willing to bet there are also a fair number of Karate coaches teaching golf because there’s cash to be made, and rooms full of people willing to listen simply because they paid good money for the privilege.
So by all means, train and prepare with the actual experts, but also be on the alert for the free info and lessons that are readily available to anyone. The latter will be the focus of my next few blog posts.