How Might The COVID-19 Coronavirus
Affect Your Voice Over Business?
March 2, 2020
By J. Michael Collins
Voice Actor, Coach, Producer
By now, unless you live in a cave inside of another cave or in an entirely different solar system, you have seen and heard plenty about the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The media, as usual, is playing up the drama for ratings and viewer numbers, and the world's politicians seem to have their heads collectively planted in the usual orifice.
Right now, many voice actors are asking, "How will this affect me?"
It's not an easy question to answer, but let's talk facts.
THE VIRUS IS COMING
First of all, the toothpaste is out of the tube. Whatever your local officials may tell you, this virus is coming to your town, and soon.
While the tragedy of those who are losing their lives to COVID-19 should never be minimized, it's important to realize that this isn't Ebola. It's not a common cold, either, but it's a very close genetic relative of the common cold that happens to cause severe illness most often in the elderly or already infirm.
Panic is not warranted. Smart planning is.
What does this mean for us as voice actors? Chances are this will not have a significant impact on our business.
While the economy is correcting itself at the moment to reflect the temporary production disruption the virus will cause, the world isn't going to shut down over something with a mortality rate of 2%.
Moreover, from the perspective of corporations, the economy has been red hot. For a time, it may cool to a steadier place, but it will not collapse.
DEMAND FOR VOICE OVER
Demand for our services is likely to remain the same, and there is likely to be more demand for talent who have broadcast-quality home studios with great connectivity, while storefront studios may see a bit of a temporary downturn.
For non-broadcast narrators, COVID-19 will spawn more actual work:
Indeed, Commercial VOs may see quite a few new opportunities for government-commissioned PSA work, and for products and services geared towards mitigating the effects of the virus.
LET'S NOT PANIC
We should all be prepared to pay extra attention to our hygiene practices and general cleanliness, but with conference season about to swing into full gear, now is not the time to panic and abandon your plans.
Inevitably, this virus will find its way to all corners of the Earth. We have to learn to live with it, and go about our lives.
So, when you come to VO Atlanta or the One Voice Conference or Camp VO, maybe keep the handshakes and hugs to a minimum. I probably won't be very good at that because I'm the human equivalent of a golden retriever, but this year it's probably smart.
If you're sick, wear a mask. If you're not, don't. And we'll all be a little more attentive about using sanitary wipes on mics and copy stands and headphones.
But come, join us, and have fun. Besides, think of all the free coaching you'll get if we wind up in quarantine!
Barring any massive changes to the nature of this disease, the vast majority of us will be just fine. Business will continue as usual, and life will go on.
Don't let the alarmists get in your head - they have an agenda based on getting eyeballs on their content. Be smart. Relax, and get back to work.
Editor's Note: Protective Measures from the World Health Organization.
ABOUT J. MICHAEL
In more than 20 years as a professional voice actor, J. Michael Collins has worked with many of the world's largest companies, brands, sports leagues and organizations - in both the classic agency-based VO world and online casting marketplace, where he has become a leading authority. He is also recognized as an industry-leading voice over coach and award-winning demo producer, and is a multi-time Voice Arts Award nominee and winner as voice actor, demo producer, script writer and casting director.
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