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Bernard Shaw Tribute

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

September 28, 2009

Comments (10)

Bernard ShawThe voice over community lost a great champion of educational excellence late last year when Bernard Shaw passed away.

Upon learning about this startling truth, I asked one of the people who worked closely with Bernard Shaw to share some of his remembrances in a tribute that we could all read and enjoy celebrating the life of a giant in Great Britain's voice over world.

A teacher, talent, and man who had a way with words, Bernard shall be remembered by the voice acting community in verse and through his contributions to the Voice Over Experts podcast.

Bernard Shaw - A Tribute

Submitted by Paul Albertson

On the 18th December, 2008 the voice over community lost a truly great and influential member. Bernard Shaw not only recorded and produced thousands of demo reels for aspiring voice talents - many of whom are doing extremely well in the industry today, but he was a superb teacher - not just in the craft of being a professional voice over but he was also passionate about teaching students how to get paid work.

I first met Bernard in 2005 when we were putting together an instructional set of CDs called Creative Edge Audio. It was a 'CD a month package' that delivered advice from the experts in the field of Acting and voice over (way before podcasts!).

We were looking for industry experts to deliver practical career advice to our listeners, as well to inspire and improve the talent's craft. Oddly some outspoken professionals and experts can suddenly become shy, a little tongue tied or woolly about their convictions and advice once you switch the mike on - but in the studio Bernard just delivered an unstoppable stream of excellent, valuable, funny and no nonsense advice, busting myth after voice over myth. I remember thinking "wow - this is pure gold dust!"

After listening to him, you not only felt that you could go out there and succeed but he gave you some invaluable tools on how to do so as well.

One great piece of marketing advice he gave in that recording that really stood out for me, was the idea that you as a talent were a business who had to see yourself as a Solution to someone's (i.e. Producer/Directors) Problem - And to see things from their perspective.

For example: a script has been written, the studio booked, deadline set and their problem is they need a suitable voice - that's when you as a talent become a solution or a 'welcome guest'.

So his advice was to find out who's hiring and see if what you can offer is a solution to their current problem - and if you're a little squeamish about selling yourself, this perspective of you being the solution to someone else's problem, rather than 'hustling for work' can really help.

The feedback we got from the recordings was excellent; people were listening, taking notes, going out and booking jobs! Later with Bernard's blessing I contacted Stephanie from Voices.com and all agreed that they would make great podcasts for the voice over community - so if you haven't heard them yet you'd be crazy not to give them a listen!

So from all the thousands of talents he coached, from all the Creative Edge Audio and Voices.com members around the world - Thanks Bernard, your spirited, practical and witty spot-on advice has been a huge and much valued contribution to many voices talents around the globe - and will still continue to be for many moons to come.

This podcast in particular is very special.

I invite you to listen to Bernard Shaw as he teaches you about "Where to Start in Voiceovers." The secret? Learn how to focus on the realities of the voiceover industry and carefully research what you have to offer, and equally, research what all employers are looking for.

Download "Where To Start in Voiceovers" »

For more of Bernard's podcasts, visit:

http://podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts/bernard_shaw/

All my best,

Paul Albertson

Any Comments?

If you would like to share your personal remembrances of Bernard Shaw or add a comment about how his teachings have inspired or affected you, please comment here on the blog.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Related Topics: Bernard Shaw, how to, industry, Paul Albertson, podcasts, Voice Over Experts, voice overs


Comments


    It's sad that Bernard is gone. I never had the chance to meet him, but I often recommend his excellent book, "Voiceovers - a Practical Guide", which is still available on Amazon (here in the UK, at least). From a British perspective it's a great read and sets things out as they are this side of the pond, which is quite a different market from the US.

    Posted by:

      Nice tribute. His book, Voice-Overs, is still available through Amazon.

      http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Overs-Practical-Theatre-Routledge-Paperback/dp/0878301151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254158626&sr=8-1

      Posted by:

        I did my first ever voice tape with Bernard and he gave me a lot of advice and encouraged me to go for it. He even used one of my demos in his book "Voiceovers - A Practical Guide" which gave me the confidence I needed. Sadly missed.


