When 2019 was about to take off and 2020 was excited to hop in, the world got something much different from its expectations. The Covid19 pandemic made quite an entrance, almost a month before 2020 could even say hi to the world. In the beginning, it was not taken very seriously, however, by the beginning of 2020, the pandemic made sure that no one ever takes it lightly. Countries went into lockdown, people were forced to remain confined to their homes, and only essential services workers were allowed to step out of their homes. Something that started as a not-so-serious or just another outbreak soon turned into a global catastrophe claiming millions of lives across the planet and completely transforming the way the world works. People, other than those who needed to step out, started to work remotely from their homes, through virtual workspaces. Some favored this new workspace and even when restrictions were lifted, they remained in the same work style, but to some going to the office was a better option. However, even as of now there is a complete uncertainty in whether things are ever going to get back to the way it was or the world has changed forever and this new way is the new normal.
How Voice Industry worked Earlier?
The Voice-over industry has always been interactive and collaborative in its spirit. Prior to the pandemic, most professional voice-over actors worked from professional voice-over studios, which involved, commuting to the studios, a lot of interaction and communication between the voice actors, agents, technical staff, and other artists. Auditions were usually held at central locations, like advertisement studios, recording studios, or places fully equipped with recording setups. Candidates would be physically present at the locations and audition for the roles or gigs. Working from the office obviously had its benefits like working along with other voice artists and technical experts and access to professional recording studios, etc. A usual day for professional voice-over actors would go either in a studio recording or going around with agent and client preparing their part that will later be recorded, or if no work then probably going for multiple auditions. The voice-over industry has always been a buzzing industry and due to its interactive nature, you can expect to meet many people during the course of a single day.
What’s going on now?
When Covid struck, many voice-over companies and voice artists, with no prior experience of remote working, were forced to adapt. The sudden and imposed change of the working environment, however, started with excitement at first, soon presented its challenges. It did not take much longer for the people to realize that working from is not as easy as it sounded, and soon it was evident that this change did not favor most of the people in the industry. Since offices were closed down, voice artists were pushed to work remotely. From looking for work to auditioning, and from recording to editing and delivering the voice-over recordings. Many of them registered themselves on professional online voice-over marketplaces to find more jobs and while working from their homes. One of the major changes that occurred due to the pandemic is the absence of office culture. The set of rules and norms that prevailed in the offices is simply gone. However, this has benefitted those artists who always wanted to work from a place that is more comfortable to them. But this also means that senior executives and managers are no longer in the daily job of supervising and guiding the voice artists. Also, it poses an additional challenge to the creative department in casting and other creative decisions as all the things are needed to be operated virtually. These challenges are major for those agencies that have less to zero prior experience and technical setups to support this virtual shift. However, there are agencies like Voyzapp, that are tech-driven and well-equipped to operate smoothly and efficiently in the digital space.
What Stays the Same?
The need for high-quality voice-over recordings remains the same, and the expectations from voice artists of producing them. Despite the pandemic and all the major shifts, professionalism has not changed and the industry still trusts the voice talents to provide the best of works. Whether working from an office or remotely, voice artists still stick to the norms, responsibilities, and accountabilities while working on a project. In the past voice actors usually, audition at different places, meet new people, interacted, and communicated with them creating a healthy in-person network that helped them in getting more jobs and recommendations. With a slight change from in-person to digital networking, voice actors are now digitally networking and meeting new people or communicating with others. This has benefitted them to be recommended for jobs that might not be in their local area.
How Voice artists are coping with the Change?
One of the many ways that helped many actors to be able to adjust is making sure they get new jobs regularly. Since now projects can originate from anywhere and be of any kind like – radio voice-overs or Podcast intros-outros, auditioning and keeping the flow going is prudent. While working from an office, it was easy for voice-over artists to seek advice and guidance from their colleagues, which is now missing in the remote setting, and many voice artists scuffle in filling that void. Another major change happening is the need for voice artists to set up reliable and functional home studios. Many voice-over talents working from home are investing in a home studio to continue working on their projects. The biggest change is the shift from office to working from home, irrespective of however daunting and expensive it seemed at the beginning, now its benefits have outweighed the perks of working from the office. Gradual adaptation of this new work culture has now rooted itself deeply and many voice artists have preferred to work from their remote locations.
The bottom-line being changes are laws of nature and also inevitable. Those who can adapt are the fittest and only the fittest survive as postulated by Darwin. Therefore, adaptability is the key in the current scenario, as the virus is evolving and so should we. Due to the significant changes caused by the pandemic voice-over industry, or any industry for that matter, might not be able to get back to being its old self. However, the voice-over industry is adaptable and resilient enough to continue growing and producing quality voice-overs.
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