Mel Hulms advice on Trends


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From read styles to copywriting trends through to production techniques—these are are my top 5 voice over predictions for 2016.

MORE LIKE THIS: Read my 2017 voice over predictions

  1. High demand for online video voice overs.
    Digital video is no longer just the domain of YouTube. We will continue to see new options for creating and consuming video content—particularly via the various social media platforms and mobile apps.

    SEE ALSO: Snapchat’s First Ad Is For The Ouija Movie

    And according to Forbes, Google is finally incorporating video ads into its search results. This means brands can use a more engaging format that is better targeted via use of keywords. It is also more economical using a cost-per-click pricing structure.

    Expect to see online video popping up everywhere and as a result, more and more voicing requests for this format.

  2. ‘Conversational’ voice overs aren’t going anywhere.
    The convo read request has been on-trend for some time now. But this year, also expect copy that will better support a conversational style.

    One-way, hard-sell broadcast messages are losing their effectiveness. Trust in traditional info sources is diminishing. Authenticity is key. See it expressed through testimonials, case studies and real-life style copy.

    And as advertising becomes more user-centric and the goal is for shares and likes—engaging content is critical. Think content marketing, storytelling and creative that provides solutions to problems.

    —all perfect for a conversational style read.

    Check out this great real-life, content marketing video from Verizon:

  3. Voice for the audience, not to a read style.
    Today we can segment and target audiences in ways like never before. Social media allows us to group audiences based on demographics, interests and life phases (such as dating, marriage, having kids, retiring). While wearable technology (including fitness trackers and smart watches) are relaying very specific geographical, lifestyle and health data.

    Marketers and advertisers are capitalising on this ability and in turn, ads are becoming more targeted. Expect increased voice direction based on audiences—age groups, socio-economics, occupation, lifestyles and interests. With different versions of the same ad to target various customer cohorts.


    Source: Facebook for business

  4. Putting the ‘acting’ into voice acting.
    It’s not all advertising. The rise of virtual reality and popularity of role play gaming will really call on those acting chops.

    CES 2016 is all about the virtual reality and competition in this space will be fierce this year with headset offerings from Playstation and HTC being showcased at the event. There is word that several content production companies are announcing VR titles and franchises even before headsets are released.

    SEE ALSO: 2016: the year when VR goes from virtual to reality

    While voice acting in games has really ramped up—with titles such as The Last of Us, the Batman Arkham series and GTA more than worthy of a mention. In terms of voicing opportunities, while there are celebrities lending their voices to gaming titles, actors are also finding fame in their respective games—take Uncharted’s Nolan North for example.

  5. Increase in instructional voice overs.
    With the rise of virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, we are certainly not adverse to having a voice tell us where to go (in the nicest possible way). Instructional, explainer and how-to videos and eLearning will continue to gain popularity this year.
    1. Expect more ‘virtual’ help options embedded directly into websites. Audio helpers. Screencasts. Virtual guides. And they all need a voice!

      Clear, friendly, informative voice overs will be in high demand in 2016.

    What are your voice over predictions for 2016? Let me know via the comments section below!

    Want to know what’s in store for voice over in 2017? New year … new predictions here.

Headphones on the old book. Concept of listening to audiobooks.

Backstage’ Trends to Note

Advertising reflects life itself. Life influenced by the Internet today is quick and loose with multiple resources of information, choices, visuals, and possibilities at our fingertips.

The culture we live in has changed the look and feel of commercials. Notice the bright, positive colors, the graphics, clothing, hairstyles, humor, environments, and storylines.

Voiceovers have greatly been effected by these influences, and the industry has changed as a result. Here are five current trends you should know:

1. The sound of the voiceover announcer is more real. I have been casting and teaching voiceover technique for years and I stay acutely aware of what type of voices support the visuals and brands of a particular spot.

The announcer who sounds like he is talking to a large audience with a smooth, polished, stiff, stylized, unapproachable deep tone is pretty much gone.

