2022 State of Voice Over
Last month, we highlighted notable trends and made data-based predictions around remote work, the freelance economy, and audio-first experiences for 2022 in our Annual Trends Report. These predictions were created using a combination of information collected from a survey we sent out to creative producers, brand managers, advertising professionals, and every specialty in between and our own internal data. As a two-sided audio marketplace, we recognize this report is only half the picture and focuses on the client side of the Voices platform.
Because of that, we asked for your expertise and insights into the voice over industry as experienced voice actors. With more than 1,650 respondents, the findings of our survey reflect how voice actors like yourself feel about where their careers are headed in 2022 and beyond.
The survey focused on:
- Talent development
- Home recording studio tech and software
- Voice over business plans and career development
The results show that voice actors are setting their sights high in 2022. Your career growth goals are ambitious, and the opportunities to achieve them are within reach! Let’s break down the five takeaways from the survey:
- Career growth is a top priority for 2022
- Talent are developing skills in the most requested roles of 2021
- Diversity and inclusion are on clients’ minds, making more jobs available for voice actors from all walks of life
- Live-directed sessions have simplified, making it easier for talent and clients to connect on voice over projects
- Voice actors are choosing Voices to find their next role
Voice Actors’ Talent Development
Career Growth Goals vs. Working With a Coach
If you’re like the 64% of voice actors who want to grow by more than 50% but have yet to invest in coaching, our advice to you is to make professional training a priority this year.
You may think this is a large investment, but in reality, you can receive practical advice and coaching from free resources. For example, the Mission Audition podcast provides feedback from voice over coaches on real auditions submitted by voice actors just like you, all at no cost.
We also have our Voices Academy webinar series where a voice over coach chats with a Voices talent manager and a group of voice actors. These sessions provide ample opportunity to ask pointed questions of vocal coaches as well as the opportunity to read scripts for the coach right there in the webinar!
The webinar series is a great way to receive vocal coaching, especially if you’re one of the voice actors planning to book some serious work this year. Access to the webinars is an exclusive perk of being a Voices premium member, which also gets you access to more gigs, too. The recorded webinars are available for everyone to enjoy on this YouTube playlist about a month after the live recording.
Trusted Training Sources
If you have the ability to invest in voice over coaching, you’ll find the availability of coaches is unlike ever before. The sense of community within the V/O industry has many skilled voice actors willing to coach one another and genuinely help each other succeed in their niche of the industry.
This sometimes leads to difficulty in deciding who to work with! Your voice actor peers weighed in on this, too. When asked who they trust most for voice over training advice, the 1,675 respondents came up with 674 recommendations. These were the top 10:
- Bill De Wees
- Nancy Wolfson
- Bev Standing
- Anthony Pica
- Terry Daniel
- Linda Bruno
- Anthony Reece
- Steve Blum
- Crispin Freeman
- Mary Workman
*With an extra shout out to our Voices Talent Manager, Evan Wiebe, who was also named as a voice actor’s trusted training source!
The Roles and Style to Master in 2022
Voice actors told us what styles and roles they were requested to perform most often in 2021, which shines a light on the areas of focus in 2022. Bring these skills to your newly acquired voice over coach as areas of improvement!
Most Popular Voice Over Roles
37.8% of voice actors said they were asked to perform the “real person” role most often. This was followed by narrator roles (23.2%), specific character work roles (12.1%), announcer roles (8.6%), and instructor roles (7.8%).
Most Popular Voice Over Styles
The conversational read was the most requested style of read in 2021, followed by the believable read (14.1%), genuine read (11.7%), informative read (10.2%), sincere read (8.8%), and engaging read (6.4%).
These styles, along with the most requested roles, paint a picture of the future performances of voice over as clients are committing to creating content that deepens their connection to the audience.
The ability to deliver a believable, genuine, real person performance will be key to achieving the career growth goals you’ve set for yourself.
Here at Voices, we run a program called Voices Insiders. Each month, we send out a survey to the voice actors in the program to gain insight on different aspects of the voice over industry. Earlier in 2021, they recognized the growing popularity of the conversational read and shared their advice on how to hone and nail this delivery.
Interested in joining the Voices Insiders? Let us know.
Top Jobs of 2021
The survey respondents told us that the top 3 kinds of jobs they booked in 2021 were:
- Online ads (37.49%)
- Audiobook narration (20.60%)
- Video Games (19.58%)
What does this mean for 2022? Clients are looking for authentic moments that evoke genuine emotion from listeners within online ads, audiobooks, and video games, much of which is tied to the authenticity and diverse representation being prioritized by producers in 2022.
