What? As voice actors, those are fighting words. We make our livings chatting our way through life. So why, you may be wondering, do you need to keep your mouth shut? There are many reasons.
Recently, on social media, I’ve noticed that some voice actors have been posting their auditions to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Why? For a good old fashioned pat on the back? Probably. But posting those “auditions” may be very detrimental to your career in the long run.
Example: Mary just got an audition opportunity for a huge national client, Company X, who is launching a new series of video games. She is over-the-moon about this and wants to share it with the world. After auditioning, Mary heads directly to her open and closed groups on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and whatever other social media she uses and posts her :45 second MP3 audition for all to hear. After all, she nailed the it and is positive that she will get cast as the new voice of Company X. The director loved her, the producer lover her and the sound engineer loved her. So, obviously, Company X will ultimately love her. This is her post:
“I auditioned for Company X today! Can you believe it? They are launching a new series of games called blah blah blah. It promises to blah blah blah blah blah. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Enjoy my audition. Feedback welcome.” #companyx #pickme #Marysbusinessname
Right after Mary clicks the “post” button, Company X’s information is free for the world to hear. Company X’s competitors, namely. Information about the game series has NOT been released to the public by Company X. Mary didn’t put any thought to that. Even though the producer mentioned in casual conversation that the audio was confidential, she didn’t listen. She also didn’t consider that Company X has a social media expert who tracks everything written about the company. They find her #companyx post and realize that their confidential information has been publicly shared. Mary then receives an email from Company X’s attorney informing her of the breach and instructs her to remove the audition from all platforms and lets her know that she will not be considered for the job. The story gets even muddier for Mary. Because she released confidential Company X information, she is now in the middle of a copyright lawsuit. And the cherry on top? Her agent dropped her as a client because of the breach. Sucks to be Mary.
Okay, so this story is fabricated and Mary is fictional. However, I’ve heard numerous stories from other voice actors who have learned a very hard lesson about confidentiality. How can you avoid this? Treat every single audition you do as confidential.
As stated from Robert Sciglimpaglia Jr.’s book “Voice Over Legal” (*page 56): “A non-disclosure agreement states that you are not allowed to disclose anything concerning your project, or anything else you learned during the auditioning process (or the job, if you won the audition) to anyone. That includes not only a complete stranger, but also your spouse or your friend. Failure to comply could result in a lawsuit against you for any damages caused by the disclosure.” (*page 38) “Law.com defines a breach of contract as ‘failing to perform any term of a contract, written or oral, without a legitimate legal excuse.” Yes, written or ORAL.
Who knew that sharing a tiny bit of audio could be so detrimental? Now you do. Even if nothing is mentioned to you from your client, director, producer, agent, coach or any other person you are working with, DON’T POST YOUR AUDITIONS ONLINE. Once you land the gig and the project has been released, that’s when you can spill the beans. It’s always a good idea to also ask permission if you want to use completed projects on your website or in demos. And if you are really in need of that extra pat on the back for your phenomenal auditions, stretch out that arm of yours and pat yourself on the back. Or if work with a coach, they hand out pats on the back all day long.
*Do yourself a big favor a purchase this book:
“Voice Over Legal” by Robert Sciglimpaglia Jr. Attorney and Voice Actor. Published by Voice-Over Xtra.
It’s a great reference for all of your voice over questions.
If you have a story that you would like to share regarding this subject, please comment!
Be sweet and re-tweet!
Your friend in voiceover, Rhonda’s Voice
AKA ~ Rhonda Phillips
“A Smile With A Lot Of Style”
image of zipped lips from dumbpics.net