0020: The Fear Some VO Talent Are Now Facing

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Hey there, hero!

As I say at the outset of this episode, I really need your help.

I’ve been getting tons of fearful messages from VO talent. From clients, students, and strangers out of nowhere. Confusion and fear runs throughout these emails from these lovely, struggling artists.

All asking about the surprising standards they are being asked to meet by agents and casting offices regarding their home studios.

If you’re watching or listening to this episode before Tuesday evening, June 2nd at 9p PT, you have a huge bonus waiting for you if you want to study with me in the 2020 ACX Master Class: register now, and we’ll pay the first $300 of your tuition.

This offer ends Tuesday at 9p PT. It’s a steal. Here’s the link:

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I don’t want to upset anyone, but it’s really bothering me. The help I need from you is how to express this concern to the gatekeepers of our livelihoods…the people who control at least a portion of our income.

PLEASE give me your thoughts on this in the comments below.

Responses

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  1. Okay, yeah, this is preposterous. I mean *I’m* a gear head, but even I’ll admit that the difference between a $300 condenser mic and $3000 one is virtually inaudible, to the point where if you A/B’ed them for most people—even most engineers—they couldn’t tell you the difference, let alone which is which.

    And Pro Tools? Please. Yes, I started out using it, because I had no choice; it’s what came with my original MBox 15 years ago, and it was the only DAW it would work with. But as soon as I could dump it, I did. It was like trying to swat a fly with a sledge hammer. Besides that, it has NOTHING to do with your sound quality.

    Finally, the point you make about that high-end Neumann mic just bringing out all the defects in your recording space is 100% valid. Most folks *shouldn’t* even think about it as an aspiration. For cryin’ out loud, even Joe Cip never uses his!

    I’m not saying all this because I don’t want to spend all that money to upgrade my setup; what I already have would pass practically any set of such questions. But I’ll be the first one to own that it just isn’t necessary, and as you’ve said, is for most folks is actually *not desirable*.

    Rubbish!

  2. The concern is on point. Yes, I got that email from my agent. Then, I felt that I was dropped when I didn’t see my name on the roster. So, I made a phone call, told them that I would upgrade to Source Connect and did (after I received the EIDL grant). Did talent know that they could apply for government assistance? I was able to get a new computer, Source Connect, etc.

    However, I already already spent thousands on my home studio but it was old. I also had to upgrade my film equipment for my film agent during the pandemic as well since we have to social distance. Maybe I should have done that a long time ago to save money in the long run. However, I didn’t want to learn how to film myself and do everything that I do now. Who has this kind of money without a real job? Let’s be honest. I’m a single homeowner. The training, the equipment, the booth, the marketing, the travel for conventions, the union dues is so much money. I work as an arts educator for my day job so I have funds coming in. However, my parents didn’t have a trust fund. Then, I read that agents are charging 25% from the talent when they book gigs from agents as well.

    The reality is that we are in a pandemic and many people have lost survival jobs, riots have started around the world due to Black Lives Matter, and people still have bills to pay. Where is the money and training coming from to stay relevant in VoiceOver for so many people?

    These are good points and I’m glad that they were brought up.

  3. The “requirement” to have certain equipment to meet certain standards is asinine. I did furniture repair and refinishing for over 30 years and the only thing my clients were interested in was the final product. They couldn’t have cared less about HOW I did the job. Results were all that mattered. I use an AT2020 with audacity and work from home in a room have I adjusted acoustically with home made panels. My noise floor stays between -65db and -70db with NO further adjustments from software needed. A Pinto and a Cadillac will both get you from point A to point B and the Pinto won’t cost a small fortune to get the job done.

  4. Completely agree with you. It is definitely more important to have a quality recording space and the know-how to use whatever equipment you have. A U87 and pro tools won’t do you any good if your space is full of reflections and you don’t know how to use the equipment to your advantage. I have booked plenty of work in the past few months and don’t have any of the high end equipment. I did end up purchasing Source Connect standard at the beginning of this year but I can count on a hand the times I’ve needed it for a job.

