World Voice Day

World Voice Day will be celebrated this year again on the 16th of April. I wish to share the mission statement published by and invite you to have a look at all the events organized all over the world.

Mission Statement

To share the Excitement of the Voice Phenomenon with the Public, Scientists and Funding Bodies


The voice is like a gem with facets reflecting multiple scientific disciplines and practical and artistic concerns. Both humans and animals depend heavily on vocal communication, so voice science incorporates physiology, biology and bioacoustics. The voice provides the main tool for both semantic and emotional communication, and is therefore relevant to auditory perception, psychology, neurology, cognition, linguistics and phonetics. It is a crucial tool not only in education but also in the daily work for about 30% of the entire working population. A functioning voice is highly significant to quality of life. The voice is a musical instrument in singing, making it a part of art and culture. Voice science has foundations in various branches of physics, particularly biophysics, aerodynamics, mechanics and acoustics. Voice pedagogy involves vocal development, and artistic expressions of speech and singing are integral to every relationship and culture in the world.
However, both the general public and professionals in many disciplines lack an understanding of the great significance of the voice. In particular, the true inter-disciplinary scope of voice science, pedagogy and art is inadequately recognized by funding bodies, and its potential in the public understanding of the voice disciplines and as an accessible topic for education in physics, mathematics and biology, as well as cultural and personal development remains under-utilized.
An Ad Hoc group has been formed, consisting of the following members: Mario Andrea, Michael Döllinger, Norma Enns, Tecumseh Fitch, Nathalie Henrich, Christian Herbst, Markus Hess, David Howard, Filipa Lã, Dirk Mürbe, Ken-Ichi Sakakibara, Ron Scherer, Johan Sundberg, Jan Svec, Sten Ternström, Ingo Titze, Graham Welch, and Joe Wolfe. The group met in Erlangen on July 4, 2012.


The mission of the group is to share the excitement of voice science, pedagogy and the vocal arts as an application of all the above-mentioned areas with the public and with funding bodies by organizing a global celebration of the World Voice Day on April 16 each year, joining forces with existing groups that have the same goal. More specifically, the group will
1. organise a global choral concert, internationally broadcasted in real time, going from country to country, starting in the far East and ending in the far West.
2. arrange a global series of talks, internationally broadcasted in real time, as well as videotaped for internet distribution, about the many different facets of the voice.
3. identify and ask one person, a “pivot”, in as many countries as possible, who assumes the responsibility to initiate and coordinate various events in that country, on the World Voice Day
4. create a web page where all events are listed and that also contains information about voice and voice science, and interactive voice analysis programs.


2017 Voice Over Trends has just published its precious ‘2017 Trends Report’ for the North American market and I would like to present you with a summary.

Once again these data and conclusions offer a valuable perspective and a needed support to navigate the new market reality in the voice over industry.




Types of Communications and Advertising Vehicles in 2016


Throughout 2016, the mediums and vehicles advertisers and content creators used to communicate their messages fluctuated in popularity in response to audience preferences and the perceived return on investment.

   Internet Ads: Continued Growth. This is an important area of growth.


   E-learning: Going Up. Its growth has the same significance as internet advertising.


   Network and Streaming TV Ads: Taking a Back Seat. Network TV ads are grabbing interest more than advertising opportunities on streaming TV services.


   Broadcast and Streaming Radio: Losing Steam


   Podcasts and Audiobooks: Mixed Messages. Podcasts and audiobooks continue to be mediums that stir interest, but seem to lose participants just as fast as they gain them.





Areas to Watch in 2017


  The Fragmentation of Videos In 2016

With the push for content marketing continuing, some are trying to slice and dice what they’ve already created as opposed to creating more, while others are attempting to create a higher volume of shorter, socially friendly pieces.

According to John Stephens of Iris and Light, “Videos are getting shorter and more social media-driven. There’s a huge need for quick, bite-sized online content. Smaller, less expensive productions or the repurposing of existing content.”

