I had this uncle who used to say when he was stuck in airports or dentists offices he used to read trade magazine that were laying around just to learn about how other people's jobs and lives worked. Of course, now we don't read magazine -- we read blogs.
There's a fascinating blog about the audio voice industry out thre that just gets more and more interesting and more and more involved. It's called Vox Daily and is run out of all places, London, England, by a Canadian with an Italian surname, Stephanie Ciccarelli -- proving that voice acting is very much an international profession.
In just the last couple of weeks, the discussed topics have ranged from what rates can and should a freelance voice talent charge, how does one incorporate audio editing into the fee for their work, how does one improve their voice for animation, how one "brands" their voice, and why do publishers hire narrators rather than authors to read their books.
The most interesting topic, however, may have been about "preceived value.: The discussion followed that perceived value seems to be a sliding scale balancing what the client thinks a job is worth with what the professional believes their services are worth. We're not just talking money here. When a client says, "It's only a few words" or "It's just reading a book: there may be a perceived misconception about what it takes to read ad cpy or narrate an audiobook well.
It can be very easy for the client and the eventual listener to not understand how much practice, preparation, and polish a voice actor brings to every job. And why should the listener care. Many jobs take a lot of work and dedication to do well. It’s why they’re called jobs.
However, I think for many voice talents there’s a beckoning and a draw to doing this type of work that goes beyond just reading a piece of writing well. There’s doing something that one heard ones heroes do. There’s being part of a continuum. Here are a couple of examples.
On Wally Wingert’s (now the voice of the Tonight Show) website: www.wallyontheweb.com Wally has a wonderful YouTube video honoring his boyhood hero, Adam West. It’s funny and touching. By the time he was 12 years old Wally knew exactly what he wanted to be. The same goes for long-time voice actor, Chuck McCann (www.chuckmccann.net). As a child he corresponded with his idol, Stan Laurel. Chuck and Wally were lucky enough to have chances to work with the people they admired most. Not a bad gig.
Voice acting may not be the oldest profession, but it’s a link in a long chain of theatrical and storytelling traditions. That’s the real perceived value.
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