  5. I’m not worried at this point, because I don’t have an agent for VO, but if I did, and if they told me I needed to invest the national debt of a third world country to make them feel better, I’d play them my demos that got me bookings, and I’d tell them how I made them. The silence from their mouths would be deafening.

    PS: I did take a look a building a booth. I’m seeing prices between 5-10K. I’ll wait until I hit the lottery for that one.

  6. Thank you, David, for once again bringing forth some wisdom. When I got the panicky email from my VO agent, I was delighted to see that the AT2020+ was actually on their list of acceptable mics. They also said that Audacity is fine for software. Though they didn’t DEMAND it, they DID mention Source Connect. I’ve taken the position that IF I were to book a job that requires Source Connect, then I’d buy it for the job, but I’ve resisted shelling out the fee in advance without a job that would pay for it. I didn’t even think that Source Connect Now might be an option. However, the “panic” did make me upgrade my internet service, which was actually a good thing for many reasons.

  7. Thank you for speaking out. I absolutely agree with you. I think another issue is, there is a lot of mixed messaging happening in regards to Source Connect. For instance, I’ve heard there is no difference between SC Now and SC Standard. But I’ve also heard that SC Now is an “island” and therefore isn’t compatible with Standard, and that because the studios are using Standard (or Pro), VO talent must have Standard. I’m left wondering which is correct. I also find it interesting that SAG-AFTRA sent out a notice to on-camera commercial talent advising them and their agents to negotiate additional compensation while they’re being asked to film at home for, “hair styling, makeup application, operating cameras, filming, directing and editing.” Yet VO talent is asked to cover the costs for additional home set up. That’s strange to me. Am I wrong?

  8. My thought is – can you (or other well-established, trusted name in vo) bring samples – both on air and demos – to some of these folks and do a good old-fashioned taste test? Because if they can’t tell the difference by listening, then maybe it will give them the confidence to stop asking for things they think are necessary for a good finished product, but aren’t.

  9. Absolutely spot-on, DHLXVII. Along with Paul Strikwerda, Dave Courvoisier, Dan Lenard, George Whittam + yourself, of course – I can always trust the truths + downright sense + sensibility you outline for the VO community. This issue is real + it’s all of the sudden expected from VOT’s across the globe. I’ve had a few of these audition requirements sent through + it gave me pause. But, what you explained helped me understand this need a little better even though, like you, I disagree. In light of what we’re experiencing worldwide – this is NOT the time to be demanding these costly upgrades when what we’ve been delivering has been deemed more than suitable, IMHO.

  10. Spot on conversation, David. Really enjoyed listening to this one. Sounds like they are trying to find only professional and serious VO artists with these minimum standards and believe this would be a weed out process?

  11. Bravo @david !
    Your empathy and concern for your flock and the wider community is always heart warming. I have two main points.

    I want to echo @NatalieWinters in saying that the union needs to step in here. It is up to them to protect their members from onerous requirements that have no bearing on their ability to perform professionally nor produce a professional product.

    My second point is that the primary job of gatekeepers is to provide their clients with exceptional talent. One would think that would mean winnowing the pool on the basis of talent and suitability for the role. Unfortunately most take the expedient route by winnowing the pool—eschewing the best of the best and instead choosing the best of the rest.

    In other words, to lessen their burden they throw away talent with arbitrary reasons to say no—in this case by using irrelevant technical criteria. The rationalization is the more expensive the equipment the better the talent. This thinking has been around since the development of the USB microphone.

    This has come to the fore because in the past they have relied on regionalism—accepting only talent that lived close and could come in to the studio. The reasoning was that if they were really motivated and wanted to be a true professional they would pack up and move.

    That thinking has put them in the fix they are in today where nobody can come in—although I still get “must record in LA” auditions.

