In January of 2021, voice actor JP Karliak was frustrated by multiple conversations with industry colleagues: queer roles were popping up more and more in animated and interactive projects, but they were almost never authentically cast with queer talent. The common refrain was "we just don't know how to find them." Thus Queer Vox was born.
The Queer Vox Academy was initially intended to be an introductory, pay-what-you-can voiceover class for emerging queer VO artists. But after JP received over 200 applications from around the US (and beyond!) expressing interest, it was clear this needed to be something more. Additionally, talent agents, casting directors, and other industry professionals reached out to 1.) get access to this talent pool for casting and 2.) create dialogue around how to better recruit, develop, cast, and ultimately work with queer talent. In light of this interest, Queer Vox has continued to evolve over the year. Now, in collaboration with Queer Vox Vice-Principal Sarah Elmaleh and a growing number of faculty, our current initiatives include:
Classes and workshops for LGBTQIA+ VO talent, all pay-what-you-can, all keeping the unique challenges of queer/trans talent in mind.
Public industry panels—offered in conjunction with our partners at The Halp Network—we bring together seasoned VO actors, talent agents, and industry pros to share their experiences in our industry, educate aspiring talent as well as provide best practices for those on the “other side of the glass.”
A thriving Discord community—roughly 300 strong—where talent discuss everything from home booth set-ups to job opportunities to hormone replacement therapy. We also offer occasional “office hours” where industry pros drop in for informative Q&A's.
Private industry roundtables—also offered in conjunction with The Halp Network—where industry pros and Queer Vox members gather for intimate discussions around the career journey of a queer VO artist: their successes, their hurdles, and the possible ways to level the playing field and make our industry a more positive working environment.
The Queer Vox LGBTQIA+ VO Directory, created by QV member Anjali Kunapaneni, is a database of queer/trans VO talent. With multiple filter options, an easy submission process, and password-protected access, it is a resource for casting and agents that typifies Queer Vox’s mission.
As we enter our second year, there is much more to come. Please follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on the latest Queer Vox updates. And if you’d like to be involved, please send us a message here.