A New Lead Source For Performers: Voice Assistants And Smart Speakers

Hey there!

Back in the 80s, after answering machines had their heyday, IVR systems started becoming popular and a new avenue of income for voice talent was born. It became so lucrative that we teach an entire class on it in the Pro curriculum.

Today, a similar technology is presenting itself as a possible source of work for you: voice assistance and smart speaker apps.

Let’s take a look at the concepts and the lingo you need to know to speak intelligently about Siri, Alexa and their cousins.

(Click/tap ↑↑↑↑↑↑ that red YouTube button to subscribe to my channel. You’ll get notified when I release new videos.)

Hope this helps!


All Episodes

One Step At A Time

Five Ways To Have An Excellent Coffee Date With Me

Five Ways To Have A Crappy Coffee Date With Me

Taking Advantage Of The Wisdom Of The Tribe

How To Be A World Class Complainer

The False Nobility Of The Struggle

Watch Out – The Rules Are Going To Change

“Show Me The Secret, Daddy!”

Coaching vs Consulting vs Facilitating

The Perils of Live Performance And Why Jeremy Kappell Should Not Have Been Fired

Let’s Welcome To The Stage…Failure!

Don’t Confuse Price With Value

Whiteboards In The Hallways

Go Wake Up Your Luck

Playing and Planning

The Two Things Most Talent Try to Accomplish Way Too Soon

10,000 Hours To Become Good At Something? Not Really.

The Curse of Knowledge

The Trick Charlie Munger Uses To Make Better Decisions

Everyone’s A Customer, Not Just Your Customers

“What do you mean, you’re a ‘process guy’?”

Pay Attention To Your Storytelling, Not Removing Your Breaths

How To Conquer FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

The Problem In Every Commercial Script

The Job In Every Commercial Script

The Secret In Every Commercial Script

How To Pick Your Stage Name

Voice Over Is REALLY Hard. Until It Isn’t.

Helping Make Resolutions Stick

ACX Jobs: They’re ALL SAG-AFTRA-Friendly

Non-Union? You Can Still Open An AFTRA H&R Account. What?

Who Says You Need To “Feel Like It?”

Are You Engaged?

Your Day Job Might Just Be Worth Keeping For A Bit Longer

Want To Learn Something Really Well? Teach It To Others

Don’t Confuse What Works With What You Like

The Lost Keys And The Microphone In My Elevator

My Insane Backup System Plus Two Helpful Tips

What Open Loops Are And Why They Work So Well

Two More Things For Which You Can Use Open Loops

Three Things Not To Say Or Do…When Trying To Learn Something New

Front Burner and Back Burner Project Management

How To Properly List The Accents and Dialects You Perform

My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 1)

My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 2)

A Simple, One-Word Decision-Making Question To Ask Yourself

Ready, Shoot…Aim

How You Can Use The MVP Model As A Performer

How Lazy Can You Be?

Avoid The Struggle Porn

The Robocall Equivalent Of Unsubscribe

Saying Goodbye To A “Failure”

Making Your Links Irresistible

HTTPS Is Not Just For Banks – It’s For You

The Threat That Made Me Create a New Page For LAME

The Resource You Must Guard Most Carefully

How New Media Is Using The Oldest Ad Model Ever

“You Could Be Hit By A Bus!”

Killing Customers With Kindness

I Found Out What She Was Podcasting About

How I Answered’s Inquiry

Turning Mountains Into Molehills

Motivation: Your Three Big Needs In A Cool Little Package

Go Ahead. Multitask. But Try It Like This.

The Prodigy Game Doesn’t Deserve This Treatment

I Don’t Want To Go Blind

What Fair Markets Are, And Why Isn’t One

Trevor’s Three A’s From Apple On Killing Customers With Kindness

Getting Ready vs. Getting Started

You’ll Never Believe Who Got Rejected By Harvard

There Is No Failure, Only Feedback

Who Is Your Most Dangerous Adversary?

