It’s become clear that the last few months have changed us in all aspects of our lives. These uncertain times have pushed us to think creatively, adapt our skills and really tap into our empathy. In the midst of so much chaos, it’s always uplifting to see stories of hard-working human beings reinventing themselves and pushing forward with their work to support themselves, their families and their communities.
New problems, age-old ingenuity.
In my performing arts circles, I’ve seen many colleagues in this country and others instantly lose all their bookings. Their income decimated, they’ve found new ways to keep working and generating income. Some are giving online concerts and educational presentations via Facebook and Youtube. Some have forged new partnerships with other musicians and cultural presenting organizations to make their work available to their fans. One of our musical colleagues found an ingenious way to adapt his skills to social distancing: offering serenades to people from outside their homes. Art is invention, so it’s not surprising that artists would find inventive solutions.
Lifting each other up.
It’s been very heartening to see how the pandemic has inspired compassion and generosity in so many. Arts and charitable organizations have stepped up to support artists who have lost income. Since voiceover has been our main source of income, we’ve enjoyed more freedom to donate our musical services. During the pandemic, we’ve had the privilege of doing online concerts to benefit some of these funds. Brian and I have also been volunteering for a hotline to help Spanish speakers access services such as unemployment insurance and rental assistance.
So what happens now? We all know that the pandemic is not over.
How will the lessons from the past few months reshape the world of advertising, marketing and branding moving forward? I would like to share with you some of my thoughts based on what my family has been experiencing as professional voiceover talents. Please feel free to comment with your own!
We need empathy and compassion more than ever.
A voice is not only powerful for the words it speaks and the message it carries. During the last few months I have received more requests for a compassionate, trustworthy, friendly voice. Companies are working hard to convey a message of caring and understanding. A message can be important on its own, but the right voice can make it resonate. No text on a screen can come close to a heart-felt call to action conveyed by a warm human voice.
A relatable voice can convey emotion and empathy, an intimate connection with the listener. It can also deliver a tone of authority in sharing important information. For reads like this, I need to make sure I voice the lines with confidence.
As a voice actor, like any actor, I draw from moments in my own life to express emotions. I think of times when I’ve comforted my kids or a dear friend, and instantly my voice becomes more nurturing, more comforting. Or maybe I think of how I talk to my dog, whom I adore. And speaking of dogs, here’s a case in point! I am the Spanish voice of Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Their national TV commercials these days highlight their commitment to donating food to shelters and to individuals who are fostering a dog.
Language continues to be extremely important.
As you know, we are a bilingual family and as such, we understand the importance of language as a way to connect with others in meaningful ways. During a crisis, however, language becomes even more important. When the information being shared can make a difference in someone’s health, translation and delivery are paramount! Localization matters, and it’s important to understand that the same word may mean something completely different from one population to another. We spoke about this in a past blog post.
Preparing for the unexpected.
When the pandemic hit, many businesses were caught unprepared and unable to swiftly transition into fully online operations. We feel very fortunate that throughout the years, we’ve built a professional studio with multiple remote recording capabilities (learn more here!). As I write this blog post we await the arrival of a new addition to our studio equipment that will improve playback quality for our clients in directed sessions. We can’t wait! But our innovation doesn’t stop there. The pandemic is still a reminder for all of us to think of how we can continue to remain relevant in our industries, especially in the work we do as a musical family.
With new platforms like Streamyard and OBS that interface with Facebook, we’ve been able to collaborate with other artists. We did a magical double bill concert for well over 1,000 live viewers, watched later by 31,000 people. The best part was that we raised money for a worthy nonprofit in my native Puerto Rico.
Then there’s Zoom. Please tell me: what professional is not using Zoom these days to meet with clients and colleagues and to keep themselves informed and sharing resources? Nearly everyone has had to embrace new technology, regardless of their level of comfort with it. I really like this Zoom tutorial narrated by Brian using his friendly-authoritative, confident voice style, reassuring the listener that they’ve got this.
All of our situations look different, but in each situation there is an opportunity for growth, improvement and helping others. Let’s embrace that! Here are some questions I encourage you to ask yourself after reading this post. Feel free to let me know what you think.
- What skills have I been using the most during the last 3 months and how can I use them further and/or improve them?
- Do I have a business plan for the next 6-12 months? What about a plan B?
- What have I learned during the last 3 months that I could teach others to positively impact their situation?
Please stay calm, stay safe and continue to take all the necessary precautions. If we work together, we WILL get through this! And if you need a song to calm you down, here’s a vocal harmony-rich gift for you from our family. It’s from our new CD, ¡En vivo, en familia!, which we will release on July 16th! Enjoy! And if you need our voices for your project, please reach out!