Voice Acting? Here’s little history….

Back in the early 90’s, I was working at the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles and working as a session singer. I sang songs for writers to pitch to major recording artists.

At that time, it was extremely difficult to break into the voice acting biz. Only a lucky select group of voice actors, the likes of Don LaFontaine, were able to achieve the dream and they had to live near the major markets! In the 80’s and 90’s that deep ‘announcer’ voice was the big thing. In fact, the bigger, the better!

Things started to change, though. In the early 90’s, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was introduced.  ISDN allowed folks to digitally transmit voice over the phone lines! Now, major players could record outside of major network/radio stations and studios. While it was still difficult to break in, smaller studios and radio stations started gaining more access and control. 

Well, now, we all know what happened from there…

Poof! Just like that computers and the internet were born! We became a digital world. And, guess what? 

First of all, that announcer voice that everyone loved, lost a bit of its allure. Personally, I think it’s because the world became more connected and people wanted to relate to the voice over.

What do you think? 

Take a listen yourself. Listen to FM radio next time you hop in your car. Yep. Most of the v.o. talent sound like the guy/gal living next door. That’s on purpose!

Also, we’ve seen a boom in the quantity and types of v.o. work that’s out there. For example, in the past year alone I’ve done voice acting on:

  • Audiobooks
  • Radio Commercials
  • Television Commercials
  • Corporate Tutorials
  • Web Videos
  • eLearning
  • Animations
  • Children Interactive Toys
  • Apps
  • Award Ceremony Narration, and more

What’s coming next in the voice over world? It’s hard to say. Some think we may be replaced by ‘Siri’-like digitized voice overs. Maybe, but I’m not sold on that just yet. Because, I believe in the power of a good connection. And, of course, the power of a good announcer every once in a while, too. 

Just for old time sake.

Rachel Alena, a national voice talent, brings 20 years of experience in voice acting to her students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential. She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.

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