73 Videos In, My First Hater Appears

If You’re The Smartest Person In The Room, Do This ASAP

Your Glasses And Crucial Laptop Positioning Info

One More Insanely Over-engineered Piece Of Gear: My UPS

The Crazy Backward Way IKEA Prices Their Stuff Complained To YouTube That I Violated Their Privacy

The Gig Economy: RIP?

For Your Health: Not Perfect. Just Better.

Celebrate Your Isolation!

Mr. Wonderful Is Actually More Wonderful Than I Thought

Let’s Finally Close The Digital Literacy Gender Gap

The Guaranteed Way To Completely Avoid Criticism

The Two Things People Judge About You Within Seconds

Prioritizing…Nashville Style

Are You Committed? Or Just…Interested?

Audible Retail Samples: Why They Suck And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

How To Voice Copy That’s Set In Italics

Dyslexia, And The Palindromic Poem. The Wha?

Increase Your Chances Of Being Seen And Heard On Facebook

Jamie Has Some Thoughts About Fiverr

Is Simply Discouraging Distracted Driving Enough?

“Young People Are Just Smarter.”

The Real Purpose Of The “Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam

Beware Of Overkill

Laying Down The Perfect Slate

An AMA Preview: The Word “Ethnic” – A Slur, Or An Essential Adjective?

10 Rules of Profitable Self Discipline from Napoleon Hill

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 1)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 2)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 3)

AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 4)

AMA Answers Part 5 Plus A Medical Warning

Last AMA Answers (#6): Gear, Services and Success

A 7-Word Reminder: “Don’t correct people when it matters little.”

Do You Have A Plan? And Is It The Right One?

What’s Your Next Big Move? Are You Ready?

Build Your Future On Your Own Platform, Not Someone Else’s

I’m Leaving Facebook: Why Groups and FB Live No Longer Spark Joy

Time To Accept That I’ve Failed At Something – Happily

Crowdfunding Without The Internet: Pulitzer And The Statue Of Liberty

The Amazing Power Of Recognition And Badging

Might We Have A Possible Cause For Alzheimer’s?

Why Podcasting And Radio Are Out Of Whack

Value Enthusiasm, But Value Persistence More

Ten Ways To Make Money With Podcasts Besides Ads

One Quick Question To Find Out How Important Something Actually Is

The Workflow For Producing These Videos (So Far) Part 1

Why Not Wade? And…Why Not You?

Audiobook Narrators: How Paymasters Work, And The One I Recommend

Why Gen Z And Millennials’ Love For Audiobooks Is Crucial

American Idol: It’s All About Story, Not Just Singing

Less Beating Yourself Up, More Talking Yourself Up

Resist Oversharing. Instead, Start A Dialogue.

Vocal Care: It’s All About What Works For You

3 Biases You Should Be Aware Of

3 More Biases You Should Also Be Aware Of

Wow. People Really Grokked Biases. Let’s Tackle Fallacies.

Three More Fallacies You Need To Watch For

What’s Your Imprint?

Fallacy Follies, Volume 3

Two Last Big Creativity-Crippling Fallacies

Fail Sooner To Succeed Sooner

A New Lead Source For Performers: Voice Assistants And Smart Speakers

A Great Way To Handle Trolls and Haters

Quantity Does Not Usually Equal Quality

Is Facebook Truly A Monopoly? No More Than Microsoft Was.

Fear Of The Unknown, Or The Day Before My Surgery

A Strange Aspect To Performing That Should Be Cause For Protest, But Isn’t

Want To Grow? Don’t Go It Alone.

How Am I Doing? I’m Gobsmacked. That’s How Am I Doing.

Why I Give My Agents 10% Of Everything

Not Just Explainer Videos, But Video That Explain Things Spectacularly

Mental Floss To The Rescue: Skills You Can Pick Up On YouTube

What’s Better Than Willpower? Grit.

Regarding Apple’s App Store: Be Careful What You Wish For, Pepper

Of COURSE You Wonder What Porter’s Five Forces Are. Who Doesn’t?

