never bored with the voiceover boards

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I think there are bulletin boards (boards) and interactive forums established for just about every industry and interest on the net and in voiceovers, we have plenty of them. Some of the popular ones dealing with voice over in general (as opposed to animation voice over, etc.) are

• VO-BB.com – Run by my friend and a great female voice talent named DB Cooper, this is (if not THE first) one of the first boards about voice over and likely the best moderated.

• Yahoo Groups Voice Over Board -There are frequently some interesting discussions on this board. It’s certainly time well spent (although I’m not as keen on the graphic format/layout of this board, but its a minor thing).

• Voiceoversavvy.com This is run by the voice talent supported Voice 123 and has more drama in it than a soap opera and more fights than a Rocky movie, more on that in a second

• Voice-overs.com/forum – Voice talent Julie Williams runs this one and it’s fairly new but so far seems to be growing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time to spend on forums between work and family, but when I do, it is enjoyable reading…for the most part.

Voice over talents like me don’t work in a building with fellow talents (say, for example, like accountants might or computer technicians might). So these forums are a nice way to chat or communicate or network with fellow pros or the occasional newbie who’s dipping his/her toe into the VO waters. Board participants are usually pretty welcoming, especially if we spot real talent (remember, we’re not competing against our fellow VO’s, we’re competing for the ear…and sometimes against the budget…of the producer.) But if you’re a new voice talent willing to take totally honest criticism and build on it…some boards can be a real learning tool.
But sometimes there is way silly drama in them there posts!

What I try and remind myself when I read some of these voice over board posts is:

• voice talents work alone mostly so they often want/need to have some kind of human contact…even virtual…and thereby can sometimes get a bit too involved in board life

• we are called voice over artists and thereby have our drama built-in…at no extra charge to you the consumer…which may be another reason these posts sometimes get catty or over the top

• people are people and just about any jackass can post on a forum…as I have proven time and time again

But what I have noticed and what has been opined in conversations with my fellow voice over pros is that if you want to the finest in snarky, childish and sometimes boorish voice over forum behavior, head to voiceoversavvy.com.

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Voice 123 (V123) system (they own the voiceoversavvy.com board) and had decided not renewed my subscription just before their version 2.0 with SmartCast came out (I just keep the free page). In my opinion, the V123 site is a low ball (cheap price) casting directors’ dream with new “voice talents” (note quotation marks) seemingly willing to work for next to nothing. Other people really like the service and, not that they need it, but I offer God-speed and best wishes.

This board that V123 set up was to include the opportunity not only to participate in discussions about voice over topics but also to share input on the new version 2.0 web site that the company had introduced this summer. As with any beta (new) project, it had trouble at the beginning. Currently there seems to be a great deal of expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s new SmartCast system. It’s only the board’s most recent drama but we”l use it as a point of reference for this blog post.

At first, it seems, the clients (the voice talents who annually pay to be a part of V123) expressed their dissatisfaction (paying clients certainly have that right). But then some voice talents started hurling insults and disparaging the owner and staff to the point where the “Talkback” section of the board had to be shut down. The rest of the board’s forums are open and functioning but the owners had had enough “talkback”.

I don’t blame Voice 123 one bit for closing it down and I am sorry for them for the crap they had to put up with from some bone heads calling themselves VO pros. I am no saint and have been known to hurl a virtual stone or two but some of these posters were making a sport of it and that’s crappy. Not that my opinion counts for anything because based on the customer service I received from V123, they didn’t really like me anyway.

So what does this all mean?

Summary opinion one: The voice talents offering the insults on any boards and within these forums must be forgetting that their name and insulting posts can find their way to casting directors and that they are risking the only brand they have…their name…by coming across as (at best) unprofessional. If I was casting for voice talent and came across the posts of these whiney and carping voice talent posters, I wouldn’t even think of hiring them. Opinions are fine, even impassioned discussion is OK…but whoa on the name calling.

Summary opinion two: while I applaud Voice 123 for trying to adapt to the web 2.0 concept of openness and transparency by having this particular forum on their board, better moderation and even more importantly better customer service to address initial customer complaints would have saved them significant damage to their own brand’s reputation (and make no mistake, the Voice 123 brand IS now damaged). When you are dealing with people who talk for a living as your business’ primary source of revenue, you’d better quickly realize that if you (V123) even appear to screw up…the voice talents ARE going to talk (or post).

Summary opinion three: when the majority (not ALL) of the talents involved in Voice 123 are too willing to work at ANY price and are involved in a service (V123) that is just a costly cattle call, at least a few of your clientele (the voice talents) are likely going to lack a certain maturity both personally and professionally. With some immature clients, Voice 123 was bound to attract immature posters.

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7 Responses to “never bored with the voiceover boards”

  1. Peter-

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the different voice over boards and V123 in general. They are a great way to meet new people with common interests, but can be very silly at times. I try not to read too many posts that aren’t beneficial in some way to my career or just my day (sometimes you get a good laugh!).

    I still have a few months left on my V123 subscription, but don’t plan to renew at this time. However, you never know- something great might happen that keeps me around. I don’t believe I’ll hold my breath.

    Thank you for your thoughtful posts- I always enjoy them!

    Kara

  2. Hi Kara:

    Thanks for visiting the blog.

    You’re looking at the boards in exactly the way they should be looked at…as a way to learn, connect and network. I try and do the same thing; only my problem seems to be getting the time to read them.

    Sometimes I go away from a board like VO-BB and I feel like I’ve been gone for months, so much content has been added :))

    As for those few board dramatists across the web, I always think back to a phrase I first heard in the south: “save the drama for your mama!” 😉

    For those of you who don’t know, Kara is a very talented VO who just revamped her web site and blog. Click on her name and you’ll find out what all the “buzz” is about.

    Kara, you are always welcome here!

    Best always,

    – Peter

  3. Peter,
    Thank you for this informative post. I too belong to vo-bb, and agree it is a well-run board. I didn’t travel much to the V123 Savvy board, as it didn’t hold my interest much, plus the TIME FACTOR. I’ve been browsing the new board by Julie Williams and it holds potential.

    I agree that because most of us vo peeps work solo, it is nice to have a connection to the outside world with those in our profession. I limit myself to threads of work-related interest, avoid drama and at all opportunities, and stay positive and not too much small talk. After all, there’s always other work to do (professional and personal), and something that’s called, “a life”.

  4. Hi Peter,
    I forgot to mention one more v/o forum, its called Voice Chasers, at http://www.voicechasers.com/forum/

    All the Best, my friend!
    Bobbin Beam

  5. Hi ya Bobbin!

    Ya know, I have been to voice chasers board on occassion but I just haven’t stayed with it. But thanks for the reminder, I’ll check it out a again.

    Please come back here as often as you like.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  6. Peter,

    Excellent, thoughtful post, just like I would expect from you. Thank you.

    Be well,
    Bob Souer

  7. Hi Bob.

    You know me….never an opinion on these things 😉

    Hope all is going well in your travels. I’m keeping a good thought for B.G.!

    Best always,
    – Peter

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