    Finally my thoughts on Source Connect. They have been promising ever since SC Standard came out that they would make SC Now compatible—they haven’t. Although it is a very simple matter technically to do so, it is against their financial interest.

    Until serious competition forces them, Source Elements will never make “NOW” connect with Standard. They have had more than twenty years to build a base in sound studios. In fact I am amazed that ipDTL has made the inroads that it has—most of the auditions I have received allow both.

  12. Hello David,
    Probably the solution is for someone who has both sets of equipment to answer the questionaire truthfully. That person could then record their audition using the cheaper equipment without informing the agent which recording equipment was used. If the agent thinks that the audition was excellent in quality, the answer will be provided. Just a thought!
    Janice Haines

  13. Agreed. Totally.
    I think it’s a combination of factors:
    1) As you mentioned, the *decision* of what the standard would be seemed to come down to a very few select individuals (who neglected to emphasize recording space is 90% of it AND that Source Connect Standard doesn’t “fix” your sound – it sends exactly what’s coming from your booth or room); 2) I think the continuation of animation and videogame production in spite of Covid created this need to normalize recording setups (which to a degree is valid, since multiple actors are now recording from all over the place, and there has to be some consistency across gear and recording space), BUT has then trickled down to include all of VO jobs unnecessarily. I used an AT2020+ USB mic for years for everything from national spots down to web explainer videos – you don’t NEED a U87;
    3) Present company excluded, there are plenty of people out there who think they know what they’re doing, and don’t understand even the basics of a proper (or even passable!) VO setup. This may be either because they’re used to going to the studio for audition/jobs and are going through the at-home/remote transition, OR they just haven’t gotten proper coaching or tech guidance/lack experience/are a member of the “VO is a get-rich-quick scheme” class of thinking and just don’t care. From what I’ve heard through the VO community, it seems this panic of “I need to get all this stuff NOW or I don’t work!” caused a lot of people to overlook some very basic and essential aspects of this work (i.e. if your recording space is subpar, your fancy gear will only enhance the bad over the good; Source Connect Standard does not miraculously “fix” your sound – which is apparently a real belief; there are plenty of good mics out there for FAR less than a U87 that will achieve the same goals IF used properly; your DAW doesn’t matter – Audacity has the same ability to apply EQ, compression and normalization as ProTools, so unless you’re a VO talent who’s also a hotshot engineer and wants all the bells and whistles, it’ll record a U87 just as well as an AT2020+ USB mic.

    So my overall feeling is this (which I will also preface by saying I don’t know everything and I’m constantly educating myself on how to improve all things VO): I think because there a lot of VO talent who are either super new (we’ve all been there) or have just been trying to make the transition to being fully remote for both auditions and jobs on a VERY accelerated timeline (like kind of literally overnight), it’s created panic both on the sides of clients/agencies/engineers and talent. I know personally anytime I do a Source Connect Standard session, I am 100% of the time required to list all my gear, recording space, etc., AND do a test a day or two before. There must have been enough bad experiences that engineers or clients have had with talent that kind of muddied the waters and just made them (unfairly) throw up their hands and say, well, we just need a one-size-fits-all policy because we don’t have the time or willingness to consider anything else (even though we ask your audition to reflect EXACTLY what your sound is, sans plugins, and yes, both Talent A and B sound great, but since Talent A has a Rode NT1 and records into Audacity, well, sorry). I do think all of this new expectation is unfair and absolutely overblown, but I also think on the talent side, in order to uphold the integrity and awesomeness of this profession, whether you’ve got a U87 or an AT2020+, a whisper room or a clothes-packed walk-in closet, we need to know how to use our gear properly, and put our best foot forward at all times. It’s mind-boggling how many people don’t, and it hurts the rest of us, causing often clueless agencies and clients to throw blanket assumptions over the entirety of the industry and setting these ridiculous standards to begin with. So this is all to say, let’s keep our side of the street clean, and hopefully that’ll shut them up 🙂

    Just my (humble) two cents.

