Because….it’s just talking…right?
For the longest time, now, anyone with a USB mic, and a credible laptop has claimed that they too, could be a voice actor. The current client demand for “conversational” characters actually feeds into this belief. After all those years of being a professional announcer, I’m not sure I can ever be the “conversational” clients want (even though they can’t begin to define what they want — they just know it when they hear it.)
I digress. Please read my blog on CONVERSATIONAL, SCHMONVERSATIONAL to hear my entire rant on this.
And now...podcasting. Talking, on just about any niche, topic, issue, and concern known to humankind. You don’t even have to be a subject expert to hold court in your own podcast…much less understand the mechanics of good audio to put on a decent production. So you can be doubly unprofessional, and still be a success, because podcasting is just so freakin’ hot right now. Bravo podcasting!
I don’t podcast. I don’t listen to podcasts. Whenever I drive anywhere, I drive in silence. When I want info in a hurry, I read. ‘Much faster to get to the point. I know, I know, you can now listen to spend-up audio..but it’s not meant for that. Reading is done however you want.
I’ve waxed eloquent this before in my blog if you wanna hear my justification for being a non-compliant podcast supporter, read: PODCAST POSSIBILITIES. (BTW, I don’t narrate audiobooks nor listen to audiobooks for the same reason…reading is much more efficient than listening). I’m not the only VO professional to feel this way…please take the time to read fellow VO blogger Paul Strikwerda’s recent blog on this: ALL TALK AND NOTHING TO SAY.
But again I digress.
Further proof that talent and production values are no longer the purview of professional voice actors lies in the following pictures:
I captured these images on my smartphone at a STAPLES office products store. (video enlargement at bottom, also)
Now, I love Staples, ’cause I’m a pen/paper freak. I go in there often. They’re struggling in the marketplace like every other brick ‘n’ mortar franchise big-box stores these days (even Macy’s is hurting). Office Max and Office Depot (now merged) same thing.
I guess I’d feel the same way as a professional photographer walking into CostCo and seeing Nikons for sale.
But this picture of “everything you need to be a podcaster” at once democratizes and cheapens what voice actors do. Virtually everything you need to be a successful podcasater is represented in this picture, and (I say without pride), it’s pretty much all you need to produce decent audio as a voice-actor too.
Notice I don’t say it’s everything you need to be a successful voice actor, because clearly, there’s no small portion of talent and experience involved (not to mention marketing) for that achievement.
So where does that leave us as voice acting professionals? It allows us to differentiate from the rabble even more. We may have to prove it once in a while, and we may have to actually advocate, argue, and assert ourselves to be able to prove it. But seriously? We reveal our craft meticulously through study, practice, dedication, art, and determination.
You will not be able to find that at Staples.
Go forth and be professional…even if you have to do it with pedestrian equipment. That’s not what earns you the title of “professional.”