The voice over industry has changed dramatically in recent years and it continues to evolve every year. Debbie Grattan a US based voiceover talent in her 2018 blog, spoke of five key emerging trends that I felt were important to outline further in 2019.
Firstly, more voice over jobs are opening up for specific accents, dialects and different languages. I noticed this from clients that I worked with for example, I voiced a Jamaican-Patois accent for a radio commercial. Whilst another client recently asked me to voice an African-English for a client in Australia. In terms of languages, Spanish is the greatest in-demand non-English language for voice over work, however, English still remains the top language for voice over work. Australian-English is also increasingly becoming a popular request from voice-seekers.
Secondly, the trend to voice actors making an emotional connection is a top priority. This has been reflected by the increasing number of videos that voice seekers are asking voice actors to provide reads that engage and communicate with the audience, rather than simply talking at them. For example, I voiced a engaging short motivational film, that was aimed at emotionally connecting with the experiences of staff, who worked for a London based housing charity.
Thirdly, budget is no longer the key determining factor. Being able to make an emotional connection, trumps budgetary concerns, followed by the ability to add personality, match the brand voice, reflect the sound of the target market and sound aspirational to the target market. So as Debbie points out ‘having the lowest rates won’t necessarily snag you the highest number of gigs’. Being professional, producing high quality audio with a fast turnaround time are equally important factors.
Fourthly, age matters no it does not matter, as long as the voice talent can ‘tailor their voice’ to align with the target group. One of my voice agents got me a job that required me to tailor my voice for a Dutch garment company video. Fortunately, this was a Skype session and the client was listening in so, it actually made the process a lot easier to accomplish.
Fifthly, real voices still beat robot voices. Even though there are more voice-activated virtual assistants and technology is more commonplace, 93% of humans prefer the human voice to robotic ones. As voice actors, it actually opens the door to work on opportunities related to AI, VR, MR and computerized voices.
So, there are numerous trends that are emerging and changing the landscape of the voice over industry. As voice over actors, I believe that it is important to be kept abreast of such evolving changes as they will directly or indirectly affect the types of jobs we do, in an increasingly changing market.