“The number one thing that keeps me up at night is the ongoing shift of project complexity and how best to deliver. What used to be one video per project is now anywhere from 5 to 20 videos, also classified as ‘one project.’ As marketers get more ambitious with their content in a bid to keep up or stay ahead of the game, there are now more deliverables across the board for producers.” – Jeremy Richter, Richter Studios


  The Ambiguous Value of Apps

App development isn’t an area of high interest for those looking for a quick way to gain consumer attention.


   The Rise of Virtual Reality (VR)

VR has also entered the sphere of interest. However, the sentiment appears to be cautious, warning consumers may either continue to avidly adopt VR – or abandon it as a novelty fad.

“It’s interesting to see where 360 and virtual reality (VR) will take us into 2017, and whether or not it will continue to gain momentum. 360 and VR, like animation, have the ability to be versioned globally and tailored regionally. Voice over talent will play a big part in that.” – PJ Lee, Partner at Asterisk Media Group Ltd.

“In 2016, we saw an increase in requests for live streaming services, as well as for virtual reality (VR) and 360 content capture. Only time will tell if VR has the same lifespan as 3D production did, or if it even has legs.” – Todd Wiseman, President of Man with a Cam



Demographic Descriptions and Targeting Tactics


Gen X and Millennials are the Top Focus.

Overwhelmingly, Gen X (35- 64 yrs old) and Millennials (18 – 34 yrs old) fall within the bullseye that media is targeting.  Interestingly, Gen X (54%) is slightly ahead of Millennials (40%).

Meanwhile, Gen Z is still emerging at 3%, while Baby Boomers and the Great Generation are balancing out the scales at the other end of the spectrum, with 2% and 1% respectively.

The importance of reflecting worldwide trends is growing.


Creative professionals are leveraging a growing number of international, multilingual voice actors who are participating in the digital voice over marketplace.

This trend appears to be impacting how content producers are crafting scripts and planning the dissemination of their marketing messages in the pre-production phase. 71% produce content in non-English, with approximately 21% of respondents indicating that in 2016, they have increased the number of bilingual scripts they are producing (English + at least one other language).



How the Creative Industry is Speaking to Them


The vast majority of the respondents opted for a voice actor who could sound like a peer (73% want a ‘same age’ voice).

2016 was the year of the approachable expert.

The creative industry definitely had a clear picture of the persona who would come across clearly to their primarily Gen X and Millennial audiences.

While the information summarizes the trends that emerged throughout 2016, it’s worthwhile to note that the expectation is that this approach will continue well into 2017, so long as those leveraging these personas found their efforts to be effective.



Top Personas for 2016


The Conversational Persona is Dominating Personas that are approachable and conversational in nature have risen significantly in popularity. The ‘executive’ persona, which is professional and friendly, has risen in popularity by 102%, and the Girl Next Door had become 48% more popular in 2016 compared to 2015.

The conversational ‘type’ of persona includes those such as ‘everyman, mother, narrator and storyteller.’

The announcer persona is dwarfed in comparison.



    The Most Desirable Vocal Qualities


A persona that held authority, while remaining approachable, friendly, warm, and informative.

In essence, this persona embodied the qualities that most characterize as ‘conversational, a voice that speaks to the listener as a peer – albeit, a peer with the clout of an expert.




Other Tactics for Voice Over Casting to Continue in 2017


Celebrity soundalikes will not be as prevalent as they were in 2015 and 2016.


The new type of voice that everyone will be hearing in 2017 is one that isn’t perfect; it’s slightly flawed and more real, like that of your best friend. It’s the guy or girl next door. It’s genuine, and sounds nothing like a celebrity endorsement.


A specific variety of accents are in demand for 2017. There is overwhelming support for representing cultural diversity,

The interesting thing about accent use, though, is the varying levels of distinctiveness that are being requested. 18% say that there is a less of a need for a specific, placeable accent – preferring one that is either multifaceted or very subtle – while 27% report that they need an accent that more obviously points to a specific region. For example, a Spanish accent on an English script is not always sufficient: the need exists to regionalize that further to Spanish-Castilian or SpanishGalician in some cases.


