You know..there is a theory that you cannot do a proper or convincing VO if you don't like or believe in the product. I thought this was nonsense..I mean we are VO ACTORS..why should our personal feelings get in the way of delivering a convincing read on a product? Then I tried it. Believe it or not..it does come through in the read.
They say if you do not like Peanut Butter, you will not be believable in reading that copy like you love it! Your personal feelings are detectable in your delivery!
I have actually lost 2 reads to 1) Our power company..FPL ( Florida Plunder and Loot)..lol..that we ALL hate here in Miami. and, 2) a cigarette ad..(That I am grossed out by smoking) . If I were asked to do a VO for something I dont believe in or I think is morally wrong..I'd probably turn it down anyway, but its those emotional attachments to the product, or belief that make us MORE convincing and believable..or in this case..less..
As it so happens, I turned down a job only last night. I received a nice email asking me to narrate a series of films about Dianetics. The test script sent to me seemed innocuous, but something rang a bell and I went and looked it up on Wikipedia. Scary stuff from L. Ron Hubbard and the Scientologists. I politely declined.
Over the years I have turned down gigs based on the Product or service, example when the Physic Hotline was going with Dionne Warwick and others I turned down a few of those and it was good money involved.
Also some concerts I still choose not to voice. And some of the other shady products where the side effects copy is longer than the attributes of the product.
Can it hurt your career TO HAVE morals....NO! Can it hurt your pocket to turn down Money YES.....But I do not claim it as mine the same as I know if I did spots for Crack dealers the money would be great but I do not do that so the money was never in my reach! ..............................................So no money lost right?
Probably not. If I was asked to voice something for a product or issue I have strong feelings against, I would probably decline.
There's plenty of opportunity for voice work out there for so many topics, products and services that turning down a gig here and there and standing by your convictions won't "kill your career."
I am open to all opportunities. Just because I don't use a product or have first hand knowledge of it doesn't preclude me from being their spokesperson. It's like a radio station using the disclaimer, "Opinions expressed on the Fast-talker Fred show are not necessarily those of this radio station, it's affiliates or advertisers." I might have second thoughts about speaking for a product that could be hurtful to people or saying that "I" use the product daily when I don't or "We" use the highest quality standards...as if I was an employee of the company, but overall...I love being a spokesman and am accepting scripts right now. Thomas Varhol
The simple answer is "Yes".
I have to agree with Helen. This isn't really a black & white issue -- there are products I wouldn't personally use because I have no need for them or because I use a different product, but as long as it's not fundamentally against my core beliefs, I wouldn't feel wrong about providing my voice to the product.
I draw the line at political ads that are contradictory to my own moral or political beliefs, or any product that I sincerely think is harmful or damaging, or is produced in a harmful or damaging manner (such as cosmetics that use animal testing).
I also will not provide voice for religious organizations.
I have turned down a number of lucrative gigs on moral and political issues against which I have strong feelings and I will continue to do so. In fact, one political spot I turned down this year made national news because it was simply so nasty...so while anyone in our field would like that exposure, I'd truly rather sleep at night! And did!
I can do without $1200 of "filthy lucre" ! Hope the woman who voiced that particular gig was able to salvage her conscience and integrity with it.
If morals, values, and ethics are an integral part of your life, they don't stop at the door of the studio.
We all have our boundaries, and they tend to shifty slightly according to the immediate situation, but my bottom line is; That's MY voice representing that product, so if I am uncomfortable with having a tacit connection to that product I will (and have) skip the job. Our work is also our calling card, potentially leading to our next job. So if I'm handed a script that I would be embarrassed to read in mixed company or that is just universally offensive, I'll pass. Same goes for really, really bad scripts. Who wants to have their voice showcased on an incredibly sophomoric, stupid, grossly inane groaner of a production? It'll leave a mark!
But, sometimes, you get hungry, a little desperate, and your boundaries become less rigid until better times. I once did an on-camera pitch for a musical toilet paper dispenser that played "The Yellow Rose of Texas" as you pulled on the tissue! Tough times...
I've done commercial work for a Political Party that I didn't support. Helped get them elected. People asked me if I would vote for them - I said no. I'm not a Conservative I'm a capitalist. ( In Canada we have the Progressive Conservative Party)
Having said that I have turned down narrations for companies (including some charities) or products I cannot morally justify supporting. I find having the comfort level to turn down work depends on your experience. The bigger the wolf is at your door the larger the temptation to say yes.
I feel as though that's not so much the question as believability would be. Whether intentionally or not, my thoughts about the subject would likely affect my audition and performance. This would, in turn, hinder my chances. Even were I willing to voice something I wasn't completely behind, the client is far more likely to hire someone who sounds and feels the part, instead of someone simply saying the words, wouldn't you say?