Silence or Success: A Voice Performer’s Paradox

With the recent events in Virginia, I’ve been thinking more about the idea of speaking up. We all know by now President Trump’s remarks, regarding the shocking display of events in Charlottesville. Subsequently, everyone from the CEO of Walmart to LeBron James have added their own counter points making me wonder; what is the cost and benefit to expressing yourself when your business and your identity are one in the same?

Voice over performers often forget they are companies made up of a single individual and, like a patient in a doctor’s office, always need to be their best advocate. That doesn’t mean that the performer doesn’t often have support such as agents, managers, accountants, lawyers etc. In fact, the way the system is designed to operate is that the performer can take on the role as the “good guy”, while their representatives intervene when discussions become uncomfortable therefore taking the heat off of their client.

Ultimately, even with support, any responsible business decisions falls directly on the talent. So if a performer is going to be heard then they’ll need to speak out, now more than ever. By saying this, I’m not advocating an individual to speak up for the sake of hearing themselves talk. After all, that only creates more noise. I’m also discouraging lavish public discussions or remarks on these turbulent culture wars surrounding us, as even taking the right side of an issue can lead some performers down the wrong path. Instead, I’m suggesting that talent take a leadership role in their business making their wishes known as it pertains to the operation of his or her career.

This poses the question, does speaking up have repercussions? Of course! Anytime you demand to be heard you will ultimately rub some people the wrong way, but consider the alternative. If you refuse to speak up, you are denying yourself an opportunity to make your business better, build mutual respect and expand your brand. More importantly, I look at speaking up as an imperfect but effective process in an equation. Whereby, for everyone you may rub the wrong way there will always be two more who appreciate your stance. And because of that, it’s hard not to favor those odds.

For more about the Voice Over Business… check out last weeks blog Hacking VoiceOvers.