Yin and Yang

by | Apr 30, 2012 | VO Business | 7 comments

Old v. New
Past v. Future
Done  v. Disruptor
Known v. Unknown
Static v. Change

Call it what you will, things are not staying the same in VO-land.  Depending on your current status, your acceptance of change, and your view to the future, you may agree or disagree.

Of this, there is no doubt:  the thousands of people who live and work in a milieu of voice acting reflect the population at large — particularly in the present cultural climate  — they are diverse and polarized.


Give me a moment to make an analogy to a related industry I know something about.

Traditional news media (newspapers, radio, TV) are grappling with a sea change.  The reactions run the gamut:
1) Stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away.
2) Fire a lot of news staff.
3) Hang on till your last reader/listener/viewer dies, then close the doors.
4) Sense which direction the wind is blowing and try something new.
5) Over-commit to the latest trend.
6) Run two operations simultaneously with the same people and pay.

The only thing that’s constant is change.

The voice over industry is part of the same change because we depend on those media for our work, but other factors are at work here:
A) Technological developments enabling freelance excellence
B) The loss of influence of talent agencies, and legacy studios.
C) The lagging of union accommodation to change.
D) Community sharing enabled by social networking.
E) A global marketplace, and with it a shifting rate structure.
F) A growing awareness of the strength of the individual as an independent.

Where to now?

Yes, the SAG-AFTRA merger is part of this paradigm shift.  To see these two very entrenched institutions move out of their comfort zone is not only encouraging, it’s strong evidence of my argument.  What will be their direction?  How will they handle the malcontents?  Will they adapt?…be more agile?…listen to their constituents?

Witness the effect FaceBook, and LinkedIn, Source-Connect, FaffCon, Bodalgo, the iPad, and even Voice Bunny are having on the marketplace and the VO community.

I hear and respect established, seasoned professionals in LA and NY who would argue that like ISDN…talent agents, top studios, and long-established procedures are nowhere near gone.  The big dollars go with tried-and-true formulas.  Yup…and Disney never though computers would replace a human artist at the drawing board.

It doesn’t happen overnight.  You see subtle shifts…from cassettes to DVD’s to mp3’s.  Radio didn’t go away when TV hit the stage, but boy did it change!

In the midst of these factors, World-Voices.org pops up its head and says: We think we have something new and worthwhile to bring to this community of voice actors…something that’s needed…and overdue.

So far I’ve heard from almost 200 people who agree, and two who don’t.  If a this were a Nielsen diary…some station just ran away with killer ratings!  I’m biased, and in some ways myopic.  I hear from those who are like me, and thus support those things I tend to support.

But when I hear from total strangers or people I never met from the Phillipines (!)…from voice actors who have even opposed me on certain issues, and now step up to offer attaboys…I start to believe we’re really onto something.

Whadya think?  World-Voices Organization doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but it wants to be part of the solution.


P.S.  See and vote on the new WOVO Logos at http://world-voices.org/logos




CourVO Newsletter


  1. Paul Strikwerda

    I like the simplicity of the 20-80 rule. Twenty percent of our activities bring in 80 percent of the revenue.

    In any volunteer-driven organization, 20% of members do 80% of the work.

    When it comes to commenting on things like blogs, LinkedIn threads or other online content, 90 percent of people won’t post any comments, 9 percent will post infrequently, and 1 percent will account for the vast majority of the postings.

    That’s why it is heartening to see so many new names jumping for joy at the news of the launch of the WVO.

    The challenge will be to keep the momentum going and to activate the silent majority and to bring those on the fence on board.

    Secondly, even though I am happy with the democratic and open character of the organization, we cannot have an official vote without official members.

    Especially in the founding phase, decisions will have to be made by the leadership, simply to get this thing off the ground. Not everyone will be pleased by that.

    • CourVO


      I’d accepted the 20/80 rule decades ago after serving in many organizations: churches, boards, and newsrooms. You’re absolutely right. That’s how it gets done. That, and: “When you want something done, ask a busy person”.

      I’m concerned about keeping the momentum going as well, just having issued a memo to my other founders about having a conf call again soon, and deciding on the wording of some of our establishing documents, and many many other items on a long to-do list.

      We’re prepared to be disregarded by some (it’s already happened), but what surprises me is how small that minority is. Yes, the response has been VERY encouraging, and coming from many disparate sectors.

      As for your last point…we’re not afraid to make some of these early decisions for the exact reason you mention. It must start somewhere, and we’re it. We know things may be changed later…and that’s fine, but we have to step out and make the beginning happen.

      Your thoughts and encouragements are influential, and we hope you will continue to monitor our progress, and give feedback whenever and wherever you deem important.

      Thanks, Paul!

      warm regards,

      Dave Courvoisier

  2. Dave Wallace

    There’s a Linkedin thread going on in one of the groups that I’m a part of called, “What would you say to discourage someone from getting into voice acting?” One of the things I brought up was something that you brought up, Dave–the industry is constantly changing. This is a hardly a sit-back-and-relax business, because trends are changing *all* the time, on multiple fronts, as you pointed out. There’s very little in the way of consistency, except that it’s consistently changing. There will be different flavors of the day, month, year, and decade.

    I would like to publicly congratulate you for putting the effort towards forming a group that is membership-driven, though. Having a group that is the voice of a collective community could have a very beneficial effect on our industry.

    • CourVO


      You’re a welcome and reasoned voice in our new-found support group for World-Voices.org. Please chime in wherever you want. We’re eager to hear the thoughts and suggestions, ’cause we don’t have all the answers, but we’re sure as heck gonna find ’em!


      Dave Courvoisier

  3. Tom Knight

    One of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin, often writes about change and it’s inevitability–particularly what he calls “memetic” change (memes), as opposed to genetic. Genetic changes require many years between adaptations, whereas memes do not: they can propagate very quickly, morphing as they virally divide.

    I like the idea of memetic evolution, and it’s good thing–it’s happening whether I like it or not!


    • CourVO


      Seth is a favorite of mine, too. Thanks for that perspective. We hope you’ll continue to monitor our progress, and let us know when you have an idea to contribute. People like you make our mission worthwhile!


      Dave Courvoisier

  4. Miné Bilgé

    Old v. New….and as in the others, “v.” stands for “versus”.

    In fact, I name it as “VALIDATES” ; Known “Validates” Unknown….

    Yin(negative) – Yang(positive) is the Balance of Contrasts in a harmonious way which we observe in Nature.

    Again, to me, it’s “the everlasting dance of the contrasts”… the perfect rythym within the invisible attractions of systematic sounds.

    Every new thought is based on a previously experienced realities, which were practiced and revised.

    Every structural development is based on the conclusion at the finalé of multiple TRYs.

    “The only thing that’s constant is change”, as you mentioned.

    And VO industry in that media waterfall, has one of the fastest velocity of *impermanence*; it is globally and culturally interrelated.

    From the viewpoint of The Science of Linguistics, Language is a ‘living organism’.
    So, we have a great mission to keep it healthy & alive.

    High Qualities is always better than High Quantities.
    Quality helps constructing; quantity slows the flows —unless it is qualified.

    And, something DONE is better than something DELAYED.

    May the cement, bricks and the pavement of this structure be the foundation of a skyscraper for *high-quality-pro-nouns*, dear CourVO ….

    Best of Power w/Luck !


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

My Second book is available now!

Dave Courvoisier releases a new edition of his popular book More Than Just a Voice, The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success. This new book has all new content, a full six years in the making!