Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Finally, South Africa is getting its own state-of-the-art Client to Voice-Over Talent matching platform. I specify state-of-the-art, because there are a couple of other enterprises out there, some newer and more modern than others, who have attempted this, with varying degrees of success. Voiceme.co.za has just landed !
VoiceMe is the brainchild of Andrew Sutherland, owner of Bigmouth Studios in Craighall, Johannesburg. Andrew has been a Sound Engineer for 14 years and a Voice-Over Talent himself for 9 years. Having identified the need to bring South African voice casting to international standards, he dreamed-up this beautiful contribution to our country’s portfolio of innovations.
Five years in the making, the fresh new platform is currently in the process of being released. A call to talent has gone out, and talent have started signing up: over 200 already a fortnight in, and expected to double in the coming months. This is no surprise – the facilities promised by VoiceMe mirror, and even surpass similar platforms on the international scene: one more fantastic achievement for our humble country.
With Talent signed up in significant numbers, it will now be time for VoiceMe to be presented to the all-important Clients. So, what is VoiceMe, and why should Clients and Talent be rushing to sign-up ?
Asides from the catchy candy-pink interface and trendy-looking logo, there is a powerhouse of functionality going on behind the scenes. This is not a “P2P” site where Clients post jobs and Talent send in auditions. Talent don’t need to spend hours polishing individual audition pieces that may not even be listened to. And conversely, Clients don’t need to listen to a thousand and one recorded repetitions of their script each time they need one voice.
It’s much less cattle auction than that. It’s a matching site, a respectable market-place. Talent post their wares and Clients come to buy. But, Clients don’t have to browse through hundreds of Talent as if they were walking through the biggest Mall in Africa – we all agree that Time is a precious commodity and Efficiency is her favourite companion.
Instead, Talent are given the opportunity to prepare a juicy storefront showcasing their best products. Clients will then search for the perfect fitting Talent using the clever filters connected to tags interwoven into each Talent’s content. It is up to the Talent to select their best material and judiciously assign relevant tags. Once presented with a solid list of prospects, Clients can then decide to see only Talent with Home-Studios, in specific regions, or, available for onsite recording – among other things.
Clients can then book their talent from within the site and coordinate the entire scheduling process along with registered studios to completion of the recording.
Now here is the catch. You didn’t think that the developers were going to do this for free, really did you ? I am great advocator of fair pay for good work. Never ask for free favours from useful friends: if someone does good work for you, pay them what it is worth, and expect the same in return. So – VoiceMe needs to pay for the servers that store all those demos Talent have been posting, for the years of development, support staff, and food. Lets face it, everyone needs good food every day or else why do we even bother ?
The platform, in good marketing fashion, allows users to sign up for frreee, set-up their profile in full, be searchable, and feel excited about the whole shabang. Except they only get to post One demo. One whole one, of one minute duration. Yes, you can cram a lot in One Minute. Every genre, age, accent, tone, speed you can think of. Ja, well no fine (which is now in the Oxford Dictionary by the way) but how are Clients supposed to find you that way ? Everyone knows no-one ever listens past 20 seconds of a demo anyway – so if the accent they’re looking for is 30 seconds in – they’ll miss it and dismiss your profile. Sorted ! Talent pay a membership fee to VoiceMe (to help with storing demos, and, food) and they get to post up to 25 highly specific demos, each of which can be tagged with a large number of descriptive labels. With some clever calculations on the part of the Talent, they will find themselves popping up in every Client’s search. Thus increasing their chances of being hired.
All things not being equal, after all, Clients will be able to find those elusive Talent which no other database has ever proposed to them – rare national languages, dialects, and accents. Because VoiceMe is not afraid to categorise where others may seek to equalise. Why, because you think, who wants to listen to a Tshivenda voice anyway ? You’re wrong. So many Clients are looking for an “African” accent, but they don’t realise how many different ones there are ! Putting the rest of Africa aside, just here in our cosy corner of the continent, we have all Eleven National Languages with their own regional accents, we have the inimitable musical Cape Coloured, distinct Afrikaans accents from all corners of the land, South African English, and dare I add: immigrants such as myself with a South African foreign accent.....
Worldwide, the trend in voice searches is, the more specialised, the rarer and therefore the more valuable. Imagine a Tshivenda consumer who has been dictated to in English or other national languages their whole life: how refreshing and inspiring it must be to finally be addressed in your own language. Point in hand: overseas, Gaelic, Breton and countless other local languages previously repressed and suppressed, have taken flight and are increasingly being taught to children and showing up on the world’s airwaves. It’s becoming as much a fashion to air them as it was once a fashion to suppress them. National Heritage. Us South Africans are all up for that. So, find your friends with rare abilities and bring them into this bright new world of Voice-over.
I digress ! VoiceMe is looking for Talent and Clients alike to join their ranks and discover a bright (pink) new world of voice hiring. And this includes international people. South Africans abroad (location is no-longer an issue these days), or international citizens seeking something different: everyone is welcome. Go and give the platform a try-out and tell me what you think in the comments below.
Feel free to tell me off if I’ve said anything controversial. I can take it.
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