How voice-overs changed and still remained the same

Andrew Peters, founder of Realtime Casting and Australian voice actor, explains how things continue to change in our evolving voice-over industry, but still remain the same

Late Night Inspirationsthe voice behind realtime casting
Last night, while thinking of what to write about, I was inspired by a great example of the new voice industry.

At 7:30pm, I received a text from the head of promos for Australia’s biggest radio network with a simple request, “Are you free to do a voice-over?”.

“Not a problem, I’ll fire up the studio”, I replied.

What made this request interesting, and partly an indication of the future of voice casting, has to do with our locations: I live on the coast in southeast Australia about an hour and a half from Melbourne with a home studio (no big deal). My client, the head of promos, works from his farm!

Evolution Without Changerealtime casting gear
In the old days of radio production, it was usually done from an expensive production suite at the radio station, the voice-over talent would be booked, and then turn up for the session. In rare cases, they would call in via ISDN.

In my case, the other night I recorded a promo in my studio, directed by him via Skype, and then sent the file via FTP. At this point, he built the promo at his farm-based studio and then sent it to the central hub to be uploaded for airplay the next day on the network. Through this process, maybe you can see how voice-over work will evolve, while remaining the same, but maybe not in the way we think.

Will the big high-cost studios go?
Some will, but I do not believe it will be as dark and scary as online content usually predicts with endless forecasts of doom based on individual experiences, especially in social media.

Will all talent need a home studio?
Most will unless you can survive working locally in a major market offline and/or have a very good friend with a studio, where they can audition and record.

Putting pieces togetherAndrew Peters almost there
When you look at all the pieces it does point to something quite different:

Home studios will become “the booth”
Professional studios will remain “the studio”
The producer will be “the director”, with his/her direction being the key element behind professionalism

Why? As voice-over talent, we all know the benefits of good direction. Your read can be taken somewhere you would never have considered. Even a slight change in emphasis can bring the script to life. This is also why I believe the professional voice-over industry will remain intact. Even with the best, most high-tech equipment working from home combined with years of audio engineering skills, the professional voice “actor” understands the performance of a script and the ability to take direction well. This skill may very well come from a person’s educational background or upbringing. Some would argue it cannot be taught.

Are home studios mandatory for the future?
No question about it, but having human interaction and great direction brings out the best in all voice-over actors, which is ultimately the best for the client.

Through all changes, this has remained the same.

What has also not changed is the need to experiment with changing technology. You have to experiment to find what is best. The last 10 years has seen the industry explode with home studios, an increased population of those willing to try voice-overs, and the fear this has lead to lower pay rates for everyone. This is easy to believe, if you spend time in such circles of business. I believe all it has done is show true professionals with experience the real value they bring to the voice-over industry, especially those who dared to see what “the other side of work” looks like.

The future of voice-overs is very bright, if that is what you want and show people it is what they need.

Personally, I love being at home and love great direction. With a proper budget, we all get both.

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