The Voice Lab
Welcome to the audio studio. We've got soundproofing installed, but please try to keep the noise down anyway.
This section explores vocal performance, specifically in the areas of announcing, narration, voice characterization, etc. You'll find training tools to help develop vocal performance skills, exploration of the roles of human performers in an era of voice synthesis and artificial actors, and voice peformance examples -- with analysis -- for your study and listening pleasure. Although the banner images above suggest a concentration on audio talent, remember that voice performers are needed in movies, interactive multimedia, corporate video, television -- even talking greeting cards! Follow these links for more specific information.
Will announcers become obsolete? People are hard at work researching and developing voice synthesis -- in other words, machines that can read copy almost as well as a real-live voice actor. How worried should professional talent be? Check out the research, and decide for yourself. This comprehensive list of resources has over 400 links to various types of Internet sites.
For just one example, at the University of California at Santa Cruz, they're exploring speech perception by ear and eye. This exploration goes beyond the now-familiar audio-only voice synthesis, to include corresponding synthesized facial animation. Meanwhile, the Speech Recognition Group at Rutgers University provides the latest news on machines that know how to listen. I guess the people most likely to lose work to that technology would be bartenders.
All kidding aside, the creation of artificial people, voices, etc. is an area of intense research. Jump to the Multimedia Page here for information about Virtual Reality and related subjects in interactive multimedia.
While waiting for all that technology to arrive, you still have to think about human competition in the world of voice talent. Check out Radio and Television Announcers and Newscasters, an excerpt from "The Occupational Outlook Handbook" provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New and upcoming: A new site specifically for Narrators. Right now, the site is just getting started, but it will eventually have even more resources and focus than you find here.