We charge too much; we don’t charge enough.
Voice actors are caught in the middle… in the middle of union strikes, global market forces, internet disruption of compensation rates, cultural shifts… you name it.
But when the very industry that many of us depend on starts advocating for using in-house talent, I really wonder whether I might consider being a professional writer instead. (NAH!)
Here’s what I found: ATD: The Association for Talent Development published an article the blatant title of which is: “Use In-House Staff as Voice-Over Talent”. I’ll provide a link below, and I should say that ATD considers that article proprietary…so please also read the explanation below.
ATD is an international non-profit company that serves those who develop talent in the workplace. It was founded in 1943 by the American Society for Training Directors. Its mission is: “…raising awareness on the standards and prestige of the industrial training profession and furthering the professional’s education and development…” (above info gleaned from Wikipedia).
In many ways this comes close to the professional goals of World-Voices Organization, and is laudable.
And yet, I couldn’t help but bristle when I read some of the lines in this article.
- “…you are likely all too aware that voice-over talent isn’t cheap…”
- “…using a computerized voice as a placeholder for the voice talent, it doesn’t take the place of a human voice…”
- “…For promotional training, ensure that the narrator speaks naturally. Coach voice-over artists to lose their radio voice and instead speak like they’re explaining weekend plans to a friend….”
- “…. It can save money, accelerate the iterative review cycle, and reduce overall project timelines, to name a few benefits…”
- “…As you move forward, you can create a pipeline of voice-over talent within the organization that can be leveraged for future training needs….”
- “…Another misconception is that to get quality audio, expensive equipment and software is needed. …”
- “…To relax the narrators, joke around with them before the recording…”
- “…SMEs often make terrific voice-over candidates…” (SME=Subject Matter Experts)
The article was obviously written to an audience of budget-minded instructional designers and producers who have legitimate concerns about cost-overuns.
My question is: Why stop there? Get Sally over there in accounting who’s pretty good with Photoshop to make up all your graphics. And Russell in HR was a teacher once, so he can write content…right? Deondre keeps a digital camera out in his Camry in the parking lot all the time, and I bet he could muster some pretty good digital shots.
Why are they choosing OUR profession to cut corners? Where does it stop?
THAT’S I where I get miffed. Is our community of voice actors so disorganized that it’s perceived as a pushover?
Can we not approach ADT with a reasoned response to this sort of pitch?
This is where I caution you about the link I’m about to give. I found this article in a Google Alert. When I clicked on the link, I could see the full article. I decided to respond to the article in a comment, and the site asked that I register. I did so, but then was not able to gain access again, and was told I had to subscribe (uh…no…pretty pricey).
I clicked on the link from the Google Alert again, and by then they had tracked that I’d already opened the article once, and I was again denied access.
Then I tried clicking on the same Google Alert link from a different browser, and Bingo!…the full read of the article again.
Apparently, you get one free read and that’s it.
I have not secured permission to post the entire content of the article from ATD, so below is the one-time link:
If you are still unable to read this article by authors Brian Austin and Brad McGowan, then email me. I may be able to hook you up to the full text. 😉
I look forward to your comments.