At the same time, 14% share that they are increasingly needing a more neutral sound, perhaps so as not to alienate anyone in a larger customer base. 40% report no change at all (that is, they’re still needing neutral English). The rest simply don’t worry about this.





What’s hot:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Measuring marketing campaigns
  • Creating content
  • Optimizing the digital user experience


What’s lukewarm:

  • Localizing Marketing campaigns
  • Having to do more with less time and money
  • Going viral (25% say it’s not important while approx 25% say it is)


What’s not:

  • Print media
  • Having an app
  • Giving out price breaks or discounts





In Conclusion


   In 2017 the creative industry is stretching to speak to that international audience. Specifically, those with the largest buying power – Millennials and Gen X.


  Media and advertisers are moving away from the announcer persona, who ‘speaks to the masses’ to the conversational and authoritative ‘peer’ who speaks to the consumer, one-on-one.

Increasingly, this peer must clearly represent diversity – so their voice, and the brand they’re voicing by extension, can be perceived as relevant, no matter where in the world the message is sent.


  The creative industry is also perpetually taking strides to reach consumers where they are – online. Digital advertising is one of the largest areas of increased productionand is neck-and-neck in rising popularity with e-learning, which appeals to generations who value continuous learning, the acquisition of knowledge and personal and professional advancement.


  While media producers struggle with having to do more with less, fragmenting content into more manageable online ‘tidbits,’ some are feeling that the pressure is resulting in a loss of creativity as they try to keep up with the expected volume – others feel that flexing their innovation is the only way to cut through the clutter.


  With so many diverging trends and emerging technologies, 2017 is sure to be a year to watch, as the creative industry attempts to find its foothold on an ever changing media landscape.


  When it comes to voice talent, we’re getting a strong need for ‘international’ voices that don’t sound like a specific geographic region. People are looking for broad diversity.” – John Stephens, Iris and Light


  “We’re seeing an increase in requests for more concise, bite-size content. Our experiential clients are looking for short re-cap videos, that tell a story in 15 or 30 seconds rather than in the traditional 3 minutes. In short, we’re not changing our approach as much as we are editing deliverables for our clients.” – Todd Wiseman, Man with a Cam


  “I’m always looking ahead for emerging trends to bring to my clients in visual media, whether it’s technology or style-based. The media landscape is constantly changing, which is a blessing for creative professionals. The continuous evolution allows us to discover new and interesting perspectives on storytelling.” – PJ Lee, Asterisk Media Group LLC








The hidden element in Italian audio recordings?

There is an important aspect of the Italian way of communicating that will always remain hidden in Italian audio recording projects: “Italian symbolic gestures, the autonomous culturally codified gestures used by Italian hearing people in everyday communication”.

You can certainly hear smiles or the effects breathing and body movements have on the interpretation of a script, but you will miss that peculiar way of punctuating an expression using facial and body language that intensifies what one is saying.

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Isabella Poggi, Professor of Psychology and Communication at Roma Tre University identified around 250 gestures used by hearing Italians in everyday conversation.

“…In the Italian Gestionary, the signal part of each gesture is analysed through its formational parameters: hand configuration, location, orientation and movement. […] 250 symbolic Italian gestures have been analysed in terms of these formational parameters […], and the following values have been found for each parameter: 40 handshapes, 33 locations, 6 orientations… (See Towards the alphabet and the lexicon of gesture, gaze and touch by Isabella Poggi.)


In See Hear, an interesting BBC program, Isabella Poggi states moreover that: ”Gestures are very important in Italian culture, more maybe than in other cultures. First for historical reasons because we inherited the language of gestures from the Greeks, when the Greeks moved to Southern Italy and they colonized for instance, Naples, which was made by Greeks, they used gestures as a way of communicating without being overheard. This was useful because Italians were often the subject of invasions and the gestures continued to have a tradition as a way of communicating.

