David Bourgeois is in the business of making people stars. Well, at least their voices.
As president and creative director of Voice Coaches, Bourgeois works with voice actors from across the country out of his Schenectady studio. His clients have done work for TLC, Discovery, HGTV and WE.
According to Bourgeois, voice talent today is all about diversity. Companies are looking for voices different from the booming male tones often heard in movie trailers and beer commercials.
"We've transcended from being an industry where you used to have to be almost born with the voice to do this. The trick for a voice actor today when they are marketing themselves is to try to figure out what is it their voice is a fit for. Then target that aspect of the industry," Bourgeois said.
Marketers are looking for voices that represent the people they are trying to reach.
"People are more receptive to a message that they feel is like themselves," he said.
Bourgeois also said older actors do well in the field.
"As you get older, your voice range actually increases. If I put somebody who's 60 on the microphone, it's difficult for me to tell how old they are. They could be 40 or 70. They can play a broader range with their voice," he said.
Bourgeois describes voice work as a special kind of acting.
"In voice acting, it's what you hear, not what you see. It gives you a special anonymity. You can be anything your voice wants you to be," he said.
Voice Coaches will present an introduction to voice acting class at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Adirondack Community College through the Center for Personal and Professional Development. John Gallogly, senior creative director for the company, will give locals an overview of the industry in the 2-1/2 hour non-credit "Getting Paid to Talk" class.
Technology has had one of the biggest effects on the field, Bourgeois said.
"Most people think of voice work as being about commercials. Commercials are part of our field, but only about 10 percent," he said.
Recent growth in voice acting has come from audiobooks, cable television, voicemail systems, video games and the Internet - an area with limitless potential, Bourgeois said.
"That work didn't even exist if you go back five or six years ago," he said.
The ACC class is meant to give interested actors a glimpse of the industry, not make them overnight stars.
"It's designed as an introduction to the field of acting," Bourgeois said. "What type of voice do we look for today? Where do you look for work opportunities locally? Pros and cons of the field."
Those attending, however, will get their shot at the real deal.
"At the end of the class, we give everyone in the class a chance to record a short clip under the direction of our producer," Bourgeois said.