Is it the end for voice overs or is it just summer?

Posted on May 30, 2012 by

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In about one month, I am coming up on my 5th year anniversary as an employee of Voice123.

During that time, I worked in several positions from customer service managing, QA, PR, and now community management. I believe after my second year, I began to notice the trends of what takes place online and when. After looking at some recent content posted, emails received, having several discussions with friends, and looking back at my Skype chats with team members since 2007…I can honestly say for sure…

It is not the end of the world for voice overs…It is just summer.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, I look at everything in “seasons”. There are things said at the exact same time each year, discussing the same exact issue.

This happens for two simple reasons:

  • Google search ranking results
  • The content created at times when we are concerned over the state of the industry.

Think about the symptoms that come with summer:

  • People take vacation
  • They get their semi-annual check-ups and appointments for everything from the car to the kids and doctors.
  • Companies post less work
  • The jobs being posted may be by those struggling voice seekers, who are in the same shoes as struggling voice talent; they are working on becoming established

Given that 84% of the world’s media is produced in North America, the lack of job activity leads to more free time; not easy for a voice over career.

The result?

  • Less job traffic and less pay with more competition immediately leads to negative beliefs

The negative beliefs associated with the result:

  • “Amateurs must be infesting the market”
  • “Websites are killing the industry”
  • “The voice talent on websites are simple hacks working for peanuts”

Enter now Google, and the reasons why such beliefs seem so real one day and not the next…

  • First, all must accept that online content is forever. If we ever had a bad day, and wrote about it…it is out there.
  • When we get upset about something, it becomes a conversation in our head that needs validation of truth.
  • When we turn to Google for answers, we will find the topic has been written about before.
  • It validates the belief that “There is a problem”.

What does not really help this generated reality is the way Google works because content that is more popular starts showing up higher in searches and becomes easier to find, especially if comments being left in content leads to more engagement. I made a huge mistake in April some years ago, and every year at the same time, it shows up again. What you have is a situation where all of the negative beliefs you read about have become a hot topic, but unfortunately it is simply the end result of an industry “cycle”…not a trend.

What breaks these cycles?

  • Rare events such as The Olympics or Elections that offer a large amount of work across all forms of media
  • Cycle-breakers such as new technology
  • Surprise marketing trends
  • Actions of dedicated thought leaders and professionals
  • Taking classes or learning some new form of skill related to the industry that addresses a perceived weakness

When these changes come about, one must simply be prepared for it by being flexible in their way of thinking, while staying dedicated to professionalism. It can be tough, and maybe that is the root cause why so many important conventions and Meetups take place at the same time each year…because if we were busier during this time, we would not find a reason to attend them. When we are not busy, we have a need to make sure all will be ok. I make this bold statement not only because of what I have experienced in Voice123, but also because since 1992 I have seen multiple predictions of doom for this industry come and go. The only thing I really saw, however, was that the way people worked and monetized their business was forever changing.

On a final note, this week I took a look back at voice seeker feedback reports, blogs written at the same time each year, voice talent feedback, Skype chats between myself and staff etc…..only to notice that the biggest concern in June is “amateur infestation driving down budgets”. It is a hot topic for this time of year. I do not like referring to people as an “infestation”, but we should all know that sometimes “what we believe is happening” is more so a case of an industry cycle for a particular time of year. In addition, the result of such a belief leads to more experienced professionals getting the majority of voice over work. Why?

I have my beliefs…What are yours? Why do you think this happens in the summer?