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CERTIFICATION
New Association World-Voices Launches
To Set Standards For VO Quality & Skill

April 26, 2012

(VOXtra) - World-Voices, described as a member-driven and member-controlled organization - has been formed to "set standards of professional quality and skill to produce recorded audio in a home environment for the expanding commercial market," the group has announced.

World-Voices also announces it will:
  • serve as a guild to train voice artists on how to attain those standards, and
  • promote certified members to potential voice seekers through its website and in an aggressive marketing campaign.
Not-for-profit incorporation documents for World-Voices were filed in Nevada on April 25, and the group has created the website world-voices.org.

"It was time to create a certification organization for the members, run by the members and existing to serve only the members," notes founding President Dustin Ebaugh.

Ebaugh and six other veteran voice actors are founding members. The six are:
  • Dave Courvoisier, executive vice president
  • Dan Lenard, vice president of technical standards
  • Chris Mezzolesta, vice president of membership
  • Kathleen Keesling, secretary/treasurer,
  • Robert Sciglimpagila, organization attorney, and
  • Andy Bowyer, founding member
All but Keesling were recently on the Executive Board of SaVoa, a voice over accrediting group, and quit in a dispute over SaVoa's transparency and progress (see article.)

"Advancing technological changes in digital audio recording, and the ability to produce that audio in a home-based setting, is prompting rapid growth to the voice over business," the group notes in a press release. 

"All of us organizing members have well-worn experience in another group that failed to value the deep well of member resources," says Courvoisier. "We plan to use that strength in collaboration, and were excited about helping others.  

Lenard, who is also a well-known home studio consultant, adds:

"The home-based voice over industry has grown exponentially in the last five years. And it's not just commercials on radio and TV. Business use of the Internet for advertising and promotion via their websites, a changing audiobook publishing industry, and the rapidly expanding use of computer e-Learning material via the Internet also has created a demand for talented voice artists. 

'Voice artists who can cost-effectively create the audio at home for this are in great demand, Lenard says.

For more and to contact the organization:

Web: www.world-voices.org
Email: info@world-voices.org
 
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Comments (10)
JAY LLOYD
4/27/2012 at 6:14 PM
I confess, I was on the fence over this. I've participated in management of various organizations...writers, sports car clubs, Toastmasters, etc...groups that try to foster success by helping each other rather than competing. As I enter the VO Industry I'm stunned by the constant effort (and aggressiveness!) of training new Voice over artists. Does that make sense? Support training people to potentially take the same job you're after?

But then I think about the camaraderie of any profession (like actors voting on prizes for each others work) and it seems like an excuse to party. Not a bad thing. So, I agreed with the outrage of John Grove. Then I read Elizabeth Holmes' thoughtful comment and the egg hatched for me: the "Peer-Review" thing!
With so many "wannabe's" clogging the job search, doesn't it make sense to fight back and give accreditation to a certain level of professionalism and weed out the pretenders who would take our work?

Don't know the answer; let's just hope all proceeds in orderly fashion. After all, the leaders of the new group are all pro's who likely bolted SAVOA for a reason; let's give them a chance to do it right and hopefully become the "industry standard".

If they don't do it...well, you don't HAVE to join.
Elizabeth Holmes
4/27/2012 at 12:57 PM
Standards accreditation is a predictable growing pain for any legitimate profession. The voice industry should rejoice that it's reached this stage. Early power struggles are the norm, not the exception, for governing bodies. We're right on track!

I spent many years in the billiard community with working pros, and I saw this same dynamic in play time and again. The big difference there was that the players were all gamblers, out to manipulate each other any way they could, so their accusations of self-serving motives were usually accurate!

Yes, it's true that individuals who consistently produce a high-quality product "don't need no stinkin' badges." Their work speaks for itself. But what about those who don't? Well, it's helpful to voice-seekers to know whether or not talent has passed peer-review.