Many years ago gestures in Italy were considered as very low level culture but then things changed so now everybody gestures much more freely.”


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There are actually several theories on the origin of Italian gestures. The one corroborated by Isabella Poggi is based also on the findings of Andrea de Jorio, an Italian antiquarian of the 19th century who apparently found some similarities between gestures used by his contemporaries and those depicted in ancient Greek vase paintings found in the Naples area. “Gestures are subject to less modifications than words” De Jorio used to say. He is remembered today among ethnographers as the first ethnographer of body language and his work La mimica degli antichi investigata nel gestire napoletano, 1832 (“The mime of the Ancients investigated through Neapolitan gesture”) has been mined, refined and criticized.

La mimica Andrea De Jorio
A second theory states that Italians developped an alternative form of communication in the period between the 14th and the 19th century, when Italy was occupied by other european countries like Spain, Austria and France. It was a kind of a secret code.

In the interesting documentary on gestures within Sicily by Luca Vullo, La voce del corpo, The Voice of the body, Rosanna Zaffuto Rovello remarks that “…Gestures within Sicily and in the South of Italy in general have deep historic roots because the South of Italy and Sicily have always been a crossroads of peoples and nations that felt the need to move their hands to communicate, to communicate more through their body than through their language […] In the 16th century, the historian Tommaso Fazello wrote a book on the origin of gestures in Sicily and stated that Gerone I, the tyrant of Syracuse, imposed silence on his subjects and Syracusan people were forced to create a non verbal language that would use feet, hands, eyes and other clues. “Saltatores”, jumpers, were the result of this and Sicilians later ended up being called “ballerini“, dancers, as if their irrepressible gestures were a way of dancing. The body language became a kind of supranational language that united all the peoples that lived in Sicily”.

La voce del corpo by Luca Vullo had an amazing response from the public and a great impact on the life and career of the Italian film-maker and director. In an interview for Londra chiama Italia he declared that he wished to describe in a comical way an aspect of his culture that made Sicilians and Italian on the whole famous in the world. Luca won a call for tenders issued by the region Sicilia, with the result being “The voice of the body,” a documentary that explores the richness of nonverbal language of which Sicilians are natural carriers and through which Sicilians communicate sometimes without even the need of using words. He describes a folkloric aspect of his environment, a topic almost unexplored that actually reveals an important facet of the island cultural roots. It was a true act of love for his Region carried out by an entirely Sicilian team, a team that thanks to its talents and intrinsic “Sicilian” nature, made this documentary a success.


In 2013 The New York Times published a video-documentary on Italian gestures as part of its article on this topic and The Guardian soon afterwards commented on it.

If you feel like following a crash course in Italian gestures you will be able to find all kinds of videos on Youtube. Please, choose carefully 🙂
I like this video with Sergio Solazzo in particular. Apparently it is quite popular in the States 🙂

As Luca Vullo advised in an interview for See Hear, a BBC program, next time you visit Italy, just take some time to observe the way Italians express themselves in the streets, in the markets and on the squares and enjoy the show for free 🙂


Simonetta Ronconi



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Online corporate videos in 2016

“Voice over is booming because of the growth of online corporate videos.

Corporate video has been a great source of work for voice over actors since the early 80’s. Traditionally companies have created audio visual product for conferences, seminars, new product launches, staff training and how-to’s.

The Corporate voice over area, also called Business or Industrial, is booming – and is set to continue to grow!

Many businesses are creating videos that get their message out there, by producing clips that use edited footage, still shots, graphics or simple animation. And they’re using a voice actor to convey the message.

