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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.


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Hope this helps!

David

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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
business
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 amc.com 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
thing
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
tomorrow.

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?”

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