I do ask people if they'd like to offer a testimonial, but offer no remuneration or anything in exchange for what they send me. I've been fortunate to receive compliments from clients for my advice, coaching and demo production, or after they've taken the Voiceover Exploration. I am sincerely honored by these people's kind words. For the most part, these are in the order received, with the most recent on top. Occasionally I have comments, which are noted [in brackets].
July 7, 2020 [This coaching was conducted via Zoom.]
Working with Darren was an absolute treat. In short, it was an incredible, roughly two-hour session that provided a lot of insight into the voiceover industry. If you're interested in learning what commercial VO is all about and/or want to know the best place to start, you want to take the Exploring VO class!
If you're at home like I was, you'll be up on your feet recording with him (Darren will help you find good, affordable [microphones] that you can use as you start your career!) You'll be learning about different ways to approach copy and which strategies are important to use in which situations. You'll learn different ways to practice and get better at your craft. You'll learn techniques to help you deliver your takes. And Darren will help you understand where you personally need to grow the most.
To boot, you'll get valuable insight into the industry and different strategies to help you succeed, all while working with a great, warm, humorous, and professional voice actor.
I cannot recommend the Exploring VO course enough. It's really worth every penny.
April 19, 2020 [This coaching was conducted via Zoom.]
Thank you so much again for your time on Friday! It was truly helpful and fun and I feel more confident going into this new phase of my creative exploration.
Wishing you continued health and safety!
All the best,
April 5, 2020 [A coaching via Zoom.]
Thank you, thank you and thank you for all this! Lots to think about and work through. I hope to have my first follow-up email and samples to you sometime this week.
I really enjoyed working with you on Thursday. It was pleasant, relaxed, educational, very helpful and felt very personal.
All for now. Thanks again!
I know you said a while back that you appreciate getting testimonials for your website, so I just wanted to send you one you can use if you like.
Thanks so much for going above and beyond to help me get started in voiceover! Before I took the workshop I felt a little lost on where to get started, but now I feel like I have a lot more skills and understanding. I also appreciate the amount of one-on-one help I got from you through the workshop. The follow-up emails and phone calls really helped me hone my understanding.
March 6, 2020
[I was very honored to find this testimonial written out and attached to an email...]
As an actor who was looking into stepping out into voiceover work, Darren’s Voiceover
Exploration was the perfect workshop for me.
Darren got me up on my feet right away, working in front of the mic. He coached through a
variety of copy, which gave a real feel for the work as well as a good sense of what was coming
more easily for me, and what was more challenging. Darren was easy to work with--direct,
warm, professional--with a great sense of humor.
I came away with a much better understanding of where I was at and what I needed to work on.
I also came away with some good, affordable options for equipment with which to set up a home
studio--and some great advice on how I might pursue work. Darren answered all my questions,
even ones I didn’t know I had (!), and saved me hours of research.
In the follow up sessions, Darren really helped me hone in what I was doing, giving me targeted
specific feedback on my audio clips. Above all, Darren taught me what to listen for, helping me
to really hear for myself what was working and what wasn’t, so I could adjust and make stronger
Darren’s expertise was invaluable. He gave me everything I needed to get started!
February 11, 2020
Thank you so much for this breakdown and the valuable links. I can’t thank you enough for all of your expertise and guidance. Thank you again for your patience when I didn’t perform at my best, but giving me the tips and tools to improve to become better. I also would be more than happy add to your testimonial page!
THANK YOU and have a great week!
[I thanked her for having already written a testimonial. But she kindly went ahead and wrote one anyway:]
They say that those [who can't] do, teach. However, Darren Stephens is one of those rare individuals who not only is an excellent teacher, but a master at his craft. You will not regret booking a VO consultation with him - great advice and guidance from one of Chicago’s best!
February 6, 2020
Thanks for the awesome session. I can't wait until I have some time to get started. I appreciated the positive encouragements as well as the constructive critiques. When I'm accepting my very prestigious voiceover award (is that even a thing?) I will be sure to thank you for helping me to get started! If not, I will at the very least, recommend you to any and everyone!
Have a great day and I will be sure to add to your testimonial page soon,
[I let her know she'd already written a very kind testimonial.]
January 3, 2020
It was a pleasure meeting you! Thank you so much for the detailed feedback. It's a great reminder of what I need to be aware of when practicing.
I am putting my order in for the basic [audio] equipment next week, so you can expect to see receive some recordings.
All the best,
December 5, 2019
Thanks for the everything from Tuesday afternoon!! What a really great and thrilling time that was for me and I hope that it was an enjoyable time for you too!! Thanks for sending the audio files, the receipt, and the Robert Reich attachment. Thanks also for your feedback during the session and in the e-mail, for your positive support, and your encouragement to move forward. I certainly will do that.
Your comments to me were right on, reflecting your expertise and years of experience. That was invaluable feedback. The advice on acquiring equipment and developing a set-up is great. I will be looking into buying the equipment and the establishing the environment very soon, and will get practicing and reading as soon as I can. I am very enthusiastic about this as a fun thing to be involved with. I'll be in touch for a little advice I am sure and then will send some demo stuff once I am happy with the results.
Once again, thanks for helping me fulfill a long-time wish to explore the world of VO.
All the very best
November 9, 2019
Thank you so much, Darren!!!
It was absolutely a pleasure to meet and talk to you. The Voiceover Exploration well exceeded my expectations, and I would be more than happy to pen a testimonial. [I let him know there was no need after these kind words.] I also really appreciate the thorough notes and encouragement. I'm very excited and determined to give this my best effort moving forward. I've already grabbed [my website name] and began designing my Weebly site. Thank you for those references! My wife (a trained artist) is designing me a voiceover business card, and I've been scrutinizing over the sound in my "studio." I will hopefully have MP3s for you this Monday or Tuesday. [These are for the free follow-up that comes with the Voiceover Exploration.]
Again, I can't thank you enough for the experience!
October 16, 2019
[Anne has a produced commercial demo and has been auditioning. She came to me for the Voiceover Consultation.]
I hope you're doing well! I wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me in Consultation.
Your experience and knowledge are obvious and incredibly helpful, but your honesty and openness about every aspect of both performance and the business of voice over are refreshing. I came in unsure where to focus my efforts and how to move forward effectively, and your insights and advice immediately helped me narrow down my next steps and invigorated me to get the ball rolling. In implementing some of your tips, I'm already seeing an improvement in my auditions and the responses I'm getting to them.
I'm looking forward to sending in some pieces and continuing to work with you. Yours is a clear voice of reason in this industry, and I'm grateful to hear it (pun intended).
October 16, 2019
[A VO Exploration attendee shared some kind words. Israel happened to be very skilled, so I was encouraging.]
I truly want to thank you for sharing your passion for voice work with me! Your knowledge and skill made our session really worthwhile and your amiable way of teaching was thoroughly enjoyable.
I’m extremely appreciative of the guidance you gave and encouraged that with some persistent work, I could get into this world to generate some income. With your complimentary words ringing in my ears, I definitely believe VO is a field that I’ll pursue and in which I’ll find joy. While I’m sure there are some repetitive and boring parts, it’s actually quite fun to be creative and put some character and personality behind the copy!
Right now I think my next step is to investigate a little more about how to yield some paying clients and put a plan together for how to approach that. Then I should be dialing in my equipment, practicing my lines, and getting some experience with the editing.
Having just recently helped my wife start a business, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what is necessary for building a website and so forth.
[He asked a few questions, which I answered, one about starting a VO business and one related to a speaking issue.]
