While we think we’re being invaded by amateurs with cheap USB mics and going on the notion that someone told them “hey you have a great voice,” we know what we do is not easy. As our friend Paul Strikwerda brilliantly wrote this week about the nature of having a home voice over studio. Its lonely, we’re isolated, and we have technical issues. It’s a complex freelance business. As Daniel Pink brilliantly captured in his book, we are a “Free Agent Nation.” To take it a step further, as Thomas Freidman (who I generally disagree with on other issues) described our market correctly in his book “The World is Flat.” The world is outsourcing…to us.
Our little corner of the market is also unique in how close nit the community of individual business people are. We have a common purpose; the majority has recognized that we are not truly competitors. We’re all talented, We are all unique and understand that the competitive advantage is just being more professional and more technically savvy than the next guy, and that there is so much work to go around that there is something for everyone who participates in that manner. Because this is a “virtual” industry, there’s no “psyching out” in the casting director’s waiting room. No backstabbing because, the casting is truly blind. Because we’re creative individuals, we tend to have much in common psychologically. If you’ve attended VOICE or Faffcon, you also understand the deeper connection. We’re family. I know I can contact anyone of you out of the blue, having never met you…and we will talk for hours. I know other freelance artists commune in much the same manner. Photographers, web designers, free lance commercial artist, which, by the way …we are too. We have common needs. We need to come together in an organized manner to harness this energy that has created this unique virtual community, and work together to deal with the unique marketing, legal and technical issues involved, along with the socially isolating nature of our trade.
I’m not talking about forming a new union. SAG/AFTRA is there and while it understands the changing nature of our business, its responsibility, historically, is to see to the physical and financial welfare of artists who primarily work outside of their home. Those who have yet to come to the realization that the world has changed and the ability to do it at home are going to be essential to their survival. Perhaps this new merged; modern thinking union will someday address our very unique position. Those of us with the additional skill of how to artistically and technically create what we do… on our own, but collaboratively, wherever we are.
We need something that will serve our needs as independent business people, not workers employed by companies.
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association. It’s an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between businesses, or standardization. Many associations are non-profit organizations governed by by-laws and directed by officers who are also actual voting “members” of the association, not just certificate of Accreditation holders. This industry association now exists. World Voices Organization was chartered and incorporated last week.
Check out the proposed codes of conduct for voice artists, producers that hire us and teachers and coaches. They’re looking for your comments, suggestions and input. This is a model that makes sense for us, the independently based freelance voice artist, here and now. To have an individual competitive advantage we need to have agreed standards of business to strive for. Marketing wise, legally and because of the new territory of being able to produce quality audio at home, Certification of technical skills based on the reality of today’s digital marketplace, not outdated, obsolete, hard to understand, broadcasting standards.
World-Voices Organization will have…
- An Association website which will explain the association’s aims and objectives, explain the benefits of membership to prospective members, and promote its Certified members by means of a “properly promoted” and easy to access online Directory of members, their demos, links to their individual websites and accomplishments, and to be a showplace to represent our industry to voice seekers.
- A Members newsletters or magazines. Whether produced in print or online. It will contain news about the activities of the association, industry news and editorial features on topical issues written by its members and outside experts with a unique perspective to the work we do.
- An educational program and individual mentoring program to advance competency to achieve the standards set by the Association and attain official “Certification.” This is a concept that is standard across all skilled trades, Plumbers, Electricians, Civil engineers and other professional trades. We are no different.
- This isn’t a new social networking site. Another time vortex. We all have lives to live and copy to record. But we need cohesion and we need to develop a professional standard to our industry. And, we need to develop leadership to maintain the ideals and goals of this association.
Lets continue to show how unique our community of professionals is. Lets do it right, let’s do it for all of us, and let’s do it now. World-Voices Organization is the way to go!