Today we’re discussing the Batman: The Animated Series and a new audio drama project, how Los Angeles sound stages can’t keep up with demand, that radio DJ you’re hearing may not actually be there, 5 noise-cancelling apps for Android and iOS, Voices’ 2022 Trends Report and Gina Scarpa Vox Talk community spotlight.
Mentioned on the show:
Watch: That Radio DJ You’re Hearing Might be a Robot!
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Hi there and welcome to Vox Talk, your weekly review from the world of voice over. I’m your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli from Voices. In today’s show, you’ll hear about Batman: The Animated Series and an audio drama picks up where the show left off, how soundstages in Los Angeles can’t keep up with demand, that the radio DJ you’re hearing on the air may not be a real person, 5 of the best noise-canceling apps for Android and iOS, the Voices Trends Report and special guest Gina Scarpa discussing shortlists in our Community Spotlight.
News 1: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Audio Drama in the works with Original Cast
The Hollywood Reporter notes that the Bat-family may be getting back together in podcast form.
On Saturday during Los Angeles Comic Con, actor Kevin Conroy (Batman) and John Glover (the Riddler) revealed that an audio drama was in the works that will continue the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series. According to the actors, Batman: The Animated Series writer Alan Burnett is developing the project.
“It’s a great script by Alan Burnett and it brings back the original cast,” Conroy said during the “History of the Batman” panel, hosted by Londyn Jackson.
Batman: The Animated Series, which ran for 85 episodes from 1992-95, also voice-starred Mark Hamill as the Joker and introduced the world to the show’s breakout character, Harley Quinn (played by Arleen Sorkin). It was set in a 1940s-style world and embraced the noir nature of the Dark Knight. It also established Conroy as what many consider the definitive Batman voice actor, and jumped to the big screen for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The series won the Emmy for outstanding animated program in 1993.
If you can’t wait for this audio drama to unfold, there are other Batman audio dramas on the market that you can listen to now. Some of you may even be the voice of one of those Batmans or in the cast!
To read more about Batman: The Animated Series audio drama project, visit the link to the Hollywood Reporter in our show notes.
News 2: Los Angeles Soundstages Can’t Keep Up With Demand: “It’s Almost Like the Floodgates Opened”
Speaking of the Hollywood Reporter, they’re also reporting that a streaming content boom is also leading to a boom in building proposals, retrofits and competition for long-term leases in Los Angeles.
Amid a production rise fueled by Hollywood’s pivot to streaming, the need to lock in filming space is becoming more critical — and a soundstage boom is overtaking the Southland, with competition for space and clients.
Bob Hale of architecture and design firm RIOS, which completed the Harlow production building at Sunset Las Palmas Studios and is in development on Echelon Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard, says, “I’ve never seen so much activity in my career...Through the early 2000s, I think most people thought soundstages were almost dead, and there was a certain amount of redevelopment of them. Then in the last five years it’s just blown up.”
In the past two years, as the pandemic has left office buildings empty, this has been especially true — Warner Bros., HBO, Sony and NBCUniversal are all developing or leasing new Los Angeles stages, and companies like Hackman Capital, Hudson Pacific and Quixote are in construction on more, adding to the total of 394 city stages FilmLA reported in 2019. (Hackman Capital added another jewel to its portfolio on Nov. 30 with the purchase of CBS Studio Center, and its 22 stages, for $1.85 billion.)
For more on this story, visit the link in our show notes to The Hollywood Reporter’s piece on soundstages.
News 3: That radio DJ you hear might already be a robot
How do you know you’re listening to a real radio personality or DJ? This story from Reuters will get you wondering.
Andy Chanley, the afternoon drive host at Southern California's public radio station 88.5 KCSN, has been a radio DJ for over 32 years. And now, thanks to artificial intelligence technology, his voice will live on simultaneously in many places.
"I may be a robot, but I still love to rock," says the robot DJ named ANDY, derived from Artificial Neural Disk-JockeY, in Chanley's voice, during a demonstration for Reuters where the voice was hard to distinguish from a human DJ.
Our phones, speakers and rice cookers have been talking to us for years, but their voices have been robotic. Seattle-based AI startup WellSaid Labs says it has finessed the technology to create over 50 real human voice avatars like ANDY so far, where the producer just needs to type in text to create the narration.
Zack Zalon, CEO of Los Angeles-based AI startup Super Hi-Fi, said ANDY will be integrated into its AI platform that automates music production. So instead of a music playlist, ANDY can DJ the experience, introducing the songs and talking about them.
The next step will be for the AI to automate the text that is created by humans as well.
