The Fall of the Voice Over Industry

10-15 years ago, you had a chance to get into the voice over industry to become a voice talent. It’s what I wanted to do and was able to pursue it. I had a full-time TV production job making commercials (writing, shooting, editing, voicing, etc). Actually won 2 Telly Awards for my commercials. My heart was in audio and voice over. So, I started the website GoodCheapVoiceOver.com, advertised on Google with low rates, and turned out a good product after my day job hours. Within a year I was able to make the jump to do this full-time.

I was criticized heavily for my rate structure for doing voice-overs. NASTY emails from the ‘good ol boys’ voice talent group. You know, the people who say ‘I won’t power up the mic for less than $500’. But I was on a mission to make it work. I worked hard, worked long hours, but guess what, I had the workload to make it work. And I was blown away at how I could be making a good living doing what I loved.

I cruised for about 10 years, then sites like Fiverr came along. At first, it was a gag type site. ‘Get a dancing Santa-gram for $5’. So, there was a hand-full of voice talent that had nothing to lose (and sucked) and they thought they could make some money. They probably did $5 at a time. Over the last few years, Fiverr has grown, and more and more voice talent have hopped on board, and some decent ones, pushing down all the lame Fiverr starter voice over talent out of existence. Nowadays, if you are trying to start a career in voice-over work, good luck trying to get any traction, thanks to the 500+ voice talent on Fiverr that are working for peanuts as they have grown to be a huge confusing ‘mark up scheme’ type company.

If you think you are getting a good deal with them, just wait till all the markups are factored in. It’s actually cheaper to get voice over with ProVoiceUSA. All our basic services (that they mark-up) such as editing/formatting/de-breathing/etc are included. What would cost you $85 with them is $30 with us. Unfortunately, some people think that they are the best deal, so they have a decent gullible client base.

It sucks to say, but it’s pretty true… if you are just starting out in the voice over business, it’s going to be a reallllly hard (if not impossible) journey. I am glad I was able to get in when I did, hit it as hard as I did, and made the money that I did. I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I have been able to build up a strong client base that is able to carry us through the slow down. The last few years and the years coming up have been/definitely is the fall of the voice over industry.

The Early History of Voice Acting

The Early History of Voice Acting

For over 100 years, voice acting has been included in everything from movie trailers and animated movies to radio and television advertisements. But everything has a beginning: where did real voice acting begin and when did it become possible to hold it as a full-time profession? ProVoiceUSA owes its success to the recording pioneers who came before. Here are a few moments in history that defined the voice acting field and made it the valuable avenue of work it is today.

The Very First Voice-Over

Perhaps the first name that comes to mind when you think of voice acting would be Walt Disney, specifically, his very first voice-acted role as Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie”. But believe it or not, this role took place 28 years after the very first voice over! The honor of first voice actor (as well as first radio broadcaster) is a Canadian-born inventor named Reginald Fessenden. Working for the United States Weather Bureau, he developed early radio technology and provided one of the very first weather broadcasts ever given on the coast of Maryland in 1900, with his speech reaching about a mile from the broadcast point. And although still debated, on Christmas Eve of 1906, Fessenden reported that he presented the first radio entertainment broadcast which consisted of violin and sung Christmas music followed by him quoting a Bible verse. A second broadcast was given on New Year’s Eve of that same year. Since radios were not commercially available at the time, not many people heard it; the broadcast was meant to be heard by radio operators working on vessels sailing near the coast.

Animation and Voice Acting

While not the very first voice actor, Walt Disney certainly brought the profession of voice acting to the mainstream public by bringing his characters to life with the spoken word. A year after “Steamboat Willie” in 1929, Looney Tunes was brought to audiences from Warner Brothers and Leon Schlesinger Productions, with Mel Blanc – “The Man of a Thousand Voices” – joining in 1936. Blanc voiced dozens of characters including Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, and many others, setting the bar high for future voice actors. Today even screen actors prefer to work in the recording booth because of the ease of work when compared to all the preparation necessary for on-screen roles.

If you’re looking for professional voice work for your next multimedia project, consider working with the professionals at ProVoiceUSA. We’ve trained and learned from the best in the industry. You won’t be disappointed!