        Posted by:

          Bernard is a saint (oops! no pun intended there). Really, he was a brilliant man. I studied with him, and he also helped produce my first demo. First I'd religiously studied with his book, then I got a chance to study with Bernard in person in many classes at the London Actor's Centre. After the first class, I took my book, and shyly went up after class to ask him to autograph it.

          If I ever feel discouraged in the VO world, I remember Bernard in class, and his faith in me that I had a super talent. Then I affirm that he was right, and I soldier on.

          What a guy! I'm so sorry that he's gone. I still go through the book once in a while and listen to the CD that came with it. Timeless good advice!

          Stefania

          Posted by:

            Sound advice, and a confirmation of a story that I keep hearing again & again...BE YOUR OWN VOICE!
            Thanks for sharing this podcast!

            Posted by:
            • JC Haze
            • September 29, 2009 11:44 AM

              I've enjoyed his podcasts and I can tell he was a serious but entertaining teacher. He'll be missed. It's always interesting to hear the perspective of our English cousins regarding how to approach this industry. I love Bernard's emphasis on "being a solution" There's an old marketing proverb that says "nobody ever bought a 1/4 inch drill because they needed a 1/4 inch drill. They bought it because they need a 1/4 inch hole in something." You have to figure out what you bring to the party that will benefit an advertiser.

              When my students ask about how to succeed in the VO business I always start by telling them that it's like starting your own business. You're the product but you're also the CEO, the marketing manager, and nowadays the booth director, the engineer and, yes, very often, your own agent. And Bernard suggests approaching it like a business as well.

              A quick note... I agree on his comments on good packaging for a CD, a professional cover letter, customizing a CD for different clients and above all contacting prospective clients to ascertain what their needs are. In the U.S. I don't like to include a photo on your demo because the demo presents an illusion. You don't to destroy that illusion by having clients looking at a photo and assuming you sound a certain way. Very few people look like they sound.

              Bernard had excellent, practical, down-to-earth advice and that's what we need in the voice over business. He will be missed.

              Posted by:

                I was fortunate to meet Bernard quite early on in my career, he produced my first demo CD - or voice tape - and I attended some of his workshops with the Actors Centre. His take on the world of voiceovers was very practical and business like, what great advice to get when you are just starting out I can tell you! His no boll*cks approach was a breath of fresh air. I had a great big chip on my shoulder about not having been trained at drama school and Bernard helped me to remove that silliness.

                Paul & Voices.com team - this is such a thoughtful tribute to Bernard, thank you for sharing the interviews you did with him Paul. I have listened to them all a few times over the years and you really did manage to get some invaluable tips or 'gold-dust' from the great man! His personality shines through the podcasts and that is really something special to have.

                Bernard was a wonderfully honest and generous man, who said it how it was. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing and wish my deepest sympathies to his close friends and family.

                Julie-Ann Dean

                Posted by:

                  Bernard was more than a teacher and voice over artist, he was also a musician and all around great guy. He would share his knowledge of drums freely.

                  I've missed Bernard greatly over the past years

                  Posted by:
                  • CJ Blundell
                  • June 8, 2011 10:45 AM

                    I'm in the process of putting a website together and was busy including demos I'd made at Bernard's studio in Canterbury back in 2001. In the process of linking his website to a contacts page, I came across the awful news that he had died. He made me a beautiful demo CD. I still use examples of the work and I do work quite a lot as a voice over artist. I spent one intensive day in the studio with him. He was professional, encouraging, good company, and a mine of useful information. I am terribly sorry to have heard of this, and although it happened a few years ago, would like to extend my sympathy to his family. I wanted you to know that he made a difference.

                    Posted by:
                    • Maggie Cronin
                    • October 12, 2011 10:03 AM

                      Bernard's name cropped up as recently as today for me as I was talking to an industry professional about the man who did a showreel for me back in 2001 and I couldn't remember his name! A quick dig through my files and of course it came right back to me. I spent a very pleasant day down at Bernard's studio and was shocked to find only just now that he had passed away in 2008. As the comment above says, he really did make a difference.

                      Posted by:
                      • Alasdair Murray
                      • December 7, 2011 1:18 PM

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