'Blue Collar' Voice Talent Vs. 'White Collar'?
Divisive Attitudes Surface After Awards Show
November 24, 2014
By Tom Dheere
Iím ambivalent about awards shows. I watch the Oscars every year and sometimes the Film Independent Spirit Awards, but thatís about it.
Just about every genre of music, acting and sports has them, and thatís fine if youíre into that. Itís important to celebrate your industry and recognize excellence.
From a television point of view, awards shows are one of the few real-time events left, so the more the better from a viewership and ad-buy point of view. Personally, I donít care what theyíre wearing or who came with who, or any of that stuff, but they are fun to watch, ay?
I mention this because recently the voice over industry had an awards show of its own: the Voice Artsô Awards, sponsored by the Society of Voice Arts and Sciencesô (SOVAS).
There are other voice over-related awards shows out there - The Audies, for audiobooks, for example. Yet the VAA is new. Itís a non-profit event that works in conjunction with the Thatís Voiceover Career Expo.
Others have blogged about the VAA, and Iím not here to discuss the pros or cons of those posts. I want to talk about the "class warfareĒ that ensued as a result. Itís apparent the issue is quite divisive. Comments to the blogs were civil for the most part, and lucid arguments were made on both sides. T
TWO CAMPS: BC AND WC
What I found fascinating was the nature of the two camps, which I'll refer to as "blue-collarĒ voice talent and "white-collarĒ voice talent. BTW, this is a sweeping generalization and there are notable exceptions on both sides.
"Blue-collarĒ voice talents are part-time or full-time, primarily non-union, and have neither high-end agents nor regularly book national commercials. In recent blog comments, these voice talent tended to be anti-VAA.
"White-collarĒ voice talents are full-time, in the union, have high-end agents, book nationally recognized VO work, and might coach, produce demos, or sell books and products catering to the voice over industry. These types of voice talent tended to be pro-VAA.
I also noted that a number of the "white-collarĒ voice talents who participated in the discussion were involved in the VAA program, and made an effort to clarify the nature of the event and create more transparency.
MISUNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER?
Yet there seems to be a level of exasperation inherent. Why? It depends on who you ask.
Some of the BCís may think an event like the Voice Arts Awards is an exercise in cronyism and newbie trolling, so that the WCís can sell their stuff to aspiring voice talents.
Some of the WCís may think the BCís are jealous and resentful of their success and notoriety, when actually, theyíre just trying to share their wisdom and make a living.
Does it sound like Iím on the fence and trying not to piss anyone off? Well, youíre right. I may wind up pissing off everyone, but hey, what can you do.
The conflict, while fascinating, makes me a bit sad.
I know and respect people on both sides and frankly, Iím torn.
Iíve been blue-collarish, but being blessed with success and exposure over the past few years, Iím acquiring a tinge of white. I guess Iím ... I donít know ... cyan-collar?
LISTEN AND RESPECT
This experience reminds me of two important things:
1. Good voice talents are good listeners. Most of the people involved in the discourse took the time to read the posts carefully, reply thoughtfully, and disagree respectfully. I mean, we read and interpret copy all day, right? So it makes sense that this is a skill that many successful voice talents possess.
2. The voice over industry is a small, small world. To be a successful, a voice talent should be a supportive and respectful member of the community. Voice talents have a long memory. They remember who contributes thoughtfully and respectfully, and who doesnít.
Aspiring voice talents would do well to remember that.
Tom Dheere is an 18-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a voice over business consultant, a coach at Edge Studio, was marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is writing and producing a comic book.
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