I Hear Voices, Building Communities
The other night I sat in as guest producer during a voice talent workout. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a voice talent workout allows a group of talent to get together and put themselves through the paces without a client present. They critique each other’s reads, give encouragement and, ultimately, they create a community.
For the last decade or so the trend has been for voice talent to work from home. The joke most often heard is how nice it must be to wander down your hall and make money in your jammies. I’m not going to say that wouldn’t be nice but I do believe that we’ve lost something because of it. There’s no obvious peer group anymore, no obvious competition. The spontaneity two or more talent would bring to a script when in the same room has all but disappeared. Which brings us back to the idea of community and why I think all voice talent should get involved in a workout group. Get out there, meet your peers (and your competition) and hone your craft.
In this particular workout (I’m talking about you Melissa Moats!) the organizer kept things moving along nicely with a specific schedule, an absolute necessity. Comments were kept positive, each talent was encouraged to choose something outside of their normal comfort zone and everyone had three chances to read the script and get it right. After a break there was an audition round, in which everyone had a chance to audition a script chosen by the organizer, and then Q and A with the guest.
As a producer I walked away impressed, motivated and excited about the talent in our market. Being an active reader of many audio forums, I’m forever amazed at some folks in LA or NY who claim there are no good non-union talent. Certainly the talent is more concentrated in those two main markets, but to outright dismiss anyone outside of those cities is patently ridiculous. There are some real gems in smaller markets like Las Vegas–people who regularly book jobs nationwide–and it was great to be reminded of that. We all need voices to get our work done; someone has to carry the message. Creating a community of talented voice professionals right here at home can only benefit each of us who has a hand in producing media.