Join Voice Over Expert and beloved coach Pat Fraley in his New Year’s 2009 podcast “9 Tips For Yielding a Bumper Crop of Voice Overs in 2009″. Enter the bunkhouse and sit in on this witty conversation that includes a variety of ideas that will both inspire and inform, and most importantly, help to prepare you for what 2009 has in store for voice over talent.
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2009, Pat Fraley, Interactive, Audiobooks, Video Games
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Transcript for 9 Tips For Yielding a Bumper Crop of Voice Overs in 2009
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts, brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voice over marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors, and performers in the field of voiceover.
Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week Voices.com is pleased to present Pat Fraley.
Pat Fraley: Hi, this is Pat Fraley with some good news for the voiceover community for 2009 and for all of you who are advancing your efforts in getting work. I have nine brief points, but first let me give you some context.
We’ve just gone through a year of a daily pummeling of devastating news and it’s all I can do to read and listen. Now, government resources are being committed to addressing our economic problems and America is going to work. We’ll all do better…
Pat: Excuse me, I have to take this, it’s my agent.
Barry: What are you doing in the bunk house?
Pat: I beg pardon? I’m…
Barry: Hey, I’m listening to this mish gosh. Excuse me? Good news? Forgive me if I don’t run out and buy the new Mercedes. What? Where you born in a cookie?
Pat: Just hear me out Barry, OK?
Barry: All right. I have to finish clipping my toenails anyway. You better get finished before I get to Mr. Pinkie, and don’t get into that whole “back in the day” routine.
Pat: I won’t.
OK, nine points. The first two are general, and then I’ll get specific on the good news for various genres of voiceover.
First, in times of difficulty and adversity, American’s seek out amusement. They do this for a respect to reality. Remember that the root words to amuse, “a muse,” are “not think.” Much of what we supply in the voiceover industry are character voices, narration, and performance for projects such as animation, interactive, audio books, toys; narration to projects designed to allow the public to enter a different world for a time where they’re carried off to something other than our immediate reality.
Did you hear that Barry?
Barry: You’re not selling me and I’m on my left foot.
Pat: OK. Two, as much as I believe that this is the perfect time for talent, students, and comrades to continue to advance their skills and get real smart about getting jobs, there are those who will give up or put their voiceover plans and dreams on a hold. That’s what fear does, it cripples.
That means there’ll be less in the pool and more opportunities for those who are willing to forge ahead or who are already established in the voiceover arena.
There’s a famous quote from Barren Rothschild, the 18th century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild Banking Family, “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets even if the blood is your own.”
Now, that borders on brutal, but overcoming fear is essential in advancing your efforts and most often productive, especially in the area of high competition.
Barry: You know what? That’s true. When people are running out of the building, stroll in. I like that.
Pat: Good. Now, for number three. Let’s get specific in the areas of voiceover and address commercials. When times get tough clients and advertisers cut back. What do they cut back on? Staff first. It’s the most immediate way of addressing overhead.
The second thing they do is cut back on the media buy. Yes, this affects union residuals, but does not affect the voiceover opportunities. They still need the creative, and remember, advertising agencies only make money when they spend their clients. They still need to produce TV and radio commercials.
Speaking of which, radio production often times goes up in a recession as it’s cheaper than TV – more voiceover work, not less.
Barry: This true, especially the part about cutting back staff. Hmm, that reminds me. Isn’t your contract up?
Pat: Point four, animation. Cable channels and networks must have product. They are obligated. What do they do? They buy cheaper production and get conservative on committing to a series. They do more pilots, then decide which projects have legs, and then commit to a smaller package.
In the last month, for example, in L.A., there’s been a flurry of activity on pilots. I have one in two callbacks out. They’re not committed shows, but there is a whole lot of activity.
Recently I directed and was in the cast on a pilot involving re-voicing existing animation. It looks good to sell a 55 episode package to cable and independents. Why? The producers have a way of supplying inexpensive programming. In short, there’s a lot of activity.
As for feature animation projects, one only has to look at films in production, Disney, DreamWorks, and the majors, are the first to recognize the need of the American public to be amused, and animation is the clearest genre, which takes a family out of reality and into a kinder and gentler world.
Five, interactive, recession proof. Let me throw a few figures out to you. It’s a $10 billion a year industry. November sales were $6.64 billion. The figure for Grand Theft Auto four on release was 500 million. Ironman opened at 200 million and it costs twice as much to produce. Sales on Rock Guitar are at 900 million. This genre is the poster child for escape. Sure, half of them don’t use voices, gee, that cuts it down to five billion in potential.
Non-union and union projects abound and will continue to abound.
Barry: Yes, I have to agree. I can’t get the little woman away from Resident Evil.
Pat: Point number six, audio books. With the success of the Internet and downloadable access, audio book publishers are increasing productivity, not doing less.
Remember that all the publishers need to do is create one master and make it available for download. It’s virtual inventory. No overhead, no unsold and returned product from bookstore shelves. Inventory sells inventory and audio book publishers will continue to pay the talent less, but request more and more projects to be read.
Sales for audio books doubled in 2007, and even if there’s a slowdown, it has now surpassed a billion dollar market and will continue to show growth.
Point seven, talking toys. Yes, less will be made and less will sell, but the initial work, the voicing, continues. The prototype must be completed and offered to the buyers. That means that voiceover work is done and paid for. The toy may never see the light of day if retailers don’t buy enough, but the voiceover talent gets paid no matter what and there aren’t any residuals on that kind of work anyway.
Point eight, narration. Here again A&E, Biography, the History Channel – or as my boys call it, “The Hitler Channel” – as well as instructional narration projects, are obligated to voice new material. What they cut back on is in production, not the voiceover talent, they must have the voice.
Barry: Yes, true, got to have the voice. Have to hear what Hitler was up to.
Pat: Point nine, promos. Here’s the good news for those fortunate enough to get promo jobs. There will be more, not less. Why? When a channel sells less commercials they have blocks of time they must fill. They promote their own shows and produce more in-house promotions.
So, that’s the good news. Take courage and get smart. Look for opportunities to advance your skills in a careful productive way.
Also, look for creating ways of getting the knowledge of your skills out to people who are in a position to hire you or recommend to those who hire, to get you in the studio.
In the meantime, take heart. Hopefully, we’ve done the diagnosis to our problems in 2008 and we’re onto the treatment in 2009.
In the coming months, I’ll be putting together an event which will specifically address the skills and how to get to the producers of all the voiceover genres I’ve mentioned. I’ll keep you abreast.
Barry, what do you say?
Barry: I’m going out and buying a Mercedes, happy days are here again! Flannel cakes and musos, are you in?
Pat: I’m not saying to go out and spend…
Barry: Maybe crab cakes at the Arbey, are you buying?
Pat: I can’t afford…
Barry: You were just bragging about the pilot Mr. Brad Pitt. You’re flush, you’re blonde.
Pat: No, I…
Barry: OK, you buy the Mercedes, I’ll buy lunch.
Julie-Ann: To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com broadcast visit the voiceover expects show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExpects. Remember to stay subscribed.
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This has been a Voices.com production.
Your Instructor this week:
Patrick Fraley has created voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animation. He has produced dozens of award-winning audiobooks, such as, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Very Easy Death, and The Light in The Piazza. Pat produced and performed all 100 voices on the award winning audiobook, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which People Magazine hailed as, “The best yet of this evergreen.” Patrick teaches events, workshops, and seminars on various aspects of voice over across the country, and has created a variety of instructional books and CDs, all available at PatFraley.com. He is a member of The Voice and Speech Trainers of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Acting from Cornell University.