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So you have a project and you need a voice. Well, you better pay a casting director to trawl through actors’ showreels so you don’t have to. Of course, you’ll still be sent a fair number to choose from and it’ll take a while but once you have that one great voice that’s where the hard work ends, right? Wrong. Next comes the quest to find a great studio, not to mention shelling out your well-worn budget money for an overpriced room with a microphone. You think, surely I could do this at home? And you’re right. Well, half right. You may not be able to do it at home but thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet, they can.

The Birth Of Home Studios

With the growth of the Internet, technology is developing quicker than ever before. The world around us is changing to accommodate new gadgets and trends. In just 10 years, all new careers have sprouted from the World Wide Web thanks to the widespread use of social media. Businesses are changing to fit with current trends; jobs are being cut but replaced by entirely new ones and it’s affecting the voice industry as well. Technology that was once only available to the experienced professionals can now be purchased for use at home. An aspiring voice actor can go to amazon.com and purchase the equipment they need (microphone*/stand/pop-shield) for just $160. No need for expensive sound editing software like Pro tools either, Audacity does the job nicely and it’s free! What was once only available in a professional studio is now located in every voice actor’s home. They can record, edit and send you everything you need for your project, at a fraction of the price it used to be. And it’s better for them! Whether they have to work from home, want to earn some extra cash or even build up their show reel, they are getting just as much out of it as you are. If you are in the USA and want an English accent for your project, why hire an American actor? Using the Internet, you can hire actors from anywhere in the world. Professional level recordings are now readily available. No longer do you have to worry about the quality of the recording, all you have to worry about is finding your voice.

Out With The Old, In With The New

The problems with the quality of the recording are now in the past, you understand this but what about the actual actors themselves? Are they good enough? If anyone can pick up a microphone and kit for under $200 then how do I know they can pull off the project? Well, you’d be surprised by the quality of voice acting out there. A lot of the people voice acting over the Internet are trained and professional actors looking to expand their craft. They have the passion to put the time, money and effort in. Passion often comes from talent. If you listen to the voice-overs on TV and radio adverts you will find yourself hearing the same tired voices over and over again. Because of the way casting works currently adverts are stuck with only a few ‘famous’ voices to choose from, yes they have the experience but how much experience do you need? Marketing is all about finding something new and exciting; surely that applies to the voice actors as well? You never know, you might find the next big thing and won’t people want to know who gave them their big break? You could be part of someone’s growing career. This industry needs to stop catering to old professionals who charge a fortune for a job someone brand new could probably do better.

Breaking The Bank

Searching for quality performances might be one thing but we all know how important schedule and budget are in the process. You’ve got a strict deadline with a fast turn around and your budget barely covers what’s needed. If you were doing this the old way you’d need to first employ a casting director. This casting director will give you a further budget and schedule that will take at least a week. They have to put out a casting and call agents (probably to see the same people they cast last time) then hold auditions. You, of course, have to wait patiently for the results to come in. You could go ahead and choose your voice after this, but often you’re urged to have recalls, as there are so many voices and a lot of them, sound the same. Finally, you can cast the voice, turns out in the time it took to cast that the actor has a different job! This is just one example of the casting process, it takes time and energy; two things you no longer need to sacrifice. But casting is over and you finally have a willing talent. Now comes the quest to find the right studio with the best equipment as well as a good sound team to record and mix your track. If you thought the casting process was pricey get ready for a heart attack. Depending on what you need and where you’re located a day’s recording in a studio could cost you around  $50p/h** add on any extra crew you might need and the price of the talent and that is a hefty sum of money from your budget. Now you have your end result, a track of voice over for your project, which could have just as easily been directed and recorded from a home studio.  Cut out those middlemen and all that’s left is you and the talent. Think of the time and money that could be saved by moving forwards to the Internet.

Where To Find Them

You quite like the idea of finding your voiceover on the Internet and you think you want to take this to the next step. So, where do you find them? The Internet is a vast place and Google isn’t always the answer. The idea of searching for voice actors’ websites and watching show reels seems as appealing as the old casting process. You know there’s a voice out there somewhere but how do you connect with them? Well, there’s no need to worry there is a whole online industry that was created to solve that problem.  Voice123.com is a perfect example. This site has a dedicated database of voice actors all of which have good quality home studios and are available around the clock. When you enter the website as an employer you are greeted with two choices. You can either search for talent or post a project. If you aren’t sure what you want from a voice, searching for talent can be a great place to start, you can listen to voice actors’ clips and show reels without having to search the Internet. You might find your desired voice right away and book them there and then or you may want to post a project. Posting a project is much like posting a casting call but without the casting directors or agents in the mix. You have a number of options to choose from to narrow down who can apply for the call and help you find what you’re looking for. These options range from such things as accents to age to character voices. Whatever you desire, you can find. You then need to write about your project, this gives the talent something to work with when they audition, and a short script for them to read. Next is budget, with a useful link to certain flat rates that may apply to you, you can input the amount you want to spend here. You can choose to directly invite voice actors to audition for a more controlled approach or leave it up to Voice 123 to act as the casting director at no extra cost. Finally, you can customise any additional services you might like. A lot of the voice actors on Voice 123 have the skills and equipment required to do sound mixing. Voice 123 refers to these individuals as ‘Voice Producers’. For an additional fee you no longer need to worry about hiring in the extra crew, your talent can do it all for you. And that’s it! You’re all ready to start reaping the rewards of your labour. Then you simply choose the voice you want and the talent will start working on the project. In half the time and cost that it took the old fashioned way, you have a perfect track for your project. And no paying the middleman, your budget has gone directly to the voice actor. With sites like Voice 123, finding your voice is made easy. And you’re in good company, the site lists the likes of Universal, Pixar and MTV as employers that have found voices through the website. This really is where the future lies.

Thanks to the Internet our industry has greatly changed. With more ways to connect with people internationally, our contacts are expanding. When finding a voice you can now choose from high quality, professional talent from anywhere in the world at a fraction of the price. The way we work has greatly changed, have you caught up?

*Blue Microphones, Yeti Silver

** Average of Studio Rates around America


Crafted by ArticleBunny

photo credit: Alternative Village Fete 2012 – 25 via photopin (license)