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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Finding Their Voice

By Anne P. Dela Cruz

Creativoices opens new doors for the local voice talent industry

In addition to high-tech imagery and visuals, using Hollywood stars’ voices to give life to lead characters has become a big attraction for animated films. And these talents—like Bruce Willis as the raccoon RJ in Over the Hedge—corner a big chunk of the films’ production cost.

This is not the case in the Philippines, however. Here, talents are paid a measly sum for the use of their voices. Creativoices is out to change this, though, with its mission to develop the local voice talent industry and provide voice talents what they truly deserve.

Voice of Opportunity

Before Creativoices, Pocholo Gonzales was already making a name for himself as a voice talent, while his friend Brian Ligsay was a deejay who was also doing some voiceover work on the side. Seeing how lucrative the business was, the two friends set up Uni Voices, a fully equipped studio that offered all types of voiceover requirements to clients. The business, however, was short-lived as the cost of maintaining a studio was too steep.

Together with some friends, Pocholo and Brian repackaged the business and went into voice talent management instead. Thus, the birth of Creativoices Productions in 2005. Pocholo is CEO and managing director, while Brian serves as marketing director. In focusing their efforts on simply recruiting and managing voice talents (instead of owning and operating a high-maintenance cost studio), Creativoices has managed to become the number one provider of prequalified and professional voice artists in the Philippines.

“Before we started Creativoices, we noted that voice talents were being paid differently depending on the job to be undertaken. In short, there were no industry standards to speak of when it came to the pay scale,” Brian relates. “Now, we can establish the standards for the kind of services we offer. Besides, there is a big market for the services we offer.”

Unique One-Stop Shop

What makes Creativoices unique is the fact that the company is the only Philippine-based online voiceover company that delivers voiceovers within 72 hours of an order. A client just has to visit and fill up the necessary forms. The site also features sample voices so that a client can determine the kind of voice he or she needs.

“This has been the in-thing in the United States and we are just duplicating this,” Brian explains. “The good thing about this is our overhead costs have lowered substantially. We now affiliate ourselves with studios and make use of them only when necessary.”

Tagged as the best place to shop for professional voice talents, voice casting, and production services, Creativoices’ production team can handle any type of audio requirement. The services they offer include character voices for animation, computer game voiceovers, dubbing, podcasting, commercials, promos, Internet audio marketing services, audiobooks, multimedia voices, campaign creation, voice mail prompts, public address announcements, and so much more.

“Our talented lineup of field experts is at our client’s disposal, from concepts to the application,” Brian explains. “Scriptwriting and original music composition are also available, along with every conceivable sound effect and style of prerecorded background music.”

Since both Pocholo and Brian were already recognized names in the industry even before coming together in Creativoices, the company did not have much problem looking for clients. It is affiliated with the Advertising Suppliers Association of the Philippines and the Animation Council of the Philippines. Clients include Toei Animation, Star Records, Red Bank Concerts, DDB, Top Peg, and Holy Cow.

BIG Plans

Creativoices is building up its pool of talents so that clients can have a wider selection from which to choose. One of its plans is to offer training programs for budding voice talents. Brian advises, however, that interested talents treat voiceover services only as their second job since the industry works on a per-project basis. “Most of the jobs we get are on a per-project basis, so it is not advisable for voice talents to depend on these jobs for a living,” Brian said. He points out, though, that “our talents will be paid rates that we ourselves have established.”

Their ultimate goal is to create a council of voiceover talents that will ensure that industry standards are in place. The council will aim to make sure that its members are professionally trained voice talents and that they are justly paid for their services.

Brian reveals that for an announcer-type of project, a talent can get as much as P15,000 for a 30-seconder job. Character voices go for P8,000 for 30 minutes, while a voiceover for a television commercial can go as high as P25,000 for a 30-seconder. Surprisingly, the voice talents who dub the Korean telenovelas that are popular these days are paid only P90 per script (a script covers one episode).
Also in the works is the plan to offer voiceover services in different dialects and the development of a website that will be devoted to voice templates.

“By next year, we will be getting a bigger office space so that we can start offering training programs for voiceover talents,” Brian shares. “There is so much talent in the Philippines and I am confident that the country will become a major supplier of voice talents not only for the region but for other parts of the world as well.”


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