Here’s the setting: You’re a working voice-over actor with a meaningful portion of your income based on the hopeful assumption that a modest stream of work will continue to come in – at least enough to pay the bills your job-job doesn’t cover – because you really are good at your craft and you work on it and clients call you back for additional sessions for the same project and that’s the kind of thing that gives both you and your bank account a sense of… purpose.
Well and good. In this insane election season, that’s something to hold on to, especially since you just got a call to do a Political Ad! Uh… wait a minute, a political ad for like, what? A Republican thing? A Democratic candidate? What side of the proposition are we on here and do I agree with that point of view? And it’s paying HOW much? Zowee, what’s a voice talent to do??
Well, there’s two schools of thought. One is to stick to your principals and accept only the kind of work that remains in harmony with your personal belief system. And the other is to be relentlessly neutral, gracefully accept and give it all you got, no matter the message.
From our viewpoint, the field looks to be split down the center. The more successful voice talents who actually specialize in political ads often work on dozens of campaigns around the country and their careers flourish during election periods. It takes years to get to that place and most often, it comes from not only being super talented, gifted with the right texture in your voice and able to record within hours of a request coming in – it’s based on those actors having DECLARED their political leanings – Left, Center or Right – and sticking strictly to ‘em!
But what happens when you’re trying to make ends meet and that political ad expresses an opinion anathema to your own? It’s one of those moments when personal choice steps in and presents a fork in the road. Many talents who want the work opt for taking a breath, reasoning that if they don’t do the job someone else happily will, and if it’s for a candidate or a cause they’re in direct conflict with, calm themselves, bring their professional persona and deliver the goods for that dramatic hour in the booth.
Others feel just as strongly about drawing a line and saying No, I can’t justify doing a paid ad advocating sending kittens into space. And I won’t. Ain’t who I am. After all, at the end of the day, that’s you getting under the covers there.
Which is simply to observe that if you’re good enough to get the job offer, you’re certainly good enough to make your own decisions about which jobs you’re willing to work and which you might be choosing to leave on the other side of the road.