Over the summer, I worked on media projects coming mostly from our clients in California. In Canada, I'm set up with a voice over booth, recording gear and the same mic I use in Santa Barbara. I was pleased that on several continuing projects I was able to match voice tracks from both studios to the satisfaction of our clients. It was a wonderful demonstration of the flexibility the internet gives us to work where we want and how we want. But...some weird science is happening online and all may not be well in the land of professional talent.
To learn more and join the discussion, please start with this link:
(Summary: The End of Artificial Scarcity - The New York Times? The New Business Model is Here - by Robert Paterson.)
"It is clear, at least to me, that the web destroys any business model based on artificial scarcity. Content will be all but infinite. What will be scarce in a world of limitless content will be people's ability to find what they value and to help them find more meaning when they find it."
I think Mr. Paterson's statement is a clear look at what I think of as the "popular sovereignty" model of the internet, one that is already influencing those of us who provide or use professional services online.
Now listen to this NPR interview with Andrew Keen, author of, "The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture".
(Summary: Mr Keen presents an indictment of web 2.0. He explains how he sees the rise of user generated content causing a crisis in professional journalism, professional recorded music, newspapers, radio stations, TV and publishing.)
With those two points of view you can see a long way down the cross roads we're all standing on.
To take a closer look at how these issues of on-line service and technical capability are impacting production from the point of view of the people who read copy for a living, please continue.
Todd Schick is a busy man. I know because he had to jump off of his call from me to take another call for a paying gig. Being a pro and a Canadian, he also had to call me back and apologize. Todd works full time as a voice talent in Toronto, one of North America's busiest media hubs.
Please go to:
(Summary: Todd describes the pluses and minuses of working with Voice 123, an online casting directory of voice talent and demos.)
Now check out this posting from one of the busiest voices in Hollywood, Corey Burton:
(Summary: Corey's post, "The World's Most Tasteless Microphone" sums up his experience in the brave new world of, "one size fits all" solutions in modern digital production.)
And finally, here's my take on these evolving issues. At first glance, Robert Paterson's "Artificial Scarcity" struck me as the kind of airy froth that social optimists are bound to embrace. But on closer look I saw something more concrete in his view. "What will be scarce...will be people's ability to find what they value..."
Oddly, this might explain and support Andrew Keen's premise. Perhaps it's not so much that expertise will cease to be, it's whether or not you can find the expertise you value that is the issue.
If everyone can join the thousands who have listed themselves on Voice123 as professional talent (or some kind of virtual equivalent)then who will spend the time separating the garbage from the recycling? That job used to belong to an experienced producer or a casting director who got paid to evaluate talent. These days the job of casting could just as easily go to a first year production assistant or account executive. No doubt she'll be casting voices on her lunch break.
In any event, I'd like to think that Robert Paterson has it right. If everyone is special, then it's simply a matter of taking time to find the people you need to create the results you want.
If Andrew Keen is correct then perhaps we'll reach the logical conclusion of a society-wide social trend which makes everything acceptable. In Keen's view, If everybody is special, then nobody is.
The Cult of the Amature