Cultural Customer

by | Jan 11, 2016 | Trending

mutimediaDon’t ask me where you’re going to find the time, but to be a successful voice-actor, you’re going to have to pay close attention to popular culture.

Watching last night’s Golden Globes made me realize how far I’d fallen behind.

…and remember, I read local and national news everyday, three times a day, and I still feel like I’m trailing.

I’d never heard of more than half of the shows up for awards.  Mr. Robot?  Room?  Infinitely Polar Bear?  Sheesh!

That’s why I’m falling behind…streaming video channels are replacing broadcast networks, and even cable.  Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Netflix, etc.  They’re all doing the kind of exploratory script and series development that the fading big TV networks are afraid to do anymore.

The death of broadcast TV is NOT the death of Voiceover opportunities…it’s the birth of all that many more!  But to understand the needs of this culture, and its advertising survivors…the nuances, the trends…you’re going to have to find the time to watch some of this stuff.  As far as I know there’s no known video version of Cliff Notes for TV.

Where to begin?  Well, you’ve already got internet, right?  OK, now go get yourself a subscription to at least two of these new services.  I’d recommend NetFlix and Amazon Prime, but they are by no means the only ones.

Here’s a recent article with some tips on NetFlix shows currently streaming.

Trouble is…watching this stuff takes time.  Can you digest it all?  No.  Are there summaries in popular news media and trade mags?  Sure, but there’s no substitute for experiencing the cast, plotlines, and tenor of each series AND (here’s the most important part) sharing it with everyone else.  Facebook is good for that, too, but only if you’re on the INside, and you know what’s going on. 

I still haven’t watched the TV series LOST, but I was envious that half of America was talking about it, and I was in the dark (turns out they all were too…but at least they were doing it together).

Why is this so important?  Your delivery must reflect the tone of the newest trends (at least for commercial, promo, and imaging work), and you can’t fake that.  You just gotta know it. 

Remember how SNL coined the phrasing around “NOT!”?  Mike Meyers:  “I had sex with Madonna….NOT!”  Jimmy Fallon:  I wanna be just like Osama bin Laden…said no one EVAR”

These sayings become part of our culture and our world.  You’ve gotta understand the force behind that when you diagnose copy for the right intent of the author and the spot.  Don’t know who Heisenberg is?   Sorry!  Then you’re not going to correctly interpret or deliver the spot about the dangers of blue meth for the drug coalition spot.

Like it or not — and believe me there are plenty of times I don’t like it — voice actors have to be uber-observant CULTURAL CUSTOMERS.  It’s not enough to live in this milieu, we have to seek it, taste it, understand it, and analyze it.

S’cuse me…I’d like to write more, but I gotta finish Season 7 of Dexter.




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