What were you doing in 2012? I was living in Chicago, winging my way through a career as a voice talent and on-camera actor, and I had dipped a toe into this new thing called “home recording”. I outfitted our walk-in closet with a laptop, a USB mic, and a music stand, and once in a while I used my new setup to record auditions. They sounded just OK, but they got the job done.
Believe me, all my audio engineer friends rolled their eyes when I told them about my home studio. None of them believed that the audio voice actors laid down in their walk-in closets or blanket-lined basement cubbies would ever hold up against what professional studios produced.
And they were right. But what they didn’t anticipate was that standards for pristine audio would drop, and drop hard. It became normal for talent to turn in audio recorded with less-than-stellar acoustics and equipment for projects of all kinds. Professional engineers would then shake their heads while they cleaned up the audio, but in most cases the client would end up using it. The cost savings made the lower quality a worthwhile tradeoff, and as more and more people listened on their mobile devices, there was less incentive to make sure it was “broadcast quality”. A decade ago this transition was just ramping up, and there were precious few resources available for those of us trying to figure it all out.
Enter the Voice Over Body Shop, a podcast (later joined by a companion YouTube channel) hosted by two pros of the business: Dan Lenard and George “The Tech” Whittam. It intially began as a way for the hosts to promote their business designing and building home studios for the industry’s top-level voice actors. But then the show took on a life of its own.
Sure, there were plenty of gear recommendations, ways to make workflows more efficient, and other topics addressing the technical part of a voice talent’s job. But there were also frequent guests like agents and managers and top VO talent from all the industry’s active genres. Eventually the hosts brought inspiration and info to budding podcasters. If it had to do with audio production, the VOBS covered it, and it helped countless talent.
Now, after more than a decade, it’s winding down. Dan and George announced via the show’s Facebook page that they have decided to stop production of the VOBS. It’s a loss to the VO community for sure. The Voice Over Body Shop is one of those rare resources: reliable, entertaining, and experienced-based. These guys did everything in VO, and they shared what they knew generously. With Dan and George, audiences got no fluff, just concrete knowledge, and they did it for over a decade. Props and much respect to them for keeping the show going for this long.
I assume their content will be left posted and available for future newcomers (and industry vets!) to learn from. Some of it will eventually become outdated, but a lot of it will be relevant a decade from now. Both Dan and George will also continue their respective careers – Dan as voice talent and George as the tech guru to the industry. Many thanks to Dan and George for the huge contribution they made to our industry!