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Voice acting intro comes to Watertown

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In a world where the number of voice acting jobs is growing exponentially, Jefferson Community College, in conjunction with an Albany-based company, is offering area residents a chance to learn how to break into the industry.

The presentation, “Getting Paid to Talk,” is an upbeat and realistic introduction to the world of voice-overs, according to David R. Bourgeois, president and creative director of Voice Coaches.

According to Mr. Bourgeois, voice actors are in high demand these days for two reasons: changes in consumer habits have greatly expanded the range of voices needed to reach an audience and changes in technology have made voice-over actors more necessary and more accessible.

Once accustomed to being announced to, consumers now must be convinced, Mr. Bourgeois said.

“People are convinced by a vast array of different voices depending on their circumstances,” he said. “We need more voice samples than ever before.”

At the same time, technological advances mean that voice actors are used in a much wider variety of media. And the Internet allows actors to work from anywhere in the country.

Voice actors can be heard in corporate training materials, educational materials, audiobooks, amusement parks, aquariums, planetariums, phone systems and video games, Mr. Bourgeois said.

Less than 10 percent of voice acting work is in commercials, he said.

Voice acting work can be lucrative.

The average annual salary is $47,000, according to CNN.com. That rate can vary depending on location and recognition, according to Mr. Bourgeois.

“I know voice actors that make zero and those that make hundreds of thousands,” Mr. Bourgeois said.

What is perhaps most enticing is the independence and flexibility you have in your career, according to Mr. Bourgeois.

“They do as much of it as they want to,” he said. “You are paid very well for the time outlay.”

Schoolteachers seem to gravitate toward the field for some reason, Mr. Bourgeois said.

Those who attend the class will learn everything from the basics of getting started to working in the studio, effective demo production methods, where to look for opportunities around the community and how to land the job, according to a news release from Voice Coaches.

Attendees also will hear about what people love about the business and what some of the stumbling blocks are, Mr. Bourgeois said.

They also will have an opportunity to record a mock commercial under a Voice Coaches producer.

Offered through the college’s Continuing Education Division, the class will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Extended Learning Center, room E-129. The cost is $20 and the deadline to register is Oct. 23. Enrollment is limited to 25.

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