Thanks again for spending the time with me and providing such an easy and effective way of dipping a toe in the waters to explore the world of VO! I’m really looking forward to starting a new project and glad that now I “know a guy!” You’ll definitely hear from me in the near future.
August 5, 2019
Thank you for all of the helpful information and for providing me with such a wonderful introduction to the voice over industry in Chicago. I am in the process of purchasing the equipment you've outlined, and I will definitely follow up with coaching once I have set up a home studio.
July 12, 2019
Thank you so much Darren,
It was a pleasure getting the opportunity to work with you. You have an invaluable insight from your experience, and the opportunity to work in a studio with direction was the exact thing I needed to push me further into the business. I'll be sure to take you up on the follow-ups for more direction and advice. I'm sure I will need it.
June 8, 2019
Thank you so much for all the kind and up front advice today. I really came out feeling a good sense smarter about the biz, and with a strong interest in pursuing auditioning.
May 16, 2019
Darren's Voiceover Exploration session is everything it promises to be. It's a chance to get into a real studio environment with professional equipment and read in front of a seasoned, working professional who understands this business inside and out. His coaching style is incredibly informative without being judgmental and you get the honest, tailored evaluation you're seeking. Darren has given me the confidence to give this (a long time dream of mine) a serious try. I'm really looking forward to the follow up!
April 25, 2019
As an experienced broadcaster who has always dabbled in voiceover work, Darren was the perfect person to go to for a kick in the pants. He not only advised me on how to sound more conversational in my reads, he also coached me on how to use the social media world to promote my voiceover business. He really opened my eyes , mixing compliments with criticism in a non-judgmental way. It often turned into a voice-over therapy session! Whether you've been doing voiceovers for a long time or just getting started, or whether you need to make or update a demo, Darren is the person to go to. He will give you an honest opinion and in the competitive world of voice-overs, that's very refreshing!
April 6, 2019
I want to say how great your Voiceover Exploration class/session was. You are knowledgeable and thoughtful, but what really impressed me was how you tailored the experience to me, my experience level, and my strengths and weaknesses. There wasn’t a wasted minute! You gave me constructive, practical advice, and you were frank and honest about the industry. It was a really valuable experience. I am eagerly looking forward to the follow-up coaching.
[I told Amy she did NOT need to send a testimonial! But of course, I very much appreciate her kind words.]
April 4, 2019
Here is my looooooong overdue testimonial (at bottom of message) regarding the session we did back in early December. You were so helpful. I still want to take advantage of the audio samples and feedback, if that's still on offer. I might not be able to do so until school ends, but it's definitely something I want to pursue.
Thanks for all your advice. I've been loving the recording equipment we talked about, and I've been using some of your delivery tips for a gig narrating in-house training videos for an engineering company. Hopefully soon I can try to dip my toe into the world of commercial VO work!
I hope all is well with you. Thanks again for everything.
I cannot say enough good things about my session with Darren. He was incredibly generous with his feedback and his time, not to mention extremely helpful. He gave me excellent tips to improve my process and delivery-- tips I was able to use right away, and which helped me secure my first paying gig. With practical advice and candid feedback on everything from performance to equipment, Darren's one-on-one workshop is worth every cent. If you're at all considering the world of VO, put a session with Darren at the top of your "To do" list.
April 1, 2019
Thanks so much for all of the feedback and notes on the session. I really appreciated the session and felt comfortable with all of the direction that you were giving me throughout the 2 hours. I will definitely be taking advantage of the follow-up recordings to get your feedback later on!
March 28, 2019
[This is one of the kindest testimonials I've ever received. Thank you, Nolan.]
I wanted to give you a sincere thank you for a fantastic exploration! And this follow up email has so many notes and things to think about, and will prove invaluable, so thanks for that! You have inspired me to explore finding my niche in the business, and to fully embrace who I am, and my character type - that is something that will certainly stick with me throughout my career. I had two more auditions yesterday, and whether or not I get them, I simply felt A. Better, and B. More prepared while doing them, and they went much quicker than my past auditions. I will definitely be in touch for the follow up. I have included a testimonial at the end of this email, but feel free to use whichever part of the email or the testimonial you want. Thanks again, and talk to you soon!
All the best,
Darren’s voiceover exploration was one of the best investments I could have chosen to make for my career. I came in looking for a “clue” on how to tackle voiceover auditions and voiceover in general, and Darren helped me find it. He gave me excellent one-on-one coaching, and was able to pinpoint what my strengths were, and, most importantly, what I needed the most work on. That is what is invaluable about this exploration; there is actual growth, and self-discovery to be made with it, starting right then and there during the exploration itself. From the technical tips he gave me on how to edit a voiceover take, to the vocal tips, I was able to immediately start applying the things I learned to auditions, and I simply feel better and more confident when I go at a piece of copy now. The personalized notes Darren sent to me following the exploration are a great reference point for what to practice and improve upon as I continue, and I expect I’ll be referring to them for a long time to come. It was certainly refreshing to be given honest and practical advice and information on the business, and I greatly appreciate it!
March 6, 2019
Thanks again so much for your help and feedback. I feel much more confident about moving forward (returning) to this world after speaking with you and feel I have a much clearer grasp of what I need to do to move forward.
Would it be possible to get a very simple invoice from you for the Voiceover Exploration? I am using some professional development funds from my work to pay for this and I need to submit an invoice.
Thank you again!
[This testimonial is specifically about the follow-up coaching that's offered as part of the Voiceover Exploration.]
February 25, 2019
I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that our Voice Over Exploration follow-up sessions have been super helpful. Just listening back to a few of the mic sessions I did during the original Exploration, even I can tell that working with you over the three follow-ups has made a huge difference. I am much more confident in both my delivery as well as my technical recording skills. I know I will need to get more experience under my belt to grow as a voice over talent, but your sessions and advice have put me on the right track.
February 18, 2019
Thank you very much for your email below, as well as your time last week. This was a great experience and I’ll definitely be exploring how I can use what you’ve taught me so far, along with your feedback to work towards some new and exciting revenue streams. I’ve already ordered the USB microphone you suggested and it should be arriving today.
With all that being said, I have a feeling you’ll soon regret offering continued guidance down the road; I look forward to milking it. :-) [I told him that follow-up coaching is part of what he paid for with the Voiceover Exploration.] I am going to spend the next few days playing with the microphone/recordings of myself reading copy and I’ll be back in touch soon.
I will definitely write a review for your website. If it’s alright, I’ll spend a little time to think about it and write something thoughtful. I’ll send it your way in a day or two. [I told him that what he wrote here was just fine for a testimonial.]
Thank you again!
January 7, 2019
Just wanted to say thank you so much for the session last week. I appreciate your time and the notes. I am going to look into getting some equipment thank you for the resources.
[responding to the lengthy follow-up email received after every Voiceover Exploration]
December 10, 2018
Looks like a lot of great info here. I will go through it in detail and keep practicing with your helpful suggestions in mind. I enjoyed the session very much and even though I was a bit nervous on mic, I feel I learned a lot.
Thanks for the encouraging words — I know you wouldn’t be just saying that to build up false hopes. I will definitely be putting some effort into VO and hope for the best. And, as soon as I have a decent home studio setup, I’ll be sending you those mp3s to review.
November 15, 2018
Thank you so much for sending all of this thorough and thoughtful feedback. I very much appreciate your encouragement (as well as the caveats :-))! I really enjoyed the session, and although I can't say when I'll get around to completing the follow-up exercises, I'm definitely looking forward to giving it a try.
Great meeting you and working with you as well. I'll be in touch!