  14. THANK. YOU. It’s a relief to see a VO professional question new expectations and requirements. I’ve only seen posts about how to accommodate them from VO artists. The lack of room quality details in that list we all got was such a glaring concern and I’m glad you mention it. I personally grappled with this and it led to considerable stress, prepping for Source Connect Standard when I don’t know where my next dollar is coming from and living in fear of recording a session on the day my neighbor feels like revving his motorcycle for a solid ten minutes or if another uncontrollable noise factor outside my closet makes me appear unprofessional. I think having us state what equipment we have at home at the end of our takes is a bit demoralizing too if we have inexpensive mics. I feel that what is being implied there is that equally talented actors with the best home set-ups will get the roles because they can afford it over those who can’t.

  15. THANK YOU!!! I am NOT getting SC because an agent says I have to. I’ve been concerned about this as well and I’m convinced a select group of folks are getting a kickback from SC. Thanks for blowing the lid off of this.

  16. Wow! After hearing this my first thought is this scare tactic pure and simple from people who’s jobs are slowly becoming irrelevant due technology and internet marketing. And you are correct that they are leaving out the bottom line. What is the quality of the recording. Noise, distortion, floor noise are just as important as tonal quality. But having these ungodly high and lofty standards are again irrelevant because the end consumers will not be listening on state of the art monitors or even a high quality wave file, they will more than likely be listening to a stream of some sorts that has been manipulated or compressed for broadcast or some internet streaming dynamic or just a plain old lossy mp3.

    While I am not currently active in the VO field I have over 40 years experience in the broadcast industry and have worked in production environments and have worked with people from advertising agencies, they only care about does it sound good. They could care less on what it took to get the track to them. I feel this whole scenario is nothing but fear mongering if an effort to try and sustain an old business model that is dying. I have talked with others in the business who feel the need for even having an agent is old school and that the bulk of their business comes from leveraging internet marketing and self promotion. IF you are only interested in working the big ticket gigs then you need and agent to play that game. IF you want to be constantly working and making more money in the long haul instead having to sit and wait for the next big gig to happen, if ever, then leverage the internet and self promotion. YOU are you re your best agent.
    David I call BS on this list and shame on those who are trying to ruin peoples lives because they cant adapt.

  17. Had to weigh in, being “that coach” that is mentioned!
    I’m so glad that we are having this convo because I saw this morphing into something big as early as March -and it has not died down at all. I’m just not sure what we are capable of doing, as talent, when so much of this is the decision of the CDs, audio engineers and the like.
    The specific studio/mic questions from agents, casting directors and creative/ad execs has been on-going and increasingly demanding. Just last week, I was also asked to NOT use SC Standard, but possibly need to use ipDTL or another way to record with the remote creative team in LA (I’m in NYC)… I just responded with a “whatever the client needs, I’ll be sure to be prepared and ready.” Although, I do think like @NatalieWinters previously mentioned, that SAG-AFTRA should demand that we have VO talent is entitled to an extra stipend or something in the booking rate if we are required to purchase and download SC or another special item required for a job.
    I upgraded my own equipment in April because of all the new home studio requirements that I saw were being asked of me. I now have a new XLR mic that is under the $500 range (gosh, I miss the simplicity of a plug-and-play of my AT2020USB+ though!) and I still use Audacity (even so I have access to ProTools with the purchase of my mic). I did this cautiously and with a lot of emails with @david who wasn’t a fan of the upgrade – but I felt that for my personal situation, I needed to “up my game” so to speak, so I did. I just didn’t want to invest THOUSANDS when I knew that wasn’t necessary for me at this point of my VO journey. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ll EVER need another type of mic because the two that I currently have more than suffice.
    However, I feel like VO talent across the board has ONE thing to really focus on: performance. You have to the best work you can with the tools you have. If you book the work that requires Source Connect, you get it – but not before. No reason to do it beforehand.
    Get solid training so that you know how to work YOUR mic the very best way. Understand the technology you’re working with, too. If you have the space and the financials to afford the studiobricks deal, that’s great – but never ever get into this business to get money quickly or hope that it pays for itself eventually. It takes a lot of auditions to start booking steady work.
    I’ve know that I’ve been exceptionally lucky with my work. EVERY actor has a different journey. Training is your NUMBER ONE necessity. Then you need a demo -and a competitive, professionally produced one (I’m looking at you, @david and @trevor since they produced and directed mine). My demos were also done on my USB mic and I’ve booked work right off of them and secured an amazing team of agents without the need to audition.
    My personal experiences made a big impact on having Source Connect Standard and the recent upgrades I made have luckily already paid for themselves in the work that I booked recently. I know that’s not the norm and it should not dictate YOUR circumstances or give you FOMO in any way.
    I hope that we can see some change in our industry -because once we start opening up studios to audition again, our work is more impacted with very small, enclosed spaces with close proximity to a microphone that was most likely used by another VO artist before – I rather prefer my work-from-home set up, without someone else’s droplets or spit, thank you very much!
    Anyway, thank you for starting the conversation – I guess it’s more to come on this… what’s next?