Martín Ramírez, head of growth at WellSaid, relayed that once the voice avatars are created, WellSaid manages the commercial agreements according to the voice owner's requests. WellSaid voice avatars are doing more than DJ work. They are used in corporate training material or even to read audiobooks.
For Andy Chanley, leaving a voice avatar behind has extra significance to him and his family, since his recovery from Stage 2 lymphoma, which he discovered he had two years ago, while he was recording his voice.
Would you ever record a voice avatar? Let us know on social media using the hashtag, #voxtalk.
News 4: The 5 Best Noise-Canceling Apps for Android and iOS
Background noise in any audio recording is annoying, especially in recordings made on a smartphone or tablet!
Make Use Of recently ranked what they consider to be the best noise-canceling apps, whether you are recording from home or in a busy office.
While most audio recordings by professional voice talent are made in-studio with your favorite audio gear, you might need to send a quick audio file or audition off when you’re out and about. And when you do that (it’s happened to most people!), are you using a noise-cancellation app for that?
Noise cancellation apps optimize your listening experience by reducing background sounds. These kind of apps also help reduce strain on the ears, preventing any potential harm.
The five handpicked noise-canceling apps from Make Use Of for Android and iPhone are:
Audio Extract Kit
Lexis Audio Editor
If you’ve had experience with any of these apps, I’d love to hear about it! Be sure to write me at [email protected] or connect on social media with the hashtag for this show, #voxtalk.
News 5: Voices Trends Report
What might 2022 look like for the voice over community?
Each year, Voices collects insights from widespread surveys and combines it with internal data to predict future trends in audio, creative services, freelancing, and the way we work.
After connecting with more than 1,100 survey respondents and leveraging internal information, it’s clear that the future of work has preoccupied the minds of many people.
The Annual Trends Report from Voices dives into how work environments will continue to evolve, how businesses are enhancing their marketing strategies by working with freelance talent, and what that means going into 2022.
There’s some great information in there, including how internet jobs on Voices went up by 22% in 2021!
The entire report is on the Voices site for you to review. I’ve linked it from the show notes so it is easy to find.
In a nutshell, the report covers how:
1. Remote Work is Here to Stay
2. Freelance Talent is on the Rise
3. The Benefits of Hiring Freelancers are Clear
4. Audio Presents New Opportunities for Authentic Marketing
To see the report for yourself, Google 2022 Voice Over Trends.
Vox Talk Community Spotlight: Gina Scarpa
Stephanie Ciccarelli: In today’s Community Spotlight, Gina Scarpa joins us to share some insight when it comes to being shortlisted (or not!) for a job you’ve auditioned for.
Gina Scarpa: Hey, I’m Gina Scarpa, I’m a full-time voice actor and I’ve been a member of Voices since the spring of 2020. I’m also a voice over coach and something I get asked a lot about is the shortlist feature on the Voices platform. So whenever you submit an audition, you’ll notice purple headphones next to the audition, that means the client listened to it or a green thumbs up which means that you’ve been shortlisted and you’re in the final running for the project. Sometimes people get disappointed when they get shortlisted but they don’t book a job, but I actually think about it like a positive. I mean, that’s a vote of confidence in your direction. It tells you that you’re doing something right. So I always get excited when I get shortlisted, even when I don’t book the job. That being said, I’ve been really fortunate to book quite a bit on the site, and I have to tell you I actually only get shortlisted about 60% of the time when I book something. SO of the last 10 times I booked on the site, 4 of those times I wasn’t even shortlisted, it was just a happy surprise in my inbox that I booked it. So, when it comes to shortlists, it’s a really nice feature to have, but it’s not the be all and the end all of your success or your progress on Voices. The best thing you can do with your auditions is send it and forget it. If you get shortlisted, great! And if you don’t, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, it doesn’t mean you did a bad job and it doesn’t even necessarily mean you won’t book the job. Hopefully this helps you think of shortlists in a new way and I’m wishing you all tons of success in 2022.
Stephanie Ciccarelli: Thank you, Gina!
And that’s the way we saw the world this week through the lens of voice over. Thank you for joining us! I’m so glad you’re here and hope you had fun. If there is anything you’d like to hear covered on the show, send me an email to [email protected] with your ideas! Also, if you enjoyed this episode and are a fan of Vox Talk, we’d really appreciate it if you gave the show a feedback rating and review in Apple Podcasts, Google Play and anywhere else you get your podcasts. Just a quick note to share that the contest is still going on. If you’d like to enter for chance to win a Premium membership to Voices, simply post a photo of you in your studio listening to Vox Talk on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and be sure to tag Voices so we can see your entry. On behalf of the team at Voices, thank you for being part of our community! We look forward to seeing you soon.