The evolution of voice-overs | Heyoya Blog

The evolution of voice-overs

The evolution of voice-overs

It has been 110 years since the very first voice over was recorded by Reginald Fessendon, the first ever voice heard on radio. Over 20 years later, Looney Toons came to life along with Mickey Mouse and many other iconic cartoon characters. Walt Disney had the honor of introducing the first ever cartoon voice in 1928. And in the 30s the voice over industry began to expand rapidly with larger and larger numbers of animated films being produced. This led to the formation of actor’s guilds and the professionalization of the industry. In the 1940s the first legal TV ad was run. In the beginning, voice-overs were anonymous “in-between” jobs and remained very much behind the scenes. This remained the case for a long time, but in recent decades voice-overs have increased in popularity with the release of major cartoon blockbusters, and the world of voice-overs has come to the forefront of acting.



There is a long list of celebrities who have lent their voice to various cartoons; just think of James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons in the Lion King, or Edie Murphy in Shrek. And the list goes on. Over the years, voice-overs have transformed from behind the scenes odd jobs into a valuable marketing tool for the film industry. When new cartoon films come out, most audiences are looking out for which celebs will be involved. A case in point is the new movie Trolls with an all-star cast including Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, and Anna Kendrick. The wide range of well-known celebrities voicing films is a useful marketing tool to target not only children but also parents.

And while the status and wages associated with voice-overs have transformed over the years, something else has been happening in parallel. The big name voice actors and celebs remain rooted in the old work paradigm of agents and auditions, and much of the industry continues to work this way. However, for a lot of voice-over actors, the bold new frontier is the online market. The voice over market has expanded rapidly on online marketplaces like Fiverr to the point where you can basically find any voice you want for around 5 dollars (you might have to pay more for longer jobs or extras but this is still incredibly cheap).

The quality can be a bit hit and miss on major marketplaces offering such a wide range of skills for money. And in response to this, a number of voice over only marketplaces have been opening up. is the largest online marketplace for voice-overs and provides a whole range of services including radio, cartoons, audiobooks, business and more. With a lot of online marketplaces, the focus is on speed and low-cost which means that quality often suffers. But today, a number of online marketplaces have opened up to ensure that the voices customers pay for are high quality. Voicebunny allows you to scroll through and select a voice over from a wide range of professional actors.

While voice-overs continue to merge and change, they remain a backbone of the way we communicate and entertain. Now more than ever, voice and voice-overs are critical not just for advertising, but also for education, communication, entertainment and more.

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