Don’t Waste Your Time: Talk Shows Aren’t Meant To Be Fair

Sooner Or Later, I’m Really Going To Tick You Off

Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should

Wait, What? Audacity Records In The Background?!

Enjoy Your First Booking. Pay Close Attention To The Next Three.

Pattern Interruption And The Musicality Of Voice Over

Do You Still Have A Landline? Is It POTS? Wait, What’s POTS?

Increase Your VO Accuracy, And You’ll Increase Your VO Profits

Age Range Isn’t Really A Valid Metric For VO

What Is The Overton Window?

How To Stop Jealousy From Killing Your Progress

Even The Bible (And Game Of Thrones) Has One-Star Reviews

How Much Is Enough To Make Per Hour?

With Royalty Share Plus, ACX Makes Hybrid Stipends Official

Wait, Vices Can Be Good For Your Health?

What A Lovely Thing To Discover: Praise From CourVO

I Figured Out What I Provide: The Onboarding Performers Don’t Get

You Don’t Need Permission To Care Or Contribute

It’s Not Just You. It’s The Superstars, Too.

Do You Sometimes Think Irrationally? Maybe. Here’s How To Stop It.

The Struggle Of Announcer-y Versus Non-Announcer-y Voice Over

How My VAs Support Me And My Team

What Exactly Is “The Cloud?”

The Often “Most Difficult” Concept I Teach

Please Unsubscribe From This List. But Don’t Do This One Destructive, Lazy Thing.

Don’t Mistake The Joy Of Knowing For The Joy Of Doing

Why Giving Yourself Some Simple Homework Can Be Life-Changing

One Weird Trick I Do That Makes My Note-Taking Superhuman

The Worst Thing About The Biggest Money-Making Entertainment Category

What Can We Grab From A Schedule This Strict?

Get Better At Executing Today’s Plan By Starting Last Night

How To Create Useful, Organized Audition File Names

Where To Find Related PDFs For Audiobooks on Audible

I’m Halfway Finished. What Have You Valued Most? What Can I Do Better?

Our Digital Attention Span Is Incredibly Brief

“Serves You Right!” She Actually Has No Idea How Right.

Create A Safe Environment For Self-Improvement

Why I Use One Single Channel For Crucial Communication

The Even Cheaper AT-2020 USB Plus Microphone?

Fred Willard (and Billy West) On Quickly Creating Authentic VO Characters

Leo Makes Your Searching Spectacular

On Asking For Things Performers Can’t Do

How To Battle The Urge of “Efficiency”

One More Best-Of-Breed Way To Brilliantly Complain

Changing Audacity’s Sampling Rate To 48,000 Hz

10 Words Of Encouragement When You’re Stuck

Seek/Give Mentorship That’s Appropriate To The Journey

Two Cases Where You Might Not Want To Simply “Follow Your Passion”

Having Fun With Headphone Volume

Please Stop Rushing To Perform

Something To Consider: Everyone’s Internal Menu

One Crazy Key To Creativity: Pure, Unadulterated Boredom

For The Sheer Joy Of It

The Most Commonly Consumed Media Is…!

What’s Dangerous For Us To Care About

Please, Clever Copywriters…Stop Using This Term

Wait, Wait…What? They Actually Listened?!

Why You Should Take The Same Classes Twice

How Your Character’s Menu Informs Your Performance Choices

What Shouldn’t Be Your Metric For VO Success

Someone Awesome Who’s Also Rising To A 365-Day Challenge

Union Or Not, Start With Union Rates

O. M. G. Look What Matt Zurbo Did!

So Where Will That Huge Facebook Fine End Up?

The Root Words of “Typecast”

Avoid That One Obvious “That Worked” Sound We Make

Why Union Members Can Audition For Non-Union Work

200 Auditions. 1 Booking. A Ghost. Really?

I Can’t Do One Thing I’m Asked To Do Every Single Day

One Of Your Secret Weapons: Agility

Do Networking Events Make You Anxious? Let’s Fix That.