  18. Señor DHL XVII. In my esteemed opinion, you have hit every single nail right on the head with this video. I understand your fear of stepping on toes, fingers, or somebody’s clean carpet, but I don’t have those fears. SO…expensive mic, Pro Tools, Source Connect etc. is all good and several of my friends are so busy doing VO work of some sort or another they employ at least one of these in some way.
    Good stuff, but if you are looking for a clean flat signal, either for audition or real gig, there are many ways to deliver without this expense.

    You use an AT2020 USB. (150.00) I use a Rode NT1-A (230.00) And I must add that the specs for the NT1A are damn near close to the U87.
    ProTools? For the work we do? Give me a break. I use Logic Pro X and that is waaaay overkill.Audacity, Twisted Wave, Audition, etc. A quiet, non-reflective recording space, a decent mic, and a flat clean signal….that’s it!
    I’ll go ahead and say it. Agents (or agencies) who post the kinds of requirements you mention have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Since 2000 we working VO’s have had to gear up and learn a new way of getting work and we’ve accomplished a monumental task in the meantime.
    As the organizer of Voices Anonymous, I can only say we’ve done our part in this, and YOU have been a real boon for us in that area. Aaaargh.

  19. You nailed it, David – thank you for using your platform to say what more of us than I realized have been thinking and feeling!

    I’ve been doing what I needed to, for several years, and in the last few months (as agents stipulated auditioning *if* you’ve got SC Standard) I’ve researched ipDTL and Source Connect. If I buy SC Standard, it’s essentially money thrown to the wind *if I don’t also (pay more) for a permanent ethernet line.* I’ve heard many people say they had better connection with SC Now than Standard.

    I’ve been happily using a CAD m179, which has been jacked just a smudge for my voice and space. I’ve not had any complaints, but each time I fill out a form about my recording equipment and DAW, I feel a little less sure of keeping it …

    Regarding SC Standard, the truth is I get little to none of my work through my three current agents. The gamble that I *may* get jobs by saying I’ve got SC Standard requires lying. Not having it means I don’t even get a shot at playing.

    I worked hard, and paid to work with a few of our industries best producer/tech people. I’m happy to have paid them for their time and knowledge. The studio standards they taught me to reach for were strong enough to get these agents’ attention initially. In December, we moved for the fourth time in seven years. I have put quite a lot of expense into improving my recording spaces. (This house has a treated, triple walled, designated studio.) Striving for that level of quality should still be enough.

    Like you, I’d hate to irritate anyone with whom I’d like the opportunity to work, or lose what I consider to be a valuable job venue.

  20. Hey David! Years ago you ended up getting me my first agent, so I’ve got a huge amount of love for ya! Since then, I’ve had a hell of a career. Had a show on Comedy Central. Have been in hundreds of cartoons and games and commercials. Taught classes. I’ve directed VO and especially celebrities. It’s never been a perfect career, but very successful. Grateful to ya!

