Are you looking to set one of your voice acting projects in New York City? You’re probably thinking of the sassy, cosmopolitan, streetwise style made famous by film auteurs. “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!” is as much improvisation as an invocation of a certain type of reality, accent, and identity. That’s why a genuine voice over NYC may be what you need to evoke that authenticity!
As you probably know, voice acting can be a game of subtlety. Actors generally have to convey a wealth of information via aural stimuli rather than visual cues. This is a great way to entice your audience if you have vocal talents that follow guidelines. Even better if your project has roles where you need to convey a genuine sense of place.
In a booming voice market like NYC’s, voice pros are a stone’s throw away. If you’re thinking about creating a story that’s set in the Big Apple, listen up! It’s faster, cheaper and easier than ever to access top-notch vocal talent from the city that never sleeps.
If you want to be at the top of the list, king (or queen) of the hill, read on and find out more!
If you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
This post has been updated in October 2021.
What’s a voice over, again?
Let’s take start at the top. A voice over is a production technique where the human voice is recorded. That voice is used in diverse media, both audiovisual and audio-only. Let’s take a look at some of the uses of the voice over to help you get a broader picture of why its use is so prevalent in our daily lives!
As per our article “What is Voice Over? Let’s Find Out”:
- voice over films
- dubbed foreign language films
- animation shorts or films
- tv programs
- radio or audio dramas
- video games
- live events
- awards shows
- toys and games
- vehicle and transportation
- a phone message and IVR
- training / e-learning
As you can probably tell from this partial list, voice overs cover a very broad spectrum of mediums. You can consider them one of the hidden assets that powers communication, marketing, and art; just think of how much we would be missing without any of the above!
Also, as your voice over needs become even more targeted, you’d be well served by narrowing down your search to specific voice over markets.
Why would I need a voice over NYC?
New York City is a hub of commercial, social, and artistic activity. It’s over 8.5 million inhabitants (with an estimated 20 in its metropolitan area) make it one of the largest cities on Earth. You bet there’s something for everyone in ‘The Capital of the World,” as former mayor Rudy Giuliani used to call it.
One of the many, many things you can find in a surplus in New York City is voice acting talent. If you’re looking to get a little of that NYC flavor in your next short film or movie, or if you’re setting a commercial in the Big Apple, this is the way to go!
Normally, people associate acting and the artistic scene with cities like Los Angeles. Sure, Hollywood still probably remains the one-stop-shop for everything related to “The Seventh Art.” But, New York City is quickly catching up, with its own production studios, and a blossoming voice over scene that continues to grow apace.
So, what’s popular in the voice over NYC scene? What do the most sought-after commercial talents do in the city?
The voice over NYC commercial
Spoiled it for you, didn’t I? That was a whole bunch of setup for what seems like a small payoff, I know! But here’s something you should never gloss over. The voice acting industry is a hulking behemoth. It’s got an estimated value of $4.4 billion annually, and it’s only speeding up. Commercials make up about 5% of that industry, and they’re disproportionally represented in the voice over NYC scene. Now, how does a slice of a two-hundred-million-dollar pie sound?
NYC’s importance as the epicenter of the world’s commercial and economic activity can’t hurt either! Sure, none of us is probably a fan of Wall Street scheming. Anyone who’s seen The Big Short is probably feeling small pangs of disgust at the mention of what seems like Supervillain Central. Whatever your opinion on the stock market, there’s no getting around this simple truth: money talks. And there’s plenty of money (or rather, 0s and 1s) changing hands in New York.
That’s why multinational and local agencies go after voice over NYC commercials disproportionately. It’s where it’s all happening, and clients both national and international want to get in on that sweet, sweet action.
How do I get in on the action?
One thing where New York City differs from the rest of the voice world is that talent usually develops tight relationships with agents and casting directors. Normally, vocal talents are used to working freelance, but things are slightly different in this scene.
Edge Studio shares this nugget of wisdom with its readers:
Unlike agents in other large markets (where they are known as “casting agents”), agents in New York represent their clients (the voice over talent) and “shop” them to the casting directors. Advertisers and producers can call talent in directly, but usually they bring people in through agents. The Casting directors organize auditions based on information given to them by clients (e.g., “We want to hear 50 auditions from women who sound between 25 and 30, and we’re looking for a fun, charismatic read with real energy.”)
This is why you need to know people in both groups. You may have a fantastic agent, but if they’re submitting you for auditions and the casting director is saying “I don’t know that person — why should I give them one of my 50 slots?” it’s tougher to get in. Most agents prefer to freelance with talent for a while before signing them. This is a good thing, as you can freelance with a number of people, and thus hopefully get sent on more auditions.
So, forewarned is forearmed! In the voice over NYC scene, things work differently when it comes to auditions for commercials. That’s what it takes to break into such a growing market, I guess.
But, are things like that all across the scene?
Other voice over NYC ventures
Certainly not! With such a huge market, prospective voice actors and actresses are going to be spoiled for choice! There are many opportunities to exercise their talents, including:
There’s a lot of production going on in New York City. There are film and production companies, or design studios focusing on web content. There’s also a wealth of voice over studios that curate talent from inside the city for producing authentic narrations that sound lived-in.
A lot of audiobook companies are based in the city. New Jersey-based Audible.com, Recorded Books, Random House Audio, and Listening Library are all from the area. That means there’s a lot of work going around for local talent! Most of these companies do not reach out to talent through casting agents, so it’s done independently. We’ll link to some of our articles about audiobooks below to give you a better idea of how this world operates.
When it comes to these types of gigs (as well as narration and other types of voice acting), it’s best to have your own home studio and set up to work with.
3. Animation and video games
Now we get to the good stuff! While LA is still the priority for animation and video game studios, a lot are based in the NYC area. In fact, the industry is expanding its horizons to include NYC more and more. For example, plenty of anime is dubbed in the city, as well as supplemental material for animation; there are also animated commercials to take into account, so there’s plenty of work!
What are my ways of accessing this talent for my projects?
It depends on what your needs are. You can access this talent by getting in touch with casting agencies that have curated a wealth of talent, or by contacting NYC-based voice over agencies. If you need a particular style, accent, age, or gender, they’ll supply you with what you need.
You can also put out job searches on sites like Upwork.com. If you choose your keywords carefully (e.g., “NYC” and “New York”), you can get plenty of voice over NYC talent knocking at your virtual doorstep. And that’s where your options end! Freelancing platforms and agencies are all well and good, but there are also voice-centric hubs to take into account.
For example, or very own Bunny Studio employs a lot of talent from New York City. There are also many who may not be based in the Big Apple anymore but have the accent, mannerisms and the rhythm of NYC down pat. You just search for what you need, and access a list of curated pros that fit your description from the get-go!
Anything else to know about?
I think we’ve pretty much summed up everything there’s to say about the voice over NYC scene for the moment. If you need any more information, you can access the following websites:
- Backstage Magazine is the go-to publication for NYC-based voice talent, castings, and auditions.
- New York Castings is another great resource for the same.
- Voice Over Universe is a great recommendation. It’s a social network for voice talents!
When it comes to voice talent, New York’s got it all! Unless you’re in Los Angeles, you can’t beat it for variety, quality, and reliability. It’s the best the East Coast’s got to offer, and should definitely be on your radar when looking for talent, or auditioning for roles.
Here’s hoping you can make the most of what you’ve learned on this article today, and get crackin’! Success awaits!
Find your New York voice today with Bunny Studio!