Project X Is Just About Ready. I’m A Bit Giddy.

The Difference Between Mansplaining and Advice?

Too Late, Melissa. You Already Are.

Help Me Solve A Lovely Mystery!

Speeding Up The Playback On The Audible App

Why Those Other Casting Sites Usually Aren’t Worth It

Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and I’ve got something that I hope is
gonna excite you
it it is like something that happens
every 5-10 years especially since the
advent of high technology in the 70s and
80s and that is a new avenue of
potential income for you if you’re a
great storyteller not only with your
voice but with writing and what I’m
talking about is smart assistant smart
speakers a I assisted speakers I’m
talking about things like Amazon Alexa
and Google home and Apple home pod and
Siri and all of those things now we tend
to think of those things as basically
just computer-generated pre-recorded
voices but what I want you to think
about today is the idea that just like
when God when I was in high school basic
Fortran pl1 APL COBOL all of these
languages were being built for linear
linear app work on big mainframe
computers and then object-oriented stuff
came along C C++ all of the Java and and
those associated things making
applications that basically waited for
user input from a number of different
avenues and then did whatever the user
wanted it to do well now you can see a
huge spike in the the the increase in
the way people search more and more and
more people are searching with voice
sometimes on computers sometimes on
their phones sometimes on tablets but
often with speakers so if you know how
to create conversations which we do
because we’re storytellers you might
have the opportunity and might want to
think about the idea of moving into the
of a I assisted speakers and voices
assistance here’s the thing IVR was like
not a category in the 80s when I started
working with America Online is the voice
of their IVR system and now it’s one of
many many ways that voiceover people can
make money and I really believe that
smart speakers virtual assistants and
I’m talking about AI based assistants
are going to be huge in the future but
there’s not really a design community
around that you know you can go to
college right now and you can get a
degree in graphic design you can get a
degree in systems design mechanical
design you can get a degree in UI UX
which is user interface user experience
but none of those really have caught up
with the technology none of them are
addressing at least none of the programs
that I know are addressing the design of
voice apps so when you play a game or
when you get tickets for a movie you
know you’re going to or whatever
or you’re making an appointment or
you’re looking for a recipe or any of
the any of the millions of ways that you
would use a an AI driven voice assistant
those all have to be designed in a way
that helps people find the information
and get the reaction and the results
that they want and I think part of that
starts with understanding sort of the
goals and some of the lingo you know in
the IVR class that we have 4 vo to go go
we talk about prompts and we talk about
phone trees and we talk about logic and
we talk about actions and options and
some of that actually carries over to
the assistant world so there are two I
just wanted to share with you some high
points of an article that Mark Webster
who works for Adobe and sort of their
product manager for voice wrote for Fast
Company it was fascinating read voice
assistance smart speakers and so on the
two big ones and really
big one is Amazon Alexa if you look at a
chart of the devices that are available
for you to use for voice assistance
Amazon has like 90 of them Google has
like six and Apple has one and then
there’s everybody else so really paying
attention to Amazon and Google and what
they do
Amazon Alexa versus Google assistant
they have a different way of going about
doing the apps that work on their
speaker systems on their on their
systems Amazon’s are called skills and
Google’s are called assistants and Alexa
on Amazon often does all the work like
you may go to a bank to get your balance
but Alexa is telling you your balance
with Google they hand it off from the
main Google Voice on the home to
whatever the bank has created for their
app so it’s slightly different and so
let me just let me just deal real
briefly with the idea of how these apps
work and what you need to know in terms
of the of the lingo of the the you know
the different words that are used so say
you wanted to design an app like this
how would you prototype that with a
graphic design you draw a storyboard or
if you were writing something you’d
write a draft and then you did it so the
cool thing with Amazon and with Google
is that you talk it out it’s called The
Wizard of Oz prototyping so you and
someone else sit there and have a
conversation hi I’d like to you know get
tickets for you know the the Avengers
