MinnEcon@Work: A booming market for voice overs

Here’s a new, occasional feature: MinnEcon@Work — short videos of Minnesotans with cool jobs and interesting vantage points on the economy. We start with Catherine Campion, a voice over specialist who sees a growing overseas market for her talent.

Campion, 37, a source in our Public Insight Network, dropped us a line a few weeks ago to tell us her business was doing well despite the recession. She wrote:

I work as an on-camera and voice-over actress. I gotta say that, as the on-camera work has dried up here for union talent, the voice-over market is booming. However, it is rarely local projects on which I am working. My employers are all over – from the Pacific Northwest to Europe, even Asia.

We were intrigued. Voice talent might seem like a relic in a video age. But podcasts, satellite radio and the Internet have opened huge new markets for digital audio.

  • Forrester Research predicts 20 million U.S. households will listen to satellite radio and 12.3 million U.S. households will use their MP3 players to listen to audio podcasts by the end of the decade.
  • 45 percent of adults now have e iPods or MP3 players, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Campion caught the acting bug at a young age, working in productions at the Children’s Theatre Company, although she says it goes back further — as an 11-year-old in Mary Strickland’s improv class at Annunciation Catholic School in Minneapolis, where her classmates included TR Knight of Grey’s Anatomy fame.

Campion graduated from the University of Minnesota’s college of agriculture, thinking she’d pursue something in the sustainable environmental field. Acting, though, was a passion and in voice overs, she found a way to earn a living.

She works now out of Los Angeles and St. Paul, where a tiny closet does double duty as a recording studio.

You can check out more of her work on her YouTube Channel.


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