Rodney Saulsberry is one of the premier voice-over talents and vocal coaches worldwide. He is also a published author with three bestselling books, You Can Bank on Your Voice, Step Up to the Mic and Rodney Saulsberry’s Tongue Twisters and Vocal Warm-Ups. Rodney is a two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for his acting work on the CBS Daytime Television Drama, The Bold and the Beautiful.
In this conversation, Rodney talks about the second edition of his book, You Can Bank on Your Voice.
Geetesh: Rodney, you’ve updated your amazing book, You Can Bank on Your Voice to a second edition. Can you tell us what’s new, and also what is the biggest takeaway for a reader in this book?
Rodney: There are plenty of new items in the second edition. When I wrote the first book in 2004, a lot of the new genres in the new book like, Explainer Videos, Anime, e-Learning, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and P2P (Pay to Play) websites either didn’t exist or if they did exist they weren’t very popular. This second revised and updated edition, not only embraces those new and popular voice-over subjects, it updates the rates and availability of the old tried and true voice-over genres like Commercials, Promos and Trailers that have always and will continue to be staples in the industry.
The biggest takeaway for readers of this book is this; the voice-over industry is a business that is evolving every year and yet the core of the industry remains the same. Those who are willing to put in the work and stay on the cutting edge of what is necessary to succeed, do in fact succeed. Those hard-workers along with their talent have the best chance of banking on their voices now and in the future.
Geetesh: Since your book came out, technology has advanced so much and we have automatic text to speech converters that can produce a reasonably acceptable speech. But, these automatic converters cannot bring out the emotion, or sound 100% natural. So, what are your thoughts about such technology, and do you believe they have a reason to exist?
Rodney: Yes, I believe that this technology does have reason to exist. The technology is called, Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). It’s also known as Automatic Voice Recognition (AVR). It’s the use of computer hardware and software-based techniques to identify and process human voice. This process is also used to identify the words a person has spoken or to authenticate the identity of the person speaking into the system. And, while the latter usage may be good as a tool in a courtroom for instance, it has no place and is of no concern in the world of voice-over outside of voice prompts and the like. I don’t consider it a hindrance or a real threat to the voice-over community at this time. However, when they start using computer generated voices that have the ability to emote while delivering, promos, animation, trailers, Explainer videos, etc., and those voices don’t first come from a human being, then, we will truly have a problem.