The more “real” sound is referred to as the non-announcer announcer. This sound is approachable and connected to the listener. His sound is more in alignment to today’s world of accessibility. Companies want to be considered or branded as approachable, trusted, and relatable.

Listen to the differences between these announcer types in the following two commercials—one old and one new.

Here, listen to the contemporary announcer sound, and then the old-fashioned announcer sound.

Now, there are trends other than the sound of the voice.

2. Talent must be able to record auditions anywhere, at any time. With Internet access, clients are asking for auditions to be submitted to them very quickly. For this reason talent should have the ability to record at home or even on the go in the car. There are inexpensive mics with good quality that you can use with your laptop or iPad to record auditions. Take a little time to visit any electronics store and test some out. Look into clever ways to semi-soundproof the space you are working in at a very low cost.

3. You’re expected to have a website. Be visible on the Internet for searches. You want to have as much of an online presence as possible for any producer to find you easily. This website should be simple,  but should include your demo. The colors and visuals should be branded to match the feel of your sound. 

4. Self-submission Internet sites are available to you. Auditions are available on voiceover sites for self-submissions. Where you are in your career will influence your desire to register and submit auditions online. Backstage, for example, has voiceover auditions to get you started.

5. Voiceover agents are accessible in multiple cities. There are voiceover agents all over the United States. It is common for talent to have a couple of different agents in different cities. 

To be a successful, working voice actor, you must be prepared to be competitive, train consistently, and keep up with the ever-changing industry.

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Terry Berland is an L.A.-based voiceover and on-camera casting director, teacher, co-author of “Breaking Into Commercials,” and a Backstage Expert. For more information check out Berland’s full bio


Trends Voice Actors must take note of

So, you decided to become a voice actor. Congratulations!

You started taking classes. You’re working on a demo. You’re jazzed about getting out there, finding an agent and starting to audition.

But… How do you find out about the business of voice acting? How do you stay on top of what the latest casting trends are, or find new ways to make your home studio really sing? Where do you go when you want to polish your skills?

Sure, Google. Or Reddit. But that’s just a start. (Think about how many times you’ve Googled something and ended up watching cute pet videos for an hour. No? Just me?)

Learning never stops.

Once you’ve decided you’re interested in voice acting, it doesn’t just stop with what you do in the booth. It’s important to stay on top of your game. To explain why this is key, think about your doctor. My favorite doctor is my mom, Dr. Caliston.

Now, my mom trained for a long time. She went to university and med school. She took medical board exams so she could practice medicine in the real world. But she didn’t stop there. She didn’t just graduate and say, “Great, I got it! Let’s go treat people now.”

No, she kept learning, to keep up her board certification and to deliver the best service to her patients. Imagine if you showed up to your doctor because you have a sprained ankle, and he opens the door brandishing a jar of leeches. (That was considered modern medicine in its day but now? Not even close!)

You want your doctor to be up on the latest and greatest medical information, and to apply that to their work with you.

Continuing Voiceover Education

In the medical world, the workshops a doctor attends to keep up their certification is called “Continuing Medical Education” (CME). They also subscribe to periodicals and websites that pertain to their specialty. Several times a year, they attend CME’s to learn the newest treatments and technologies. And then they take that back to you, their patients. (Whew! No more leeches!)

In the same way, we maintain and grow our voice-over careers with continuous learning. Continuing Voice-over Education (CVE) if you will.

Just because the demos are done and the website is live, doesn’t mean you are done. You still need to keep learning. Luckily, many resources are freely available to you online.

Here’s a short list of resources to start your CVE. Some of them might not be relevant to you right now, but may be interesting for you when you’re further along in your VO career.


Who’s Doing Interesting Work in VO?

– VO Buzz Weekly. In this weekly video podcast, Chuck Duran and Stacy Aswad interview working pros, casting directors, agents and more to share their stories from the trenches. Many times those pros share great advice and insight for VO’s who are just getting started.

– Talkin Toons with Rob Paulsen. This one’s for my animation peeps. Rob Paulsen (who you might know as Pinky and Yakko Warner from the Animaniacs, among many other things), interviews his friends, fellow animation voice actors and casting directors. While the podcast ended in 2015, there are 133 episodes for you to catch up on and enjoy.

