When I think back on pivotal moments in my life, I can’t help but think about my teachers. I’ve been so fortunate to have great teachers and mentors throughout my life (a pattern that, thankfully, still continues today). Paul Armbruster was definitely one of those great teachers. He is responsible for building the foundation on which my career in voiceover rests. He made me the producer, director and voice talent that I am… and I am eternally grateful. He was a sweet, talented and humble man who touched many lives. More lives than he could ever know.
Paul Armbruster was my first voiceover teacher. When I took Paul’s workshop in 2000, I had very little idea of what voiceover was really all about. Rock radio hadn’t exactly been the best training ground to learn how to be a voiceover talent and back then, it didn’t even occur to me that voiceover was a career. I met Paul when I took a job working as a studio manager at GMVoices in Atlanta. Paul was one of our voice talent. I knew about recording engineering and about being on the radio, but not what it really meant to be “a communicator” or how to do it.
He taught me how to breakdown a script and how to identify the message behind the the words… to read between the lines. Like any good coach, he could be tough, but also offered plenty of encouragement. As his student, I really got the sense that he was on my side and wanted me to succeed. I appreciated his honesty… even on our last day of class when he told me I “wasn’t ready”. He was right. At the time I wasn’t ready to be a voice talent and it would be nearly five years after taking his class until I would do my first paying voiceover job. However, in my role as producer and director, the tools he gave me proved to be useful immediately.
Paul taught me the language of voiceover. Thanks to his lessons, I learned how to direct other voice talent with clarity and confidence. I learned about the different styles of copy and how to get the best read from a talent. His toolbox… became my toolbox.
The skills he taught me are the skills I teach and practice everyday. If I think about all of the voiceover sessions on which I have played a role as engineer, director or as the talent since taking Paul’s class (which is an enormous number), I can’t help but think how much better and easier so many of them were thanks to him and all that he taught me. Through those sessions, he touched more lives than he ever could have known. Even now, after passing on, he will continue to do so through my work and the work of many of his students.
A couple of years ago, at FaffCon 2 in Atlanta, I was able to thank Paul at FaffCon’s closing circle. In front of all attendees, I had the opportunity to tell him just how much he meant to me. That the education I received from him allowed me to have a place in this industry and that he was instrumental in helping me develop into who I am today. That opportunity was a gift and I will never forget it… and I will never forget Paul.
Thank you Paul Armbruster… I will miss you.
Here is a collection of just some of Paul’s voiceover work.