With all the talk about the 1% vs the 99% these days with regards to Wall Street and Jobs and Taxes, something crossed my eyeballs this morning that shows that this spread exists in other areas as well.
Voiceover actors have been chatting about the jobs being lost to “celebrity” voices for years now…ever since the animated Alladin was released featuring Robin Williams as the Genie. There is no doubt that Robin Williams stole that movie, but it paved the way for more and more celebrity on-camera actors being cast in animated features and fewer and fewer opportunities for working class voice actors.
Written by SCOTT MESLOW – an Atlantic contributor and a film and television writer based in Washington, D.C., who has also written for Campus Progress andWealthBriefing – this article highlights how the “A-list” actors are nudging out the “ubiquitous but nearly anonymous, traditional voice actors.”
His main question is whether there is any demand anymore in the features for the versatile voice actor who can create a “thousand” voices? Or has the “marketing machine” taken over and pushed the working class voice actor to the side to do background and voice matching for those features?
As a continual student of my craft, I watch animated features and study the characters and the voices, trying to figure out just what value has been added by bringing on a “celebrity.” They sound like they sound in most cases and the character on the screen ends up just being an animated version of the actor whose face we see on the big screen and on Letterman.
Multi-talented voice actors still do the bulk of the TV animated series and video games, but frankly even that group is still in the upper 5% (or whatever the number is – I am not a statistician). But from my anecdotal observations the vast number of true working class voice actors live outside the major markets and don’t have, or perhaps don’t want to have, the chance to compete for those jobs (series, games or features). If we did, we would probably make the move to where the work is.
That being said, I would LOVE a chance to voice a character or two in a feature. I don’t live THAT far from Hollywood. Where’s my sign!? I’m the 95%! Occupy Disney!