the politics of voicing political commercials

Peter K. O'Connell Political Commercial Voice TalentEverything now seems to be politicized with people spewing absolute-isms about every conceivable topic.

Even about voicing political commercials.

Among voice talents, there is usually an annual discussion (often held near election season) about a voice actor’s stance on voicing political commercials.

Often (but not always) the discussion comes down to two positions:

TALENT A: ‘I am a voice talent who voices political commercials – I don’t care much about the candidate or the referendum in the script because I am a voice actor. Use of my voice in a political spot is my job and my service, not an endorsement of a person or an agenda.’

An example of their thinking: A voice actor may be the voice of a soft drink company but not drink or even like the product.

TALENT B: ‘I am a voice talent who voices political commercials – but they must be for a particular political party, candidate or position. If they do not meet those criteria I will not voice that spot as it would make me uncomfortable.’

An example of their thinking: A voice actor will decline to do a political commercial for a candidate who position on an issue conflicts with hers (some voice actors who will not even voice a specific a political party).

Which actor is right?

If you answered, “both” or “it’s an individual choice”, you’re correct. There is neither a correct nor simple answer.

But I would also guess that as you read both options, as a voice talent, you identified more with one option versus the other.

Every voice actor has his own moral compass and that gut instinct determines the voice talent’s comfort level working for an individual political candidate, a referendum or even a political party.

Some voice talents are so disturbed by the political process or the conflict it incites that they won’t voice political commercials at all. I understand that thinking as well.

And yet, there are few additional forms of media other than political commercials where the influence of a voice talent’s work is so greatly influences a targeted audience. Eliciting emotions, getting people to think and feel about a topic, product or service is the foundation of what a voice actor does.

I am a voice talent for political commercials. What about you?

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2 Responses to “the politics of voicing political commercials”

  1. Working late having scheduled editing time at a local video production facility, I was amused to witness one political candidate shooting a campaign commercial in the studio. Meanwhile, his opponent was in the green room getting final make-up done before shooting an opposition message. The crew was careful to move both men in and out through different doors. As an uninvolved observer, it was amusing to watch. The owner of facility told me, “it’s just business.” Funny moment though.

  2. Hi Tom,

    That must have been amusing to watch but, for the owner, just a bit nerve wracking.

    Thanks for reading!

    Best always,
    –Peter

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