A week ago David Ciccarelli the CEO and Co-Founder of Voices.com (probably one of the most successful Canadian companies in the voiceover business globally) contacted me about reviewing a new free service they were offering the Voiceover community called “Voices.com Answers“.
David and I have spoken on several occasions about updates for the voices.com website and I have tried to help when I could mainly because I figure that if they implement my suggestions then it would make for a better all around experience for both the voiceover professionals and for the voice seekers.
If any of you have been following my blog in the past you would know that every once in a while I come up with an idea to help the community and I talk about it on my blog. I’m not going to use this article to promote those services but I just wanted to say that I believe that giving away a few services for free is a great way to benefit people and yourself because it becomes a good resource for your peers and helps promote your brand.
Is that hypocritical?
absolutely not. Its free and buyers and sellers always have a choice of whether they want to buy or sell.
So I took a week to write this article, not because I’m thorough or anything … but because I was partially procrastinating and partially testing the site. Every once in a while I would drop by and read the questions, maybe post an answer and kinda of experience the overall feel of the site.
Its a place where you can get answers to any questions you have regarding the voiceover industry. Its relatively organized, easy to use and all you need to participate is a free Voices.com account.
So you can’t post on it anonymously (accountability is always a good thing) and I guess this minimizes on the trolling (being mean to people, notice I said minimizes not eliminates).
Like I said before I went to the site and browsed the posted questions, posted a few answers and even put in a question of my own.
Bad is too strong a word, I’m actually just using it to follow the movie’s name format. The following is constructive criticism rather than the useless kind.
To me voices.com/answers is kind of a clone of Yahoo Answers. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, why reinvent the wheel, except that voices.com/answers is a much simpler version of Yahoo Answers. It is missing a few key ingredients that would improve the overall experience:
1. Smaller text, I think it can be reduced a few point sizes without making it less readable, this will leave space for other things to be on the front page.
2. It looks like a search result page not like a launching page of a service. It needs to have icons kind of like the “Ask” / “Answer” / “Discover” buttons that Yahoo Answers has.
3. There needs to be a way for someone to track their own questions. If I post a question or have multiple questions posted… how do I find them? The site right now isn’t that busy (its a few weeks old) when it starts getting busy you’ll need to figure out a way for people to be able to review the answers and comments people have left on their questions.
4. Put the categories and the number of questions currently available in them on the launch page not on a separate page. I know that the google’s sparse look really worked to make google.com number one (well part of the formula not the full equation) but that is because its a search engine not a question and answer database.
5. Explain the points system that you have in place. What does it mean, do I win gifts if my answer satisfies the person posting the question. Do these gifts include a new microphone, a gift certificate or some free membership time in the voices.com system. It is unclear to me what the points they have posted there will do… are they like the reddit.com karma system? or the yahoo answers guru system.
What it Could Be
It could be yet another resource for voiceover artists looking for answers. Right now the places you can go to ask questions are:
- On Voiceover Blogs (like mine… in the comments section)
- Or you can email someone directly and ask them a question.
- Or you can go to the voice-overs.com forums and join that community.
- Or you can go to voiceoveruniverse.com join a group and ask a question there
- Or you can go to bb-vo.com join there and ask questions
The problem with some of these sites is that some (and I mean a few not everyone) users might leave answers that insult the questioner. In other words there is good chance of getting trolled if you ask a seemingly over simplistic question in a place where a good number of the old timers might have already answered that same question a hundred times … after the 50th time something snaps and sarcasm starts seeping into the answers.
I don’t completely blame the old timers for this… it is frustrating when someone doesn’t do their research. Except to some people… asking those who are more knowledgeable than themselves is research.
I think voices.com/answers has a lot of potential… it has a long way to go to be what I think David & Stephanie Ciccarelli (his wife and co-founder of Voices.com) set out to make it… but I think with a few tweaks this will be a valuable resource for the voiceover community.
Check out Voices.com/answers and maybe help a brotha out.
They appear to be using the format that the website quora.com uses. There are two things at play here, and if you find david’s posts on quora, you will probably find me too.
Basically, in two competing websites quest for seo domination of the voice over world, you find very smart people giving away info for free while voice talent, new & experienced, benefit from our competition as info that used to cost talent thousands of dollars to pay for to find out, is shared at no cost. It kinda throws a spin on the term pay2play, which leaves out the other aspect of what is being paid for: Knowledge by voice over folks that was once so expensive, it trimmed who started a voiceover career, and who quit at the first sign of an expensive class.
Funny side note, my voice coach saw me on the street last month in nyc and he asked, ‘why are you giving away so much info for free?’ He was kinda mad with me. Competitive times we live in…
If the teacher has nothing to teach then he will be out of work. For a voiceoverist to be successful it takes more than just knowledge of how to perform, when to perform, for how much etc. The talent has to be there and the string of opportunities that he/she must be smart enough to take advantage of and recognize as his or her way into the business.
The world is changing and I can see how a encyclopedia salesman might be frustrated with the fact that the internet exists.
Haha, I completely agree with you. I mean you can offer all the free advice and tips in the world about becoming a voice over artist and suggest the right steps or route to take, but people coming straight in out of the cold with no experience cannot expect to be successful immediately, at least not without an enormous amount of talent and extremely good fortune.
Free tips and advice are helpful but they’ll never come close to voice coaching or training, nor experience gained while working in a professional studio with a mic in front of your mouth. Simple as.
Regarding tracking your own question: Perhaps this was added before your posted this, but at the bottom of the question screen, there is a check-off to choose: Email me (your email address) if my question is answered or commented on. Alternately, you could search by tag; that would bring up all of them and hopefully your own question would be near the top. One thing I notice with this, though is that in the responses that come up, the subject line is in black; I think if it were in blue, people would know that it’s a link to click on to see the original question.
Comments are closed.