Here’s a bit of non-breaking news: the digital age is here, and it’s changed everything.
As the ability to use digital technology to have direct access everywhere has increased exponentially in the past decade, many industries have seen a dramatic increase in their ability to function and perform at a higher level of efficiency and success. This is especially true in the entertainment industry. What once took a cross-country move, years of struggle on the scene, and the right connections are now relegated to simply posting the right online video or performance. Instead of pulling yourself up from your bootstraps to make it in Hollywood, now a simple click on YouTube can rocket you to stardom. Sounds great, right?
The Hidden Risk of Easy Auditions
As with many elements of automation, there are risks inherent in the ability to mass-produce anything quickly. Consider the audition process. Just a few years ago, someone attempting to get their opportunity to shine in the Voiceover industry had to partner with the right Talent Agent to contact their personal leads to land a gig. The process was personal, and the agent worked their tail off to get their client into a profitable and reputable production with phone calls, emails, lunches, gifts, and more.
Today, the digital automation of the audition process allows Advertising Agencies to use a mass-contact system to send auditions to nearly every single Talent Agency across the country. No longer are Agents and Advertisers being choosy in their selection of the right, experienced candidate - now thousands of Voiceover Talents of varying skill are able to audition for the same part at the same time!
For Ad agencies, this sounds like a dream come true. However, are they simply choosing quantity over quality? How about efficiency over effectiveness? With this much noise, what are the chances for a qualified Voiceover Artist to stand out and actually have their voice heard?
The Voiceover Artist isn’t the only one suffering. The quality of the industry suffers as well. Nobody has the time or energy to listen and analyze thousands of voice submissions to find the best candidate. More likely, maybe Ad Agencies will simply throw a dart and choose an audition that fits the job quickly. This reality lowers the chances of Talent Agencies getting valuable bookings that connect the best talent to the best Advertising companies.
Will digital continue? Absolutely. Mass auditions submitted by armchair Voiceover “talent” who pay-to-play will also continue to saturate the market and run the race. So, how do we battle this? Can we battle this? Do we continue on this path with everyone flapping their wings hoping to land a $350 gig? Is there a way to return to yesterday when the Talent Agents and Ad Agents had a mutually beneficial relationship? It's no skin off the Advertising Agency's back to post an audition, but what they may not take into consideration is that from the point they click the "submit" button, thousands of people, VO talent, Agents and Booth Directors are scrambling at an opportunity. We need some sort of re-alignment.