A Bigger Piece Of The Pie

November 9, 2010  |  Articles

I figured out a long time ago that I’m not the kind of person that equates financial success with personal success. It’s a part of it, I mean it denotes how intelligent you are and how capable of supporting your family etc. but through the years I’ve realized that being rich won’t make me a better person. Just one with more money.

I don’t know if this is because my Voiceover Specialty is in Arabic, I mean you guys know this already I don’t have to repeat it but just in case you didn’t know. I’m bilingual. I speak both English and Arabic… I guess my Canadian accent has degraded a little since I moved back to the Middle East because…well there aren’t many Canadians around that I can speak to. But I made a decision a few years back to not contend with English language voice talents cause I mean why bother? It’s a huge ocean with thousands of fish, whereas the market for Arabic Voiceovers, although smaller has less competition. So big fish in small lake rather than small fish in ocean.

That is not to say I don’t work in English… some clients still contact me and ask me to voice stuff for them in English… and I won’t refuse that because hey its a skill and they are the ones that came to me… I’m not going after those jobs. In fact the last 3 voiceovers I did were all in English so … I get by I guess.

A Bigger Piece of The Pie

So why did I mention my linguistic preference. Sure I want you to remember that if anyone mentions that they need an arabic voiceover guy then you should refer them to me (Subtle aren’t I!?) but the truth is that what has been happening is that several people have been contacting me through my website asking me to work on projects that require more than one voice artist and asking if I’d be interested in getting paid to cast the extra voices and deal with a production company of my choice in my region and send them the final product.

So yeah, it is the natural progression, if you will, of being a voice artist that you would try to expand your percentage of the proverbial pie and diversify from being just a voice actor (JUST?!) to putting on the mantle of Producer.

I’ve refused all those jobs, over and over. I have my reasons and most important of which is that I have way too many projects on my plate as is. I’ve been juggling so many projects lately that a few have started to slip from my grasp and I guess that means that I’ve reached my threshold of multi-tasking abilities.

A Matter Of Trust

Its true. When it comes to work I don’t like to be judged by other people’s actions. That is why when someone asks me to recommend a vo for something or other it takes me hours of meticulous listening to say so and so is the best candidate for the job.

I can trust my performance. I can trust my ability, my talent, my work ethic … I just can’t trust that the people I decide to work with will do the same.

Maybe it comes from the fact that in my day job I was put in charge of the Creative Department for 18 months, and in that period I saw some serious lack of commitment, a lack of interest in creating brilliant campaigns and presenting out-of-the-box ideas.

I ended up having to not only create the ideas … but actually create the artwork because I just didnt trust the Art Directors and the Graphic Designers to do it the way I visualized it. Sometimes they surprised me and came through with flying colours. But mostly I just ended up doing the work myself.

Control issues?

Absolutely!  I used to play in a band about 16 years back… It was gruesome to try to find a group of musicians in Egypt with at least similar if not equal amounts of musical talent and instrument proficiency. Not many kids where into playing the instruments back then… they liked listening to the music … but finding a drummer who was both innovative AND could keep a steady beat was just hell.

We had a great rhythm guitarist, brilliant bassist and I was the singer, sometime songwriter and lead guitarist. The Drummer was the nicest guy in the world… and he had a drum set… but he was rhythm deficient. To this day me and him are in touch … I’m sure he’s improved drastically since then.. he still plays… but back then we all had our doubts about his ability to deliver.

Art is a difficult thing to manage. I mean its not just a matter of finding the right people. It’s the actual act of compiling the conference video or educational tv program or cartoon show and making it both flow in the right direction and impress.

The Seed that Starts A Talent Agency

Maybe that is how voice talent agencies start. Or how a production house gets its first break. The idea that eventually you will move on to bigger and better things. Except I don’t see that being in charge of a talent agency is a better thing. To me its just a bigger headache.

Sure you make connections with people in the business, you develop a client list and you make money even if you aren’t the one voicing the part. You guy a piece of the pie regardless of who is in the booth. It makes perfect business sense. It saves the client the time and trouble of having to search for someone competent enough and talented enough to give them the performance they require. It makes the selection process easier. Yet another middle man who does his part and gets paid to save the client time.

But for now, that’s not for me.

Would You Take The Plunge?

I’ve spoken about what my current professional preferences are but I do know that many of you have already taken the plunge and have your own casting agencies or at least you have no problem taking on the role of casting, production.

I’d love to hear from any of my readers about the events that lead them to take on that role and if they are happy or not so happy with their decision.

Taji


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