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Female Voice-Over Talent Beware:
'Audio Play' & Sneeze Sleaze Scams
 
By Bobbin Beam
Voice Actor
Nov. 17, 2008
 
Watch out for a new weirdo audition from a guy who has an “audio play” for educational classroom purposes. Yeah, sure.
 
I love play acting and agreed to audition a portion of his script.
 
After giving him three separate, yet innocuous script readings, the last script he sent me had one word that was a red flag. I wouldn’t read that particular line, and sent it back and said I was not reading any more.
 
Either he was going to cast me or not, and I would get paid for anything else.
 
By the way, he asked me to read this last particular audition script through twice. Connect the dots …
 
IT GETS WORSE ...
 
Then he emailed me back to say what a great range of emotion I have, bla bla bla - and asked if I would be interested in reading erotic material for pay, for his personal use.
 
I was so stunned that I had to take time to process what had happened.
 
I didn’t write back. I had to take a shower.
 
WEIRD RADIO CALLS
 
When I worked in radio, sure I got strange calls from listeners on drug trips, guys who wanted to hit on me, the guy who wanted to know the color of my panties, and a few absolute nuts.
 
One guy believed he had a wire plate in his brain that transmitted the radio station, and said he heard derogatory things the DJs would say about him over the air.
 
SNEEZE SLEAZE
 
The "audio play" scam reminds me of a “sneeze audition” request that I received about a year ago.
 
A man called who said he was with an ad agency and asked if I would do a phone audition - a simple sneeze over the phone. He also said that his name didn't show on my phone's caller ID screen since he was calling on a VOIP telephone.

I thought this was a REAL unusual request, but I went along with it. I have auditioned for other things over the telephone, so I thought it was OK.

But I couldn't sneeze on cue. It just felt weird, and I wasn't going to feign it!!!!
 
So he suggested I take a little white pepper and inhale it gently. That's when I told him I wasn't interested in this job, and hung up quickly, feeling a bit violated in the aftermath.
 
It turns out there have been a number of VO ladies contacted by telephone this way in the recent past.

A man who calls himself "Bill Johnson from the Lang Agency" in Las Vegas has been calling female voice-over talent and asking them to sneeze for an audition for a national commercial.
 
GET LOST
 
Anyway, I just received another email asking for an answer from my “audio play” admirer.
 
I simply replied, “I am not interested in the work you offer. This is done.”
 
And from now on, I will get a physical address from those requesting custom auditions.
 
Bobbin Beam is a very active voice talent, based in the San Diego - Los Angeles area, who specializes in projects for broadcast and business. She also writes a very entertaining and informative blog, Bobbin's Blog.
 
 
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Comments (6)
Cromerty
9/21/2015 at 12:37 PM
He's still at it and called me today asking for the same thing. As he made his request I was googling and came across your blog. THANK YOU!! It was verbatim.
Judy Perkins
8/11/2014 at 3:42 PM
I actually got a call today from a guy claiming to be from a casting agency in Toronto (didn't catch his name) said to be filming a Zyrtec commercial and asked me to sneeze over the phone suggesting some pepper, I was at work so I couldn't do what he asked he is suppose to be calling me tomorrow, glad I did a search, something didn't seem right at all, I'll be letting restricted calls go to voicemail from now on.
Terri Penn
2/18/2014 at 6:48 PM
This guy called me this week, claiming to be Bryce Jensen from Just Canadian Talent in Toronto. I spoke with the agency personally and they have no idea who he is. Fortunately I haven't been able to give the full audition since he keeps calling at bad times. He's supposed to call back this week, I'm going to try and get his number (it comes up as private). What a creep! I'm so happy I found out the truth from the real agency before I made a fool of myself! Or who knows what I would be lending my voice to!
Sharon Young
5/25/2010 at 3:50 PM
May 2010: Got a call from "Tom Walsh" from a "casting agency in New York." Wanted me to sneeze over the phone, wanted me to give him a play by play, heavy breathing, what I was feeling.

I could not do it with the black pepper he suggested I put in my nose or the bobbie pin, so he said he would call the next week. He said they were doing a commercial for Zyrtec (sp). Called the next week, said it was "Tim," and I just inhaled the pepper and gave him a play by play as I sneezed. Said he would call in a few days after I learned how to "control" my sneeze.

I Googled Tim Walsh and the "real" Tim is a talent agent with the Atlas Agency in New York, a top agency. This "phony sneeze guy's" number showed up as "restricted" on my cell phone, but my phone provider had the number. I investigated and found out he was calling from Phoenix. I am in the process of blocking him from calling me again. I feel violated, used, etc.
Bobbin Beam
1/26/2010 at 11:42 PM
Hey Diane - Good for you for not falling for this one that's been going around for years. Guess the guy changed "agencies" and his name.
Diane Williamson
1/26/2010 at 7:06 PM
Sure enough, I got the "sneeze audition" call myself today! He identified himself as Tim Walsh, casting agent from NYC. He said his client was a manufacturer of an allergy medicine. Same thing - wanted me to sneeze on cue, suggested pepper. I didn't fall for it, and told him I was busy at the moment and he promised to call back at an appointed time later in the day. In the meantime I looked up Tim Walsh in NYC and there's a Tim Walsh who actually works for Atlas Talent. When I called them, the folks at Atlas Talent were aware of the scam and asked if I would pass off any information to them to identify this freak impersonating one of their employees.
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