Secrets of an Agent Man Webinar

I don’t think the voice over industry hears enough from agents so I’m happy to accept the invitation of old friend and colleague Natasha Marchewka to lead a webinar called Secrets of An Agent Man.

I’ll discuss what us talent agents look for in talents, in demos…What your voice agent should be doing for you. Really, everything to do with the agent-talent relationship.

This is for both newbies and people who might be rethinking their relationship with their agent (Hopefully no one I represent falls into that category!). We’re keeping the numbers low so there’s lots of time for everyone to ask probing questions.

Join us on June 6. Sign up here.


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Every COVID-19 Commercial is exactly the same

This commercial writer appears to be getting a lot of work!


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The voice business in the age of COVID

People are asking, so how’s the voice over business during the pandemic? Well, the overview is, the VO business will always be at the very least okay, as long as people still want to advertise. For all of April & most of May, 99% of the work has moved to home studios. This was obviously going to be the case when non-essential businesses were ordered to close.

Here in Toronto, as of late May, studios have re-opened so that obviously helps us. Once TV commercial shoots and productions were shut down, that was inevitably going to trickle down to us as there is not as much of this type of content to voice. But advertisers can always be counted on to be creative. I’ve been taking some time to watch commercial breaks on TV here and there, and have seen many commercials that were clearly produced after the start of the pandemic lockdown. More stock footage is being used. More animation and graphics. More shots of actors on their own. And certainly more shots of, or using, current tech platforms and technology: people in Zoom meetings, people on iPhones, more shots in apartments, homes & gardens…All of these visuals are still easy to shoot or obtain while practicing social distancing.

We are in a strange time because the hit to the economy has meant many businesses have had to close permanently or at the very least, severely cut their advertising budgets. And certainly many industries where we would normally have lots of content to voice are just not happening at all: travel/tourism, conferences & conventions, award shows & events etc. BUT everyone is at home, wanting to content to listen to and watch.

So I’m confident advertisers will continue to be creative and we will see more content in other areas: e-learning/educational material, on-line promos and videos, podcasts, healthcare-related projects etc.

Last month, some of Canada’s top voice talent agents, including yours truly, held a Zoom panel that was widely watched/attended. We discussed the industry as it stood in the early days of COVID. It’s worth a watch if you missed it.

The link is here:


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My new project: Clusterfucked!

In addition to running a voice talent agency, one of the consistent interests in my life has been US politics. I was born in Detroit and though I’ve lived most of my life in Canada, I am still a U.S. citizen and spent a number of years on the Executive of Democrats Abroad Canada (DAC), handling media outreach in coordination with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Washington.

I’ve combined my interest in politics with the voice over world and launched a US politics podcast. The angle? Liberals are too clustered in major cities and not spread out far enough across the US to win more elections, given the American electoral system. That’s the literal clustering.

Liberals also cluster figuratively by spending too much time talking to people who already agree with us and not enough time trying to persuade those who don’t.

So I am happy to announce the debut of the Clusterf**ed podcast. “A liberal host – but with red state guests”.

The podcast is going to be an ongoing discussion about how liberals/Democrats can win over more voters, particularly in red states. So I will talk to Republicans and others who don’t agree with liberals and when I do talk to liberals, it’s going to be mainly in red states to find out what’s going on where they live.
I’m planning to keep each episode to approx 30 minutes as I know everyone is slammed with content and have busy lives. I hope to do one episode per week.

I landed a great guest for the premiere episode: Matthew Dowd was George W. Bush‘s chief strategist for the 2004 Presidential campaign and had the same role for governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California in 2006. He is now Chief political analyst at ABC News.

The website is up and that first episode with Matthew Dowd is there, ready for your listening pleasure. As is an introductory episode I recorded to explain more about the premise of the podcast.

So click the link below and give it a listen. It’s free!

And I encourage you to sign up for the mailing list where you’ll get notifications about new episodes.

It’s available on iTunes and Spotify, with more platforms to come, but in these early stages, best thing to do is join the mailing list at the bottom of the home page.

Happy listening!

Roger King
Host, Cluster**cked



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The State of the (non) Union: Ethnic voice casting

I launched Ethnic Voice Talent almost 15 years ago and it has been interesting to see the evolution of foreign language usage in commercials and other audio and video productions.

Back when we started, we already had a solid French Canadian voice roster as many commercials and productions in Canada also have a French language version for the Quebec market. This is similar to the US and Spanish language versions. In fact, because of that, we first developed a small Spanish roster which eventually led to the decision to launch EVT.

I’ve seen the languages requested change over the last decade or so.
The classic European languages like Italian, Portuguese, and to a lesser extent German, are less in demand- replaced by East Asian languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese. Most of the Spanish requests are for the US and Latin American market, not Spain. Same with Brazilian Portuguese – instead of the dialect spoken in Portugal. Requests for Tamil, Tagalog, Farsi and Arabic are only increasing.

The other major change is the request for authentic accents. 15 years ago, most accent requests were comedic in nature. Casting directors would ask which voice actors could put on an accent. Now, this is considered almost universally unacceptable. In certain cases – for example, Hindi – it can be considered offensive for an English person to try to put on an accent, especially when there are so many talented Hindi voices. Authenticity is the name of the game now. Most castings will not accept anyone putting on an accent, even if it’s British or Australian.

The nature of projects requiring an accent has changed as well. Many of the projects when we started EVT were comedic in nature and mainly commercials. Now, clients want authentic accents across the spectrum of projects. There might be an e-learning Project with several voices for…say a medical company. Maybe a doctor is talking to different patients and we often get requests that a few of the patients have authentic accents to make it seem like real life. Or a series of on-line spots for a Bank where the voices requested are several different ethnicities to reflect the diversity of the bank’s clients.

In fact, I’ve said to several ethnic talents that this may be the future of ethnic casting: Depending on the language, some foreign language talents may find themselves getting more work in *accented English*, than they do in their native tongue.

Late last year,Mike Sholars a journalist for This Magazine interviewed me for a piece on ethnic Casting in the gaming industry. His article ended up touching on ethnic Casting in other aspects of the voice industry as well. You can read the entire piece here:

But it got me thinking about the future of ethnic voice casting…

We have rosters in 3 cities: Toronto, Montreal & New York. We only represent talents in those cities because our agency is about getting to know the talents personally and finding them work in their respective cities. It still remains to be seen what languages and accents will be requested in the next few years. And what talent will be available to meet those requests. It’s changing, trust me. But my gut feel is the number of languages requested may decrease but the demand for certain key languages may increase.

Stay tuned!


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How Fast Can I Sign You?

An actual email I received last week:

“I am currently looking for a voice agent rep. I do not have any previous professional experience, but I am very talented with numerous accents and voice dialects. I would love to meet with you so that you could assess my voice yourself. I can send you a quick voice recording, but unfortunately it will not be studio quality (as I only have my laptop as a means of recording). Looking forward to hearing back from you!”

So, no experience…and presumably no training, no voice demo AND whatever audio sample could be recorded will NOT be good quality.

Where do I sign?


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