The Evolution of Voice Over
Over the past few decades, the world of voice over has seen a lot of change.
Since I voiced my first project more than fifteen years ago, in a studio in Plymouth, the shift has been something close to seismic. Much of that change has been positive; empowering voice talent to steer their own destiny and opening up a whole new world of skills and experience which hadn’t previously been a natural part of our lexicon.
Because of this evolution, the core framework within which we traditionally operated as voice talent has needed to expand.
I remember the nerves and excitement as I sat in that booth in Plymouth, wanting to do the best job I could and knowing that my sole responsibility was to lift the copy off the page in the right way for my client.
Now, as voice over artists, we wear multiple hats on a daily basis. We run our own businesses. We regularly arrange every aspect of each job that we commit to. We’ve gone from travelling to studios where the technician would edit and send off the finished files to our clients; to now very often voicing from our own state-of the-art studios. Studios where we are not only the voice actors; but the directors, editors, producers and facilitators of our work too. We can speak to clients globally through the touch of a button and transmit broadcast quality audio to them in real-time.
The benefits of having our own studio are manifold and where once it was a nice to have, these days it’s almost become requisite. The flexibility it offers us make those last minute jobs and quick turnarounds fulfillable, even if it means pulling the odd 3am edit-in.
Much, if not all of this change, is directly linked to the emergence and expansion of new accessible technologies. Technologies which have offered capabilities we might not once have thought possible... opening up opportunities which wouldn’t otherwise have been available to us.
These opportunities have been presented to us in new and agile ways with the growth of game-changing P2P or ‘pay to play’ sites, which have become a huge part of the work identity for many in our community. Among other things, they’ve allowed us to be privy to a world of auditions and jobs that perhaps we’d otherwise not have had access to.
Hand in hand with how we source jobs, the types of jobs out there are evolving too and growing with the technology which underpins this new world we live in.
With the many benefits we can absolutely acknowledge in how we now work, there are always going to be trade-offs. These are invariably different for each of us but ultimately there are probably common themes. One of those themes is that for a lot of us, for much of our time, we are a team of one; talking to ourselves in a box... which makes having a sense of community and finding that community a vital part of our day to day existence.
It’s impossible to fully predict the changes that lie ahead over the next 15 years, but whatever happens, it’s bound to bring us some exciting challenges and plenty of food for thought.