There's a tremendous amount of goodwill in the voice community. Let's build on that. The point is to raise the bar. Standards boards can help.
Pamela Tansey
4/27/2012 at 12:29 PM
Trailblazers UNITE!
Joel Richards
4/27/2012 at 11:40 AM
I won't pretend to completely understand what happened with SAVOA over the last few weeks. I welcome another accrediting/education body and look forward to learning more. Respectfully I recommend you get a better logo. Petty perhaps, but image matters a lot for a mostly internet based organization.
John Grove
4/27/2012 at 12:33 AM
This has got to be the craziest s--- I have ever heard you are all self appointed! people by choice! ! I have done hundreds and hundreds of commercials Motion Pictures, Television, Movies, Radio, Business, and Internet ads, and have studied with the best voice coaches in this Business over the years!!!!! and have made my living voicing from my home studio for almost 8 years!! and you! are telling me I'm not good enough! to become SAVOA!!! WOW go figure?? Says A lot????????
Dustin Ebaugh
4/26/2012 at 10:53 PM
Dave,

There was nothing really social about SaVoa either. The members really had no input. But enough about that group.

As far as World-Voices.org, it will be nothing like any previous group. It will be member driven, controlled and focused. WoVO will provide mentoring, member services, job leads, many things. It's up to the members to make it what they want. They have all the power. Many of them will be non-union folks, so it may be their first exposure to a guild.

What benefits would you like to see?
dave
4/26/2012 at 4:37 PM
Dustin - interesting to learn that Savoa's not a "buy-in" like Aftra was - that is the perception among VO folks I asked about it in LA and NYC. And those were folks who were IN Savoa, so i took their word for it.

In fact - the folks I know that are "Savoa Accredited" told me it was more of a social media thing and not a real organization that had any plans to accomplish anything. They considered it akin to listing "ISDN" on your LinkedIn page and could not point to anything Savoa had ever "done" for them or anyone.

Perhaps these folks were the wrong people to ask about it, but they were the only Savoa members I'd ever met in the VO world. I apologize for basing my comments on incorrect info.

So, I'll ask you:
What is it exactly that "World-Voices" (not to be confused with the well known vocal group) is going to do or provide that is so different from SAVOA? Or that is not covered by Sag-Aftra? Besides Vanity, of course?

Why should any professional working VO artist with a home studio consider a membership in what is essentially the "2nd iteration of Savoa"?

What possible benefit could there be?
Again, do we NEED another vanity club?
Especially since it seems Savoa isn't shutting down, and there will now be competing Voice Over "accreditation" groups?

Think about it - how will either group be trusted or relied upon?
Dustin Ebaugh
4/26/2012 at 2:40 PM
Dave, I'm not sure about the group in Minneapolis. All I can tell you was that we did an organizational name search and trademark research and both were available as World Voices Organization, so we have procured them.
As far as your assessment of the entrance to SaVoa, I must respectfully disagree. Having served as chair of the membership committee for three years, I can tell you that less than a third of applicants even passed vetting and moved on to peer and technical review. Of those that did get past vetting, maybe 60% passed peer and technical review. That hardly makes for a club one can buy into.

We are familiar with non-profit organizations. The members of our board serve on the boards of no less than 10 other non-profits. We're just starting. That's a given, but we'll get there. Input and direction from the membership will be the guiding force for WoVO.

Rick, we'd love to have you be a part, and counsel us. As I said, we need all the input and assistance we can get. None of us is trying to do this alone.
dave
4/26/2012 at 1:35 PM
ummmm...what about the very renowned Vocal Group in Minneapolis - around since 1996 that is known as ...."World-Voices"?

and, do we really need another boys club?
Savoa was a joke, it served NO real purpose. None. It was a made up merit badge that anyone with the money could wear and put on their resume.
Does the VO world REALLY NEED another "elite club" made up entirely of those who can buy their way in?
Why?
For what purpose?

And, a quick tip: non-profit organization approval takes a loooong time, and you need to be an operating organization for a set period of time prior to even be considered...so i don't understand filing before actually being in existence.
but Good Luck, i guess.
Rick Lance
4/26/2012 at 10:41 AM
As Ive expressed to Dan Lenard, Im in support of this new organization. My only concern is, are you all moving too fast? I understand the need for non-profit status, officers, infrastructure, etc. Im sure that part of the organization of this group was going on quietly behind the scenes for a while. I assume that by-laws have been established as its a requirement for achieving non-profit certification. I wont burden anyone with too many questions at this time, however, there is a danger in haphazardly creating a group too hurriedly.

Im patiently waiting for further word on the group and offer my assistance if needed.

Dave, thanks again for keeping us informed!
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