When is it Just Stealing?

The voice-over community is an active and idea-sharing one, like the goat-hair knitting community and everyone else with a particular interest that gather on social media. And it’s clear that everyone has their own line they won’t cross for a buck.  

This week alone, I’ve had the opportunity to audition as soundalikes for Katy Perry, Oprah, Eleanor Roosevelt and various well-known cartoon characters. I listened to Eleanor on YouTube and because she’s dead, and the job was reading text she wrote for a museum display, I gave it a go. But for someone to offer a few hundred bucks for an imitation of a big-name star? Forget about it.  I won’t go there. If they want it, they can hire the real thing. More likely though, someone else will happily go for the job.

A guy in the biz tells me he was asked to sing in an imitation of Robert Plant for $175. There’s just something about wanting to fool people with an ad by using a well-known voice, that doesn’t sit well with me. I will only imitate someone who is no longer with us or if it’s so cartoony that it’s obvious it’s not the real thing. I recorded a series of spots as Lucy with a guy who imitated Ricky but it was obviously a send-up and no one would ever mistake us for the Ricardos. Not to mention, the real things are also long gone.

I won’t put my voice to ads for so-called pro-life groups, will-kits, anything to do with hunting or any other activities I don’t support. I did one robocall project and felt terrible about it afterward. Now college students in the deep south hear my voice telling them to call a number to help with their loans when really, they’re giving loan officers their whereabouts so they can be hounded about paying up! Then again, they should pay the money back dammit. As you can see, this is an ever-evolving point of view!

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