Professional Voiceover Talent: Scared of Newcomers?

By: Doug Turkel

It’s becoming a common refrain in all sorts of creative endeavors: some established, experienced talent are complaining about the vast numbers of newcomers to their field. I’ve heard it from web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, and yes, voiceover talent.

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Comment by Bethany Rycek on February 18, 2013 at 12:42am

That sounds like an endorsement that a new influx of talent does not necessarily equate to the sky falling.  As a new talent myself, that is heartening.  I, personally, have rarely found a single person in the industry who is discourteous or anything less than welcoming.  It's wonderful to have found a corner of the universe where people encourage one another at nearly every turn.

Comment by Guy Harris on February 17, 2013 at 6:38am

Well said Doug. The world is a big place and there is always new opportunity to look at. Competition is healthy and should make anyone push harder and look at how they market themselves too.

We are lucky that our work is global and there are so many places to seek new work. Some people think it's just about radio & tv and forget the other mediums using voice.

Any downtime shouldn't be spent bitching about "too many newcomers", it should be spent updating demos,checking SEO and refreshing content. It never ceases to amaze me how many voiceover websites don't update a news section. If I was a new client and clicked "latest news" and the last post was 2010, it would put me off.

Come on people! Love the newcomers and see it as the time to not get complacent. :-)

Comment by Paul Pape on December 31, 2012 at 2:44pm

As someone who has been fortunate to work a lot in this business, competition is just a part of what we all deal with on a daily basis.  No matter what field you are in - and no matter what level you are currently working at - there's no escaping that it's part of the job. Those of us who have been around for a while certainly want to hold on to what we have worked hard to earn, yet to deny that new blood has no place in our profession actually hurts the profession itself.  Joe Cipriano, George Whittam and myself (along with the SAG Foundation) founded the Don LaFontaine Voice-over Lab in Los Angeles, along with an Advisory Board of 22 of the top names in the VO field.  It is a half million dollar facility dedicated SOLELY to the "development and success of voice-over artists".  Many of the best in our business - from voice-over artists to casting directors to agents and producers - all DONATE their time to the Lab and it's programs. Why? Because we collectively and truly believe that fostering and creating a base of solid, professional talent going forward is in the best interest of us all and gives our profession more credibility in the process.  Our friend, Don La Fontaine, was probably the preeminent example of nurturing and fostering new VO talent. As one of the greatest talents ever, he felt there was a place for anyone in this business who was willing to work hard. Not everyone gets the brass ring, but if you are in it for anything other than the love of your craft,  then the rewards will likely end up eluding you anyway.  That's where competition is a healthy thing. It keeps us sharp, on our toes and in love with what we do. If you can't keep up, someone else will be living your dream for you or replace you. And let's face it - we will all get replaced someday by the next BEST voice, and that's as it should be. The cream should always rise to the top, no matter what. 

Happy New Year to all and a shout out to Zurek, who continues to do our community a great service via this indispensable resource for voice-over artists - Voiceover Universe.

Comment by Howard Ellison on December 28, 2012 at 5:03pm

Very positive points, Doug.  The market is ever-expanding:  Apps, Games, Books, Localisation... plenty of room.  And startups using P2P to find talent may have small budgets: that's an opportunity for newcomers to learn and grow in a safe but nevertheless competitive seed-bed without taking work from high-fee big guns. 

Comment by David Angell on December 28, 2012 at 12:05pm

I'm technically challenged this morning or the coffee hasn't kicked in just  So not sure if my post hit the wall or here is again.

Good read Doug.  You nailed it.  Regardless of who you are, you can't sit back on your laurels. And if there's not new people coming in, regardless of the numbers, the industry stands still.  And our consumer won't have the diversity they want and really is needed.  But you do get what you pay for.  Like any any service provider we're trying to get the most we can for the least amount of work and the employer is trying to get the most work for the least amount of pay.  Someone said this to me once.  You are as valuable as what someone else is willing to pay.    If your good and practice your craft jobs will come to you.  Competition it's what keeps us on our toes. 

Comment by Helen Lloyd on December 28, 2012 at 10:46am

What a great article ... and it echoes my thoughts absolutely ...Stay in your bubble and don't get knocked off course by all those posts boasting about the great gigs that others are landing - it only leads to bitterness and despair. Maintain your own high production standards and quality, charge a decent rate for a proper job and remember that your only competition is with those who offer similar quality and experience.

Comment by Kenneth Ritter on December 28, 2012 at 9:30am

This article actually gives me hope that there is always room for more competition. We are talking about a world wide market now. I've heard the reports that 5% of the talent get 90% of the work. My question is with all of the cable TV stations, the need for web voice overs, as well as, ebooks there are plenty of work out there with someone who has gone through the training into order to be an experienced voice talent.

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