Diversity and Inclusion are on Clients’ Minds
We asked, “Are clients incorporating more diversity, equity, and inclusion in their job postings?” A whopping 86% of voice actors responded with a resounding “Yes!”
Thanks to the feedback from our survey, we see that decisions around diversity, equity, and inclusion in voice over casting calls purposely encompass all genders, orientations, abilities, ethnicities, races, ages, and religions. A truly inclusive world is on clients’ minds and they’re ensuring their target audiences know it, too.
Respondents told us that there were two distinct ways in which they observed the proliferation of diversity and inclusion as an intentional component of the job posting:
- Clients are intentionally stating that there is no specific gender, orientation, ability, ethnicity, race, age, or religion needed for the job so as to be inclusive of every voice actor who wants to apply.
- Clients are explaining that their project is closely tied to a minority group and require voice actors to be of that same representation. For instance, clients have requested that accessibility projects be voiced by someone with accessibility needs themselves, or projects intended for an LGBTQ2S+ audience be voiced by someone from within that community.
The importance of diversity and inclusion in the client’s eyes is a widespread movement that goes beyond the Voices platform and is a reflection of the voice over job market at large.
We’re highlighting this trend in particular because diversity and inclusion is on our minds, too. 2022 will be the year that we ask more questions, listen more closely, and deepen our understanding of the role the Voices marketplace plays in providing access to diverse and inclusive voice over opportunities.
Home Recording Studio and Tech
Live-Directed Sessions Have Simplified
There’s a long-standing belief that live-directed sessions involve complicated setups, additional phone lines, and costly monthly charges in order to provide that service to your clients.
Those days are behind us and the proof is in the survey responses. 60% of voice actors seldom do live directed sessions—fewer than 25% of booked gigs require a live-directed session.
With them happening so infrequently, is it really necessary to set up an ISDN, Source Connect, and learn how to coordinate it all? Absolutely not. Most live-directed sessions are happening virtually, with 43% happening via Zoom, 16% on FaceTime, and the remainder through other digital software.
Home Studio Equipment is Nice, but Having Voice Over Skills is Nicer
From the survey, we can glean that voice actors are keeping equipment costs low. 46% of respondents shared that their gear has cost them less than $1,000.
Which, by the way, we see often. Many successful voice actors funnel their hard earned cash into talent development because, as Bill Dewees says, it’s not your gear. Yes, having a decent mic and sound-treated space will make a huge difference in the quality of your audio, but it’s your vocal abilities that book gigs, not your mic and sound-treated gear. Check out this piece on upgrading your recording studio as you grow in your career to get a feel for how success can still be achieved with beginner-level gear.
If you’re setting ambitious career goals for 2022, we support your decision to take the home studio and gear only as far as you need while you focus on vocal training and honing your craft.
Voice Actors are Turning to Voices to Grow Their Career
We’ve shared tips on gear, style, roles, and coaches which leads us to our final resource: where to find your next role.
In terms of sources of jobs, marketplaces are where voice actors are finding the most work.
Voice actors who participated in the survey told us that at least 40% of their work is sourced from online marketplaces like Voices, with 48% of them using solely Voices to book work through an online marketplace.
You set some sky high goals for yourselves and we are here to empower that growth! Almost 30% of you want to make between $50,000 to $100,000 in 2022. We recognise the dedication to growing your business, honing your craft, and investing in recording gear as needed, and we understand how we can help. More job opportunities are coming up!
Start Your Career Planning Now With These Resources
- The Only Voice Acting Strategy You’ll Need in 2022
- 14 Manageable Career Goals to Help You Achieve Your Pie in the Sky Goals
- How to Build a Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Clientele
- Want to Explore more About Audiobook Narration? Read Becoming an Audiobook Narrator with Ilyana Kadushin (Narrator of the Twilight Series)
- Video Games more up your alley? Read How to Get Into Video Game Voice Acting in 2022
Lastly, a Voices Premium talent membership—the ultimate resource for a voice actor looking to grow their business—is filled with perks far beyond the webinar series. Unlock more job opportunities, gain access to more clients, be shortlisted for recurring work, and so much more with a Voices Premium membership. Sign up today with the discount code GROWMYBIZ.