Here at Such A Voice, we bring together some pretty incredible professionals from all different parts of the world to provide our students with a top voice-over education. Our staff members have such a wide variety of backgrounds and unique personalities. From working VO actors starring in movies, video games, and national TV commercial campaigns, to producers spending their days working on voice-over demos as well as broadcast voice-over work, to copywriters, casting directors and many other industry skills in between! We genuinely love bringing our expertise and our experiences together to create the best programs for our students.
For this week’s staff spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to one of our coaches, Dave Tolar!
SAV: Hi Dave! Thanks for taking the time to chat. We’d love to hear more about who you are and what you do here at Such A Voice.
Tolar: I have been in the communications world for nearly four decades. I’m currently a voice-over artist and a coach for Such A Voice. I’m also an online music reviewer and a writer of short stories. I have a passion for creativity; I’m always seeking new ways to explore creative outlets. I have been a photographer, videographer, and editor for many years.
SAV: What inspired you to pursue a career as a voice-over coach and voice-over artist?
Tolar: Becoming a voice-over artist was an extension of my radio and television careers. When a radio station needed a particular on-air talent to voice material for a certain client or situation, I would inevitably get the call. Depending upon the circumstances, I would spend time either voicing commercial and narrative material as myself, or in some cases in character.
When I entered the television production world, I was sought out by various local companies who wanted me to voice television or corporate video projects that they were working on. In this particular case, it meant that the production companies would get twice as much value out of me for half the cost!
My involvement with SAV began on January 2, 2011, after a phone call from Brian Thon. Brian invited me up to Vermont along with three other “coaching hopefuls” to determine whether or not I would be a good fit. I taught our introductory voice-over class on the Eastern Seaboard for a few months after I was hired, and then quickly came to the conclusion that I really needed to be closer to home. Thankfully, SAV offered me a position as a coach, and I have been doing that ever since.
SAV: What’s your advice for anyone who’s new to the voice-over industry?
Tolar: Be yourself. For some aspiring VO artists, finding their own “true voice” is a journey unto itself. Never be afraid to explore and challenge yourself. Never stop improving your skills, whether they are related to the technical, to editing and production, to client relations, or to the marketing aspects of voice-over.
You will never stop learning in this industry. The industry makes demands for ALL of us to continuously improve. A big part of that is a combination of the awareness of industry trends and the constant quantum leaps that occur in technology related to the VO industry.
Also, never stop listening. Be inspired by others, but follow your own path.
SAV: What’s your favorite vocal warm-up to do with your students?
Tolar: I encourage the students to always warm up before they do their voice-over lessons. Whether you are just getting started in VO or have been doing this for years, doing a warm-up routine is always beneficial. In my own case, I warm up every day by singing – it’s something I have always done going back to my performing days.
SAV: If you could do a voice-over for any television show, what show would you choose? Why?
Tolar: Twenty years ago, I probably would have said “South Park.” I would love to have been Eric Cartman’s older brother. Today, I don’t focus on the character world as much as I did when I was doing projects for companies like Hasbro. I honestly don’t watch a great deal of television anymore, aside from sporting events and music-related programming.
SAV: Rumor has it, you’re a musician as well. Tell us more about your background in music.
Tolar: I have been a professional musician virtually my entire life, going back to singing in front of hundreds of people as a five-year-old. I have been involved as a multi-instrumentalist, and both a live performance and studio vocalist for more than four decades. I’ve made appearances on more than a dozen albums, the majority of which never sold nearly enough for me to become famous.
I was blessed to do a tour of the UK in 2005, and have played shows in several states in the US, predominantly in all six states of New England. During my time performing in various bands, I played hundreds of concerts, but at this point, I am no longer touring or doing a great deal of live performance work.
I have released two solo albums to date: “The Path of Least Resistance” in December 2012, and “Sandbox Etiquette” in August 2014. My third solo album, “Conflict Resolution,” will be released independently on June 3, 2018. All of my solo music is available for free download on my Bandcamp page.
SAV: What are some similarities between music and voice acting?
Tolar: Being a singer and being a voice actor are remarkably similar on many levels, especially in the phrasing of your “notes” and in your breathing. As a singer who works without a band and sings multiple harmonies on every song, a great deal of my instrumental and vocal arranging is finding my voice within every part of each track. As a VO artist, I have to find my voice in the range where my voice best fits a particular style of script. There are constant decisions being made, such as what pitch and what timbre will best fit the vocal track that I am voicing at a given time, as well as what demographic I am trying to satisfy. I have voiced as a teenager and as a senior citizen in the course of my career to date. I like to believe that my voice is flexible to handle any and all challenges, no matter what the client’s needs might be.
SAV: In honor of the cold winter season, we have an important question to ask you…hot chocolate or tea?
Tolar: Tea, specifically English tea. My parents would never forgive me for drinking anything else!
SAV: What is your favorite memory of 2017?
Tolar: This year has been the most challenging of my life. I am humbled beyond measure to be able to celebrate this holiday season with my wife, Susan, and our adorable “kids;” our two Yorkies named Dickens and Tess.
SAV: Do you have any exciting plans for the new year that you want to share with us?
Tolar: For New Year’s Eve itself, my goal is to stay awake until midnight! In all seriousness, everything for me now boils down to that classic phrase “one day at a time.” That being said, my plan for 2018 is to keep on keepin’ on!