Present successes of sites like Voices.com and Voice123 notwithstanding… we have to remember that they are only the vanguard; the first foray into a new paradigm. Enterprising and lucrative as they are, I believe history will show they were clunky, near-predatory, and tried to be too much too fast.
Sure, that’s easy for me to armchair quarterback. ‘Maybe even harder to foresee what will be.
Most agree, though, that this internet-spawned online marketplace for voice actors to find work will not be going away. Our profession is not alone. Publishing, photography, newspapers, TV, advertising, graphics art, authoring…all are having to bow to the changes in the marketplace wrought by the WWW.
But really, what will this all turn into in the next 10-20 years?
Much of it depends on the opportunities. My guess is, they will grow, even though TV and Radio will continue to suffer erosion. But with the swan song of traditional big-media ad campaigns tied to the networks, big budgets may also go away.
- SAG-AFTRA’s involvement and agility (willingness) to react
- Global market forces
- The sunset of desktop (even laptop) computers
- The ability of voice actors to organize effectively
- Ease of booking on mobile devices
- Awareness of producers/clients to the value of professional voice actors
- Integration of internet-ready audio devices
- Marketplace incursion of synthetic voices
- Sustainability of a free-market system
All that is speculative, of course. I’m sure I’ve missed some biggies, and I’d love to hear about your ideas in the comments below. In the shorter term, though (2-5 years), how will the look, feel, and efficacy of online casting evolve?
One clue might be to consider the latest changes at Bodalgo.
Aside from a complete facelift to a more visually appealing and intuitive interface, changes “under the hood” at Bodalgo reveal some welcome insights of where online casting could go.
First of all, Bodalgo has the international flavor in its DNA. The site handles languages, countries, and cultures of all stripes with seamless ease. Another feature is that if you keep a browser window open with Bodalgo, you’ll be notified about new incoming jobs the second they’re posted. On the back end, Bodalgo is beefing up its servers and security. The site is noticeably faster.
BodalgoCall is a new feature to help people connect after a job has been assigned using ISDN, SourceConnect, or ipDTL. You can share a line to make a voice session online and your client doesn’t have to be registered with Bodalgo. Use any microphone you like (built in, your studio gear etc). Your voice will travel with up to 320 kBit/s through the wires. All talents of bodalgo may use bodalgoCall free of charge for three months. Premium members will always be able to receive calls at no extra charge.
Disclaimer: I’m a Bodalgo subscriber. But I gain nothing from writing a positive story about the service. Armin Hierstetter, the founder and director of the site only asked me what I thought of the changes. When I got to looking, I decided it was worth writing a blog about it so more people could feedback to Hierstetter. He’s always been very responsive to suggestions and with customer service.
No, the new Bodalgo is not a giant step to the Next-Gen Online VO casting site…but it’s certainly headed in the right direction. Maybe the future comes in baby steps…and not the clunky kind.