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Tacotron 2 or Human; Can You Tell the Difference?

When Apple introduced the new Siri back in June of 2017, I was pretty impressed. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote a blog on the subject and noted that voice actors better pay attention. (Have You Heard The New Siri? As A Voice Actor, You Better Listen!)

Text-to-speech technology is something I’ve been keeping on eye on because I believe, one day, it could have a profound impact on my income as a voice actor. I’ve already seen it happen in certain areas of my business. In fact, just the other day I had a conversation with an eLearning company that said they prefer to use computer generated voices to voice actors because it’s more convenient for them.

Are you familiar with Moore’s Law? Around 1970 it became common term related to processing speed for computers. The principle states that processing power for computers will double every two years. For the most part, this has held true.

If it applies to computer processing speed, one can’t help but wonder if it could be applied to the advancement of other related computer technologies, such as A.I.

Tacotron 2 or Human; Can You Tell the Difference?

Google released some audio samples recently that are ear-opening.

The engineers at Google have been working very hard on a new text-to-speech system currently called “Tacotron 2.”

Here’s what they have to say about it, with regards to how it compares to human voice. “Our model achieves a mean opinion score (MOS) of 4.53 comparable to a MOS of 4.58 for professionally recorded speech.”

Mean Opinion Score is a fancy term used in telecommunications that measures how true to life something sounds. Based on the results Google is sharing, Tacotron 2 sounds darn near as real as it gets right now.

In addition to not only sounding real in quality of voice, it also has the ability to detect context! For example it can tell the difference between the noun “present” and the verb “present.”

Could text-to-speech replace voice actors in the near future? Listen to this!
Tweet Quote

The Future is Coming Fast

If you thought the new Siri sounded great back in June, the samples of Tacotron 2 are going to blow your mind and make you nervous all at the same time.

This technology isn’t all that far away from becoming a legit competition in a field like eLearning, in my opinion.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a concerning prospect for me, as that represents a significant chunk of my voice over income.

Hear the samples for yourself here – Tacotron 2 Audio Samples

What do you think?

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My Dumbest Internet Marketing Mistake

A lot of what this blog has become is me sharing lessons and stories of what I’ve learned along the way. Some of them by education, some of them, sadly, by making mistakes. This is one of my dumbest mistakes!

When you’re doing your internet marketing, I hope this video helps you avoid making the same one.

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Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

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The Biggest Social Media Mistake You’re Making For You Voice Over Business

On a near daily basis voice actors ask one question over and over again. “How can I use social media to book more voice over work?” Either that or they comment, “I’ve tried to book voice work with social media, and it’s just a waste of time.”

Social media is not a waste of time.

Trust me!

The Biggest Social Media Mistake

social-mediaI’m going to be discussing social media in a couple posts this week, but before I get into how to make social media work for your voice over business, let’s explore why it isn’t.

I could very easily expand this post into a month long series… but I won’t.

Fact of the matter is, I notice one common mistake more than any other amongst voice actors trying to turn social media into leads and booked gigs.

Voice actors build networks of voice actors.

That’s it. That’s the single biggest mistake I see today in social media usage.

Examine Your Network

Who are you following on Twitter?

Who are your friends on Facebook? What pages do you like? What groups do you belong to?

Who are you connected with on LinkedIn?

Who is in your circles on Google+?

I’m guessing it’s mostly voice actors. That’s one thing I’ve noticed in my years in the voice over industry. We love to network with each other. Now, keep in mind, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if your network is only filled with voice actors it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you’re not booking voice over work via social media.

You’re not networking with all the right people.

Expand Your Network

network-300x225Before I dive any deeper into the subject of social media for voice over this week, here’s your homework assignment. Explore your network and start thinking about how you can expand it beyond the confines of other VO’s.

Follow some new people. Circle some new people. Link with some new people. Like some new people!

Start building a network of potential clients. People who could benefit from the services you offer.

On Wednesday, I’ll give you one really great tip for networking on social media.



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Improve Your Google+ Profile In 30 Seconds

Google+ is quickly becoming my favourite social network. It’s proving to be far superior to Facebook in a number of ways, in my opinion. Given the connection to Google, it goes without saying that participating comes with SEO benefits as well.

Although the network has been around for a while, it’s only been fairly recently that it’s really started to gain popularity. Each day I see new people jumping on board. If you’re one of those people there’s one very important step you need to take to improve your profile.

What Do You Do?marc-scott-google-plus

When you hover over a name in Google+ a pop up, for lack of a better term, appears. For all intents and purposes, this is the equivalent of your Google+ business card.

What does yours say?

Surprisingly, most, especially for newcomers, say absolutely nothing! And that means you’re missing out.

If people don’t know who you are or what you do, odds are they’re not going to Circle you. Miss out on being added to Circles and you have just missed out on expanding your network!

How To Add Your Job Title

When people hover over your name you’re going to want it to have your job title. This would be your keyword of choice. Voice Actor, Voice Artist, Voice Talent, Voice Over. Whatever it is that you use in your branding, you’re going to want it to say that.

You do NOT want your card to appear blank.

Improve your Google+ profile in 30 seconds! Click to Tweet

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. Click “About”.
  3. On the right side you’ll see the heading “Story”. Scroll down. Click “Edit”.
  4. In the “Tagline” box add a description and include your keyword.

With this one simple profile update, which will take you about 30 seconds to do, you’ll find yourself a lot more easily discoverable and it won’t be long before your network starts to grow!

FOR COMMENT: Are you using Google+ for your voice over business?

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Are YouTube Ads Keeping You From Getting Paid?

In addition to my audio demos that I post all over the web, I also have video demos that I’ve shared on YouTube. The fact is, it’s simply too big a search engine to be ignored. With well written descriptions and proper keyword selection, it’s another great way to get your demos found.

Another advantage of video demos is I can include visual messages. In the latest batch that I created, I include quotes from clients and a few other pertinent pieces of info a voice seeker would need to hire me. Continue reading Are YouTube Ads Keeping You From Getting Paid?