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VOICE OVER CAREER
Voice Actor Ethics Check: What Would You
Do In These Voice Over Business Situations?

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor / Coach

Ethics comes up a lot as you navigate the voice over industry.

This occurred to me recently as I was narrating a project about ethics and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The script prompted me to realize how deeply ethics is involved in our actions as voice actors.

First, let's establish the definition of ethics. We could go down the rabbit hole of defining and differentiating ethics, morals, virtues and values - but I've got laundry to do today.

So for simplicity's sake, let's use Merriam-Webster's definition 2C: Ethics: a guiding philosophy.

APPLY THAT TO VO ...

What are your ethics, aka your guiding philosophy, when:
  • You have an opportunity to go behind the back of your agent to book a gig so you don't have to pay them their commission?
  • You're bidding for a gig on a Pay-to-Play site?
  • You're a member of SAG-AFTRA and you're offered a gig that would violate Global Rule One?
  • You see a casting notice for an African-American voice actor and you're not?
WHAT BENEFITS US ALL

How can you be an ethical voice actor?

Establish a guiding philosophy that benefits not just you but the voice over industry as a whole.

It's easy to be unethical, but that hurts everyone, including yourself.

Being ethical can be hard sometimes, but it helps everyone in the long run.

BTW if being ethical was easy and profitable, everyone would do it.

SO, FOR EXAMPLE ...

If you booked a gig via an agent, work through that agent even when the client wants to continue with you without the agent involved.

If you audition for projects via Pay-to-Play sites, use SAG-AFTRA rates and the Global Voice Acting Academy Rate Guide so you can bid ethically. If you're a SAG-AFTRA member, honor the contracts that have been collectively bargained.

And don't pretend to be of a different race or sexual orientation that isn't your own when auditioning.
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ABOUT TOM
Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business and marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 20 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voice over you can think of. When not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.

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Comments (1)
Debby Barnes
7/14/2021 at 2:52 PM
This article NEEDED to be written. Quite succinct + well considered. Cheers, TD!
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