“I credit BRAVA with bringing back my confidence and self-belief”
I’d reached a crossroads in my career after 13 years at the BBC. I had achieved everything I wanted to as a broadcaster and journalist and needed a new direction and challenge, while still using my voice. I had many years’ experience, but I really needed my confidence building back up in an environment that felt safe but also fun.
When I first spoke to BRAVA, suddenly things seemed less daunting, and I felt excited again. Melissa really understood where I was coming from and how I was feeling emotionally about embarking on a new career and leaving the old one behind. I felt that if I decided to train with BRAVA, that this would be a course tailored to me, which made me feel really comfortable.
The STAGE 1: Narration course covers a lot of ground. Having the class once a week helped me to digest everything slowly. My biggest hurdle was trying to step away from my ‘newsreader’ style, which after nearly 20 years is not easy. Melissa and the BRAVA team have incredibly effective techniques to help you get out of that and now they are always in my head and body. I learned all about the wide range of VO work, which was completely new to me, as well as styles, techniques, script analysis and so much more. There is so much to learn about equipment, setting up at home, marketing yourself and understanding the business side of it all.
I moved on to the Commercial Module, which I now realise was essential to my training. Building on styles and practising scripts was the most useful element of the module. However, learning more about the advertising industry and understanding how copywriters work has really helped me when approaching scripts. It’s a classic case of the more you know, the better you will be.
I also took the Characters Foundation Course, which I would advise everyone to do. It was so out of my comfort zone, I was going red in the face half the time but it helped me let go of my inhibitions and just taught me to throw myself into it - which in turn helped my narration and commercial work.
As Melissa said to me during our first conversation, a VO coach is a personal choice and you have to find the right one for you. BRAVA was right for me. Melissa really helped me during that difficult transitional period between careers. She is a little ray of sunshine, so supportive and encouraging.
I still have lots to learn with BRAVA, plus they offer lots of other shorter Masterclasses, which I keep lapping up such as Advanced Audio Editing and The Shakespeare Sessions - which are mind blowing by the way!
I also love that Melissa has created a community amongst us all, so even if I am not on a course at a certain time, I know I can call her up for advice, chat to other members and feel like we are all supporting each other for the long haul. I think in an industry where you can be on your own a lot, having a group of people who are in the same boat as you, and rooting for each other is invaluable.
My advice to anyone considering VO - especially if you have the same background as me - don’t think you can do it on your own. You need the training, and you need the support, and BRAVA gives you all of it.
Sinead is a real professional in the booth - with bags of experience across well-known BBC radio brands and current co-host with Chris Evans on breakfast Virgin Radio. Since training as a VO with us here at BRAVA, Sinead has voiced for a range of clients including Spotify, BBC 5 Live, BBC Education, 4Music and Channel 4 and BRAVA was thrilled to cast her in her first feature film. She can take on any challenge in the booth and is a joy to work with. She also has a very wicked sense of humour.
Host - Award nominated ‘Shot & Chaser’ podcast series for Spotify
Host - Wagatha Christie Podcast for BBC 5 Live.
VO - 4Music for Channel 4
VO - VSO, Ascot Virtual Tour Company
VO - Album Promo for The Golden Hour, Lobster Mobile Service, Spain
VO - Elara Care in Dallas
VO - Sila.FM
VO - BBC Education,
VO - Railway Station Virtual Tour for the Virtual Tour Company
Peggy - Feature film, On The Line for QLalo Films (cast by BRAVA).