Million Dollar Stars Flock to Billion Dollar Business

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Actors who once shunned voice-over work are now flocking to this lucrative, new (for them) medium. Demand for their talent ranges from commercials to animated feature films and TV series and video games, sparking an surge in growth in the billion dollar voice over business.

He is a household name. If you heard him speak, you’d know him instantly: James Earl Jones, the menacing voice of Darth Vader in George Lucas’s Star Wars, and the authoritative voice proclaiming “This is CNN” during the 1980s and 1990s.

“What you probably don’t know,” says Ross Huguet, “is that James Earl Jones has starred or appeared in more than 130 movies and TV shows, from Stanley Kubrick’s 'Dr. Strangelove' and Kevin Costner’s 'Field of Dreams,' to 'As the World Turns' and '3rd Rock From the Sun.'”

Huguet is founder and president of One Stop Voice Shop, a Vancouver-based voice talent and production company that provides voice-overs and narration for clients throughout Canada and the USA, as well as overseas.

“Most people only know James Earl Jones for his voice – not just from Star Wars and CNN, but also from such animation hits as Disney’s The 'Lion King' and 20th Century Fox’s 'Robots,'” says Huguet. “Without that voice over work, he would still be in demand for his great acting talent, but he probably wouldn’t be well-recognized outside the entertainment industry.”

Achieving fame through voice acting puts James Earl Jones in a select club, of which the best known member is still Mel Blanc (d. 1989), who did all those great voices for Warner Brothers’ cartoons: "Bugs Bunny," "Yosemite Sam," "Daffy Duck," "Porky Pig" and more, plus Barney Rubble for Hanna-Barbera’s The "Flintstones."

Others in that select club might include Isaac Hayes (Chef, on "South Park"), Jim Backus ("Mr. Magoo"), plus the main cast of The Simpsons – Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns) – who, incidentally, each earn some $300,000 per episode. But there are signs the club is growing rapidly, according to Huguet.

“Animated films are big box-office now, and through our contacts with Hollywood, we see that established film and TV actors are landing many of the leading voice acting roles – in commercials, too. Not long ago, established actors wouldn’t touch voiceover work. Now you’ve got Jeff Bridges voicing Duracell commercials and Julia Roberts doing the same for AOL.”

Recently we’ve also heard the voice of Robin Williams in "Aladdin" and "Robots;" Tom Hanks in "Toy Story" and "Polar Express," Dave Foley in "A Bug’s Life," and Eddie Murphy in "Mulan." Disney’s TV series "Hercules" employs over 160 voice talents, including such well-knowns as James Woods, Jason Alexander (George on Seinfeld), Eric Idle (Monty Python), Regis Philbin, and David Hyde Pierce (Niles, on Frasier).

There is spillover into video games, too, with Burt Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson providing voices for "Grand Theft Auto;" David Duchovny and Marilyn Manson voicing "Area 51," and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman voicing the "Batman Begins" game.

“It’s hard to tell yet whether or not this surge in using celebrity voice talent is making it more difficult for non-celebrities to find good paying work,” says Huguet. “One thing I do know, though, is that there is a lot more demand for voiceover work of all kinds.

“It’s hard to find any reliable statistics for this business, but if you look at all the areas where voice acting is used to convey information or entertainment – from film and TV to on-hold messaging, it is surely an industry worth well over $1 billion a year in North America alone. And that makes this a great time to be in the voiceover business.”

About One Stop Voice Shop

The One Stop Voice Shop, Inc. (OSVS),, is a voiceover specialist company based in Vancouver, BC. The company offers a wide range of services catering to the specific needs of their clients, including voiceovers for commercials, documentaries, audio books, internet, promos, industrials, animation, games, multimedia and radio programming, and on hold marketing. Multi-language voice over talent; celebrity voices; recording, production, casting services; original music composition; sound effects, and script development are also available from OSVS.

Besides their own talent pool of over 100 male and female voice actors, OSVS also has access to a comprehensive selection of International and Hollywood Celebrity Voice Talents and actors.

Clients who use the OSVS website to preview and book talent and order voiceover work not only enjoy one-stop-shopping for their projects, they also benefit from single-rate billing, which lets them plan their budgets in advance.

For more information, please contact:

One Stop Voice Shop (OSVS)

John Friesen

Telephone: (604) 408-5844


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