    I’ll offer some of my thoughts and perspectives based on my experiences from all aspects of production.

    There are certainly better solutions than asking all the talent to become professional engineers with 20k studios.

    I’ve directed famous people. People will bend over backwards for a celebrity. So if you got Vince Vaughn or Scarlett Johansson recording, you can guarantee people will figure out how to make sure they have a booth or will have their engineers help them build a room fort and send them a good microphone. I mean, every time I hear Guardians of the Galaxy, I can hear exactly the size of the room Bradley Cooper is recording in. Yet that made it into the film. People figure it out and accept quality loss if the talent that in demand.

    Working voice actors, if the talent is desired enough, productions will find a way to work it out. The Bob Bergens and Eric Bauzas of the world will be fine in that regard. Generally the engineers and actors have all the patience trying to make it work. Everyone around them gets nervous. But if the talent is desired, everything will get figured out.

    Commercials are different. That world feels more like keeping up with the Jones’s. They can be much more finicky. But the creative team generally doesn’t care as long as it sounds good. Mostly they’ll hear things over laptop speakers or AirPods. They’re finicky about the visuals and look mostly. As long as the VO sounds good, they’ll generally be happy. The ad agency will care less and the clients probably never heard the term large diaphragm condenser mic in their lives. And unless they’re in the mixing room, they won’t hear most of the quality things regarding the audio.

    Promos? Your gear and sound are so tailored to you. Your end sound is all that matters.

    I think the ones in the toughest situation has to be games. There are hundreds of actors on some project. I can see the predicament they’re in if the actors all sound like they’re recording in different setups.

    So for the rest of us working actors who aren’t household names but can act up a storm, what do you do with us when we can’t rent out studios to get that sound? Agents are in a tough spot. How can they prove to business clients or casting directors that their talent is up to par or worth the purchase like they got when they sent talent to Lime or Margarita Mix? Especially if most of us are scale talent?

    One way is they try to create an industry standard. Source Connect. Protools. Neumann U87/TLM-103/Sennheiser 416. Studio Bricks/Whisper Room. If they can prove their talent is capable of delivering the best recordings like the studios they’re used to visiting, they can sell them easily. The actors who don’t have it will fall by the wayside. But that’s not the buyer’s problem. It sucks and that’s what we’re seeing asked of us.

    Here’s my gear:
    Mic: Sennheiser 416
    Booth: Double-walled custom isolation booth
    Interface: Mackie ProFX8 board
    Software: Twisted Wave

    Does it sound great? It sounds amazing! Is there better? Of course! Has my setup gone to air? Many times! Do I have a mic like a Neumann U87? Nope. But I can guarantee I’ve lost jobs for not having one, or for not having protools. I’m sure there will be people who will hear, “double-walled? Why isn’t it triple walled?” “Into a board? Where’s your Focusrite or Scarlett Preamp? What about an Avalon?”

    But as you and I both know working in production, perception is often more important than practicality.

    The thing is, when I’ve sat in for mix sessions on my projects, I’ve heard decent mixers do loads of excellent work to my voice. If it’s clean going in, the room noise isn’t too loud, and the room echo isn’t obvious, then they can make it sound better easily and make great audio excellent for broadcast. I’ve voiced in a lot of makeshift setups where the audio was good enough to make it to air. I record in the closet sessions. Celebs record in the fancy studio. Quality is something we all strive for. But for most practical purposes, it has to only be good to a certain point. Sucks for the specialists who strive for perfection. But it’s our best bet given Covid.

    But it’s hard to convince this to people who don’t have to know the technical stuff. The agents, managers, casting directors. I remember at the beginning saying to my teams and clients, “I’ll get Source Connect when a session comes up,” then not seeing auditions until I actually got it and made sure everyone knew I had it. They need that feeling of commitment from the actors, the feeling that they can sell them easily, that they have the best quality. There are other solutions that work. I can’t reasonably expect them to understand them all unless I just had some long popular-studio-approved list of acceptable microphones, softwares, and remote connection software.

