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Understanding the Judging Process of the Voice Arts® Awards


The jury is the most essential aspect of the Voice Arts Awards competition. It’s the lifeblood of the charter to provide integrity, accountability, honor, and an enduring legacy. Of course, it begins with selecting high-quality professionals who honor and respect the role and providing them with a system of safeguards allowing them to effectively render their judgment.

  1. First and foremost, the vast majority of SOVAS jurors are chosen because they are highly regarded professionals within the voice acting community, and within their voiceover specialties. We require that prospective jurors submit a resume, bio, and professional references. We contact the references before making a final determination regarding appointments as a juror. All jurors have significant experience in the specialties that they will review.
  2. Jurors consist of voice actors, producers, casting directors, creative directors, content creators, media critics, media bloggers, and general consumers. Whatever the experts think about any brand or product, it’s the consumer (people’s choice) that rules the day. For this reason, SOVAS strives to maintain that 10% of jurors are people who relate to the work as the actual users. For example, avid audiobook listeners, fans of animation, movie fans, etc.
  3. During the judging process, the jurors are unable to see names and other identifiers of the person submitting the work. Obviously, this is not the case for podcasts and websites where the name, face, and personality of the entrant is often essential to the entry. Still, other safeguards are put into place to mitigate bias.
  4. Entrants are required to eliminate any self-identifiers on the work itself. This clears the way for the jurors to faithfully review the work without bias. Entrants who do not follow this rule risk being disqualified.
  5. The jurors do not work together as a group and individual jurors do not know who the other jurors are. They cannot access each other’s assignments or scores. All jurors work alone, via a proprietary online judging system, and have no influence over each other’s scoring process.
  6. The judging portal, powered by Open Water, allows our accounting firm to detect anomalies in the scoring process, and investigate the cause. Jurors may be contacted to offer an accounting of their scores. If a juror’s scores are deemed improperly executed, whether inadvertently or deliberately, the scores are disqualified. If a juror’s scores indicate a pattern of impropriety, all of that juror’s scores are removed from the program and the juror is barred from judging in the future.
  7. Regardless of the language for a given category, the jurors for that language are chosen from around the world, not solely from the country where a particular language is the native tongue. Many jurors are fluent in multiple languages and are able to judge accordingly.
  8. Judging assignments are determined by SOVAS and based in part on each juror’s expertise. Jurors do not choose or have direct input into their assignments.
  9. SOVAS tries to assign 7 jurors to each entry. This allows sufficient redundancy to maintain at least five distinct jurors if as many as two must recuse themselves from judging an entry due to a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest includes, among other things, the juror having a personal or professional relationship with the entrant, having worked on the project in some capacity, or having a competing entry in the same category.
  10. The voting system automatically flags the email address, name, and phone number of any juror who has also submitted work, enabling SOVAS to ensure that jurors are not assigned to categories in which they have entered work.
  11. Depending on the number of entries in a given category, there can be as many as 3 rounds of judging. In most categories only the top five highest scores emerge as nominees. However, several categories, because of their popularity, may have as many as 10 nominees. To be perfectly clear, nominees are determined by the highest scores as rendered by the jurors. One does not become a nominee simply by entering the competition.
  12. Jurors are informed that discussing the Voice Arts Award entries with anyone other than a SOVAS representative is forbidden, and can result in the removal of the juror, the disqualification of the juror’s scores, and a ban on future participation as a juror.
  13. Since the beginning of the Voice Arts Awards, SOVAS has partnered with the accounting firm of Schulman Lobel, CPAs, as the final arbiter of the balloting process. Schulman Lobel monitors and verifies the balloting process, creates and seals the winner envelopes, safeguards the secrecy of the outcomes, and personally escorts the envelopes to the site of the Voice Arts Award ceremony. Once on site, a Schulman Lobel representative keeps the envelopes in their care and hands them unopened, one by one, to the stage manager to be given to the presenters as they take the stage.