VO Culture
Ahmed AlQotb – voculture.com:

How could a profession turn into a culture?

Once upon a time, on some naval cruise, two sailors were working on a huge ship, one working in the cockpit, and the other working in the engine room, unbale to see each other until everyone was leaving at the end of the shift. Even then, they might leave the ship without ever knowing each other!

Until one day the captain decided to give all the staff on board walkie-talkies so that they could communicate with each other. Several days later, the two sailors working in the engine room and cockpit discovered that they came from the same village! They began to meet at break times and exchange experiences. They chatted and discussed the technical problems that confronted each of them in their respective jobs. Eventually, they discovered solutions to common problems that could not be easily solves when they were unable to communicate. As result, the efficiency of the engine and the performance of the ship began to improve

In this short tail, I hoped to depict what has happened in the creative arts – the birth of a new professional community- a new culture of sharing and support has begun to take shape – a “profession-culture”. A culture is a set of habits, behavioral attitudes, and ideological ideas that connect people in a specific community. Over the past few decade, the birth and evolution of the global voice-over community has characterized by a unique cultural pattern among performing arts and mass communication professionals of all kinds.

Most of those who did Voiceover/ADR jobs for TV and mass communication channels at the end of the twentieth century, were either Actors/Performers, or Radio/TV hosts and announcers. The digital revolution, and the emergence of the Internet as a global communication channel between nations and cultures, was the walkie-talkie which was handed to the sailors in the engine room and cockpit of that huge ship. On one hand, many new tools, apps and solutions that rely on digital technologies have been developed, which created a growing demand for a new form of performing arts, that we now call collectively call voice acting. On the other hand, voiceover artists realize the fact that they are present in global markets and their vital role covers many economic sectors, not only in advertising and marketing or in the film and animation.

In addition, it is fueled by the digital revolution that paved the way for a world where, for the first time ever, when this particular performing art could be totally developed and produced inside a professional studio one’s own home in the suburb of Cairo, Egypt, New York City, or Yorkshire. Like graphic designers, musicians, and fashion designers, voice actors combine their art and entrepreneurism relying solely on their talents and their tools.

In the Arab world, the Internet removed the barriers between hundreds of voiceover professionals recording in Arabic. Arabic language in the East extends bridges across North Africa and the Middle East, just as Churchill was describing United States and Britain as: “Two nations divided by a common language”. Today, the voiceover community has built a common culture. We may call it a “profession-culture” that brings together voiceover artists from Cairo, Tunisia, Rabat, Amman, Damascus and Dubai under one umbrella and keeps them connected to a larger, sprawling global community. The essence of the interdependence of this community remains the same essential purpose in all forms of voice acting… connecting and understanding.




Arabic voice professional, Acting and Casting Director, Founder and Strategist of THE ARABIC VOICE, Inc., ArabicIVR.com and El Hakawaaty educational hub, the voice of:

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