Better Times Ahead for the Commercial Voice Actor?

A couple of the leading on-line radio trade magazines are quoting a report from SNL Kagan that predicts “bounce-back” growth in ad revenues for the  U.S. broadcast industry this year.  This can only be good news for the voice actor who’s genre of work includes commercials and promos.  From All Access:

SNL KAGAN has some good news for the broadcast industry — in the form of higher ad growth. After years of double-digit declines, the media researcher says radio advertising will rise 6.4% to $17.1 billion this year. This boost follows a drop of 17.7% to $16.0 billion in 2009. Ad revenue from online is expected to add to that total.

And the news just keeps getting better, with SNL KAGAN predicting a future 15% rise to $552 million for radio, and $19.8 billion in advertising within six years.

TV stations were expected to climb 14.3% in 2010 to $19.8 billion — rising from $17.3 billion in 2009.

“The bounce-back in ad revenues, combined with other positive trends, such as growing digital dollars, have reassured investors  who have bid radio station stocks up 36% and TV station stocks up 26% year-to-date,” stated Sr. Analyst ROBIN FLYNN.

SNL KAGAN is hosting the 27th Annual TV and Radio Finance Summit JUNE 16th at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in NEW YORK.

My own carefully thought out analysis of the report: “Whoo Hoo!”

Voice Acting and Script Context

The last time I worked on an animation project the director stood just a few feet away from me in the booth.  Unusual, I thought.  But as we moved from scene to scene he continually filled me in on the setting and the back-story,  making  sure I understood the context of the lines I was recording.

I had watched him do this with the actor scheduled before me. It occurred to me that he was in the booth to give instant organic feed-back to the acting and to paint the context as vividly as possible without the barrier of glass, microphones and talk-backs.

I also realized that this was a project where the director really did have the big picture, the vision, the entire script knocking around in his brain.  He knew where each  story line led and how to get the actors on the path so when the pieces , recorded lines, were stitched together in editing the result would be good story-telling.

Sure, it’s always better if you can have the entire cast in the studio at the same time.  But very often,  for lots of reasons,  you just can’t.  And if you have to bring the voices in one at a time, this was the way to do it.

There is a great article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun that addresses this issue (and others) as it relates to voice directing and acting for video games.  Hat tip to fellow voice talkers  David Houston and Bob Souer for the link.

How Do Voice Actors Use the InterWeb Tubes?

Peter O’Connell emails to point out an article John Florian has penned on Voice Over Xtra regarding the results of a survey on how voice actors make use of the Internet. The big reveal will occur during a panel discussion at VOICE 2010, a conference taking place June 2-5 in Los Angeles.

I’m guessing the discussion will primarily be about marketing. Everyday use of the Internet by the voice actor as a conduit for receiving scripts, delivering session files whether email or FTP, and auditioning should be a routine part of your day and hold no mystery unless you are a beginner with a capital “B.”

Peter will also be a part of the panel and you can read his post regarding the survey here.

Ancient of Days Directs

Dianne and I were touring the Kennedy Space Center a couple weekends ago and these two stepped in front of us.

It got me to thinking that twins are God’s way of saying “We have the one we need but let’s get one more for safety.”

Photo of twins at Kennedy Space Center

Darth Vader Voices Your Tom Tom

Driving around with my GPS,  I ignore the voice commands often, triggering the “re-calculating” comment from the female voice so many times I half expect her to reach out of the device and give me a good smack upside the head.  I wonder if I would ignore Darth Vader’s commands so flippantly.  You can get his voice and other Star Wars characters on your Tom Tom GPS and Adage Magazine gives us a tongue-in-cheek look at one of the voice-over sessions. And it sure sounds like James Earl Jones to me. What do you think?

Grab a Slice Tonight

Friend and fellow Dallas area voice actor John McCalmont goes on camera tonight in the premier of “Sliced” 9pm Central on History Channel. The premise is simple but yields interesting results: take an object and slice it open to see how it works.  Golf ball, sure.  Armored truck, no problem. Just need a bigger saw.

Read more about it here. See more trailers here.  Good for you John! The DVR is set.

Marketing Your Voice Over Business

Jay Levinson, father of Guerrilla Marketing,  emails with some good points the voice actor should always be mindful of:

Marketing is the art of getting people to change their minds – or maintain their mindset if they’re inclined to do business with you already. They either must switch brands or purchase a type of product or service that has never existed before.   That’s asking a lot of them.   Every little thing you do and show and say – not just your advertising or your website – is going to affect people’s perceptions of you.

In other words, in addition to your performance, how you behave and what you say at a session says a lot about you. And remember, you are the product and the brand of your business.

A Voice Over Class to Consider

From yesterday’s email:

We did it once in 2009 and now once again in 2010 — an exciting new voiceover teleseminar series with Harlan Hogan:

STARTING YOUR VOICEOVER BUSINESS: Everything You Need To Know To Turn Your Dream Or Your Sideline Into A Business.

All the details are here:

(If you’re already making a fortune doing fulltime voiceovers, please feel free to pass this along to a deserving friend.)


Harlan & Dan