Lately, we have been writing a bit about those things that remained business as usual through all the changes in voice-over casting. This is a list of those things that have definitely NOT changed for the voice-over industry.
Business as usual
If you are spending days on forums and social media worried that the voice-over industry is in great peril, combined with offering the suggestion “do not engage in negative thinking”, we also offer up a different point of view to explain how things have remained the same through all changes.
Definitely NOT changed
1. The struggle to get paid well
This is something that will never stop because 85% of the world’s voice-over market works out of North America and the United States is a capitalist economy.
Artists always face the difficult challenge of convincing people who have no idea, “This is actual work. Sure it is fun, but you have to invent the ‘want’ to get what you ‘need’.” Given Realtime Casting has offices in NYC, we are familiar with union struggles for AEA and SAG-AFTRA. It makes the news quite often, yet one should not forget that these types of struggles have been in existence since the 1930’s.
The point here being: This will never stop. Capitalism is a confrontational market and we all work in it for better or worse.
2. The need to stay healthy
There is nothing more physically and mentally exhausting like not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from.
To deal with down-times, voice actors and all artists must do their very best to stay healthy by eating right, exercising, and being in fulfilling relationships. Did that just sound like a public service announcement? Yes, but if it were any less true it would not have been mentioned. Anyone who has gone from “unhealthy” to “healthy” recognizes the importance of good health to positive career growth.
In addition, voice acting is not exactly a profession where taking days off is easy. Not working means not getting paid. The worst thing to have happen is to turn down a job because of some illness that could have been prevented. Let me leave this with a quote by one of the most famous singing voices in the world:
“You have to keep fit being a singer – that’s part of the job. You can’t do it unless you have incredible stamina.” – Roger Daltrey
3. The need to be on the pulse and adapt to changing technology, before it forces you to adapt, which is more expensive
Think about this:
Youtube was founded in 2005.
Online voice-over casting first exploded in 2004.
Facebook was founded in 2004.
Skype was founded in 2003.
LinkedIn was founded in 2003.
Now ask yourself, “When did I start using these tools to get work?”. If you answered anything after 2008, please think about the following…”Being first” can mean monopolizing a market or website. If you are the type to play it safe, and wait for something to be popular, you are in the business of “reacting to change”. Being proactive is smarter. Voice talent have been booking work online since 1997.
Needless to say, when online casting broke out these voice talent were kilometers ahead of the folks who still had their demos on cassettes in 2004, and even had a say in how the online industry was shaped.
Bowing out of change or cursing new technology is fine, if you hate it, but be smart and always keep your eye on it. By the way, if you listen to anyone condemning technology, this does not mean they are not using it. They may just be bluffing. Those who started building a client list online in 2004 easily have the upper-hand on casting websites, but they do get the most upset at changes because it directly impacts their wallets. It is understandable.
4. The need to communicate properly.
Have you ever had a thought and quickly wrote out an email to talk about it with someone? Chances are your email may read like someone at a party walking in on the middle of a good conversation, then having the pleasure of asking everyone, “What are you all talking about?”. Awkward.
Email communications, phone calls, social posts etc. can be very awkward, if no one understands the point you are trying to make. Each tool to communicate comes with a special understanding for how to communicate with it.
For a laugh check these 11 Awkward Things About Emails.
5. Telemarketing is not dead.
If you think giving out your email online leads to annoying spam, try giving out your phone number. In the 1980’s, dinner was often interrupted by telemarketers, which led to caller-ID and eventually, blocking calls. Yet still, even with cell phones, if your number gets out there…you will get a call.
Is this bad? Not necessarily, if it is done properly. If you give someone the option to leave a number for you, then a phone call to them may not seem so “cold”. By using your website, they could have indicated a desire to work with you. Just the other day, I was called by someone at Facebook trying to sell me ads and services and the same has happened with many of the social networks I use.
I admit it was kind of annoying, but definitely not as much as it was 25 years ago.
The moral of the story
Human nature never changes, even if the tools we use to work and communicate with go through radical transformation. Applying this to voice-overs, the following needs still exist:
1. Excellent, creative copy reading
2. Professional audio quality
3. Pleasant to work with
and…Understanding at what times each of the above because more important than the other two. That last one comes with experience.
In many ways, I believe certain information online, often provided by casting sites, has failed new voice talent by first convincing them today’s voice-over industry has changed, then there are now “satisfaction guarantees” to this industry, and if you are fast or have great audio, you will book work. Such voice talent often reach out for assistance convinced “if they get their compression settings right they will book work”.
Their reasons for this belief? Because that is what the website guide said. But anyone in the industry a long time knows that the little things matter most towards getting work…and everything else is just making sure you have the tools in place to work.
Selling “easy-to-believe-but-highly-false-information”. Definitely…NOT changed.