Voice Acting in India

Bangalore, India’s Deccan Herald has an interesting article on what it takes to break into the voice-over industry in India: Giving Character to Your Voice.

I say “interesting” on account of the way the article is worded, such as what appears to be the reporter’s opinion of how voice-overs are produced:

In any voice over, there are two kinds of voices – the main voice (also called the voice of God) and the character voice. Character voices are usually used in the beginning and belong to actors. The main voice is the voice that is used towards the end to emphasise the product and its values.

Also “interesting” is the fact that this reporter believes that “the voice-over profession is completely recession-proof and isolated from the crisis that many other businesses face….Even during an economic crisis companies do advertise, people still watch cartoons, corporations’ still need voicemail messages and the like, all of which make this an attractive back-up career option.”

This is true only to a certain degree because the VO profession is in no way “completely recession proof.” Check the discussion on any of the online VO communities (such as The Voice Over Bulletin Board) and you’ll find that the VO biz has been hit by the recession along with the rest of the entertainment industry.

VO casting sites like voices.com and voice123.com have become overrun with beginners who are primarily out of work and will audition and bid for voice jobs for practically nothing, thus making what is already a highly-competitive market even more fiercely competitive. This means less work for the full-time and part-time pros who were in the game long before the recession.

And clients–especially for non-union VO work–have dramatically lowered their payscale for jobs over the last few years. Just to give you an example from personal experience: last year I had a non-union VO audition for a national TV spot where the pay was a package deal that included an unusually low rate for a one-time buyout with free internet and cable service for up to two years. And from what I’ve been hearing in networking with other VO talents, this method of clients “bartering” for services is becoming much too common.

And I have a hard time believing anyone who says that a certain job or career is absolutely “recession-proof” because there are too many current and future variable economic factors involved.

But if you can filter through the clutter in this article, there is still some sound advice for beginners and aspiring voice actors, from a few of India’s prominent professionals in the biz.

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