– Your Radio, Television, Hulu and YouTube. All those commercials you’d prefer to skip through? Stop skipping through them. Listen to them. Analyze what the VO is doing, how the read affects what you might be seeing on the screen or in your imagination. It’s also a great way to hear what kinds of performances are actually getting cast in today’s market.


Where Can I Find Out about the Latest Technology?

– Whittam’s WorldGeorge Whittam has become one of the go-to guys for home studio technology. His latest series dissects topics like how to create the best sounding studio for your budget, recording software comparisons, and more.

– YouTubeIf you need a tutorial or review on specific tech – a microphone, recording software, studio acoustics – chances are someone has already created it on YouTube. When I researched soundproofing for my own home studio, I had over 20,000 options to learn from.


How Can I Find My VO Community?

– Facebook. There are a number of VO-specific communities available to you. Many are free to join and include thousands of VO actors from all over the world. Voice-Over Pros and Voiceover Central are just a couple to start with. (Search “VO” or “Voice-over” for more.)

– Your classes and VO conferences. Keep in touch with the people you meet in class or at VO conferences. They are fantastic resources, and a great support network as you grow in your career.


How Can I Keep My Skills Fresh?

– Classes. Keep taking VO workshops in your local community or virtually with a private instructor. Expand your skills with classes in improv, acting, singing or storytelling.

– Workout Groups. These are groups of fellow VO actors who meet regularly to practice and give each other feedback. There may be a small fee (to pay for studio time), but it’s a small investment to keep honing your skills. If there’s not a workout group in your area – create one!

– ToastmastersThere are chapters in nearly every city, and all over the world, so if you want to practice speaking, this is the place to go. In addition, many Toastmasters have sub groups for various specialties (like improv or voice-over).


Your CVE Matters!

When you stay up to date in your voice-over work and career, you have the latest and greatest information. You can be competitive because you know what “sound” is booking and keep your skills sharp. And you know what works in your recording booth, because you’ve done the homework.

If you take a little time each week to stay current on what’s happening in the world of voice-over, it will only help you grow your skills and your business acumen.

Did we miss anything? If you’ve got other go-to resources, please sound off in the comments!

Find this useful?  Dig even deeper into topics like this in our VIP Membership program.

About the Author: As a voice actor, Ratana’s voice can be heard in numerous commercials (Vail Resorts, Fantastic Sam’s and others), video games (Skylanders: Giants), animation (Daddy, I’m a Zombie, Mummy, I’m a Zombie), as well as many industrial narration projects. A self professed “nerd,” she’s also a lifetime learner who constantly seeks new resources to keep her skills sharp. In addition to performing as a voice actor, Ratana coaches VO for Such A Voice. She can be found at


Matinee Multilinguals 2016 Trends

6 Voice-Over Trends That Matter in 2016

With 2016 still in its early infancy, it’s a pretty good time to talk about upcoming trends in the voice-over industry for the year ahead. There’s plenty of change on the horizon and business owners and voice artists alike should take heed. Here are six upcoming trends in particular that could shape the voice-over industry for many years to come.

#1: Video is becoming ever more important

Ask any digital marketer which format is content gold and almost all of them will tell you it’s video. Firms are investing more in video content every year and that means voice-overs will be playing an integral part of their content marketing efforts as well. A voice-over can tell stories and enhance the visual messages, acting as the voice of the brand. This leads me on to…

#2: Business wants a single ‘brand’ voice

Gone are the days where you can settle for any decent RP voice artist with a microphone in one hand and a packet of Strepsils in the other. In 2016 you need a voice that connects with your customers and staff in equal measure.  Business needs a voice for their brand that isn’t lofty and authoritative; their brand needs to be approachable, one of us i.e. a brand voice that epitomises everything your audience expects from you as a business.

This means the selection process will be more calculated than ever and you’ll see more firms employing a single voice artist (or a select few) to be the consistent voice of their brand in everything they do from TV Commercials and product promo’s; to eLearning and telephone messages.

