Here at 522, we rely on professional voiceover artists to help us out on all kinds of different projects. We use vo artists for training videos, television commercials, corporate videos and so much more. We feel the right voice, tone and overall pace can really add value to a video.
Recently, we came across VoiceBunny and wanted to see how their services would fit into our workflow. Needless to say, the process went smoothly and we had a great experience. So, we decided to reach out to our new friends and find out a little more about their background. Here’s what we gathered from talking with Alex Torrenegra, co-founder of VoiceBunny.
Describe your background and how you got involved in voiceover and audio content for videos.
My wife and co-founder, Tania Zapata, was an inspiring voice artist. She had been taken advantage of by a few people claiming to be talent agents. So in 2003, I hacked together Voice123.com, the first online voice casting service. Without venture capital, we grew it to over 100,000 talents and over 3 million auditions. Clients and talents didn’t have to deal with agents and casting directors any longer. Now with VoiceBunny, we are trying to speed up the process of getting a great voice recording to just minutes by allowing the option to skip auditioning talents and providing an API.
In a nutshell, how would you describe VoiceBunny?
VoiceBunny makes it easy to get crowdsourced voiceovers in minutes from a pool of thousands of voice actors via the web or API- It’s “crowdvoicing”! Choose from 50 languages. Audio is sent edited, ready-to-use, with a full-buyout. Our API can allow video editing apps to offer great voices to their clients, ads can be created while the client is buying the campaign, apps can deliver custom content at low cost, etc. VoiceBunny’s potential is limitless.
What sparked the creation of VoiceBunny?
Voice123 is a traditional marketplace that allows clients to run castings, connect with voice actors, negotiate, and pay them directly. We had some clients inquiring about an API to get voices in bulk and automatically. They also wanted to skip the casting and negotiation process and pay through the website. Therefore, VoiceBunny was born to serve a different kind of client. VoiceBunny is set up to allow set pricing, automation, and fast turnaround.
What major changes/events led to your creation of VoiceBunny?
It’s a need for speed! Clients want to do business faster, easier, and in a more automated way. VoiceBunny allows that to happen in what used to be a very traditional and complex industry, whether through the website or especially through the API.
What challenges did you face as you got VoiceBunny off the ground and how did you overcome those challenges?
I have learned a lot since creating Voice123. Crowdsourcing within a creative space is a challenge. It’s a delicate balance to give clients the speed, quality, and price they demand and keep your best talents happy, while filtering out non-professionals. We solved this by using sophisticated algorithms to determine the best voice actor for each project and match them quickly and automatically. VoiceBunny was a challenge in that no one else had an API for voices, but over the past year, we have run many experiments. There have been many ideas that sounded great, but just didn’t work well. We are quick to learn from mistakes, abandon things that aren’t working, and constantly improve.
Who is your primary audience?
Advertisers, video producers, phone system providers, tech companies that can integrate with our API, really any company that needs voices in bulk. However, anyone that needs a voice, whether just 1 or 1000, can use our web form.
What is the best part about owning VoiceBunny?
It’s a really fun industry! I help clients with great projects that thought they couldn’t afford a professional voice or had no idea where to start. I also get to discover some amazing voice actors from all over the world and help them get voiceover work. I’ve even met some famous voice actors, like Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem and some of my other favorite videogames.
What major gaps do you see in the industry? How do you feel VoiceBunny helps fill those needs?
Before online casting, to hire a voice actor, you’d have to connect through talent agents, casting directors, production studios, etc. Then, the Internet allowed you to connect online with talents, but it was still time consuming in that you had to search, negotiate, run castings, etc. and there was no guarantee of quality. It was the same for voice actors. How are they to decide what clients to trust? VoiceBunny takes all of the complexities away and just allows people with great voices to connect with the people that need them.
How do you find voiceover talent for the site?
Initially, voice talents on Voice123.com were invited to join VoiceBunny. But once word started spreading that it’s free for voice actors, voice actors are paid, even for auditions, they choose the projects they want to work on and get paid their full rate for a direct booking (no commissions or fees), we now get many new sign ups per day. Anyone is allowed to sign up, but we screen all audio for quality. Only those voice actors that meet our strict standards get work.
What is VoiceBunny working on now? Gaining new talent? Developing new business models? What’s in store for production companies like us?
Our next service is “BunnyCasting” which will allow blogs and online publishers to get their articles automatically voiced for their website, mobile app, iTunes, Stitcher, etc. via the VoiceBunny API. We are also recruiting voice actors globally to serve clients coming to us from all over the world.
VoiceBunny allows production companies access to thousands of voices and dozens of languages, while guaranteeing quality and speed. You can get more creative. For example, let’s say you’ve got a great idea for a video, but it needs several voices, one is a child, one is a senior. Normally, this would be difficult to track down and record these voices in house. Then there’s the negotiating, directing, and editing that goes along with each actor. With VoiceBunny, you post a script for each one, they send the audio back ready-to-use within the deadline you set. It takes all the complexities out of these kinds of projects, allowing you to be more creative and more impressive to your clients without sacrificing time.
What’s the story behind the name “VoiceBunny”?
I had been thinking of an animal that would represent speed, but still be approachable and fun. A cheetah is fast, but not exactly an approachable animal. I also knew that the word “voice” needed to be in the name. Then, one night, my wife and co-founder Tania, saw this adorable video featuring a singing bunny. She just fell in love with it! I knew right then that I wanted the small, but mighty, Mr. VoiceBunny to be the mascot.