October 25, 2018
For anyone thinking about voiceover work - look no further. Darren's voiceover exploration is a must. I had some experience with radio and TV in the past, but I found Darren's voiceover exploration session invaluable. He does an outstanding job of explaining the business aspect of voiceover work, and then he gives you multiple scripts to read with several "takes" to record.
Although he does not sugarcoat his analysis, his expertise in analyzing my voice really impressed me. He gives you advice on pitch, tone, accents, and other details that the average person may not even notice. I would not recommend anyone just record a demo or audition without first taking this exploration session. It is a critical first step to pursuing a successful voiceover career.
September 28, 2018
Darren is absolutely wonderful to work with! I am so glad that I came to him for an exploration session. He is professional, perceptive, encouraging and fun - while providing honest and clear feedback. In his studio I was able to work through a wide range of copy, up at the mic, while receiving expert direction AND being able to listen back immediately for adjustments. I feel that this is the BEST way to find out if you can do this, if you like doing this, what you are doing well and what needs some work.
Darren is also extremely generous with his knowledge and time - you can tell he genuinely cares about everyone he works with (he even helped me plan a few things to do while I was in Chicago visiting)! I seriously can’t say enough about my experience and I’m really looking forward to the follow-up coaching :)
September 13, 2018
Very many thanks for all the follow-up information, so very useful...
Working with you was fun and instructive, and you gently forced me to dig in to past experiences and to experiment with my voice -- opening up a wormhole into a dormant, and potentially not fully-explored aspect of "me" -- using my voice!
Very, very many thanks, your fee has already been worth every dollar!!
September 10, 2018
Hi Darren sensei!
Thanks SO much for the session yesterday. It was exciting and informative even though I was a little nervous and unsure of myself. You really put me at ease and I appreciate it :)
I am ready to begin my voiceover journey! I will look over all the information that you sent me and begin to build my home studio (do you think a walk-in closet will work?). As soon as I buy a microphone I'll do my "homework" and begin practicing. I'm going to warn you...I'm an overachiever. lol
Also, thank you for your kind words (especially from such a consummate professional!). It gives me a little boost of confidence that maybe...just maybe...I can foray into the voiceover world and become somewhat successful. I know it will take persistence and a little bit of luck, but I'm willing to put in the work.
[I am alway reluctant to be TOO encouraging in this very challenging business, but Shay exhibited unusual levels of skill, and I told her so.]
August 19, 2018
Thank you for your time and for your valuable expertise regarding the
voiceover business. I am looking forward to exploring the web sites
you have provided and hope that time will allow me to delve deeper
into the business.
I would be happy to write a testimonial for you. Just let me know how
to go about that.
Thank you again for a very positive first step into this interesting business.
[I told her I could use what she's written here as a testimonial.]
July 31, 2018
It was so nice meeting you! I learned a lot, and thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I definitely want to pursue this career, and will use the links you sent me. I also would love to write a testimonial. Thank you for your time and expertise.
July 27, 2018
Thank you so much for all of the valuable feedback and for a great session. I thoroughly enjoyed working together, not only did you impart plenty of valuable knowledge about voiceover technique, but you also spoke candidly about the business and provided direction on how to move forward. I also appreciated your honest, thoughtful feedback and critique of my work. Couldn't recommend you highly enough to actors and non-actors alike!
July 22, 2018
Thank you for sharing your expertise during the voiceover exploration. I enjoyed working with you. I found it fascinating and enlightening. I am grateful for all of your feedback along with the plethora of valuable information you provided. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, and appreciate knowing that you are only a call/email away.
I will be in touch after I've had a chance to explore all of the information you shared.
Thanks so much,
June 14, 2018
I am getting started in the voiceover industry, and had a friend refer me to Darren Stephens. His one-on-one workshop gave me a very helpful insight to what my strengths and weaknesses are. Darren strikes a great balance of giving constructive criticism and encouragement. In addition to vocal coaching, he gave me good advice on improving my home recording studio and my website. I highly recommend his guidance to anyone venturing into this profession!
May 15, 2018
As a radio personality wanting to enter into the professional voice over world, I was clueless where to start for legitimate, straight-forward advice. Then came Darren.
I wish I had contacted Darren earlier. He gave me clear cut instructions on next-steps, and worked closely with me to point out the habits I had that we needed to improve upon, while highlighting skills I didn't even know I already had.
All of this came from just the price of the Voice Over Exploration Session. The lessons I've learned from Darren were invaluable for my career. And to think, I was so close to dipping into savings and forking over thousands of bucks to a big name online site to "break" into the voice over business, when I was just a few miles away from one of the world's top voice talents. This guy clearly cares about his craft (and people) and it comes through in his coaching.
If you're in Chicago. This is the place to go for no-nonsense voice over coaching. He even went out of his way to take a look at my website and give me his professional advice. Thanks Darren - I'm forever grateful and so excited to see where this journey leads me.
April 21, 2018
Thank you very much for your feedback! I really appreciate it, and I will keep these tips in mind moving forward. I greatly enjoyed working with you and learning helpful techniques and tricks for voiceover. I'm looking forward to setting up my home studio and continuing to practice practice practice! Once I get going and feel comfortable with my recordings, I'll send five over to you for our follow-up.
Thank you again, and have a nice weekend!
April 16, 2018
I was always getting comments about my voice, and after finding Darren's website for VO exploration I thought why not find out if I'm cut out for voice overs? Well if you are like me, and have any inkling of doing something with your voice, then I can't recommend the VO exploration more! He is true to its description, and you'll walk out knowing whether or not you want or can do voice over. He'll give you the knowledge you need on the industry, and will give you realistic expectations of the industry, and even if you're skilled he'll find ways to make sure you're even better. For the price and commitment of it, VO exploration is truly a great way to learn about voice overs, you won't leave without your money's worth.
[This is a 17-year-old with surprising amounts of skill. I'm always careful about being too encouraging regarding this challenging business, but I had reason to be very positive about Nathan's chances of making money with his voice.]
April 6, 2018
Hey Darren, I really appreciate your honesty and generosity during our coaching session. You've helped me get a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses so far, given me some great things to work on. You also shared some invaluable advice about how to approach this work and present myself in this industry. Thank you!
March 23, 2018
I had never read copy or attempted to pursue a career in Voiceovers; however, I wanted to give it a try because I had been told that I speak well. The Voiceover Exploration session with Darren was everything he described on his website. I was very pleased with his expertise and professionalism. He gave very sound advice and the instruction I needed to take my next step in Voiceovers. I highly recommend the Voiceover Exploration training with Darren! He is exceptional to work with and he is true to what he promises to deliver!!
March 14, 2018
This is so exciting! I have already ordered the equipment you recommended - it will arrive next week. I've also downloaded Audacity, and I have purchased [domain names] from the website you recommended. I greatly enjoyed the class yesterday, and will certainly be giving this industry a try in the very near future. Your sage advice will be invaluable for someone like me, at the very beginning of voiceover. I learned more in two hours than thought possible! Thank you for your compliments - they have helped give me confidence that I just might be able to earn a few dollars in voiceover after all! I will locate some copy, and will practice it very soon. I'll be in touch again next week! Wow, that is a lot of exclamation points in one email - perhaps it's good practice for keeping up my enthusiasm? (!) <-- one more for the road.
[My reply: Thank you for the kind words -- may I use some of them on my Testimonials page? I'm glad you're so motivated! While I always have to include the stuff about how tough this business is, I meant all the complimentary things I said about you and your skills -- and please know that I don't give compliments lightly. Cheers, and we'll communicate again.]
