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The Voice Arts™ Awards - New Major Awards Competition - Opens To Honor VO Excellence

June 5, 2014

By John Florian

As the voice over industry morphs and matures, one element sorely lacking has been a major awards program recognizing the efforts and achievements of all players in this multi-faceted business.

Until now.

The 1st Annual Voice Arts™ Awards - a major competition encompassing dozens of categories for participants and types of work related to voice over - is now accepting applications for work created to be available between January 1, 2013 and June 15, 2014.

The competition is "dedicated to honoring and acknowledging all those who create and sustain excellence within the voice over industry," according to its sponsor, the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences™ (SOVAS™) - a non-profit corporation (more below).

And the scope is truly vast, with the intent of honoring voice actors - union and non-union - producers, casting directors, audio engineers, agents, web content developers, creative directors, TV and radio stations, audiobooks, gaming developers - and many more.

Imagine the lineup of all those statuette trophies! Which, by the way, were designed in partnership with the company that designed the Oscar, the Emmy, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Clios and more - R.S. Owens & Company.

Winners of this year's competition will be announced and honored at the 1st Annual Voice Arts Awards Gala on November 9, as the kickoff event of the 5th Annual That's Voiceover, at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria (New York City), New York.


The final entry deadline is July 15, 2014, yet earlybirds catch entry fee discounts by submitting by June 19 and July 10.

Entries must be in the English language, and can be submitted by a company, an individual or student. Acceptable formats are:
  • Audio: mp3, WAV
  • Video: mp4, MOV, H264, ProRes
Highlights of more program specs are below (or jump to all details at But first, a word about the sponsor ...


The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation created to administer a growing array of programs for the voice over industry and its professionals.

In addition to the Voice Arts Awards, SOVAS is host to the annual That's Voiceover!™ Career Expo, and is eyeing "scholarships, regional networking events and numerous training workshops," explains Rudy Gaskins (pictured, right), the organization's president and CEO.

Gaskins is also co-producer, with Joan Baker, of the That's Voiceover events, and is an Emmy-winning producer and CEO / Executive Creative Director of Push Creative Inc.

SOVAS executive director is Steve Ulrich (pictured, left), who is also executive director of the Sports and Daytime Emmy Awards and himself a five-time Emmy winner. He has also worked with voice actors across all of NBC's sports franchises, including the Olympic Games, PGA, NASCAR and NBA events.

With Gaskins and Ulrich, SOVAS board members include Baker - voice actor and author of Secrets of Voice-over Success; and Stephen McCarthy, former head of the Promax/BDA awards program, and now CEO/Founder of Brave Dog, specializing in award submissions for major broadcast and cable networks.

According to Gaskins, revenue from SOVAS programs will pay for program overhead and expenses, including salaries of people who run the programs on a full or part-time basis.


According to SOVAS, the purpose the the Voice Arts Awards is to ...
  • provide international acknowledgement of the extraordinary skill and artistry that goes into voiceover acting and the associated industry professions, and
  • encourage a best-in-class standard of achievement to which the voiceover industry can continually aspire.
And the scope of the program would seem to require a SRO courtroom of judges.

Gaskins says the judges are "established experts in the various disciplines" they will be evaluating, and will be selected by the SOVAS Board of Directors. (More on this tomorrow in a VoiceOverXtra interview with Gaskins.


The listing of entry types at the Voice Arts website notes that it is "not exhaustive." But if you can't find an entry category for yourself here, you're simply not in voice overs. The categories include works produced for:
National TV, Local TV, National Radio, Local Radio, Video Game, Animation, Narration, Trailer, Audiobook, Political, Webisode, Corporate, Consumer Sales Video, Event Promotion, Instructional, Demo Reel, Student Production, and Voiceover Podcast.
Audiobook categories are further broken down by sub-categories (Biography to Thrillers), with winners to be selected from both male and female entrants.

It's the entrant's responsibility to obtain all rights and permissions to submit work to the competition. And all submissions become the property of SOVAS, for use at the awards ceremony and elsewhere.


To qualify - with an exception for demos - the entry "must have been aired, broadcast, published or otherwise made available to the public or B2B (business to business) constituents between January 1, 2013 through June 15, 2014."

B2B includes a wide range of projects, including corporate, instructional and marketing works.

The time restriction also applies to an entry produced by a student, who is defined as someone enrolled in a recognized portfolio advertising school or film school program, or an accredited college or university.

More about entry categories, rules and fees is at the Voice Arts Awards website: And VoiceOverXtra examines certain areas in more detail tomorrow in an exclusive interview with Rudy Gaskins.
John Florian is the founder/publisher of VoiceOverXtra, the voice over industry's award-winning online news, education and resource center, offering thousands of resource links, how-to articles, calendar of industry events, industry directory, webinar training and more. A former magazine editorial director/publisher, John is also a voice talent who merged those two career passions to create VoiceOverXtra in 2007.

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Comments (11)
Rob Simons
6/9/2014 at 3:19 PM
Get a load of hypocrisy from Tom Daniels as he states there shouldn’t be any award shows, to it should cost a dollar, to I have an Emmy award paid for by a company. What a load of Malarkey crap. Laughable.
Rudy Gaskins
6/9/2014 at 1:23 PM
I couldn't be more proud of the hard work and dedication that has gone into bringing the Voice Arts™ Awards to the forefront. I'm even more excited about the possibility Voice Arts™ represents for all of us, who have dedicated our careers and lives to this industry - to be fully recognized by both our peers and society at large. We respect and honor ourselves with the Voice Arts™ Awards and shine a light in which others may also stand.

