Ethnic Voice Talent is 10 Years Old!

In 2003, I was proud to represent a solid roster of English and French oral specialists. Quietly, I added some Spanish voices into the mix. Clients started to inquire: Can I get a German man? How about a Japanese woman? Time passed and I finally clued in that these were business questions and I sprung into action.

I set up some meetings with Chinese TV producers, dropped in to the Portuguese radio station, and called up translation companies. I was on the hunt for people who were fluent in languages besides English & French but who also had broadcast experience. The chartered accountant who happens to speak Arabic may be charming but it doesn’t do much good if he has never been behind a microphone.

Slowly I assembled the Germans and Cantonese and Italians and in 2004, Ethnic Voice Talent was born! I was amazed that the business name and URL were available. It lead me to believe I might be getting out in front of something. Clients started to call with corporate videos that needed to be done in three languages because the company also has offices in Berlin and Hong Kong – and radio spots that needed to reach the Chinese and the Italians as well as the English and the French.

Over the last 10 years, at Ethnic Voice Talent (EVT), we’ve done election campaign spots targeting the vote in various ethnic communities, an audio helicopter tour of Niagara Falls in 12 different languages, narrations for documentaries that played on television and film festivals around the world, and my favorite project to date: a major TV campaign for the NBA playoffs featuring play by play commentators from around the world. A number of our talented ethnic voices playing the part of NBA broadcasters of course.

Okay, I know it’s tough to make out the voices but at $3000 per language, who’s complaining!

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of EVT, I’m reflecting on how cool it has been to get to know all the communities, to learn a bit about different dialects within a language and to see the increased demand for authentic voices and accents of various countries and ethnicities.

In the coming months, I plan to put more energy into growing EVT: more languages, more choices of voice in the languages we do offer, and more outreach to clients who should be open to expanding their message to different audiences. Oral specialists are waiting to serve you in the language of your choice.

For now, thanks to all who have booked a talented ethnic voice these last 10 years and Happy Anniversary EVT!

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Voice Over Canada hits Brazil!

Apparently, we are making an impact in Brazil! An actual comment left on this blog:

“Hello, Roger. I’m a dreaming brazilian boy who is turning 18 this year. I’ve always been passionate about voice-acting and dubbing, I’m finishing my english studies and I’m taking voice-acting/dubbing technique classes this year. I’m willing to live in Canada. Maybe when I get there, i’ll send a demo to you. Love your posts!”

I didn’t set out to capture the imagination of 18 year-old Brazilian boys but it’s nice to have that international reach none the less.

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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Voice Over Times: Secrets of An Agent Man

I’ve been asked to write occasional pieces for Voice Over Times so I took a look back at some of the posts on this blog and wrote kind of a best of piece on What Agents Are Looking For.

Have a look by clicking here:

http://www.voiceovertimes.com/2014/03/24/secrets-of-an-agent-man-what-are-you-looking-for/

And check out the rest of the site too. Really well laid out.

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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Random Agent Musings (RAM) #3 – The Audition Process

Some thoughts on auditions:

-If you think you aced the audition, there is very little chance you’re getting the gig! The one you’ve forgotten about from three weeks ago is the one you’ll inexplicably get.

-In light of the above, it’s best to think about auditions as the equivalent of batting practice in baseball. A ball player just needs to get in the cage every day and take practice swings. Keeps you in shape and ready.

-Casting calls are getting vaguer and vaguer. Here is one from last month: “The voice will be male or /female, 30-40 years old. Full voice.” Can’t even narrow it down to the sex yet!

-Casting Directors, by and large, are good at what they do and insightful in terms of direction. But they are sometimes guessing as to what the client wants just like agents and voice talents!

-Anyone who doubts that voice work is a form of acting should attend a casting for a major ad campaign or animated series. And voice talents only have one tool to use. Wardrobe, physical mannerisms, stage presence etc doesn’t work here.

-Casting directors are either super friendly and personable or ruthless dictators – not much in between.

-Your agent shouldn’t be sending you out for everything. See here: http://www.voiceovercanada.ca/?p=352

-As an agent, technology has been a mixed blessing. Of course it’s great that we can do home studio/remote auditions but I miss the days of more voice casting directors who saw talents in person and got to know the voices and their abilities.

-My favorite recent line said by a casting director to an actor friend who was auditioning for an on-camera part in a TV spot: “If you get the gig, you’ll be leaving for Uruguay on Sunday.”

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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The Double Divas and Livingston Studios

Our friends The Double Divas are teaming up in Toronto to do another weekend workshop. The details are below. Note: it’s being held at Livingston Studios, a new facility in Toronto aiming to be a hub for voice talents and coaches. I was invited to their grand opening last month and the space looks slick. There was a tasty buffet of appetizers and a juice bar at this event. Good mingling with Toronto VO people. I would have preferred a real bar but you can’t have everything.

All the best to the folks at Livingston Studios and to Deb Munro and Elley-Ray in the workshop below:

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Random Agent Musings (RAM) #2: Favorite client lines

This week…A few of my favorite client lines from past and present:

“We always budget $500.”
After inquiring about the availability of a talent on my roster they want to book, and having received approval of this voice from their client, I ask what they have in mind for the rate. They quote $500. I say we usually charge $750-$800 for that. They say “We always budget $500.” I don’t care what you budget! You’re coming to me, asking to book one of my talents. I am telling you what we charge!

Runner up to this is: “We based our quote on what another agency charges. Can you match them?” Why do I have to? You are coming to me to book a talent on our roster but didn’t come to me ahead of time for my pricing. Imagine going to Starbucks and saying “But Tim Hortons only charges $1.50.”

”He’s only going to be in the studio 20 minutes.”
This is always said when the client is trying to get a lower price then what I’ve quoted. And that is relevant to the rate how exactly? Part of the reason he may only be in the studio 20 minutes is likely because he’s good. So, because time in the studio is somehow a factor, you would pay more for a talent who made lots of mistakes and took twice as long? This is also the reason voice talents should never charge by the hour. You get penalized for being fast/good.

“The writer wants to be at the session. He’s particular about the read.”
Sorry in advance to the talent on my roster who gets this gig!

“We are looking for a voice like Tina Fey.”
No you’re not. Tina Fey is an incredibly talented writer who has also become a good performer (usually acting in her own scripts). But I don’t think any of these clients could pick her voice out of a line-up of voices unless she was doing her Sarah Palin impersonation. What they mean is they want someone to have the wit and sarcasm of Tina Fey, but this trend of referencing actors/actresses who don’t have unique voices has really escalated in recent years.

And my all-time favorite: What happened when a client came to me 45 days after a recording session and tried to get me to lower the rate:

http://www.voiceovercanada.ca/?p=247

Remember the PN Agency motto: I work for talents, not clients! (But we do love most clients, don’t get me wrong)

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter: https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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