March 5, 2018
Thank you SO much for your generosity with your guidance and time this past week. I wanted to follow up and say I had an awesome time learning about the business from you and working on all this copy. Thank you for your kind words and keen ears (and all these great guidelines and resources); it was both hugely validating (and relieving!) to feel that my instincts have put me on the right track, while also inspiring me to work to improve and get myself out there. I look forward to sending along the first round of recordings!
Again, thanks a million for your time and thoughts; I greatly appreciate and value your advice. I will be in touch soon with clips and will be sure to show you the website when it's ready.
All the best,
January 30, 2018
Good morning Darren,
My first coaching session with you was so much fun, and an extremely well developed process. You sir, are a delight, and an excellent teacher. While I may have some experience in business, without the structure and guidance you provided yesterday, I would have little hope of even entertaining the idea of a career in this field. It's very nice to hear from a seasoned expert, that with some basic hard work and practice, I could find a place in the industry. And with this extensive list of resources, I can easily imagine a satisfying journey down this path - and for that, I have you to thank.
I will be reviewing all the content you provided and my audio files over the weekend.
Kindest regards - talk soon,
PS: Feel free to use any/all of my thoughts on your testimonial page - and again, many thanks!
January 4th, 2018
Darren Stephens "Voiceover Exploration Session" is an absolute must experience for anyone considering going into the world of VO, He delivers everything he says and more. Darren empowers you to begin your VO journey faster and more equipped. You learn about yourself, your craft, and the tools to be a success. It is exciting and I am glad to know that I now have a friend in the business. Thanks Darren.
Proud SAG/AFTRA Member
December 26th, 2017
My name is Al, and I just wanted to say that meeting with Darren was a excellent experience. Not only were the surroundings very comfortable, but Darren is a very personable man who put me immediately at ease. This was a good "business" decision visiting him. He filled me in on all aspects and details of the voice over industry and laid out step by step every course of action to be taken, taking it from the beginning on through. I feel I am well informed after just an hour plus of his time. [We did spend the usual two hours working together.] I walked out thrilled really, because prior to meeting him, there was a lot of info I had to go through on the internet, some involving costs to the uninitiated. What to decide after detailed searching with a thousand answers?
I got those straightforward answers with Darren, and would highly advise anyone looking to get into the industry to consult him for an session. The best part was.....I recorded some demos, and he honestly critiqued them and gave me a world of advice on my strong points and areas that needed work. I also received those same files by email to listen to and practice and learn from. Included along with the demo tapes were a lot of invaluable websites pertaining to the industry.
[Thank YOU, Al! Strictly speaking, I use the word "demos" for the examples of your voice you edit together to win work, like the ones I have on my site. While I certainly work with many improvisers, on-camera actors, and people from theater, radio and television, one of the things I enjoy about coaching is meeting people from many different industries. Al was a very interesting guy -- who happened to have real skill -- and I had a great time working with him.]
November 6, 2017
After years of being told, "You have a voice that should be on the radio", I decided to find out what's involved in pursuing this voice over vocation. After going through tons of websites I chose Darren because of his thorough and no nonsense approach to getting into the business. His program gives you an understanding of the skills required and the ability to interpret the copy and bring it to life. It is worth every penny and more. I am a magician part time and I walked away from this session with a better understanding of how to use the techniques during my show. My son and I are also developing a podcast for woodworkers and this is perfect to understand how to record and get your "stuff" on the computer.
aka "The Amazing Bob"
October 19, 2017
Thanks for a most informative session that exceeded my expectations. $175 is an incredible value.
Hope this note finds you well, and I wish I had gotten this off to you sooner. Our meeting was my pleasure; I don't think I've ever had a professional assessment of any kind that was as illuminating as our session. I appreciate these assiduous notes and suggestions and, as I've stated before, that your advice is a beacon of reason and reality in what could easily be a sea of snake oil. I'll vouch for your exploration session without hesitation.
Should there ever be anything I can do for you -- testimonials, more great Russian liturgical music(!) -- please me know.
Thanks very much,
[I told Michael he had already sent a testimonial. :-) One of the many aspects of coaching that I enjoy is the opportunity to meet so many interesting people and learn about their work, background and interests. Michael has a great voice, no doubt in part shaped by his training in Russian liturgical music, including the work of Pavel G. Chesnokov. Go here for some pretty astounding low bass singing!
I just wanted to thank you for a terrific afternoon today for the Voiceover Exploration! It was eye-opening, exciting and I’m very glad I had the opportunity to have you critique my voice. I really think I can pursue this wholeheartedly and am looking forward to having the phone reviews with you for the additional advice and guidance.
It really was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the time spent with you. You are an excellent teacher and really demonstrate a love for the profession. I can see why you enjoy what you do. And, you’re right, on the way home I found myself listening to radio spots like never before!
Hope you enjoy your weekend and I’m looking forward to the next phase.
Thank you SO much for the exploration session, I believe we accomplished just what I had expected to.
… you're very good at being encouraging while keeping expectations at a reasonable level and I appreciate that. Your straight forward approach is perfect and you don't sugar coat anything which is also great. Having taken a few voiceover related classes at Columbia College I can honestly say that I walked out of your session having learned more about my voice and how to play with it than I did in a whole semester at school. The one on one experience is definitely beneficial.
Thank you again and I'll be in touch soon.
July 24, 2017
Good Morning Darren,
Thank you for your time [recently].
I am shocked about how much I learned in just 2 hours and I am excited to see where this goes. The notes that you sent are very much appreciated and listening to the files has definitely allowed me to hear where I need to improve.
Thanks so much.
It was a pleasure working with such a talented Voice Over Actor!
You took the time to thoroughly go over many different types of reads from Commercials to Narrations. I can't believe how much I learned in just a 2 hour session. Your guidance, patience, knowledge and honesty truly made my Voice Over Exploration session more than I had ever expected it to be!
Just when I thought that it couldn't get any better, I received an extremely detailed email with everything we had discussed during our session plus what I needed to work on to get my Voice Over career started plus extra tips that we didn't discuss in our session.
Again many thanks for sharing your Voice Over expertise!!
Thanks so much Darren - truly. Your help and guidance is not something I'll soon forget. I'll be suggesting your demo work to old contacts from VO classes - you provide fantastic work and direction!
Thanks for a a great session today. I really appreciate all of your advice, counsel, feedback and encouragement. If I ever amount to anything in this business, I know where a good deal of credit will lie. And while I appreciate your humility/self-deprecation, you're anything but a "journeyman." I'd be truly blessed if I amount to half the talent you are.
Thanks again for your generosity of spirit in this essentially lonely, solo endeavor.
I genuinely hope we can keep in touch.
Much continued success! All the best!
My Voiceover Exploration session with Darren was exactly what I was looking for and at the same time so much more than what I expected. Getting advice, recommendations, and coaching from a well-established professional is priceless, and I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to get a good start with this.
Darren was knowledgeable and full of resources, but better yet he was friendly and put me at ease very quickly; his home studio had all the required pro equipment you would expect, and the setting was just casual enough to make it fun and help shake my nerves.
Honest feedback was one of Darren’s selling points, and not only did he deliver, but he was also incredibly encouraging and supportive. I truly feel that anyone who is interested in a voiceover career absolutely cannot go wrong with Darren’s Voiceover Exploration. You won’t just get voiceover coaching and time behind the microphone (with audio files neatly emailed to you afterwards in a zip file), you will also get information about breaking out into this field, the voiceover business in general, and Darren will answer any other question you might have.
Thanks to his advice and super helpful links, what seemed daunting to me is now realistically attainable, and I am getting ready to set up my own home studio and looking forward to more invaluable feedback and amazing coaching!
