A lovely British VO talent has been asked to voice a book with some very explicit scenes and language. She just called to ask if she should use a different name as talent.
My answer? Yes.
But, in this particular case, no. Here’s why.
Books are the last bastion of free wheeling language and adult situations. Popular best sellers are rife with incredibly explicit sexual situations and passages.
And then there’s erotica, soft core pornography and everything in between. And all of those categories can be a bit daunting to work in for your average VO talent bear. I’ll admit, when I’m voicing a sex scene, I’m more than a little self conscious – and I’m no prude.
For women, especially women of a certain stature, voicing anything racy can lead them to think about taking on a second name to record under, just to keep THOSE kinds of books from keeping her from getting all the rest of the work that’s available.
And when my UK friend called, she had already made the decision to do just that, and was wondering what the details might be around getting paid under that second name. While we were talking, she casually mentioned that the book was being published by [name redacted - let's just say it rhymes with Carper Hollins], only one of the biggest publishers of books in the world, and the biggest name in audiobooks as well.
This was no fly-by-night erotica factory in New Jersey.
And that changed everything for me about my answer.
So I said, “You know, I can’t think of a best seller that doesn’t have really explicit sexual situations – and because this is a big publishing house, I’d think long and hard before jumping to the conclusion that you should use a different name. It might become a huge seller, you might even end up voicing the franchise, and you’d want the credit if that was the case. If your actual name isn’t on the audiobook, you might have a dickens of a time convincing others that you did the work.”
I’d certainly understand if the book was designed to be read by creepy old guys for 5 minutes at a pop. But my advice to her, and to you, dear SOVO reader, is to take a moment and consider the job, not just the content, when making a decision like this. It may be off-putting to say some of those words – but remember: we’re actors. We do this for a living. Let’s get paid, and credit, for that.
When would you insist on a different name to record under? Let me know in the comments below.
Hope this helps.