The New Voice Over Model for a Curious Mind

Now, more than ever before it’s easier to get into the voice over industry.

I am not talking about dabbling in voice-overs, but actually making a career out of it. You see there has been this shift allowing for a new VO model to exist. Find out how the VO model use to be.

It was 2000; a year before I started in voice-overs and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was in a commercial strike. One of the main reasons was to have cable advertisers use pay per play compensation instead of a flat rate. 

While some may say this strike was a win for the union (increasing cable residuals as an example) others disagree. Looking back, I could see where this strike did not benefit union actors. In this time advertisers began to see the value of animated and non-union voice talent in the savings.

In the middle of this realization technology is also booming.

There is a decreased need of a studio to record talent and in 2003 a paid to play site called Voices.com is launched. This site, along with others like it, allowed anyone from anywhere to audition for voice over jobs.

Word got around about advertisers saving money with non-union and a large number of agents, casting directors and postproduction houses started working on non-union work too…just to keep the lights on.

The voice over industry’s low barrier to entry really strengthened when technology started creating products like Source Connect, iPDTL, Session Link and Skype. These products have allowed talent without ISDN connections to get jobs.

For those who don’t know, an ISDN connection is a way to phone patch a client into a session to hear the actual recording if they can’t be there in person. It’s expensive to put into your home studio but often times clients required it.

Now you can even use a high-speed Internet connection to bridge to an ISDN connection on the other end using iPDTL.

Furthermore, software technology has become more user friendly and delivers a quality that is on par with the “industry standard.” Now anyone can use software like audacity, twisted wave and adobe audition.

In this advancement of giving the individual power, the cost of it is relatively low. All you need is a mic, recording software and a semi soundproof area. Time to start recording!

The down side to the low barrier to entry is that there is not really an industry standard anymore. Talent is able to refer to SAG rates when proposing fees, but some websites are offering services below minimum wage. That can be scary my friends.

I’ve met union and non-union voice over talents that treat voice-overs as a craft, an art. They take the time to continue to hone their skills, work with a coach and see the value in bringing words to life. When people offer rates below minimum wage it doesn’t mean their work is below par, but that they are competing with impossible circumstances.

As this struggle for union and non-union voice-over actors continues keep up with me on Twitter or Facebook. By staying plugged in you won’t miss a beat on this industry here is one example of how. Here you can find more information on the old VO model. I would also love to hear from you! Feel free to give me a shout out about other parts of the voice-over industry. I am just a tweet away.

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