Thank you for helping me create such a strong narration demo! Because of the variety of custom copy and your skilled direction and production, I've booked some jobs straight from my demo. Other times, the quality of my demo gets me on the short list. I'll be back soon to update my commercial demo!
Darren's Voice Over Exploration was a perfect introduction into the world of Voice Over. For anyone, like me, that has been thinking of beginning their Voice Over career but has no idea where to start, START HERE! Darren has an honest and caring approach to coaching. A uniquely funny and laid back individual who made the bumpy learning process easy and fun. He gave me the confidence to play around, find my voice and build on it. Not only did I leave our session with a solid foundation of recording techniques, I left with enough knowledge to build a home studio, all my recordings from the day, and an assignment! He cares about the success of his students, and offers to review recordings post-exploration for no additional cost. That's amazing!
I can't wait to set up my studio and start recording! I'm so thankful for our session. I wish you all the happiness for the Holidays!
My experience at the voiceover session with you today was exceptional. The industry information you provided as well as the instruction, direction and perspective will be extremely helpful as I travel the path to gain experience and skills in the world of Voiceover.
Rest assured, I appreciate your perspective regarding the competitive nature of this business. My intent is to finally follow-up on a lifelong interest - with a gusto. We'll see where the road leads to.
In the meantime, I have lots of reading and research ahead of me and I thank you for the additional information you provided...Web sites etc. Over the Holidays I will have time off from work, so I'll be able to dedicate some real effort to this. I'll be in contact with you after I've made some demos at home to get your critique.
Darren, thank you for your time today. The passion you have for your work is very evident and the interest you show for your clients is genuine. I eagerly look forward to working with you in the near future. Have a great weekend and Thanksgiving holiday.
I have had the pleasure of doing Darren Stephens' "Exploring VO" session. I'm a 64-year-old male with considerable amateur experience as a reader and speaker, but who has never worked professionally. Darren's EVO session covered all the basics:
* What the business consists of.
* What opportunities are available, particularly for a person in my situation.
* How to set up a home studio.
* Equipment and software needed.
Most of the time was spent recording brief VOs, and reviewing and critiquing them. His comments were always positive and constructive, and quickly helped me to improve my reading significantly.
I'm now working on making follow-up recordings, and exploring the business opportunities that Darren pointed out.
I have very much enjoyed my EVO session, and I have found it to be worth every penny. If you are thinking about doing voice-over but aren't sure where to get started, Darren Stephens' "Exploring VO" program is a great place to begin.
I am so remiss in sending this note. This is AMAZING! So helpful to have our notes and to be able to listen more intently to the work we did. It's wonderful to be able to reflect and identify the areas that need attention and improvement. I loved working together and got so much out of our session. It was just what I needed to get my act together. I've narrowed some copy choices down and am assembling my "studio". I hope to have recordings for you in the next week or so. How's this for a testimonial...
Working with Darren Stephens was fantastic. I've been in the biz for a while but worried my voice wasn't right for voice over work. I knew coaching was important before deciding to make a demo but I didn't want to sit in a lengthy series of classes and not get all the information I need. I made the absolute right choice in working with Darren. He's incredibly knowledgable and insightful. He's organized and efficient and has tons of very practical, immediately useful information to share. He was an excellent coach and director and I felt like I learned so much - about me personally - while we went through and read copy and put down tracks. He helped me identify areas of challenge and things to focus on when I practice. He did all this in a charming and affirming way that created a safe environment for exploration. Once we were done he sent a highly informative recap of all we had discussed as well as all the takes we had done. This was especially useful once I was a bit removed from the experience and could listen more intently to the work. As far as career advice and potential he was realistic, honest and encouraging. He was very unassuming where next steps were concerned and did not put any sales pressure on at all. But I left with a feeling of optimism and eagerness to pursue more and move toward the demo. Which I will definitely be hiring Darren Stephens to do.
Thanks again - I'll be in touch soon!
I couldn’t have asked for a more thorough introduction to the business. Straight out the gates, Darren was listing off tools and resources (also included in a follow-up email), naming the local pros and industry leaders, and then whisking me into the recording booth. I was nervous, but he had me at ease and working quickly. He’s got a sharp ear, communicates his perspective extremely clearly, and I trusted both his positive and critical feedback (am generally wary of “pros”).
A few weeks later I sent some follow up questions. Instead of responding via e-mail he called me and spent another half hour talking me through the answers and naming one of his peers who might be able to help me cultivate my specific interest (character/animation). Darren is seriously dedicated, no nonsense, and a phenomenal resource. Highly recommend.
Darren Stephens has been, by far, the most helpful resource for my voiceover interest. I wanted somewhere with one-on-one attention rather than a full class of students and really appreciated his straight forward commentary about the voice acting business. He's been in the Chicago market for quite awhile and has a lot of insight into it. I loved that he had me jump into recording scripts right away to get a feel for my voice. Plus his follow-up email is incredibly helpful with an overview of everything we talked about during the session and links equipment on Amazon that was affordable yet high quality.
He was informative, professional, and above all, helpful. I can't speak highly enough about him and will be recommending him to anyone with an interest in voice acting.
Darren has years of experience as a working voiceover artist, and he uses the time to instruct you on the ins and outs of the business. In addition, he provides you with valuable home studio sessions, using actual copy from produced spots. When you factor in both of these elements, while also receiving a follow up email detailing your session, advice, and links to business/equipment sites, the price is absolutely a bargain compared to much more expensive and weekly courses. When you leave, you'll have all the information you need to pursue voiceover both personally and professionally. And Darren will not sugarcoat your session or prospects. He will tell you how it is, while maintaining a friendly, constructive atmosphere.
I received your email today. I wanted to thank you again for a great session. You offered tremendous insight into the voice over industry, and your coaching/feedback is invaluable. I will be sure to keep in contact as I purchase and assemble my home studio.
Thank you for your time and insight, and I look forward to any opportunity to work with you again.
Thank you for making this possible for me. I needed this experience, and because of your honest, fair approach it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. The time we spent together was incredibly valuable. I learned about myself as an actor and a performer, I learned about home studio specifications, and most importantly I learned that success on this path is a real possibility. [Darren's note: this gentleman has real ability, and I let him know that, along with my usual frequent repetitions about the business being incredibly challenging and competitive, even for very skilled people.]
Dear Aspiring Voice Actors,
If someone has even a minor interest in a career in voiceover, DO THE VOICEOVER EXPLORATION WITH DARREN STEPHENS! He's a long winded, fast talker, so you're guaranteed to get a lot of information. Just seeing his home studio made me realize that most of the junk you read on the internet is just there to make the big businesses rich. And he's simply hilarious. You can't go wrong, and you will find out once and for all whether a career in voiceover is for you.
Going through the voiceover exploration was a huge leap forward in my career.
I recently held a Voiceover Exploration session with an 18-year-old college student, who attended with his mother. I'm honored by the testimonial he sent today:
Working with Mr. Stephens was an honor and an amazing experience. I went in as an 18 year-old knowing very little about the Voiceover industry and left knowing more than I thought was possible to learn in a 2-hour span. During this time, I got to work behind a microphone, hear myself in a professional recording, learned about speaking in a variety of contexts, and much more. These 2 hours flew by, but will stick with me for a while to come. Mr. Stephens provided me with detailed instructions about how to begin in the industry, while also teaching me about myself. Thank you Mr. Stephens!
My mom would love to send a testimonial too, so I am going to give her your email. Thank you again and I greatly look forward to the possibility of working with you again in the future.
