The big VO talent sponge, in which we cling is saturated to the point of being unable to absorb any more. Capacity has hit a limit and any moment now we’ll hear a great big soggy SQUISH!!!
Just thought I’d toss that out there. It’s my opinion.
Welcoming All Comers
Folks out of work are hoping a swing at a voice-over career will get them by. Parents home with kids are looking for some easy-grab money. Even retirees are giving it a go. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve read it’s easy, there’s work for everybody and working in pajamas is super cool!
Polly Anna Would Love Us!
As a group of clear-speaking, well-intending professionals, we put a positive face on and pretend everything is fine and there is room for all. Heck, I welcome any talented individual who has it together enough to jump in the sponge. I wish them well and will provide any advice when asked.
There is this ever-present thing with low-ballers. These folks will do anything on the cheap. That’s outrageous you scream, but they simply don’t care, I reply.
The sad truth is that the low-baller mentality is this bread’s suicide pill. They are in business for a few magical months, and after a time, will most likely decide it’s not so magical and the money amounts to just enough to buy a thimbleful of used breakfast cereal.
So they leave. Only to be replaced by the next wave of Kitchen-Table-Studio-VO-Newbies from the Low-Baller Academy. It never stops!
To use a phrase coined by Elaine from the TV show Seinfeld, they are not “sponge-worthy.”
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
I’ve read a number of blog posts from established talent who are feeling the impact of the impending squish. They are finding gigs elusive and are auditioning more and landing fewer jobs.
The letters and messages I’ve received personally and read in a variety of online forums, indicate that instant gratification is at an unattainable level. “How do I get jobs today?” “I wan’t to make good money.” “How come I haven’t landed one job in over a year?” “How come nobody is contacting me?” I don’t have the exact answers for any of them. Do I utter encouragement to keep going? <heavy sigh> …yeah.
I wonder, are we doing our biz a disservice by being so openly optimistic? Shouldn’t we instead be writing and talking about the direction voice-over has taken in precise, laser focused words that everybody can understand?
But WAIT, There’s More!
Voice-over support seems to be in the business for it’s own sake. An increasing number of options for education are popping up. Personal coaching, Online group classes, virtual meet-ups, studio workshops, and a growing number of conferences. Go. Buy. Enjoy. All are tax deductible!
Yeah, they’re all write-offs. When tax time comes around they end up being line item deductions. However, there has to be income to make the expense a tax deduction.
Pay-to-Play sites continue to pop up, offering the chance to audition with 100s of hopeful, (and UN-vetted) new talent. The competition is fierce for these lower paying jobs. It appears to be a race to the bottom for the new voice-over talent coming online to participate. Are they forcing the rates of all gigs down? Could they be creating a VO bubble?
A Possible Direction
On the (not-so) far-fetched side, since the ‘natural’ or ‘conversational’ delivery is the direction more producers ask talent to go, how soon will it be before voice-over is handled in-house by the clients. They sound natural and oh so conversationally convincing, right?
When a sponge releases water, it’s indiscriminate about which molecules get pushed out.
Are you ready for the squish? What will it take to survive? Will you remain in the talent sponge or be wrung out and looking for someone to buy your gear? Is there anybody safe from the squish?
Your comments are always welcome.
© 2015 J. Christopher Dunn