Experienced voice actors are all too familiar with how contracts work and make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting into before signing anything. If you’re like them who’s been in the industry for quite some time, then you probably met a couple of clients who wanted you to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or advised you not to share any or all information about the project that they’re hiring you for.
If you’re new to this setup, then you’re probably wondering what NDAs are and how they are different from a typical agreement or contract for artists. Read this guide to learn more about how NDAs work and how they can affect your career as a voiceover artist.
What are NDAs?
A non-disclosure agreement, more commonly known as an NDA, is, in its essence, a confidentiality agreement between two or more parties. Some businesses and organizations will ask you to sign these and agree not to disclose certain details of a business deal or project. In some cases, an NDA could have clauses that prevent you from telling that you’re working together with a particular company.
NDAs are used by companies to maintain an advantage over their competitors. If they have a profitable idea that they want to protect and prevent other companies from copying or sabotaging, they usually resort to the use of NDAs.
How Non-Disclosure Agreements Work
An NDA is put to use any time that confidential information is disclosed to potential investors, creditors, employees, advisors, clients, or suppliers. In your case, as a voice actor, you’re probably hired to do some voiceover work for them on a project under development. The exact nature of the confidential information will be spelled out in the written agreement. The actual clauses may vary depending on the agreement drafted by the company. Some NDAs will bind a person to secrecy for an indefinite period of time, while some only require people to withhold information only until the project is officially launched or publicized.
The only downside to this is you won’t be credited as the artist for that particular project until the agreement ends. Depending on the actual agreement, it’s even possible that you can’t even put it in your acting resume.
NDAs Can Be Used As a Marketing Tool
In the voiceover industry, NDAs are used to keep something under wraps, including the contents of the script, in order to build hype and to encourage debate amongst fans of a particular project.
In the case of Apple’s iPhone TV commercial, which aired in 2007, many people started speculating about who did the voiceover work for that ad. One report said it was the voice of John Krasinski of the hit television sitcom, “The Office.” This fueled quite some attention from fans of the actor and of Apple itself. Apple never confirmed the identity of the person who did the voiceover work for the commercial. They neither confirmed nor denied it was Krasinski or any other names that popped up in the news.
By allowing that particular controversy to grow and boil over, Apple gained more attention than it needed to be because of all the discussion. It also kept their brand and commercial alive for years to come.
NDAs Are Here to Stay
Whatever the case is, NDAs are here to stay, whether you like it or not. Your job as a voice actor may be affected in some way. At the end of the day, what matters is that you still get compensated fairly for your work and talent. You just have to remember to read these agreements thoroughly and understand every clause before signing anything.
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