Technology and creativity can seem to get in each other’s way. Today, we hear about tech trends such as automation, chatbots, and artificial intelligence. For some people, these developments don't sit easily with creative processes such as thinking up new ideas for products and services, inspiring a new marketing campaign or delivering a performance.
I run an online marketplace for voice over artists called bodalgo and I see this conflict between technology and creative effort on a daily basis. On one side, there is a voice over artist wanting to produce and be recognised for a creative performance. On the other, there is the voice seeker or business using technology to source the best voice for a video, tutorial, ebook or advert.
For some, technology is now the way to source voices quickly and cost effectively. Others believe that the best creative results are produced when the creative team have developed relationships, and the use of technology will undermine this.
Sometimes, technology provides so much choice it can lead to inaction. On bodalgo, you can find 5,700 artists in over 70 languages. Frankly, that can be a little overwhelming.
Futhermore, the Latin phrase, caveat emptor (buyer beware), is appropriate when looking at some voice over sites that are happy to allow anyone who claims to be a voice over artist to join a marketplace without checking their talent or training. This can result in buyers being cheated and in damage to the reputation of voice over portals.
However, when done correctly, voice over technology can provide a win-win: a company can source a great voice at less cost and time and the artists get the fee and recognition they deserve.
In the past, a voice over artist would have an agent or be linked to a production house or studio. If I wanted a voice over I would ask my advertising agency to source an artist for me. The agency would contact a production house (or a voiceover agency) who would then source the voice. At each step, costs and production time increased.
Now, you can online to source an artist and you only need to have a web browser to listen to a voice over artist's recording of the script. There is no need to book or visit a recording studio. You can listen to the recording from a PC, tablet or smartphone.
Technology isn’t going anywhere so we need to understand it, master it, and release its potential while safeguarding against its misuse. This is not easy but anything valuable will always be worth the effort.
Armin Hierstetter set up bodalgo in 2007. In the UK, bodalgo has around 500 voice over talents with over 250 companies using the platform. Wordley Productions, one of its clients is a production company, producing advert for brands such as Lego, photobox, and Euronics