[What a kind and thoughtful family... Alex's mother sent her own testimonial this morning. It's difficult to express how honored I am to have met this family and been able to work with them.]
Darren Stephens exceeded our expectations during and after my teen son's recent Voiceover Exploration.
Darren is professional and personable, has tremendous experience and is willing to share it. He quickly and easily established a rapport with us while welcoming us into his home studio, clarified my son's goals for the session, and proceeded to provide valuable exercises, practice, recommendations, techniques and real-world guidance about the use of one's voice, voiceover opportunities and next steps. The exploratory experience was enjoyable, well-paced and packed with great information. During the session, Darren provided balanced feedback about my son's strengths and areas for development. After the session, Darren took the time to send us a comprehensive summary of the session's outcomes, along with related resources, tools and ideas.
Thank you, Darren, for making such a positive difference in the education of my son. It was truly a pleasure meeting you.
Thanks so much for working with me on Saturday! You were absolutely AMAZING! I appreciated your professionalism, honest feedback, and keeping my expectations realistic about the challenges in the voice over industry. I am excited and encouraged to move forward in pursuing my demo and seeking more VO projects!
I will be in touch with you soon.
If you are even a bit interested in voice overs, are an old DJ like me considering it for side income, I highly recommend Darren's Voiceover Exploration session. I've taken other training in the past and frankly I learned more in this 2 hours than those sessions. Why, because it's 1 on 1 and you spend most of the time reading copy and getting valuable feedback. And the follow-up email have all the details you need for the home studio. So I'm on to getting the home studio up and running and will be taking advantage of Darren's post session feedback options. Great value from a great coach
I really cannot recommend Darren Stephens highly enough.
He's talented, kind and supportive--an absolute pro, who knows the business inside and out.
Darren's not some pushy salesman getting you in the door so he can sell you the Extra Deluxe Package. He's a straight-shooter, who won't hesitate to lay out your strengths and your weaknesses. In a world full of people who are more than willing to blow sunshine up your keister, Darren will give you an invaluable dose of reality. He not only provides tremendous guidance on how you can improve, he'll tell you exactly what to focus on if you want to get real work.
He worked with me to put together a fantastic, professional demo, which (combined with his advice and guidance) has led to real, paying work. If you're serious about getting started in voiceover and you're wondering what to do, where to start, how it all works and whether you've got what it takes--there is no better place to start than in Darren's capable hands.
Thanks again for the great session. I'm so excited to keep working. I really appreciate your encouragement and teaching!
Thank you so much for a great lesson yesterday! I am so grateful for all of the encouragement and advice that you gave me, and I would love to keep practicing so I can get started and see if I can get an agent and/or some work! It may take a little time to get some of the equipment, but I would love to be able to send you some takes soon. I may even contact you for help with a demo!
The Voiceover Exploration session met my every expectation, and was far more valuable than a prior voiceover orientation experience that I had with another company, which cost me $100 more than your Voiceover Exploration, and didn't even present me with the opportunity to read/record any pieces of copy. There is real value in being able to get behind a microphone, record copy and receive real-time feedback/guidance from a professional voice talent like you, as part of the Voiceover Exploration session that you offer. It presented a novice like me an opportunity to generate real data for analysis in determining whether or not the voiceover industry is one that I might truly be able to navigate and be successful in.
Your professionalism made it very easy to work with you, and enhanced the overall Voiceover Exploration experience for me. I found your recommendations regarding home studio recording equipment to be very reasonable/realistic, and I am encouraged as I pursue said equipment in further exploration of the world of voiceover. I am extremely grateful for the Voiceover Exploration experience, and highly recommend it for anyone seeking genuine/honest insight relative to the world of voiceover.
Darren is a true professional who will not waste your time or money like some people I have found in this business. He is right to the point with clear concise ideas and direction. I would advise anyone to book a session with Darren it will be well worth your money time and effort.
The two hours I spent with Darren were a great investment. I was looking for a solid introduction to the business of voiceovers and honest feedback on my potential. Darren delivered as promised. It was great to get actual time in front of the microphone and a clear assessment of what I would need to do to be successful.
I loved the Voiceover Exploration session! I appreciated your quick yet thorough introduction to the voiceover industry and your direction on reading copy. Thanks for pointing out a couple of things I need to work on--sometimes it helps to have a second pair of ears. :) I'm looking forward to purchasing equipment and recording MP3s for the follow-up.
Thanks very much,
From a recent client for whom I produced a commercial demo
I think this sounds killer. It's amazing the range of sounds we got while still really showcasing me and my "brand". I love it. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I cannot wait to work with you again, soon hopefully. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know!
[I do ask people if they want to offer a testimonial -- clearly Sarah went above and beyond. You'll see I have some comments on what she wrote.]
When looking for a Voice Over workshop I ran into many options, many of which involved taking 8 week courses or spending way too much money. But, then I came across Darren Stephens' information after a quick “Voice Over Workshops in Chicago” Google search. I decided to check out his website and listen to his demo reels. He seemed very talented and had definitely been working in the industry for a long time, so I trusted that he knew what he was talking about. He was offering a Voice Over Exploration session for a very reasonable cost from his personal home studio, so I contacted him and we set up a date and time for the workshop.
Well, I have to say, I left our session today feeling better than ever about my future in the Voice Over Industry. Darren was so generous with his knowledge of the V.O. world, let me record in his studio and gave me advice and tips throughout. [This was a very typical Voiceover Exploration session.] We worked together on the recordings, while he gave me direction and feedback and he recorded everything for me so that I could hear where I needed work and what I was doing correctly. He was very attentive to my needs and was always making sure that I was getting what I wanted out of our session together. Although he was teaching me the entire time, he was able to make me feel like we were working together. Darren shared so much valuable information with me and I can’t wait to get started on my own Voice Over career! He was encouraging, but realistic about the industry and I would recommend his workshop to anyone interested in pursuing a career in V.O. work. [To be very honest, Sarah was very skilled, better prepared to tackle the business than most people. I was unusually encouraging, while repeatedly setting realistic expectations.]
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to work with Darren Stephens on the art of Voice Over. I feel confident and prepared to continue our work on my own, everything I wanted from a workshop. He even offered to let me follow up with him and send him my own recordings that he will critique and help me make professional quality for my future demo reel. [To clarify, as with everyone who takes the Voiceover Exploration, I give free follow-up on three sets of audio files. I have also given critiques on other demo material that people show me.] I graduated from Missouri State University with my B.F.A. in Theatre Acting in May 2013, but I’ve been looking for my right place in the acting world since then and I think Darren Stephens helped me find it today. Thanks so much for everything, Darren!
Sarah H. [Whew! Thank you!]
From another recent client for whom I produced a commercial demo. He received an offer for representation by a Chicago talent agency:
I just wanted to take the time again to send a sincere and heartfelt thanks to you, Mr. Stephens, because without you, I have absolutely no clue where I would be in this business, and I am confident from the moment I first spoke to you that I would get nothing but the honest truth from you, as well as your best work, which manifested in this offer, and many other positive responses (from ad agencies and production houses in the area to whom I sent my demo). Thank you.
These people offering me representation could very well be thieves and charlatans, [they are actually a solid and respectable agency] and I may never win a single big-time audition, but that won't take away from the joy of this whole experience, culminating in independently-confirmed "talent", and one kickass demo and a whole lot of knowledge. Thank you, friend, and happy holidays.
From a recent client for whom I produced a commercial demo:
It sounds fantastic! Top notch job! I'm very excited to put this up anywhere I can.
I really like the different emotions and paces you brought me to, it flows very well from one segment to the next.
