Future of Voiceovers

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We’ve been asked by many people—seasoned pros and newbies alike—where we think the voiceover industry as a whole is headed. While we’ll happily stand corrected as time passes, and the following list may be incomplete, right now, here is what we think:

  • The end of anonymity for anyone in the voiceover industry. If you work online, someone will get to know your face. It will almost become a prerequisite in order to work with you. Video conferencing will be the norm and fully integrated with social networking.
  • Voice-casting sites will become key players in getting work online. The traditional method of casting will make a comeback with union support online, and with technology to enforce regulations. Voice talents are passionate people who require face-to-face reassurance and working with people at some point. Some talents simply like to have certain aspects of their work handled by unions.
  • Unions will have to adjust their business model to ensure that more of their members work full-time. The foundation of union-theory is built on the practice of protecting a group of people from unfair business practices. When unions were started in the 1930’s, there was a need for them due to business greed. Technology allows people to take care of themselves and as it stands now, voice talents are business entities unto themselves, making it very difficult for a union to wield the muscle it once had. That said, there will always be unions—they may just not have the power or strength of purpose they once had.
  • Voice talents, through technology, will be able to work on the road. In addition, coaches will have to expand on what they teach to include how voice talents use this technology.
  • Online casting will involve more agents.
  • There will be a change in the type of job content.
  • There will be API’s for all online casting sites. FTP sites will be obsolete.  Entertainment will be online, with traditional broadcast networks being forced to adapt or die.
  • The demand for quality entertainment will increase and so will the demand for great voice work.
  • Voice talents will need to become incredibly tech-savvy to remain competitive. They’ll also be better audio engineers, better at editing recordings, better at using online tools. In short, they will be able to deliver a better product all by themselves.
  • Home studios will be the norm. The price of technology and the equipment required to have a professional-grade recording studio keeps dropping. By recording in their own home (at any time of the day), voice talents will be in a position to offer more for less.
  • More jobs at lower prices. Voice talents with home studios will be able to do more recordings per day. This means greater productivity and faster turnaround. Greater productivity will result in lower prices for buyers, but steady income for the voiceover talents.
  • Business skills will become as important—if not more—than vocal skills. Having a good voice will always be important, of course, but voiceover professionals will only succeed if they are skilled in marketing, sales, billing, accounting, and—most important of all—how to make their clients fall in love with their service.
  • Hourly rates will replace ‘national’, ‘regional’, and ‘local’ rates. When the media was fragmented (as it was in the past), it was easy to determine where the product was going to be broadcast. Nowadays, few recordings are distributed in a specific geographical area. They are digitally reproduced on-demand. During the next few years, almost all voiceover talents will be charging for the time it took them to record and deliver the recording, regardless of who the audience will be. This means that royalties will (probably) become a thing of the past.
  • Voice talents won’t be replaced by automated text-to-speech software. Being a voiceover professional is also about being creative. Buyers want a creative person behind the mic delivering something unique. Technology will continue helping voiceover professionals, rather than diminishing the need for them.

NEXT: HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR VOICE ACTORS