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Do casting agents blacklist older voice talent?

The answer might surprise you. Voice actors like Randy Thomas continue to rock the mic, but what does it take to work as you get older?

Do casting agents blacklist older voice talent? - 7:13

So the other day, I was watching Hulu, and I heard a voice in the wild that, uh, I haven't heard in a little bit. The, um, incredibly prolific Randy Thomas. And, of course, she was in her element doing her thing, doing promo, which I think, um, you know, is a major claim to fame for Randy.

First, let me say that just because I haven't heard her recently doesn't mean that she's not booking work. Okay, just happenstance, right? Um, maybe the media that I'm consuming right now, um, the things that I'm watching and listening to, yeah, that she just hasn't been a part of that in some way. Um, I just want to really make that clear. It does not mean that she's not booking work. It just means I personally have not run into her voice very recently. And the reason this is kind of important to me, um, is, well, it's twofold. So one, Randy was someone that paved the way for female voice actors in my generation. Okay, now I am by no means saying that Randy is old, but I want you guys to keep something in mind. I joke constantly that I have been doing this forever.

Well, see, here's the thing. If that's the case, Randy was a high-paid, celebrity-level voice actress when I was a nobody. So that should give you an idea. Right when I was just starting out in this industry, she already had this incredible name for herself, and you heard her everywhere. Randy is definitely a seasoned pro who has been around a long time, and obviously, she's definitely older than my 45 years. All of this is to say, we know that voice acting doesn't see the same kind of ageism that on-camera does, but that doesn't mean it's not there, 'cause it is. It's a lot less, but it definitely exists. And voice actors, I think, as they get older, get kind of paranoid, right? Like, what's going to happen? Am I going to start seeing a decrease in bookings? Am I going to be able to sustain my living and my livelihood?

Um, it can be frustrating for us when, right, all of the casting calls or it seemingly so are for people in their 20s and 30s, and as we get up in age, we start to maybe question, like, "Oh, am I in trouble? Like, what does my future look like in this? What's going to happen?" I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn't guilty of those thoughts every so often, right? They creep in. They just... It is what it is, guys.

Hearing Randy really cemented for me, "It's going to be okay. It really is." Like, she is so well-known, sure, but she's not somebody, you know, who's resting on her laurels and just using that as a means to continue to work. She continues to work because she's awesome, end of story. She's an amazing, amazing voice actor.

Back in the day when I was in casting, again, you know, much, much younger in my career, I would sometimes get to interact with her or her reps, um, Arnie, which, you know, her manager, and, um, and man, I... I remember being so nervous, so intimidated. I don't know if she knows this or not. Hell, I don't even know if she'll ever watch this, right? Right. But if she does, I hope she kind of gets a laugh out of it and... and a giggle and understands, you know, where my heart is coming from in all of this.

Um, but I used to get so nervous because I was, like, "I don't belong anywhere near her. Like, I don't belong in her presence, right? I'm so out of my freaking league right now." And Randy, you know, she always handled things with grace. It was... It was always great to work with her. Um, she taught me a lot as well, just leading by example in the industry. But I think about, you know, people that grew up in my generation of VO, and I think about, you know, my friend Lisa Biggs, and, um, names like, uh, Maria Pendolino come to mind, and Tasia Valenza. Any number of the really prolific voice actresses that we know in the industry right now, and I go, "I think we'll be all right." You know, because... because a couple of things are going to happen, and... and one is, as the population continues to change, right? And certainly as the, uh, the millennial, and well, the late geners and the early millennials, you know, begin to age, there's going to be more and more content and material that is meant for them. There's going to be more and more products and services and different things that are aimed towards them. And as a result, we're going to be the prime deliverer of those messages. So that's kind of great. Um, that gives us a lot of hope for that. It's... it's not like it used to be, where, I mean, literally, you know, after a certain age, you were just kind of cut off.

The other thing that I want you to keep in mind, if you're at all having concerns about ageism in voiceover, is that you're only the age you sound, not the age you are. So for many of us who do this vocally, we're about five to ten years, in some cases, fifteen years younger sounding than we actually are. And that is something that will sustain you and carry you for a lot longer than you may have initially realized. Because at the end of the day, yeah, your voiceover clients don't care how old you really are. They care about how old you sound.

If this has kind of been weighing on you and it's one of those thoughts that creeps into your head, especially for intermediate-level voice actors and people who've already got their career started, yeah, just... just, it's going to be all right, you know? There's still plenty of opportunities out there. And keep an ear out for the veterans. Keep an ear out for the people that influenced you when you were coming up. Um, keep an ear out for the Randy Thomases, 'cause, man, they're still out there. They are kicking ass, they're taking names, and more importantly, they're still rocking the mic. I hope that helps. Randy, I love you to pieces, woman. Big hugs, big squeezes. Bye, guys.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, ageism, promo, Randy Thomas, Nightline

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