Voice Actor Certificate


Voice over is an anonymous profession when it comes to recognition. Very few voice over artists achieve any kind of fame. Don LaFontaine did because he pioneered the way today’s film trailers are voiced. Gary Owens did because of his television appearances on Laugh-In where he parodied the announcer profession. But tens of thousands of others have come and gone without the listener ever knowing their names.

So when voice over artist D.C. Douglas was thrust into the spotlight in April of this year it started a heated debate in the voice over community. Douglas had left a private voicemail to the controversial conservative group FreedomWorks. The president of FreedomWorks, Matt Kibbe, then crossed some ethical lines to stoke the political divide and gain some exposure from it, while also getting an anonymous voice over actor fired.

The hook? D.C. Douglas had just recorded voice over for several GEICO commercials that were about to run on the Internet. (Though he had been a tag announcer a few years earlier on another major television campaign featuring 70’s TV and music stars.) Apparently GEICO was on FreedomWorks blacklist for pulling their ads from Fox News’ Glenn Beck Show.

The initial round of debates (propelled mainly by the conservative blogosphere) centered on whether someone who represents a brand/company should ever express personal opinions publicly. When The Huffington Post picked up the story, many commenters invoked the 1st Amendment, failing to realize it only applies to the government impeding the individual’s speech, not individuals (and corporations, thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling) impeding each other’s speech.

Douglas released several press statements defending GEICO’s decision to replace him. What he didn’t defend, though, was the idea that a United States citizen should stay quiet for fear of losing his job. It was not his opinion that caused GEICO to fire him, but rather the purposeful ousting of him by an a-moral political group that was angling for more press.

The debate turned in favor of Mr. Douglas after his appearance on Fox News’ “Geraldo At Large,” the subsequent release of his mock FreedomWorks/TeaParty PSA on YouTube, and his appearance on Joy Behar’s CNN show. He pointed out how ridiculous the whole affair was while also demonstrating his other considerable talents. (See all the videos from the FreedomWorks/GEICO chapter on YouTube.)

Voice over artists are not company spokespeople. They are announcers. Those who give their name in a radio spot or appear on-camera as themselves are. They are the ones who tie the product/company they speak for to the things they say publicly. Had D.C. Douglas been an on-camera spokesperson, then he should have thought twice about expressing a controversial opinion (though, in this case, it was on a private voicemail and not intended for national media attention).

But D.C. Douglas was just the voice over announcer. As Lawrence O’Donnell noted on MSNBC’s Countdown, he was but “a voice – a ghost.” And what befell him was not deserved.

In a stroke of poetic justice, though, D.C. Douglas has become one of the few sought after voice over talents in Hollywood and has achieved a much higher profile. His Facebook fan page tripled in followers, he moved over to a more prestigious voice over agency, and can be heard on several national campaigns… Though, only anonymously.

You can learn more about the voice over work of D.C. Douglas by visiting his voice over website.

Voice over is an anonymous profession when it comes to recognition. Very few voice over artists achieve any kind of fame. Don LaFontaine did because he pioneered the way today’s film trailers are voiced. Gary Owens did because of his television appearances on Laugh-In where he parodied the announcer profession. But tens of thousands of others have come and gone without the listener ever knowing their names.

Be Sociable, Share!

    Comments

    Comments are closed.