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Environmental Sustainability in the Voice Acting Industry

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman

4 July 2024

Environmental Sustainability in the Voice Acting Industry - Voquent

Can voiceover be environmentally sustainable?

The voice acting industry has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. Particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the rise of accessible recording tools, many studios and actors are finding that they need to adapt to fresh challenges. One of the key considerations for the industry and its contributors at the moment is climate change.

It’s an inescapable fact that there is an urgent need for industries — including voice acting — to act sustainably. This includes making adjustments to all areas of the sector, from casting processes to audio engineering.

With some relatively small adjustments, voice acting can be more responsible and more resilient at this challenging time.

 

Voice actor's silhouette in a green studio.

Why is Sustainability in Voice Acting Important?

It’s not unusual to hear about the urgent need for sustainability in industries like manufacturing and shipping. This makes sense, as they’re traditionally polluting sectors. But why do you need to influence more sustainable working practices in voice acting, which has few typical industrial components?

Firstly, there’s the ethical duty. Almost every industry negatively contributes to the environment in some form. Entertainment production is no different. Even the small steps you take to boost the sustainability of your practices help to care for our planet now and for future generations.

There’s also a business imperative. Industry leaders in various fields have begun to note that consumers care about sustainability. Alongside benefits like resource conservation, green operations can influence customer loyalty, as consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on environmental ethics. They will look for clear adherence to standards like energy efficiency, waste management, and responsible resource sourcing.

The voice acting industry is not immune to these trends. Production companies that want to maintain their brands’ green profile may make choices that demonstrate holistic sustainability across projects. This is becoming particularly common as companies recognise that sustainable productions tend to also be more profitable. Therefore, voice actors, directors, and recording studios that use green processes may find they’re a more attractive prospect for commissions. Indeed, promoting your sustainable actions on websites and talking about them with studio decision-makers can promote your business.

 

Actor recording dialogue in a green studio.

Maintaining Efficiency

One of the ways to prioritise sustainability in the voice acting industry is to boost efficiency. The overuse of resources puts unnecessary pressure on the environment. While voice acting isn’t quite on the same scale as other types of production, there are a few areas where actors, producers, and studios can work together to make for greener — and more cost-effective — recording sessions.

These include:

  • Hold full-cast recording sessions: Recording voiceovers with individual cast members may feel like a good way to fully focus on the needs of each actor. However, setting up and running separate recording sessions for each can also be a drain on energy resources. A greener and more efficient approach is for producers to collaborate with cast, engineers, and studios to schedule single sessions involving multiple cast members.
  • Use energy-efficient technology: Technology in the studio is one of the most significant sources of energy consumption. Therefore, it’s important to invest in energy-efficient tools wherever possible. This could include prioritising Energy Star-rated computers, monitors, and speakers. Even energy-efficient light bulbs in recording spaces make a difference!

Remember to also take simple energy-efficient measures. Studios can put up signs reminding users to turn off equipment and lights when the space isn’t in use. Keeping doors closed when air conditioning or heating is on also prevents unnecessary leakage.

 

Close-up shot of a voice actor in a green recording studio.

Reducing Waste

Waste production is a harmful influence in any industry. It can pollute the environment, and non-biodegradable items can stick around in landfills for decades. The voice acting industry doesn’t exactly produce significant amounts of toxic waste, but there is room for improvement.

It’s important to explore the variety of ways to reduce waste products that are common in many businesses. Some essential steps include:

  • Going digital: Opting for digital documents rather than printed items is a good way to reduce paper waste. This can include providing scripts to voice actors on digital devices, such as tablets. Studios can also share scheduling and booking spreadsheets via the cloud rather than having physical paper records. Actors and crew can even sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in a digital way!
  • Measuring waste: It’s difficult to take informed waste reduction measures without knowing the types and sources of waste in your business. Recording studios can track how much general waste they produce over a specific period. Taking particular note of consistent types of excess waste gives managers data on which to focus reduction methods.
  • Eliminate single-use items: There are various single-use items that are common in voice acting environments. Plastic bottles, disposable cups, straws, coffee pods, and even physical advertising materials can contribute to waste. Eliminating these in favour of reusable and recyclable items is a better approach.

Waste reduction shouldn’t be isolated to traditional recording environments, either. More voice actors are auditioning and even recording full sessions remotely from their own homes. These professionals can also take similar steps to avoid unnecessary household waste, improving the holistic sustainability of the wider industry.

 

Conclusion

A commitment to environmental sustainability is vital for all contributors to the voice acting industry. Whether you’re operating from a traditional studio or from your spare room, there are steps you can take to be greener. This ranges from reducing unnecessary waste to investing in more efficient tech. It’s also important to be vocal about your efforts. Take to social media and highlight the steps you’re taking to run more sustainable recording sessions. You may influence others in the industry to make a difference, too.

 

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Sam Bowman

By Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman is a writer from the pacific northwest, who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community connections across the country. His writing reflects the many passions he has for the world around him. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and frequenting the local bookstore.

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