Honoring The Voice Over 'Middle Class'
... Entrepreneurial, Hard-Working Climbers
September 11, 2012
By Dave Courvoisier
Voice Actor & TV News Anchor
Politics rules my TV life these days. Until this campaign season is over on November 6th, I’ll just have to put up with all the slogans, promises, posturing and negative ads.
One of the political battlegrounds in this election seems to be over the "middle class.” There are a lot of definitions of the middle class - but I think most of us have a gut sense of who is IN the middle class.
It’s those of us who are not dirt poor and on welfare, and it’s those of us who do not have a Bentley in a 4-car garage of a house that is 15,000 sq. ft. big or bigger.THEN, THE REST OF US
Funny how we define the middle class by who they are NOT.
I guess that means the "middle class” is the rest of us working stiffs with a regular job, struggling to pay the credit card, and driving a vehicle that really needs some tires and a tune-up.
OK, I’m being a little judgmental there, but the politicians are not all wrong. The middle class IS the sector they most need on their side to win.
VOICE ACTORS IN THE MIDDLE
Have you ever thought about what constitutes the VO Middle Class?
I was a brief guest on the EWABS (East-West Audio Body Shop) Ustream TV show this past Sunday night ... what a great show!… and one of the segments included a video that Dan Lenard (who co-hosts with George Whittam) slapped together from his trip to Roy Yokelson’s annual September VO BBQ in New Jersey, on the previous day.
Of course, I recognized many of my friends in attendance.
At one point, Dan asked a row of them what was keeping them busy. All three mentioned something about eLearning and audiobooks - almost apologetically, unless I was hearing it wrong.
BREAD AND BUTTER JOBS
E-Learning and audiobooks. You know, those are the things we do until that $3,500 30-sec national-play spot comes along. The spot you spend maybe an hour in the studio for, then sit back and wait for the check.
Contrast that with the long-format recording where you spend (for example)10-20 hours recording, and another 10-or-so editing - and then receive so much per word, or so much per hour. But whatever the pay is, it’s not close to the $3500/hr for that national spot.
THAT’s the VO Middle Class, in my estimation.
STRIVING FOR MORE
I’m not gonna name names, but you know who you are. I’m there. Not ashamed about it, but certainly working toward the Bentley some day.
And like me, no one wants to settle for the middle. We’re mostly a bunch of entrepreneurial, climbing, perfectionistic hard workers. We aspire to the upper echelons.
But the middle is where we learn, where we grow, where we find relationships.
THE RISING STARS
Unless you devote yourself to mentoring others, it CAN be lonely at the top. A voice actor friend of mine who’s already dissected this "middle class” idea of mine is Randye Kaye, who recently wrote an article, Why I’m Not a Voice Over SuperStar – Yet. You should read it. In my mind, Randye already is a star - she’s got agents calling her with jobs. ;-)
There’s plenty of room for everyone’s endeavors, of course, and we’ll pop up into, down out of, and around again to knock on the door of the "VO Upper Class” maybe long enough to stay there for a while.
Until then, finding steady work, and making a go of it in the best "middle class” business in the world is maybe not so bad!
Dave Courvoisier is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writer, producer, voice actor, and the main weeknight news anchor on KLAS-TV, Channel 8, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. He's become the voice over industry's social media tech guru, and writes Voice Acting in Vegas, a daily blog of adventures and observations in a style that’s true to his friendly Midwestern farm roots.
TV bio: KLAS-TV bio link
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