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It's Getting Ugly: Tension. Negativity. Toxic Social
Media Rants. Hey - We're Talking About Voice-Over!
August 7, 2019

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor & Coach

There is a lot of tension in the voice-over industry right now. It's been building over the past five years or so ...
  • Tension between union and non-union voice talent.
  • Tension between some who use Pay-to-Pay sites and some who think they're unethical.
  • Tension among some aspiring voice talent and some veteran voice talent.
  • Tension on many of the voice-over-related Facebook groups.
I have HAD IT with most of those VO-related Facebook groups. Many have become too negative and often downright toxic.

It's like every day there is another smart-mouth, know-nothing newbie, scumbag predatory demo coach, knuckle-headed flamer, holier-than-thou union member, or jaded veteran who has nothing better to do than Statler & Waldorf the group minus the funny.


Anyway, why is there so much tension in the voice-over industry today?

There are a number of factors, but I think the number one factor is: thoughtlessness.

The voice-over industry has changed massively over the past 15 years. Social media and the Pay-to-Play (online casting) model have severely disrupted the industry. Some would say for the better, others (likely if you're in SAG-AFTRA and book mostly agent-driven work), for the worse.

How can we reduce the level of tension in the voice-over community? Be more thoughtful.

And how to do that? Get a grip.

I'm talking about:
  • aspiring voice talents with stars in their eyes who can't be bothered using the search function, and who expect everything to be handed to them,
  • grizzled veterans who are disgusted with the way things are now, and
  • everyone in between.
Pull your collective heads out of your collective asses and do your best to make your perception of the voice-over industry match reality.

That way, you'll be less inclined to judge as quickly and harshly as many of us have - especially on those sometimes-soul-crushing voice-over Facebook groups.


Take the time to learn more about exactly how and why the voice-over industry has changed so you can better adapt.

When the light bulb was invented, nobody felt bad for the candle-makers. Learn, adapt, grow!

Think before you post/talk/answer.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes before you judge them.

Read your social posts aloud and ask yourself how you would feel if someone said that about you.

If it's an "angry" post, imagine writing it to your grandmother or your kids or your boss.

Sometimes the best thing you can do with your posts is to never write it in the first place.

We are in this together! This is a tough industry to navigate, much less be consistently successful at.

We were all newbies once, we all have feelings, and only by working together can we make the voice-over industry a better place. Always be in the business of being a good human and collecting good humans.
Over more than two decades, Tom Dheere - AKA 'The VO Strategist' - has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, a coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is also writer/producer of the sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22


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Comments (5)
Philip Banks
8/25/2019 at 3:14 AM
The world is a dark, disgusting, smelly place in which noises echo in my head. Everywhere I turn there is no hope.

"Philip, why are you wearing an old manure bucket on your head?"

I removed the bucket and noticed the following printed on it - The Voiceover Community (international) Membership Level XII.

I did not sign up for this! I threw the bucket away just missing Otto my neighbour's Miniature Schnauzer in the process.


Cue phone.

"Philip, have you heard about the latest scandal in the voiceover community! IT'S DISGUSTING!"

"No it isn't" I replied. "Human Trafficking is disgusting, child exploitation, pornography, neglect and abuse ALL disgusting, but anything in the voice over world, no. Those dramas are up there with questions like, whilst flying first class should I accept the Champagne or the orange juice?

I know people who do voice over work. When there is nothing under them they simply do voice work. Of the people who make a living doing what I do, I quite like 3, despise 1, consider 42 of them people I once met and the rest worthy of being fed to mad Monkeys in outer Mongolia (you should so visit, the Friday Buffett is divine).

Should life in the heady world of overs we call voice get too much for you, fly to Portgordon and join me and Bess the Border Collie for a walk along the beach. If you're broke I'll pay the air fare.

One has to opt in to drama, choose to opt out.
Wayne Marcus
8/19/2019 at 11:02 PM
Thanks for your article Tom. It's timely and needed commentary.

The bashing and negativity is tiring. I also tire of the injection of personal political views into professional/business social media accounts (which are invariably negative). Unless a policy directly impacts your VO business, please keep political views to personal social media accounts.
Steven Lowell
8/9/2019 at 7:28 AM
Tom is right.

Voice Actors, union or not, NEED each other.

Why? Because every other thing being argued about is set up to tear your community apart.

Once you are all broken from fighting with each other, a new control system will be easier to implement.

Just food for thought.... the very people and services you fight about only care about you for as long as you are paying customers. Conflict breeds profit.

But profit can also be controlled by a community that sticks together.

All the services and platforms have been around 15 years now.

Don't fall apart now. If you're experienced lead by example.
Lance DeBock
8/7/2019 at 6:22 PM
Hey Tom, I agree wholeheartedly (is that a word?) I long abandoned VO related groups for the very reasons you describe. Don't you think people should just worry about themselves and how they can do better achieve success in this industry? I do.
Marlene K. Goodman
8/7/2019 at 4:51 PM
I am looking to get into the VO biz and articles like this are insightful and helpful. It's always good to hear from a veteran.
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