Here is just one example of what is essentially a daily occurrence in one vein or another: I was commissioned to produce and record a radio ad using my voice. It was for an Advertising Agency by the name of Gulf Saatchi. They have since dropped that tag and go about their business as something else now. At that time they hired a South African chap who I believe was their copywriter and now in the studio to produce this ad and ostensibly direct me. The script was full of the PRONOUN VIRUS and I refused to read it. I offered my services to simply re-arrange the script to avoid all the ‘WE’s and ‘Call US’ stuff. It would have taken two seconds and the resulting script would have sounded much slicker, more dynamic with better flow.  On top of that, the product/subject would have dominated as a name. Hello?  Is that not the principle? Well as is often the case when you challenge these wannabe ‘creatives’, he got quite ratty and started to rudely question not only the physical facility but my professionalism as well. He began to pontificate his expertise with how many radio commercials he had produced and how I was ‘out of touch’. All that aside, what astounded me and the reason I use this example; he condescended to advise me that he hired the voice for 30 seconds and in that 30 seconds he owned the voice. He, therefore representing the product or company owned the voice as well for that period.  I am ‘WE’  I am ‘US”. Huh!?! Even more astounding, I have found many voice-overs actually championing this incredulous crap – because if the name is a big corporate name, it apparently looks good on their CV. That is bollix too, because as a producer of  possibly xxx,000 commercials in my time, hiring as many voice-overs, other than excessive pronouns, I don’t give a toss what words come out your gob, I want to hear how you deliver them and the sound of your voice.

For less than $100 voice fee, I consider asking a voice to endorse the product – nothing more than abuse and close to slavery if not pure identity theft.

Unfortunately, creativity and art has been severely degraded over the past 20 or so years, since Satellite TV and then the Internet appeared. Sure it is still out there in all its glory, just swamped with mediocrity;  “iss aww rite..Sharon’ll bang it aht an’ sheeul do it for nuffink”. As a result,  many brilliant voice-overs have had to not only reduce their deserved fees to a pittance, but read scripts littered with the Pronoun Virus, because if they don’t there are a zillion Sharon’s and Jonafan Roffs out there that will –  and with no artistic ears or eyes in the client’s camp, nobody cares.

Someone has to take the art out of tart and stop allowing talent to be prostituted like this. Prostituted in other ways might be interesting, but as a voice talent we need to be together on this. Are you with us Sharon?


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