Yesterday I was looking through my Facebook news-feed and came across a video that fellow blogger/voice talent Paul Strikwerda posted that showcased one of the recent jobs he did for a real estate agent. He mentioned that “I never thought I’d be pointing out granite counter tops and open floor plans as a VO.”
I think that is part of what I like about the voiceover business. Yes the fact that you work for yourself (unless you are even luckier than that and work for one of those companies like Discovery Channel or National Geographic or Disney for that matter). But the variety is a huge part of what I love about the business.
This reflects in my day job as a creative talent. Everday brings new challenges and we work on a different project… but the context is always healthcare because that is what the advertising company I work for specializes in. Some voiceover professionals are quite content finding a niche and embedding themselves in it. I guess the late Don LaFontaine did just that with the Movie Trailer business. Maybe that was what his voice was best suited for.
Some VOs have a medical background (might have been doctors or nurses before deciding to pursue a career in vo) and so stick to narrating videos about medical procedures or conference videos for pharmaceutical companies. It kind of makes sense.
Jack & Jane of All Trades
This isn’t a new topic of course the variety of topics and subjects that a voice talent can work on during their career is almost endless. Recently I voiced an online video game where I played the voice of dictator Muamar Gaddafi(Play Slap Gaddafi Here) . The next day I did a vo for Google and so on and so forth.
Its not just a matter of subjects but rather the different mediums that your voice can be featured on.
Cartoons, eLearning, Radio Ads, Television Ads, Audio Books, Podcasts, and so on and so forth.
And within each particular job there is an iota of knowledge that you didn’t know and that combines with what you know to make you more than the sum of elements that you were before starting the job.
Whether its knowledge about a medical procedure or how to utilize a website to its fullest extent… or maybe you were hired to read the news and with your busy schedule that is the only way to actually know what is going on around you.
I Give Thanks
I give thanks to the Almighty that this is what I do. Sure I would also love to be a diver or a gunsmith or a race driver. But there is something so enchanting about being the voice that speaks to people.
Its great that working as a VO pays well.. that is definitely a benefit. But we aren’t $400 /hr lawyers… sure you might get paid $1,000/hr for a job… or more but we’re talking about levels of work… not absolutes. Meaning unless all you do all day every day is voice television commercials.. you’ll be getting paid according to the kind of job you are doing.
The Dawn of Things To Come
The other day a client asked me about hiring a Female Arabic Language voiceover talent. I told him I knew a couple who I am comfortable recommending and that I will need to email them to see if they are available. He asked if I couldn’t just have the come to my studio and record a vo part. I mentioned that that would be a little difficult since we live in two different countries.
It struck me as strange that my client would even be surprised that I had colleagues in different countries and that we all didn’t just live in the same city and congregate to audition for jobs in studios peppered around our areas of residence.
It struck me that very soon we will need to reformat our rate cards because Television will no longer be regional. Shows in the United States are not just watched in the United States. Even the unsyndicated ones. Meaning a show like Bob’s burgers which just started airing in the us this year might have a huge following in Denmark because of P2P downloads. The studios are slowly starting to adapt and sell their shows through iTunes or Amazon… but that still means that they have not put any thought into global advertising.
And how much do you charge for a voiceover that will be featured in a show seen by 6-600 million people? I mean we are currently around 6.8 billion people on earth. Sure most of them don’t have TVs or Computers and your voice won’t reach them. But what if that is the future? The ability to connect to everyone at any time all the time.
I foresee many changes in the future. Amazing new developments in healthcare, being bald will be an option, we will be able to regrow our teeth and communication will continue to evolve. As we speak google voice allows people in the US to talk to any other person in the US over a landline or cell phone for free…. so maybe in a few more years we will all be able to communicate with each other for free… or with the minimal price of our internet subscription.
And what do you think the ramifications of that will be to your voiceover business? A bigger Audience, more exposure and with half the cost (if not less?)
The Future looks bright… and I hope to see you there with me.