I Rate a “Five-NICE” from Nancy Wolfson!

5 Aug

     If you’ve even thought about getting some training in voiceovers, you’ve at least heard the name, Nancy Wolfson

     She’s been lauded as a woman with an expert ear for what top-level voice casting people expect.  She’s been touted as a “tough-love” voice teacher who tells you what you need to know, even if it isn’t what you want to hear.  

     She’s also been (unfairly) depicted as someone who loves doing to voice talent and their demos what your little cousins used to do to your favorite toys when they came to visit.

     I’m biased.  I love Nancy Wolfson.   And I’m one of the many people who, if you’re bad-mouthing her, will ask you to step outside.  (Of course, being the coward that I am, I’d let you go first and then lock the door behind you.)

     Anyone who’s bought into the myth that Nancy only lives to criticize should have been at the recent Dan O’Day International Radio Creative and Production Summit in Los Angeles.   There was plenty of fair criticism in evidence, but always preceded by something positive, and more importantly – specific suggestions on what could be changed.   …and why. 

     But even Nancy, in a moment of self-mocking humor, stopped and noted how little criticism this year’s crop of voiceover demos submited for the Critique-A-Thon came in for.  And she wasn’t just listening to work from her own students, in demos she’d produced herself.

     Of course the self-serving part of me is writing this because I was one of the people submitting a newly-edited Commercial Demo.  Last year, Nancy had commented on the progress I’d made since the first demo she’d gotten from me the year before.  And even then, I was amazed and grateful she only had a couple of minor suggestions.

     This year, I made some more changes, even though I had not been able to study with her.  What she’s taught me so far must have stuck, though.  Because as my new audio played out over the crowd, she kept nodding and saying, “Nice”, “Nice touch”, or “Very Nice” at the various clips.  After it finished she laughed at the realization she’d just given me five (5) “Nices” over the course of the piece.  And while there were still a couple of cosmetic tweaks suggested (two clips she thought sounded too much the same, “you’ve got other things you can use that real estate for”), it was another very gratifying moment for me.  Not just that she approved of what I’d put together…but that she was able to compare it from memory with demos she’d heard one time each over the past two years!  

     It also felt good when she used my new demo as an example to another fellow she felt was letting his talent for characters and archetypes smother his real, and marketable, “voice” (something she’s been after me about since the beginning).

     My friend Bob Souer completed Nancy’s tele-course some time ago.  But he told me this weekend he’s arranging to start over, saying he feels he can get so much more out of her teaching, now that he has some more experience of his own.  That’s inspiring me to pick up where I left off with this very, very talented lady.

     After all,  I’m not going to try and coast along on a “Five-Nice” rating the rest of my life.  And don’t think I was a Teacher’s Pet or anything.  She gave Rich Owen‘s Movie Trailer Demo an  A++++!    (I agree, for what that’s worth.)

     So…back to my opening line:  if you’ve even thought about getting some training in voiceovers…you know who you should be calling. 

     You can even tell her I sent you.  (….unless you’re still sore at me for locking you outside.)

— over and out —


5 Responses to “I Rate a “Five-NICE” from Nancy Wolfson!”

  1. Bob Souer August 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm #


    It was a well deserved “five nice” rating. Good for you.

    Be well,

  2. Rowell August 7, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    rg note – the following comment was left on another post, but was meant for this one.

    from “eric from windsor”

    I’m a past student of Nancy Wolfson’s and I’m going to follow that comment with a “Ten Nice” !

    Nancy is the kindest,most generous teacher in the world, and is, in a word, brilliant! I studied with her years ago- and if there was going to be any criticism on Nancy, it would be ” Why aren’t you taking a vacation !?”.

    My awesome demos that Nancy produced are making money for me every week, and I can still hear the directions from Nancy when I’m recording, which helps me avoid pitfalls and book jobs day after day.

    If you want a coach to give you a “relaxing hobby” experience, then you need to avoid Nancy’s classes, and go to something like Knitting class instead- but if you are serious about voice-over, and want to hear from an expert every single second that you make a right or wrong turn in your reads, try and get an appointment for a class, NOW !

    For any of you critics of Nancy out there…I’ll be the person WAITING FOR YOU inside the locked room, when the previous commenter locks YOU in,so WATCH IT! bwuhahah!!!

  3. Rowell August 7, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    from rg to eric –

    agreed on all counts.

    my “five Nice” was actually the rating she was giving my demo.

    personally, i would find it hard to rate Nancy by number. she’s off the scale!

    thanks for the comment.


  4. John Taylor August 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    In centuries to come archaeologists will follow a mysterious trail of accomplished voice actors in the commercial field to a root source, or missing link: Voiceoverus Wolfsonopithicus. History will chronicle how, under Nancy Wolfson’s tutelage, voice actors evolved into higher beings. They began holding scripts with opposable thumbs, and for the first, time stood upright while reading copy. Thanks to Nancy, early 21st century voice actors moved their primitive reads into an age of enlightenment.

  5. Brittany Schaeffer August 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I’ve been interested in doing voice over since I was a kid. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I was a bit lost at who I should learn from. After getting lost in the black hole of google searching, I decided to get advice from experienced voice talent. I went to voice123.com, listened to demos and chose 3 that I liked. I contacted each person via their website. One was in South Africa, one was in Kansas and one here in San Diego. Much to my suprise, all three of these randomly chosen people recommended Nancy. I’ve been studying under her for 8 sessions now and I have to say it is the single most fabulous thrill ride of my life. She is everything you describe her to be and much, much more.

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