Thanks again for all your help with coaching. It was definitely a pleasure working with you!
From a working VO talent who came to me for brush-up coaching:
Thank you so very much for the coaching. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you. I appreciate your time, energy, and notes with recordings. You have outdone yourself sir! Here's to working with you again soon.
A father came in with his 19-year-old son, who took the Voiceover Exploration:
Thank you for allowing me to sit in on my son’s Voiceover Exploration session. Among your many talents (and voices) you are truly a gifted teacher. You took a great voice and made it even better! Your practical, real-world advice, recommendations, and follow-up, was icing on the cake. We’re still talking (and laughing) about the experience in a really good way!
Your Website described your Voiceover Exploration course perfectly. It was indeed time and money well spent and for that I sincerely thank you!
The whole experience was one that my son and I will never forget. In short, it was a lot of fun!
--Very Well Done, Sir.
P.S. --Please don’t be offended, but you remind us of the actor, J. K. Simmons.
My son and I are both fans, mostly because of his talented (and unique) voice.
Let me take this time to thank you for the two hours we spend together this time last week. The practice you gave me, your input and your feedback was immensely valuable to me!
Your Voice Exploration session is more valuable than voiceover courses that are twice the price and beyond! You are truly worth every penny, Darren! Okay, so far I have place the order for the microphone. I'm kinda inching my way to getting all of the materials you suggested. I'm practicing in the meantime, so that I can send you those mp3s.
But Darren, thanks most of all for being honest. Your vast experience in the field of voiceover shined brightly during our session. That's something else I did not find in my instructor for the voiceover course I took that was twice the price (more than, actually) as your Voiceover Exploration.
Also, you are a patient teacher, and good at spotting little things that can make to whole reading go in a completely different direction!
Thanks very much for the session...you're the best!
I'm really glad you offer the Voiceover Exploration; you provided valuable information and coaching at a very reasonable price. I appreciate your honest feedback and humor, and look forward to purchasing the equipment we discussed so that I can send you recordings for follow-up coaching.
Thank you again for your expertise and advice with my Voiceover Exploration session. Also for taking the time to go through this with me despite my communication miscommunication, haha. This is a great, thorough list to put me on the right track and get me working on voice acting with a more solid foundation, so I truly appreciate it. I plan to do the follow up items as soon as I get the chance as well as send you a more proper testimonial about how this was the positive experience that was exactly what I was looking for. It was fantastic getting to work with you. Thanks again for everything and I'll be in touch soon.
I am so glad you offer the Voiceover Exploration for newbies like myself! Although I was shy and nervous, your professionalism, kindness, and knowledge of your craft put me at ease. I left armed with a much clearer understanding of the business; as well as an awareness of my strengths, weaknesses, and the different nuances involved. I appreciate your talent, expertise, and desire to help others. Thank you for your honesty, the valuable resources you provided to me, and your humor! I thoroughly enjoyed our session and highly recommend your services.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. As someone just starting in the voiceover industry, I was seeking constructive critique from a professional in the industry, without spending hundreds of dollars.
The Voiceover Exploration was invaluable and provided exactly what I needed. I appreciate you pointing me in the right direction.
You were right in all things so far. The technical side of the business is a bit daunting but I am confident that I will soon be sending you a clean MP3 (I sure hope!) of audio tracks for you to critique.
I can’t tell you how very much I appreciate all your direction and support. Your simple direct notes have helped me each time I begin working. You have a real gift for teaching.
I sincerely appreciate everything you have done for me. Your professionalism and method of sharing information was enlightening and enjoyable. I look forward to putting time into study and practice. We can reconnect when I've done some work that is ready for notes and direction.
Looking forward to it.
Thank you for sending over the audiofiles as well as the additional information in regard to voice over work. I enjoyed our session together. I found it informative and enjoyable. I appreciate the fact that we did actual voice work and the accompanied coaching. I appreciate your straightforward feedback. I would be happy to write a testimonial. Again, thank you for an informative and enjoyable session.
I told Bill L. thank you -- he did not need to write a testimonial after what he sent above, but he went ahead and wrote one anyway, for which I am very grateful.
Thanks so much for your time, insight and honest, straightforward advice during our Voiceover Exploration session. I am pleased that you offer the Voiceover Exploration for those exploring the voice business such as myself. It was really an informative as well as enjoyable session for me. I appreciate knowing what I need to work on. Most importantly, thank you for your honest evaluations and the valuable resources you provided to me. Also, just as important, I appreciate your humor and how you made the session fun!! I would certainly recommend your services.
Thank you so much for your coaching and help Darren, I appreciate the feedback, direction and advice. I left feeling more confident in pursuing VO work and that it is something worth my time and investment. It's good to know from a pro that my voice is sellable and hopefully with a killer demo I can book some more work.
Thanks for the notes! The "class" was so informative and I had a great time learning about the voiceover field. My birthday is at the end of August and I'm thinking it's the perfect opportunity to ask for a voiceover microphone. So I will be in touch with my recordings*. :)
[*She's referring to the free coaching provided on audio recordings submitted by those who take the Voiceover Exploration. -- DS]
I can’t recommend working with Darren enough. From the quality of his coaching to the refreshing candor of his advice, his passion for voiceover work gives aspiring talent practical and useful knowledge in both using and marketing your own voice. The Voiceover Exploration class was so enjoyable that I went back to Darren to have him produce my commercial demo, which I couldn’t be more satisfied with.
I look forward to recommending Darren’s services to anyone looking to get their start in voiceover. Hell of a nice guy, too!
Darren, thank you so much I can't say enough about how I enjoyed our evaluation and I'm going to get started ASAP in ordering the equipment, speaking with Sweetwater and getting the foam you recommended! I'll also start researching Audacity and how to use. Maybe they have an Audacity for Dummies book! :) Ill be in touch soon to keep you posted and have some recordings to you within the next month to 6 weeks.
Darren was a wonderful teacher. During the Voiceover Exploration, we spent two hard-working hours learning what I could do, testing my ability to take direction and seeking out where I needed to improve. I was treated professionally and with respect the entire time. This one-on-one critique was so-o-o much better than a group session where there wasn't a whole lot of personal attention.
He also offered practical information that I really needed to know to explore voiceovers as a new career. Best of all, I have audio files that I can listen to and use to improve my technique.
Thank you, Darren!
Thank you, Darren! I'm so glad to get this email.
I very much appreciate your insight and your time in working with me. These files and notes are helpful for me to remind me what I need to work on.
Darren was a terrific tutor. He provided constructive criticism, tips and industry insight you can’t find via Google. Moreover, this all came at the right price. In my experience, this one-on-one attention is a superior alternative to an eight-week class. I look forward to continuing my consultation with Darren!
Thanks again for everything! You showed me a lot of stuff and I learned quite a bit from the experience. After hearing some of the samples I see what you mean about needing practice (and I don't mean that in a horrible self-criticizing way) and it was very enlightening. I'm going to find time in the coming weeks to work on my studio and hopefully I'll have some samples ready for your thoughts and opinions.
Take care and thanks again! You really made me feel like I got my money's worth.
Thank you very much for the files and for today as well. It was very fun and I'm amazed at how much I learned. I may well be buying a microphone as soon as this weekend :) Thank you for the coaching and I hope to be sending some [recordings] your way very soon!
Thanks so much for your time, insight and advice this afternoon. It was really a valuable session for me. I now know what I need to work on. Thanks also for sending the zip file - it's a great benchmark for me to use as I set up a practice routine. I'll certainly be in touch and appreciate your advice, now and in the future.
