Political Artwork Over the last 3+ years, I’ve been, uh… inspired? driven? annoyed? … to create a number of Political Artwork pieces. Some are graphics, some songs, posts, etc. Below, in random order, are some of the graphic ones. Maybe … Continue reading →
There’s been a lot of talk in the voice over community about where the industry is headed. Unions, Pay-to-Play sites, Casting.
To be fair, the industry is changing. But that’s to be expected. There are many questions this raises…
How will the change affect us? What can we do about it? Should I even be concerned?
In this post, I will give my thoughts on three different perspectives on the changing voice over landscape. Read on below:
Perspective 1: Voice Talent
The voice talent’s perspective may be the most complicated. There are a wide range of genres, markets, and opportunities for work. Opinions vary on benefits of union membership, the role of pay-to-play sites, how to market (or not), etc. Each person’s situation is different, and because of that, it’s hard to present a unified perspective.
This also gets to the heart of a related issue: As a group, we can’t get what we want unless we can agree on what exactly that is. Some would appear to be easy. Fair pay. Safe work environment. Professionalism on all sides.
But even on the agreed items, there is no clear consensus. What does “fair pay” mean to each person? In each market? Are some willing to do work others would consider unsafe or unprofessional?
Because of all of these factors, it may be more beneficial to look at perspectives outside our own.
After all, we are selling something. It may be better to focus on what the market wants, and how we can best deliver it to them.
Perspective 2: The Union
For The Union (Sag/Aftra in the USA), the view is much broader than for any individual.
I am grateful for the benefits and standards that the union offers. And I’m grateful that we have some union folks as advocates for us all, but it seems like they are fighting an uphill battle on many issues.
Voice Acting is only a small part of what the union’s business is about. And even then, the lion’s share of their focus will understandably be on the largest prizes. These are often big budget features and high power talent. For the average working Joe, this often means not being heard at all.
Think about it: if given the choice to focus on one $10,000,000 project or ten-thousand $1,000 projects, which would you choose?
This isn’t an excuse, but it is a reason. There’s only so much time in a day. In order to keep up, the union has to stay relevant in the bigger game.
We do benefit indirectly from this. There are always roles in the big projects for the average working Joe. But we’ve got to be honest with ourselves: If you’re not famous, the union is less focused on your concerns.
It is about business, after all. As is voice acting.
Perspective 3: The Client
Although individual clients may vary, there are many common things they all want.
A voice that matches their ideas for the product or service. Professional behavior. A good price.
In some cases, they may know exactly what they want and how much they’re willing to pay. Others may require a bit more work on our part. Customer service has to include discovering the customer’s needs and fulfilling them to the best of our ability.
All customer’s time is valuable. They don’t want it wasted with idle chatter or by having to track you down for the job.
Hiring union talent may be important to some. To others, it may represent a hassle. Knowing the difference is crucial to landing the job, and getting continuing work.
Overall, customers want the whole process to be as easy as possible. It’s up to us to find out what that means for each one.
So… What Can I Do?
Deliver a solid product.
Quote fair rates for the work, and stick to them.
Focus on the client’s needs.
Take direction well.
Be friendly and easy to work with.
Work with other voice actors on the larger issues. Together, we are stronger.
Below is a recent town hall event sponsored by the VO Agent Alliance, Global Voice Acting Academy, and WOVO.
Lots of great stuff discussed, and great groups to follow if you’d like to work together to make a difference. #VoiceStrong
All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com
Enough. It’s counter to much of the way America operates. We’re a country of excess… and it’s literally killing us. Here’s just a few examples:
Obesity is a major health problem in the United States. It contributes to heart disease, diabetes, vascular issues, and more. Although we probably don’t get enough exercise, a large factor is the sheer amount and types of food we eat.
Processed foods. Excess salt, sugar, and fats. And the ridiculous portion sizes we’ve come to think of as normal. It doesn’t help that the cheaper food (dollar menu anyone?) is often not the best for you.
My wife and I will routinely split one (1) entree, and add a couple salads or an appetizer. That is where our “enough” is. Other things we do to avoid this food trap are cooking more at home, avoiding fast foods and overly processed foods, and of course plenty of exercise. Add in adequate water and sleep.
It’s easiest to see our lust for money in the salaries of CEO’s compared to workers… and in Wall Street… and in our worship of billionaires.
But the problem is much more pervasive. People are working multiple jobs in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Granted, some of it is a necessity due to wealth inequality. But that too is caused by others hoarding the money for themselves. Where is enough? 1 million? 10 million? 10 billion? How many cars can you drive? How many houses can you live in?
Perhaps we don’t all need a house. Or a $50,000 car to show off our status. Maybe each of us can get by with less. Maybe our kids can fund their own way through college.
There has to be a work/family balance. Otherwise, what are you working for?
Money is also way too much of a factor in our election and elected officials. The way to “enough” there is to remove the money all together. Get corporations and billionaires out of our politics. Give it back to “We The People”.
Drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, definitely play a role in our overall health. But when is it too much?
With the rise of the opioid epidemic, drug-resistant bacteria, and general over-prescription, America has a legal drug problem.
I’ve had my share of pain, for example. But some amount should be tolerable without popping a pill. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs attention. There are longer-term solutions to many of our problems, but all too often we just want a quick fix. It’s when we rely on it as a crutch that the chance of becoming addicted rises.
Some people in America like guns. Some don’t. I get it. I’ve shot guns for target practice and used them in outdoor shows. They’re fun. And for many, they use them for fun, or hunting, or feel that they need them to protect themselves and their loved ones.
But where is the line? When do we have enough? Enough guns. Enough firepower. Does anyone need a weapon that could take out a dozen people at the press of the trigger? If you live in an area where that’s needed, it’s a war-zone… and that’s a bigger problem.
Much of the “need” for the higher power guns, the semi-automatics, the illegally altered fully-automatics, the high capacity magazines… it all comes from one thing: Fear. People are afraid. Afraid of other people with guns. Afraid that the government will come and take their guns. Afraid of liberals and media and people who think differently, or look differently, of believe differently.
There are some simple paths to enough. Enforce the existing laws. Close the loopholes. Ban weapons that nobody needs for protection or hunting or target practice.
If most of America wants these things, and our representatives are not enacting them, then maybe our government isn’t much of a representative democracy.
How many things do you need? Want? Have?
In our disposable society we often tire of things before their useful life is really spent. Smartphones are a prime example. As are clothes. Accessories. Electronics.
For those with even more money it may be houses, cars, motorcycles, boats, jewelry.
Even “essentials” are not that essential in truth.
Overall, we can be very wasteful. And that leads to a lack of appreciation for the things we have. And maybe a blurring of the understanding of what should really matter to us long term.
It may be difficult, but for anything you think you need – do you really *need* it?
How may channels can you watch? How many games can you play? How many movies need to be made (most of them in a handful of derivative series)?
With the rise of social networking came the competitive response. What’s popular? I have to see it! I have to play it! I don’t want to feel left out!
Pause. Take a break. In a year, a month, or even an hour, there’ll be something else you can miss out on instead. Maybe “enough” entertainment should be determined by what you want to spend your free time on. Not what’s popular with everyone else.
And On, And On, And On
… and the “enough” list goes on and on: Diets, Fads, Commemorative Plates.
But there’s one thing I’m certain I’ve had enough of. And that’s Fools.
All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com