Monday, December 27, 2010

Community: Living With a Voice Actor – Internet Blues

The blog below is part IV of a series of blogs written by Dianne Russell, partner to Voice123 voice talent, Adam Behr; a successful voice talent with Voice123. The series gives insight into what it means to be ‘living with a voice actor’, based out of South Africa:

"When I first started writing these posts about my voice actor, I really didn't understand a lot about the voice business – it simply provided me an endless and ever-changing stream of personal entertainment. However, in 2010 I have come to understand and appreciate the complexities of running a voice acting business from home, especially when trying to set up in a developing foreign country like South Africa, where Internet is an unreliable and frustrating luxury.

I now realize how North Americans take their fast, reliable, inexpensive Internet service for granted. South Africa is lagging far behind in the internet world; although somewhat faster internet has been available since the spring, it is expensive, limited, totally unreliable and apt to cause trouble at the worst possible times – a nightmare for internet-dependent voice professionals. It also comes “shaped”, a term I had never heard before. Shaped internet is internet that prioritizes certain functions during high traffic times. Email and YouTube are not priorities, nor are large voice files. During high traffic, the Internet slows to a crawl, and all one can do is wait...and wait...and wait. A voice actor in South Africa is doomed to the ebb and flow of connectivity, which requires immense patience when the connection is cut mid recording. I have spent hours of my time arguing with our internet provider, struggling to understand the foreign accents of the customer service reps and desperate to get my voice actor reconnected before a Voice 123 audition expires and he subsequently blows a gasket in frustration.

It has also been interesting to see how people in an internet-deprived country like South Africa try to grasp exactly what it means to be a modern-day voice actor. Although they seem to get the idea that it involves acting with one's voice (and therefore does not involve a camera), there is often confusion about the mechanics of how it actually works. For people who live without Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the idea that someone can work from home by recording voices and sending sound files from Africa to North America through a phone line (Internet here is still ADSL) is a genuine puzzle. The concept of ISDN is mind-blowing to some, and the confused facial expressions make me think of what it must have been like when the telephone started coming into mainstream use.

At this time of year, we tend to think of our blessings and express gratitude for all that we have. I truly hope that voice actors in North America, who live with the joy of affordable, reliable, lightening-fast internet, comprehend how fortunate they really are!"

Voice123 thanks Dianne Russell and Adam Behr for the honest look into their lives, working in the voice over business. We hope you have enjoyed it!

What do you think?

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I was thinking that with maybe less competition in South Africa, the voice market might be easier to do on line even with the technical limitations.
Jay Beacham