movie where are you located well you
don’t need that because you know where
they’re located you know their zip code
you know where the speaker is sitting in
their home you know where their home is
it’s all geo located so you can get rid
of that so that’s what happens when you
walk through the process what theater
would you like to go to well there’s a
good chance that you have a special
theater that you like one that’s nearby
so maybe the conversation
is would you like to see it at theater
name goes here yes or no so you have
this conversation back and forth you
know what time would you like to go how
many tickets do you need that sort of
it’s called Wizard of Oz prototyping and
you start to lay out all the different
options that people have when they do it
and the whole app starts to take shape
and then there are four or five
different things that you should know
about this space and then I’ll let you
go because this has already become a
huge long video but I’m so excited about
it so utterance an utterance is a
command or phrase that a user says to a
voice assistant so Alexa I want to go to
the movies or Alexa I want to make
reservations for a haircut or whatever
the intent that is a word that means
what the user means by that because what
somebody says doesn’t always impart the
full intent of what they want the
assistant to do you know there’s a
million ways to type in a search phrase
and there’s a million ways to say a
search phrase you have to understand
what the intent is of what the utterance
was right then hey they’re borrowing
something from IVR prompt a prompt is
what the assistant says back and you
know when you do IVR work you’re saying
things that the caller will hear on the
phone line a turn a turn is a back and
forth you say something the assistant
responds the assistant says something
you respond that’s called a turn and
then finally there’s a bargain see now
here’s here’s one of the cool things
that I always am fascinated with when
there’s a new technology you know how
when you get frustrated that you can’t
get the operator or a live person on an
IVR call and you start mashing on the
zero button
that’s called a barge in an IVR but it
isn’t something that’s very well known
but a bargain is when you interrupt the
voice assistant no no that’s not what
I’m looking for stop you know it’s just
it’s it’s fascinating I’m sorry I’m so
excited about it but it’s fascinating
designing these systems is going to rely
on a skill that we have that skill is
storytelling and because many of us are
also skilled at doing IVR work and doing
design work there’s there’s a great
opportunity for voice talent and for
actors to get involved in this process
and it’s not always going to be
computer-generated voices sometimes
there’s going to be talent voices
involved this is a huge marketplace pay
attention to it you probably already
have some sort of a speaker or a vocal
assistant even if you just have Siri on
your phone so you’re getting more and
more of an experience with this what do
you think tell me what you think give me
a comment let me know what you think
maybe you don’t share the same
enthusiasm that I do you’re sitting
there going – why are you so hyped about
this I just am I think it’s great I
think it’s fantastic I think it’s gonna
be another thing that will allow us to
make money and potentially something for
me to teach so I’m just really excited
about it let me know in the comments
below if you’re watching on vo – go go
if you’re not go over there because vo –
go go go comm is where we have all kinds
of great things for you for the world of
performers if you’d like to subscribe to
my youtube channel go ahead and click on
my head there if you don’t see a head
there there’s a subscribe button
somewhere on the page below and if you’d
like to see the latest version of a
video that I’ve done click on that frame
and YouTube will play it for you I’m
David H Lawrence xvii I thank you so
much for watching and I’ll talk to you

6 Responses to A New Lead Source For Performers: Voice Assistants And Smart Speakers

  1. chet Hanson May 16, 2019 at 6:42 am #

    David, one day they will make a movie about you.

  2. Kirsten May 16, 2019 at 8:38 am #

    Your enthusiasm is contagious!!! What FUN!!!

  3. Laura Summer May 16, 2019 at 1:49 pm #

    When ya gonna teach a class on “this” David? x

  4. Stephanie May 17, 2019 at 8:04 am #

    I’d like to learn more about this too.

  5. Laura May 19, 2019 at 5:40 am #

    8000+ prompts for the IVR phone system of an international healthcare organization’s IT support desk. Tedious to edit but a super project. This particular phone system requires a project rate of 8000 Hz which is almost painful to work with, but sounds great when it runs through the system. I’d like more gigs like that! Plus it’s fun when your friends say, “I had to call the help desk. Was that you answering the phone?”

Leave a Reply