Thanks so much again for everything! I'm working now on getting all the equipment together that I need. I'll be in touch once I'm ready to send in my practice copies (or in the meantime if I have any questions).
And again, I can't thank you enough for all your help and advice! It's good to have someone outside my immediate family confirm that I'm on the right track.
It was a pleasure to work with you recently on my Voiceover Exploration.
I appreciated the insight that our time together provided. You helped to clear up some misconceptions I had about the voiceover industry. Furthermore, I found your no-nonsense approach refreshing. You were able to tell me which microphone techniques I need to work on and I was able to hear the difference immediately in the recordings you made. You also offered very direct information about setting up a home recording studio. Finally, your extensive knowledge and experience with the voiceover industry was apparent.
I will be in contact with further questions about the industry. Thanks once again for all your help and guidance.
Thanks again for a great session last Thursday. Through your coaching and critiques, you confirmed what I already sort of suspected were my strengths and weaknesses. That was my goal, plus you gave me a treasure trove of websites to explore. I'll highly recommend you to anyone I know who's interested in exploring the voicework business.
I've been acting, writing, and improvising in Chicago for the past 8 years. I've always wanted to try my hand at voiceover, but after all the time and money I've spent on classes over the years, I wasn't sure that I wanted to commit to a set of classes. Darren's Voiceover Exploration Workshop was absolutely perfect for me because it gave me a chance to get information about the voiceover industry and wonderfully honest feedback about my particular strengths and weaknesses. Darren is an absolute pro who can give you advice on everything from vocal technique to home studio setup. He's accessible before and after your session and is happy to help you in any way that he can. I wish there were more people in this industry like Darren.
Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say "Thanks a million!" for giving me more than my buck-fifty's worth today! I had often thought about exploring the universe of VO work, and had even attended an "intro workshop" of a diploma mill outfit a few years' back. Naturally they said I had a shot and needed some work with a pro....of course meaning their high priced pro. I left and kind of put the whole idea on hold until I came across your website. You were a breath of fresh air. You gave me ample time to both coach and work with me on script presentations, but also answering my many questions about the "State of the Voice Over" industry. Hell, I even enjoyed our non voice over topics of discussion!
It was a pleasure working with you, and you helped me out tremendously. I appreciated the tips about finding scripts to practice on during my own time and not trying to hook me into a high priced "package of 1 on 1 tutoring"...even though you could have easily swayed a vulnerable guy with stars in his eyes.
I definitely look forward to reporting back with my progress as well as some MP3 files for you to listen to after I'm practiced!
Darren Stephen's Voice Over Exploration Workshop is a great way to get started in voice over. Darren is straight forward and demanding and doesn't sugar coat anything. I love working with him! His prices are fair because he actually wants to help people get started. He's not a machine, and he treats you as an individual. He's been in the business forever and has a great ear for spotting what you'd be good at (commercial versus narration, etc). He also has pretty much seen it all and is full of advice and tricks on how to get your voice to read well on the mic.
I am not a technology person at all, so i was a little intimidated about the home studio bit, but he helped me figure out what I needed that was within my budget. Another great thing about Darren is that you can do his workshop session and then walk away. If you don't like him, or he's telling you he doesn't think this will be something great for you or you just decide the money's not going to happen right now, no problem. You get a recording of that first session to review and practice and it's up to you what to do next.
I cannot recommend highly enough Darren's fantastically useful Voiceover Exploration. Many people had complimented my voice and told me I should do voiceover work, but you'd rather not shell out thousands of dollars to find whether or not you even stand a chance.
That's where Darren comes in. Over the course of a couple hours, he has you read radio scripts into a microphone in his professional home studio, listens to your delivery and interpretation with an analytical ear, and lets you know what you're doing right, and what you're doing wrong. He's encouraging, but he's also incredibly frank as to how competitive voiceover has become in recent years. If you have the potential to make it in this business, he will let you know. But he'll also let you know that it will take a LOT of hard work and perseverance.
And the thing is this: He could choose to leave out those truths if he really wanted to. The cost for his Voiceover Demo Production is so amazingly competitive that he could call everyone who walks through his door a genius just to get their money. But he doesn't. He's exactly what this industry needs, what EVERY industry needs: Someone offering a low-cost, ethically-minded service, offering spot-on critical analysis and advice from someone who makes a living at it himself.
If voiceover work is something you're considering, do yourself a favor and drop Darren a line.
I just did my first official VO work yesterday. It was to VO the online animations for a textbook. Apparently my timing was great and the fellow recording thought I had a pleasant voice. And they were duly impressed that I nailed the word "systematists" without a problem.
I took to heart everything you suggested a few months back. Very useful.
Just what I needed as I dive into my voice-over career: two hours of honest-to-goodness raw voice-over exploration. Darren is genuine and detailed in his approach. He focused on my voice, and gave his honest opinion. He helped me realize my strengths and become aware of my weaknesses; total voice sculpting 101. He cuts right to the chase about the ups and downs of the business (and what to expect) and the competition in the world of voice-over. He was more than willing to share his nuggets of wisdom in how to become “high-end talent” and how to keep pushing along to get where you want to be. Not only that, but he's tech-savvy; he even gave me a lesson on how to record and edit my own recordings.
You can tell Darren loves voice-acting and coaching; he's a great resource. I highly recommend Voice-Over Exploration for anyone who is entering the world of voice acting.
Thanks a bunch, Darren!
Thank you for the fantastic Voiceover Exploration workshop a few weeks ago. It was very encouraging and has really got me motivated to get this thing going.
Like many others desiring to get into the voiceover industry I had been told by many people that I had 'a good voice.' After years of hearing this I decided to investigate the voiceover industry. When I came across Voiceover Studio Chicago I was immediately intrigued by his website claim to be "The best, most direct, no-nonsense, pull-no-punches information about the voiceover business available anywhere." I thought, That’s exactly what I need. And it turned out to be exactly what I got! I took the Voiceover Exploration and received a realistic assessment of my skills and potential ability to succeed in the extremely competitive business of voiceover. As he assessed my abilities Darren was indeed direct but also very tactful. I found him to be believable. He’s someone I could trust. The Voiceover Exploration was time and money well spent.
Darren's Voiceover Exploration packs a lot into a couple of hours. He provided me with a realistic perspective on the business -- including its downsides and difficulties. He shared tips and tricks and tools of the trade. He offered an honest critique of my abilities. What struck me most, though, was his love of craft and commitment to helping others. I was hoping to gain a clear understanding of what I would need to do to move forward with voiceover work. Darren provided that and much more; it may turn out to be the best [money] I ever spent.
Just wanted to send along a quick word of thanks for the time we spent working together on Thursday. It was just what I was looking for: a frank, sincere prognosis from a professional about a course of action and if voiceover work truly is the sort of thing I should strive to do, my own ambitions/biases notwithstanding. As I mentioned before, I've spent a good bit of time shopping around, and I enjoyed working with you the most. You're tough but fair, and I'm not interested in anything else.
Thank you again, Darren, and I'm looking forward to getting behind the mic with you some more!
Thanks so much for all your help, direction and info last week. I really learned a lot from you!
I have been practicing and will be looking to sending you MP3s for review in a few weeks
for your critique.
Bethany Watson11:53 AM (4 hours ago)
Thanks for the awesome session. I can't wait until I have some time to get started. I appreciated the positive encouragements as well as the constructive critiques. When I'm accepting my very prestigious voice over award (is that even a thing?), I will be sure to thank you for helping me to get started! If not, I will at the very least, recommend you to any and everyone!
Have a great day and I will be sure to add to your testimonial page soon,