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Friday, April 27, 2012

Voice Over is Changing

The world of voice over is changing.

For those who succeed in establishing a career, voice work remains very lucrative,  but the changing landscape has increased both the competition and altered some of the skill sets needed for a career.

Where once major city based union talent, primarily those with or who came out of broadcasting, dominated the market, today voices from all over the world compete for the same job, even local market jobs.  There has been a long time trend away from "announcer" voices to "real people", a sound that, believe it or not, takes a professional voice actor to pull off. Where once deep, smooth and resonate voices were king, today slightly higher and even slightly flawed voices are sought for radio and television voice work. It is important to sound conversational and natural, yet be able to produce the exact same read and "real" person feel for duplicate reads and matching levels.

Technology has allowed an increasing number of voice actors to enter the marketplace. Where once you had to live a half hour from the production studios, today you can live half a world away, using equipment that compared to previous generations cost pennies on the dollar. A computer, soundproofing, a qualify microphone and the proper recording and editing programs are now a manageable cost and can be set up in a spare bedroom or closet.

It use to be who you knew, with regular in person contact and relationships needed to establish and maintain a professional marketing relationship. Today many voices are judged on computer files, blind boxed without the name or location of the talent revealed to decision makers. Relationships and consistent quality of work remain important for talent to be rehired or put first in line where there is competition for the next job.

The union market is the most lucrative, with the added protection of the union, use fees, broadcast cycles and multiple use payments. However, increasingly producers are using non-union talent to save clients money, maximize their own profits and have a flow of "fresh" talent.

If you are interested in animation I suggest contacting Bob Bergan in Los Angeles.

There are beginner and intermediate coaches in  Nevada, however budget for far costlier national coaching talent and travel to where ever they teach. Even established professionals study with these coaches to keep their skills, knowledge of the business and professional connections up to date and current.

For entry level talent in Las Vegas I suggest Dr. Alice Whitfield for those who live on the west side and Melissa Moates for east side and Henderson. They are very different in their backgrounds, skills, approach and coaching techniques, so an audit may be recommended. Other coaches for entry level talent include Gretta Lorworth , Casting Call Entertainment and, in full disclosure, myself.

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