Sunday, January 09, 2011

VOTV: a Brand New Opportunity for Voiceover Talent

Bob Souer, a voice actor held in high esteem by his peers in the business, calls it "either good news or bad news, depending on your point of view."

The news in question concerns plans by competing production companies to put not one but two new "reality" TV shows on the air, intended to give aspiring voice talents their shot at stardom.

VoiceOverXtra's John Florian writes:

Two television programs - Behind The Mic - The VoiceOver Talent Search, and America's Next Voice - are being developed by well-known voice over professionals, in which voice over talents will vie for a shot of fame on camera.
Behind the Mic co-producers are show creator and voice over talent agent Erik Sheppard - of Voice Talent Productions - and popular voice talent / trainer Marc Cashman.
America's Next Voice is being developed by Los Angeles voice over celebrities Joe Cipriano, known especially for TV promos and movie trailers, and Randy Thomas, the frequent voice of major award shows.

Reading between the lines of Mr. Florian's interviews with the producers, a nascent rivalry has already emerged between the two shows, although at least one voice actor has urged his colleagues not to take sides: "These (people) are huge in the VO world. I hope nobody has to take sides here. There could be room for both."

Many in the voiceover community are thrilled that their profession is about to be thrust into the national limelight. More than a few anticipate auditioning for their fifteen minutes of fame and, possibly, the opportunity to take their careers to a new level.

Others are concerned about what effect a slew of new and aspiring voice talents might have upon an already crowded and competitive field, not known for its job security except for those top-tier talents whose paychecks, perks, and popularity are not likely to be threatened by newcomers.

The most successful voiceover talents have learned how to market themselves, through a combination of advertising, networking, and personal sales. They've hired coaches to help them hone their talents, and agents to sniff out opportunities to advance their careers. Of necessity, they've had to develop their entrepreneurial skills in order to make a living.

I'm betting that more than a few forward-thinking folks in the business will soon attempt to leverage their experience and expertise, opening a brand new (to them) revenue stream as trainers, coaches, and mentors.

It makes perfect sense. Established voiceover educators already have plenty of students to occupy their time. Their capacity to handle a huge influx of additional business—while a nice problem to have—will prove a limiting factor when this thing catches on.


There is the possibility that some of these trainers will follow the example of Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, whose best-selling trilogy of advertising books catapulted him into fame and fortune. Recognizing early on that he and his marketing company were poised for explosive growth in a relatively short time, Roy offered Wizard of Ads franchise opportunities to advertising professionals worldwide, resulting in the addition of some thirty "branch offices," operated under his auspices.

I have no idea, of course, whether Pat Fraley, Nancy Wolfson, Susan Berkley, and other well-established voice acting trainers have an interest in taking their businesses in this direction.

But this much is certain: these two VO-TV shows are going to be game changers. As the Wizard might exhort those who see an opportunity for growth: get ready to pull the trigger and ride the bullet.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE:

    First out of the chute, Joe Cipriano and Randy Thomas' "America's Next Voice," airing tomorrow (Tuesday, January 11th) on Entertainment Tonight.

    Being first is huge, though not necessarily determinative (think: Google).

    Still, going to be fun to see where this goes.


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