The small-market Australian landscape for voiceover is quite different from the US, Canada and the UK, where the trend for home studios has grown and grown.
Sure, there are rising numbers of voice actors who have a home studio in Australia, but the traditional way of doing voiceover still stands. You’re either working at a radio station or a sound studio.
I have to say, I prefer the face-to-face experience of going to a studio and working in collaboration with a producer and engineer. I know we’ll move with trends, but we like it that war here and I hope we keep it that way, because I love those relationships.
But just to find out how different the experience is in the US, I asked friend and colleague, Thomas Bromhead, to answer a few questions about his experience. Fascinating!
How did you come to be living and working in the US?
My wife and I saw an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the green card lottery and we put it in on a bit of a whim. Then mine came up the second year and my wife was very keen for an adventure…I just followed the Boss…but at the same time thought I should give it a go as you would always wonder “what if?”.
What kind of voice work do you get?
Videogames, commercials, promos, animation, corporate, …basically everything
Do you ever use your Australian accent to voice work?
I work in an Aussie accent probably 40-50% of the time. There is Australian voiced work here…for games especially.
Can you tell me what you use in your home studio?
A Trident preamp, Roadrunner ISDN, Source Connect, a Sennheisser 416 and a Blue Kiwi.
How much of your work is home based?
Auditions are 98% at home. Work is probably 50% at home…especially if it’s out of state or overseas client
What type of work is done from home studios?
I do everything, apart from videogames or anything that’s to picture. If it’s a big ad agency then they’ll want you to come to a studio.
How does the sound studio experience differ from here in Australia?
Nearly everything is by audition and ISDN is used at home.
Do you work at radio stations?
Not really. The stations don’t do their own in-house ads here.
Do you have an agent?
Yes I have one in LA, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Dallas.
How do you market yourself as a voice actor?
I used to a lot when I was starting off. I feel I need to do some more again! I was one of the first Australian voice artists to have a website in 2000 and I put out lots of my own audio postcards and cd’s.
Can you tell me about the animation landscape and quantity of work?
There are lots of opportunities but 100 x more voice actors, so it’s harder to get the gig here. There are some guys who work all day all week… but most of us are auditioning all week and working whenever we can. A lot of animation is now done in Canada.
What are the fee structures like there?
There are standard SAG fees for commercials and animation. There are also industry rates for non union work. The non-union rates are pretty similar to MEAA rates as they are buyouts. SAG rates often pay for usage, so if you are in a huge TV ad you get rewarded for that with residuals
Who decides on or negotiates rate rises?
SAG for union rates. For non-union – it’s up to you or your agent.
What’s the best thing about working in voiceover in another country?
Makes you appreciate the Australian industry! It’s not as cut throat and I miss meeting all the fellow voice artists. There are more opportunities here for sure, but also more competition. You have to up your game to succeed!
Thanks Thomas for sharing those insights with us.
It’s a brave thing to take such a plunge, leave the security of home and strike out in such a huge and highly competitive market such as the US, but Thomas has done it. Well, he is brilliant!
Here are links to his demos, so you can hear just why they like him so much!
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.