When COVID Gets Whacky

by | May 19, 2020 | VO Business

Virtually any product that depends on virtual connections is in short supply.

I mentioned in my blog On Cam Tips that you just can’t get your hands on a decent webcam these days.  Not WalMart, not Amazon, not B&H…nowhere until, like, July.  Why?  Because everyone needs one for their Zoom sessions!

That’s not necessarily bad for professional voice actors, but some other troubling trends may tweak your sensibilities.

A recent article in Forbes points out that a favorite equipment vendor of many voice-actors is seeing a trend:  out-the-door sales of USB mics that makes Black Friday look like the traffic in a Las Vegas buffet in April 2020.

The article passes off the motivation to buy USB’s as enterprising individuals seeking “self-actualization”.  OK, maybe so…and who is going to get in the way of someone’s dream? But voice acting already suffers from the incursion of newbies driving down compensation expectations.

I know, I know. The VO pro should feel no pressure from this rabble.  “Do what you do well…follow sound marketing and business practices, and you should be just fine,” say the wise ones.

But the development of 5,000 new Sweetwater customers/day DOES conjure up a vision of hordes of hopefuls desperately accepting most any rate that comes down the pike from clients who are only too willing to take advantage of the supply/demand disparity.  And keep in mind most of those second-rate USB mics were likely made in China anyway.

That’s one thing…but another development is even more disturbing.

Have you noticed the trend of auditions showing up with sternly-worded admonitions that to qualify for the job before you, you MUST have Source-Connect (not SourceConnect NOW), ISDN, or ipDTL?

All those well-heeled NYC and LA clients/production houses/agents/studios who used to be able to depend on talent coming into their in-house studio are (excuse me) FREAKING OUT that they may now have to depend on voice talent who –GASP– cut audio from their own studio at home!  Who ever heard of such a thing?

Things will change with COVID, but no one profession has been better positioned for the needs of remote freelancing than voice-actors. Click To Tweet

Engineers in some of those pro studios are even going so far as to demand talent must have certain expensive mics (TLM103, Senny 416, etc), and then they ask the talent to turn in a report of their audio chain equipment along with their audition.  Others ask for their engineers to control your computer during the session…even offering to deliver a recording rig to your home (if you live in LA, that is).  

You know what?  These pro audio engineers are top-notch, but most of them know very little about how to elicit decent VO audio from a home recording environment.  They’ve got their own studios tweaked to perfection, and they’re scared to death this is all going to change, and they’ll be out of business.

That’s a valid concern, and it doesn’t need to happen by a long shot, but by the same token, they have no right to reach beyond their golden sound booth and tell a voice actor who’s been successfully working for more than a decade in a home recording studio — how to submit decent audio!!!

Your response should not be indignant, but reassuring.  The quality of your audition should be sufficient.  Remind any skeptics that you’ve been pleasing clients with the fine quality of your home studio audio chain for years and years…and that a home studio has WAAAY different demands than a professional recording studio.

Oh, and about the Source-Connect thing?  It’s entirely likely YOU are more familiar with this method of remote recording than THEY are…so don’t be intimidated by their demand.  Calmly remind them that you’ve been using that means to connect for years, and you’re ready to go!

Things will change with COVID, but no one profession has been better positioned for the needs of remote freelancing than voice-actors.  

Hold fast.  Do what you do best.  Maintain your good practices.  Don’t be put off by those who are new to all this.  You’re actually in a place where you can help THEM.



More than Just a Voice 2nd Edition



Share This