In this writer’s point of view, as a voice talent sitting behind the scenes watching all the changes in technology (and trying to keep up at times), the future looks sunny for online casting. I say this confidently because voice talent speak to me often about how online casting changed the way they get work, and opened up doors to new opportunity. The future of online casting looks to shape up in this way for as far ahead as I can predict:
- I see the end of anonymity for anyone in the voice over industry. If you work online, someone will know your face, and they will have to in order to work with you. Such tools like Skype have not yet been incorporated into social media tools, but the tool is so useful, as is Facebook, for connecting people that they are destined to end anonymity in the online marketplace.
- I see that voice casting sites will become agents working on commission basis and will become key players in getting work online. This may be happening already. The traditional method of casting will make a comeback with union support online, with technology to enforce regulations they have set forth. Why? The personality of the business dictates it because voice talent are passionate, which requires face-to-face reassurance, and working with ‘people’ at some point. In addition, some of the most talented artists simply like to have certain business aspects handled for them.
- Unions will have to adjust their business model to make sure that more than just 5% of people in a union will work full-time. The foundation of all union-theory is to protect people from unfair business practices. In the past ten years, many have come to see that unions quite often serve a small percentage of its members. When unions were started, there was a great need for it in the 1930’s due to business greed. Technology has been helping people take care of themselves, weakening the ideal of a union. As it stands now, voice talent are all business entities unto themselves, making it very difficult for a union to sustain power. That said, there will always be unions as long as people feel they are being treated unfairly, but they just may not have the strength of purpose they once did.
- I see that voice talent, through technology, will be able to work on the road doing full jobs through mobile devices, without the use of expensive studio booths, either at home or portable. In addition, voice over coaches will have to expand on what they teach, including being able to teach voice talent how to use technology.
- Online casting will involve more agents transitioning into voice talent, when they discover the ease of use with working online; combined with their own connections.
- There will be a great change in the type of content in jobs, as the current ‘MTV Generation’ begins hiring and maturing into their own businesses. The generation coming up now will tend to be more crass, and uninhibited, with the expectation of artists to be the same.
- There will be API’s for all online casting sites making the usage of FTP sites obsolete. Entertainment will completely go online, and ‘broadcast’ networks will have to solely focus on the current 40% of viewers, who only watch programming online.
- The demand for ‘quality entertainment’ will increase greater than it ever has before, which will lead to voice over work eventually cycling into a new generation of ‘web icons’, much like a parallel of savants and announcers of the 1950’s. This will happen before 2025, easily.
- There will be hundreds and thousands of ‘next best things’ that stay popular for a total of 3-months or less, and voice talent will become incredibly tech savvy in the process, as they are forced to change business tools at a rapid pace.
Regardless of what happens, everyone in this industry should be prepared for rapid, positive changes, because everyone always needs a voice talent!