Are older, more mature voices overlooked when auditions are reviewed?
Today we’ll take a look at two very different stories, one of which I credit with the inspiration of this article, coming up now on VOX Daily.
Does Voice Age Matter?
Bud Sisson will be 78 this December. His first paid voice over gig was in 1981 and it ran for years. Recently he had one client who used his voice for their commercials for ten years, and during their ten years their sales curve was constantly on the up and up.
Bud doesn’t talk fast and never did, and with his hearing problem, he has difficulty understanding fast talkers. Based upon his experience when he was writing and producing radio and television commercials for a retirement complex, Bud found that older people do not like announcers “who talk so fast that I can’t understand them.”
Considering the size of the senior market, why is it so hard for senior voices to find work?
Are Older Voices Discriminated Against?
By Bud Sisson
I feel that the cards may be stacked against some of us especially senior males and senior females.
The fault, I believe, is with many of the voice seekers.
There are two issues in my opinion which stack the cards against us:
à¹ Age discrimination
They are connected.
I speak as a senior male who for ten years had a client who used my voice, and I am proud to say that during that time, the client’s sales curve kept going up and they expanded their sales staff. The producer had a technique that more producers might consider. After what both she and I considered to be a good read, she would also say, “But we’re a bit over.” However instead of saying “Pick up the pace, 90 times out of a hundred, she would say, “Let me see what I can cut.”
My producer and I agreed that for maximum understanding faster is not better.
At a more moderate pace, the voice actor has more time to color words and bring out the meaning. So I would suggest that voice seekers should try writing only 20 seconds of copy for a 30 second commercial or 40 seconds of copy for a one minute commercial.
The worst example of speed are the pharmaceuticals who at the end of the commercial read off the warnings and side effects of their medications so fast that no one could remember any of it. Are they trying to hide something?
So am I too old for the voice industry? I don’t think so.
I am picky about what auditions I do. Some questions I use in deciding what auditions I will do. Does the product or service interest me? Do I like the copy for the custom demo? Can I read the demo script in a specified time? Does the script and the product fit with my personality and my voice style?
Reaching A Market Comprised of 79 Million Baby Boomers
Michael Turnbull’s Story
Known for his mature, trustworthy voice and ability to connect with the baby boomer set, Michael Turnbull, age 61, has just started a new chapter in his career complete with the re-branding of his business, an accreditation of his services through SaVoa and by joining the ranks of the Platinum membership at Voices.com.
Profiled recently by Susan Berkley of The Great Voice Company as one of her favorite success stories, Turnbull has never been busier pursuing the craft he loves while arranging his work around his lifestyle as a grandfather and yachtsman.
A mature professional voice over talent, Michael Turnbull has done more commercials, narration and documentaries catering to the needs, interests, and buying habits of the 79 million baby boomer generation than any other voice in the industry during the last 5 years.
His warmth, friendliness and believability has branded campaigns for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Heinz, Blue Cross / Blue Shield and has narrated pieces for the US Air Force – Nellis AFB, Whitehall Museum in Palm Beach, and Chivas Regal History.
How Are Older Voices Perceived in Voice Over?
There is a validated market for senior voice overs. People cast based upon age specific requirements to reach their target audience, and sometimes, that may mean that a mature voice is not the voice for the job, but then that goes for other voice ages, too.
Although Michael is younger than Bud, his voice still falls in the same category where reaching people of a certain age is concerned in the mature to senior adult demographic.
While the younger spectrum of the vocally mature curve may be working with more frequency, how do mature voices fare in general?
Is there any noticeable discrimination?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Â©iStockphoto.com/Luca di Filippo