#3: The art of storytelling

Storytelling is now fundamental to every interaction brands have with their audience – and to tell a story you need a voice. Stories are easy to remember and can give brand’s a positive association.

Luckily, scriptwriters in this field are no strangers to crafting compelling stories. However, the key to brand storytelling is that tales begin long before the opening line and carry on beyond the final credits. Every piece of content works as a building block for the wider story and that means a voice-over will be act as one chapter in a much bigger picture.

#4: Foreign audiences are growing

We recently blogged about the increasing focus from video game publishers on the Arabic audience, and this is true for every other sector too. One of the biggest selling points of voice-over in global marketing is the ability to produce a single video and localise it for an international audience by translating and recording dialogue in every language you need. And this will be vital for firms that invest more in video this year, but languages aren’t the only variation you have between different audiences.

In any given language you’ll be interacting with people at different stages of the buying process – from casual browsers to people itching to click that buy button. So why not target these users at different stages with explainer style voice-overs scripted to nudge them further along the buying process?

#5: Home studios are in demand more than ever

The cost of setting up a professional home recording studio has gone down significantly in recent years. Voice actors with home studios continue to be in high demand, more than ever before because they can offer a high quality, a fast turn-around and at a lower cost than you may pay to an agency or studio.  It can make producing multiple languages simultaneously much less time consuming.  For example a 2 minute corporate promo voiced in 20 languages may take a traditional studio 2 weeks or more to turn-around, but a studio that uses talent with home studios could have it all done in a matter of days.

 #6: Celebrities continue to take high-profile voice acting roles

Hollywood is obsessed with casting nearly every character voice role with an A-list celebrity and this trend continues to work its way into the videogame industry and the small screen as well. This leaves little room for the traditional voice actors to land the big title gigs. As celebrities fill more of these roles, voice-over professionals will need to look to indie game titles and the corporate markets to make do. Both these sectors continue to grow and there is plenty of opportunity for voice actors who can market themselves to studios working in these sectors.


So there you have it – the voice-over trends that really matter in 2016. As video continues to dominate the content marketing scene it will shape a lot of what we do here at Matinée. And as Indie game development continues to explode, we’ll see more and more voice actors getting character roles, but not necessarily with the biggest paying roles. We hope you’ll join us in being part of the journey.


Agent 99’s Voiceover Trends for 2017

Voiceover Trends for 2017

2016 has passed us by and we’ve already begun embracing the new year. A new year means new changes and the voiceover industry can expect a lot of that. So, what’s new in the voiceover industry in 2017?

Well, let’s take a look.

More Multilingual Audio Content

Caption and subtitle became more accessible in 2016 because of the major developments that boosted online video streaming. We can expect something similar to occur this year with regards to multilingual audio streams. A good example of this would be Netflix, which offers audiences the option of choosing between multiple audio streams. Audiences even have the option of accessing audio description tracks.

Dubbing is predicted to be a standard practice in the entertainment industry now.

Online Videos Will Lead Localization

Like the past few years, marketing will continue spreading onto online platforms. Research has already showed us that social media platforms are taking over conventional platforms such as print and TV. This isn’t likely to slow down in 2017 either. Social media will have more viewers and therefore, a larger marketing budget.

According to the US Digital Marketing Forecast (2014 to 2019), published by Forrester Research, the expenditure towards digital is expected to grow by 35% by the end of 2024. On the other hand, conventional media platforms are likely to experience a decline.

The growth in digital will also have an impact on voice-over pricing considering that the audiences are larger. 2017 Trends Report

According to the 2017 Trends Report, published by, we can expect major changes with regard to the popularity of certain advertising mediums and communication types. For example, the report has found that there will be a drop in the app market. Around 48% of surveyed individuals felt that most apps they used were not relevant to their field of work.

The report has also predicted a trend involving the growth of bilingual communications, especially within the U.S. Around 21% of surveyed individual from the media industry have stated that they have begun producing more bilingual scripts.