    I don’t think most talent will see heavy investment returns coming from their agents. That 12k Studio Bricks, $4k worth of microphones, the $4k worth of preamps, compressors, de-essers, peak limiters, the mixing board, foam, stands, lighting, the monthly subscriptions for Source Connect, Protools, That’s a heavy barrier to entry that’s generally unnecessary.

    Given all that, I think the conversation around Covid records should move back to: can the actor record at broadcast quality. Check yes, check no. The rest is irrelevant. I believe that should be the industry standard: does this sound like it can go to air or be mixed to do so. If so, awesome! Only the engineers and the actors need to know the gear and just allot ample time before sessions to deal with growing pains. No average person cares if a guitarist uses a Fender or a Gibson. Same with us. No one cares if we’re on a TLM-103 or a Sennheiser 416. I’d be amazed if I ran into a non-industry person who could tell the difference.

    If the hired talent is great and can’t record broadcast quality, I’d push on the buyers to start thinking further out on things. How do we get this talent to record? I know some agents are making sure talent get studio fees to pay for the setup costs. I’ve seen some other impressive solutions lately as well.

  21. Hello David, I agree with you 100%. I do not have an agent, so please take my comments in that vein. I would not be inclined to spend a ton of money to meet an ill-informed set of guidelines. My reaction would be to have the agent listen to the audio and comment on the quality of the audio. Corrections only need to be made if the quality doesn’t meet a certain standard (similar to the ACX model). It is an exceptionally slippery slope if the agent now has the power to dictate how audio is produced, which is not their area of expertise. I ran into this regularly in my consulting/coaching business in the automotive world. The client can’t dictate to the expert how the job gets done regarding the technical aspects of creation. My two cents. But I don’t have an agent, so it is not an issue for me. Here’s a thought: Perhaps you could craft a respectful “pushback letter” and make it available to your clients to send to their agent? It seems that educating the agent is what is really needed here, and the assurance that the audio will meet their clients needs, regardless of how that is accomplished.

  22. Well, I do not have an agent yet. I am still working on getting a commercial demo created. So I have not ‘jumped’ into the voice over arena other than to do some auditions on Voices123. (I have done audiobooks) However, this information does concern me. I have a booth (thank you David!) but not the other equipment. I do not have the money to jump into all that gear at the moment so it does make me ponder as to whether I should continue to pursue voice over work other than audiobooks. It sounds like with the current ‘guidelines’, I would not be able to find work.

  23. Thanks being conscientious enough to bring this up. The equipment requirements are unnecessary, especially for auditions! Getting that low noise floor can be hard enough outside of a studio. Hopefully, this will blow over. Thanks for bringing a little sanity to an already crazy time.

  24. I love that you state your opinions respectfully and stand by them. I greatly respect it. This issue is concerning, and it sounds like your opinion is grounded in facts. Thanks for making a video about it.

  25. I’m glad you mentioned Dan Lenard – I was doing some minor upgrades to my studio listening to Voice Over Body Shop with him and George “the Tech” Whittam (who engineered and tested my space) and when they started digging into software and equipment, George took a pause to point out that all the stuff they were talking about was really unnecessary for voice talent. It was great for engineers, and that people should only really try to get into it if they wanted to play around with the tools or learn this stuff.
    I have been playing around with the tools and learning this stuff and having fun, but pretty much none of it goes into my audiobooks: it’s still the same tried-and-true method that lands me work.
    As to home studio space, I’m fortunate that I could build one, but even early on some brighter minds than mine helped me see the wisdom of not trying to build a ‘room in a room’ or kill myself getting a custom booth built (there’s a great article called ‘the Myth of the Booth’ that the guys over in Voice Over Artist and Booth Building recommend a lot). I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my still-growing VO career, but I’m pleased that most of that has been in training.