For years we have worked in relative anonymity, giving voice to ideas and entities, problems and solutions, stories by which to laugh and cry and vital news that saves lives. The world would not be what it is if not for voice actors narrating its chapters along the way.

And while we take it upon ourselves to declare our own value and show the world the indispensable role we play in the scheme of global communication, the most important aspect of this new declaration is that it endeavors to solidify a promise that in all we do; the pursuit of excellence in our hearts and at our backs.

Yes, whatever we can do, we can do better. We are the champions of our craft and the leaders of the next evolution.

It all began as a concept. The concept of the Voice Arts™ Awards is not for the faint of heart, nor the captains of mediocrity, nor those who deem our work somehow less important than anything the human soul pours itself into. The concept is for those of fire and the spirit, enthusiasm and the guts to bring something inspired into the world and let it take on all the life we can breathe into it.
Tom Daniels
6/8/2014 at 9:07 PM
Paul Strikwerda makes a good point about establishing criteria. In conclusion, sell sponsorships to cover the costs. Make the entry fees a token amount that anyone can afford, say $1, or better yet eliminate them all together. TD
Tom Daniels' Voice -
6/8/2014 at 8:57 PM
The exorbitant fees for each category stink of profiteering, in and of themselves exclusive of many fine voice talents who might qualify for competition if they were more established or represented by a major agency. Inflated entry fees of this nature make this a another paid competition for bragging rights among the VO Elite, honoring capitalism, marketing and favoritism, not pure talent and ability. I make this statement not out of envy or resentment as I have an Emmy to my credit myself, rather out of a sense of fair and equitable competition on a level playing field. Otherwise , why not just sell the awards to the highest bidder. - Tom Daniels' Voice - "Bringing Your Story To Life!"
6/6/2014 at 4:15 PM
I've got some pretty good English stuff for this contest but most of my work is Spanish. I wish there was a Spanish language category. Actually, all of the categories on the web site could be duplicated in Spanish but surely that's too much to ask for now that the contest is open, right? Will they include Spanish next year?

Love the article and crossing my fingers to make it to the red carpet. So much fun! We have our own award!
6/6/2014 at 1:09 PM
Thank you Ms. Jackie for chiming in with such a breath of fresh air. I watched this thread from afar and just felt like the air was being sucked out of the room by resentful people who could never have envisioned or created such a project.

The "naysayers" as you called them, are disingenuous at best. And to what end? Only to crap all over something that they themselves could never create. It seems their only true concern is that it cost $150 bucks. Duh!!! Well, what do you expect – free? Commerce breeds envy, it seems.

I couldn’t help but think that if I were a creative director or producer reading this string of angry, small-minded chatter, I wouldn’t think very much of the so-called voiceover community. I’d think, “What a bitter little fraternity they are.”

I talked to my agent about submitting some work and she was very encouraging. I’m excited to do it and to share the fact with my clients. I think they’ll be happy to know that I’m proud of the work we did together and that their names will be included in the credits.

As for the angry mob that has reared it’s serpentine voice, the next time one of your clients wins an award for something, remember to tell them you think it’s a load of elitist crap and that you “just don’t get it.” Better yet, should one of your clients submit something with your voice on it, that would be the perfect time for you to file a law suit against them.

Voice Arts forever! I'm all in!
Jackie Taylor
6/6/2014 at 11:42 AM
I believe this is a great thing for the voiceover community and the industry at large. Anything new and innovative, as this program is, will be met with naysayers and they certainly have a right to express their views.

For me, however, I see nothing but upside here. We all have an opportunity to be recognized for the work we put in and the bar is now raised to a new standard to be determined by the degree to which we embrace this venture and support it through constructive, meaningful suggestions.

The people behind this venture are top notch and there's every reason to believe they will carry this thing out with the same expertise and vigor with which they have done many other things for the voiceover community.

Bravo to Mr. Ulrich, who I had not heard of before now, for stepping in to help fill the void.
Dustin Ebaugh
6/6/2014 at 11:13 AM
Wow! If you have enough money, you can buy an award that no one's heard of. That's something!

I think this is a money grab/self-promotion scheme. I'm not into it. But, I can't fault someone for entering. If this is your kind of thing and you like getting all gussied up and going to the gala, good on ya. As for me, my awards/rewards are when my clients hire me again and again.
Paul Strikwerda
6/5/2014 at 3:31 PM
I have to agree with Randye. The idea is that we Pay to Play our entry for the evaluators? It's not a new concept. Let's remember that there's also an entry fee for the Audie Awards. Some publishers refuse to work within that model, and so their audio books and narrators -no matter how good they may be- are excluded.

I tried to find evaluation criteria at, but I couldn't find anything pertaining the "standard deemed award worthy." If SOVAS intends to enhance and promote professionalism in our field, I'd be interested in what standards they come up with.

As in any competition, if one doesn't know what exactly to aim for, how can one hit the bull's eye?
Dan Hurst
6/5/2014 at 3:14 PM
Gotta be honest...this is a pile of hooey. It is exactly what our business does NOT need: a bunch of exclusive players patting each other on the PoPo, telling each other and the world how great they are. It smacks of elitism and is an insult to the voice talents who don't play that game, as well as the clients who don't use those "winning" voice talents.
Randye Kaye
6/5/2014 at 1:13 PM
Forgive me, but I fail to understand the point of these awards. We nominate ourselves? And for a huge fee that "will pay for program overhead and expenses, including salaries of people who run the programs on a full or part-time basis"? And the purpose of these awards is....self-congratulation?
Sorry, I don't get it. Thanks
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