On the whole, the report predicts a rise in content creation, marketing campaign measuring, optimization of digital user experience, and cultural diversity. Market localization and viral content will continue to have a steady presence. However, print media and apps will likely see a drop in popularity.

The data for the 2017 Tends Report was collected through focus groups, telephonic conversations and e-mail. The respondents came from diverse backgrounds such as content creation, business, voiceover, the C-Suite, and advertising etc.


201 Voice Over Trends

2017 Voice Over Trends has just published its precious ‘2017 Trends Report’ for the North American market and I would like to present you with a summary.

Once again these data and conclusions offer a valuable perspective and a needed support to navigate the new market reality in the voice over industry.






Throughout 2016, the mediums and vehicles advertisers and content creators used to communicate their messages fluctuated in popularity in response to audience preferences and the perceived return on investment.

   Internet Ads: Continued Growth. This is an important area of growth.


   E-learning: Going Up. Its growth has the same significance as internet advertising.


   Network and Streaming TV Ads: Taking a Back Seat. Network TV ads are grabbing interest more than advertising opportunities on streaming TV services.


   Broadcast and Streaming Radio: Losing Steam


   Podcasts and Audiobooks: Mixed Messages. Podcasts and audiobooks continue to be mediums that stir interest, but seem to lose participants just as fast as they gain them.







  The Fragmentation of Videos In 2016

With the push for content marketing continuing, some are trying to slice and dice what they’ve already created as opposed to creating more, while others are attempting to create a higher volume of shorter, socially friendly pieces.

According to John Stephens of Iris and Light, “Videos are getting shorter and more social media-driven. There’s a huge need for quick, bite-sized online content. Smaller, less expensive productions or the repurposing of existing content.”

“The number one thing that keeps me up at night is the ongoing shift of project complexity and how best to deliver. What used to be one video per project is now anywhere from 5 to 20 videos, also classified as ‘one project.’ As marketers get more ambitious with their content in a bid to keep up or stay ahead of the game, there are now more deliverables across the board for producers.” – Jeremy Richter, Richter Studios


  The Ambiguous Value of Apps

App development isn’t an area of high interest for those looking for a quick way to gain consumer attention.


   The Rise of Virtual Reality (VR)

VR has also entered the sphere of interest. However, the sentiment appears to be cautious, warning consumers may either continue to avidly adopt VR – or abandon it as a novelty fad.

“It’s interesting to see where 360 and virtual reality (VR) will take us into 2017, and whether or not it will continue to gain momentum. 360 and VR, like animation, have the ability to be versioned globally and tailored regionally. Voice over talent will play a big part in that.” – PJ Lee, Partner at Asterisk Media Group Ltd.

“In 2016, we saw an increase in requests for live streaming services, as well as for virtual reality (VR) and 360 content capture. Only time will tell if VR has the same lifespan as 3D production did, or if it even has legs.” – Todd Wiseman, President of Man with a Cam





Gen X and Millennials are the Top Focus.

Overwhelmingly, Gen X (35- 64 yrs old) and Millennials (18 – 34 yrs old) fall within the bullseye that media is targeting.  Interestingly, Gen X (54%) is slightly ahead of Millennials (40%).

Meanwhile, Gen Z is still emerging at 3%, while Baby Boomers and the Great Generation are balancing out the scales at the other end of the spectrum, with 2% and 1% respectively.

The importance of reflecting worldwide trends is growing.


Creative professionals are leveraging a growing number of international, multilingual voice actors who are participating in the digital voice over marketplace.

This trend appears to be impacting how content producers are crafting scripts and planning the dissemination of their marketing messages in the pre-production phase. 71% produce content in non-English, with approximately 21% of respondents indicating that in 2016, they have increased the number of bilingual scripts they are producing (English + at least one other language).





The vast majority of the respondents opted for a voice actor who could sound like a peer(73% want a ‘same age’ voice).

2016 was the year of the approachable expert.

The creative industry definitely had a clear picture of the persona who would come across clearly to their primarily Gen X and Millennial audiences.

