The voiceover business has been attracting talents lately in the Arab region like never before. People are excited, they want to discover, and the industry seems lucrative to many.
They open the TV or radio, they listen to ads, they get impressed, they notice recurring voices in some ads..they think “wow..I want to be as successful as these voices!”
I totally understand how new voiceover artists think about this because I was in their shoes one day. I thought that success in voiceover business meant to have your work aired on radio or TV. But this is a very shallow definition of success to be honest.
Voiceover as an industry has much broader aspects and includes many genres. If you have been following many of the webinars that have been carried out lately by many of the industry leaders on voiceover, they have all agreed that commercial voiceover resembles 5% of the whole industry in the US market. I understand that the middle eastern market might be different that the US market and yet not as developed as some other markets but if you are going to estimate the percentage of the commercial work in the middle eastern market compared to all other genres, you might estimate it at 30% maybe. I understand that there is no specific reference for me to guess other than the feedback I receive from all other talents, but this might be true to a large extent.
If you want to be in the industry and you want to be there for the long run, you will need to work on other large projects like e-learning, corporate narration, video games, etc. These large projects are what you need to sustain in a business like voiceover as they pay more due to their size and the effort needed to accomplish them. The broadcast work might do you a favor by making your voice known and help your personal brand grow faster but….it is a limited side of the industry.
So again, if you are looking for sustainability, look for bigger and longer projects. Commercial work is cool, but it doesn’t mean success…success is sustainability… or at least it is so for many voiceover artists around the globe who are considering voiceover to be their career.