Types of video you might see:

vecchia tv• Explainer Videos


These are company profile videos that talk about the business and what it does.
They often begin by asking a question of the viewer. It could reflect a problem that needs solving or addresses what the viewer’s looking for – then they explain how the company can help.
Running time is usually 1-3 minutes.

vecchia tv• Branding Videos


Think TV advertising: Lots of visuals, concepts, effects, graphics and a great music bed, very often supported by a read from a quality voice actor, and generally running under 1 minute.
Branding videos are made by online businesses that have a strong brand style and a stand-out message to deliver.

vecchia tv• Sales Videos


Videos made expressly to launch or demonstrate a product or products, these videos are similar to retail TV ads, but often run longer, averaging around 2-4 minutes.
These videos almost always use a professional voice actor.

vecchia tv• E-Learning & Training Videos


Training videos have been around since the 1980’s.
This is the area that’s traditionally used voice actors to narrate for them.
Companies are sill creating training videos specifically for their staff.
However, many online businesses are building training videos as products to sell online. And for many, it’s big business!

vecchia tv• How-to videos


Often ‘how-to’ videos are created simply and cheaply however, savvy companies who see the value in creating meaningful video content, are spending money on well-produced ‘how-to’s’ and reaping the rewards by a lift in their Google ranking.

vecchia tv• Company story


Often large companies will opt for a video that tells the story or history of the company, projects they’re working on or the good work they’re doing.
Often the video will be documentary style, with a narrator linking interviews or footage.

vecchia tv• Recruitment video


This is becoming a popular style of video for companies who want to invest in video because they realize that many of the visitors to their site, are people who want to work for them.

Of course, companies also still make videos for other purposes than online.
They’re still made for Seminars, Conferences and Conventions, for In-Store, and In-Flight and any number of other ways a company can find to connect with its staff, clients or potential customers.”

Cheers to the Voice-Over Industry!

Simonetta Ronconi


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Voice-over trends in 2016

From what I gathered in my internet roaming and perusals and personally experienced lately, the voice-over industry seems set to grow even more in 2016.

Here are some upcoming trends that could shape the voice-over industry in 2016 and for many years to come.

smile piccolo1. Video is becoming ever more important

“Firms are investing more in video content every year and that means voice-overs will be playing an integral part of their content marketing efforts as well”.

smile piccolo2. Businesses want voices that sound like friends rather than authority figures.

“Out with the “Announcer”, in with “The Girl/Guy Next Door””

smile piccolo3. Business wants a single ‘brand’ voice

“A brand voice needs to be approachable and represents everything your audience expects from you as a business. The way consumers hear a brand is as critical as the visual brand elements. More firms will employ a single voice artist (or a select few) to be the consistent voice of their brand in everything they do, from TV Commercials and product promo’s; to eLearning and telephone messages.”

smile piccolo4. Storytelling is fundamental

“To every interaction brands have with their audience storytelling is now pivotal – and to tell a story you need a voice. Stories are easy to remember and can give brand’s a positive association.
The key to brand storytelling is that tales begin long before the opening line and carry on beyond the final credits. A voice-over will be acting as one chapter in a much bigger picture.”

smile piccolo5. Multilingual video productions are becoming a must in a global marketing

“One of the biggest selling points of voice-over in global marketing is the ability to produce a single video and localise it for an international audience by translating and recording dialogue in every language you need. In any given language you’ll be interacting with people at different stages of the buying process. So why not target these users at different stages with explainer style voice-overs scripted to encourage them further along the buying process?”

smile piccolo6. Home studios are in demand more than ever

Voice actors with home studios continue to be in high demand, more than ever before because they can offer a high quality, a fast turn-around and at a lower cost than you may pay to an agency or studio. It can make producing multiple languages simultaneously much less time consuming.”

smile piccolo7. Accessibility requirements are becoming the norm

“Many regions are recommending, requiring, or in some cases even legislating companies to consider accessibility for all in their efforts. Websites read aloud for those with visual impairments for example, are becoming more important, and custom voice-overs vs. screen readers are being considered more and more.”

smile piccolo8. Fast turnaround is now a must

“Speed is a continuing requirement. Companies need their broadcast-quality voice-over files in hours, not weeks.”



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