While the information summarizes the trends that emerged throughout 2016, it’s worthwhile to note that the expectation is that this approach will continue well into 2017, so long as those leveraging these personas found their efforts to be effective.





The Conversational Persona is Dominating Personas that are approachable and conversational in nature have risen significantly in popularity. The ‘executive’ persona, which is professional and friendly, has risen in popularity by 102%, and the Girl Next Door had become 48% more popular in 2016 compared to 2015.

The conversational ‘type’ of persona includes those such as ‘everyman, mother, narrator and storyteller.’

The announcer persona is dwarfed in comparison.





A persona that held authority, while remaining approachable, friendly, warm, and informative.

In essence, this persona embodied the qualities that most characterize as ‘conversational, a voice that speaks to the listener as a peer – albeit, a peer with the clout of an expert.






Celebrity soundalikes will not be as prevalent as they were in 2015 and 2016.


The new type of voice that everyone will be hearing in 2017 is one that isn’t perfect; it’s slightly flawed and more real, like that of your best friend. It’s the guy or girl next door. It’s genuine, and sounds nothing like a celebrity endorsement.


A specific variety of accents are in demand for 2017. There is overwhelming support for representing cultural diversity,

The interesting thing about accent use, though, is the varying levels of distinctiveness that are being requested. 18% say that there is a less of a need for a specific, placeable accent – preferring one that is either multifaceted or very subtle – while 27% report that they need an accent that more obviously points to a specific region. For example, a Spanish accent on an English script is not always sufficient: the need exists to regionalize that further to Spanish-Castilian or SpanishGalician in some cases.


At the same time, 14% share that they are increasingly needing a more neutral sound, perhaps so as not to alienate anyone in a larger customer base. 40% report no change at all (that is, they’re still needing neutral English). The rest simply don’t worry about this.





What’s hot:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Measuring marketing campaigns
  • Creating content
  • Optimizing the digital user experience


What’s lukewarm:

  • Localizing Marketing campaigns
  • Having to do more with less time and money
  • Going viral (25% say it’s not important while approx 25% say it is)


What’s not:

  • Print media
  • Having an app
  • Giving out price breaks or discounts







   In 2017 the creative industry is stretching to speak to that international audience. Specifically, those with the largest buying power – Millennials and Gen X.


  Media and advertisers are moving away from the announcer persona, who ‘speaks to the masses’ to the conversational and authoritative ‘peer’ who speaks to the consumer, one-on-one.

Increasingly, this peer must clearly represent diversity – so their voice, and the brand they’re voicing by extension, can be perceived as relevant, no matter where in the world the message is sent.


  The creative industry is also perpetually taking strides to reach consumers where they are – online. Digital advertising is one of the largest areas of increased production – and is neck-and-neck in rising popularity with e-learning, which appeals to generations who value continuous learning, the acquisition of knowledge and personal and professional advancement.


  While media producers struggle with having to do more with less, fragmenting content into more manageable online ‘tidbits,’ some are feeling that the pressure is resulting in a loss of creativity as they try to keep up with the expected volume – others feel that flexing their innovation is the only way to cut through the clutter.


  With so many diverging trends and emerging technologies, 2017 is sure to be a year to watch, as the creative industry attempts to find its foothold on an ever changing media landscape.


  When it comes to voice talent, we’re getting a strong need for ‘international’ voices that don’t sound like a specific geographic region. People are looking for broad diversity.” – John Stephens, Iris and Light


  “We’re seeing an increase in requests for more concise, bite-size content. Our experiential clients are looking for short re-cap videos, that tell a story in 15 or 30 seconds rather than in the traditional 3 minutes. In short, we’re not changing our approach as much as we are editing deliverables for our clients.” – Todd Wiseman, Man with a Cam


  “I’m always looking ahead for emerging trends to bring to my clients in visual media, whether it’s technology or style-based. The media landscape is constantly changing, which is a blessing for creative professionals. The continuous evolution allows us to discover new and interesting perspectives on storytelling.” – PJ Lee, Asterisk Media Group LLC