Back in 2009, I had the pleasure to work with Diane Havens and Kat Keesling on the Hear the Bill Project. Their brainchild was to help ordinary people who would have a very difficult time wading through the complexities of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate versions by bringing together voice actors to volunteer their time and read them in their entirety. It was a perfect example of an empowered citizenry and the greatness of our industry: well over a hundred voice artists contributed, and the project received glowing remarks in the press.
Kat has continued to be one of the people in our community of artists I listen to and read, and this weekend she posted an outstanding article on her Pure Opinion blog that may be flying under the radar. Entitled “A better response to the ‘demo reel’ payment,” she lays out what I consider a brilliant way to respond to these requests, which often come from students and non-profits with little to spend on professional talent. She points out the baseline conflict everyone faces about doing this kind of work:
Anyone who knows me knows my generosity with my voice. I lend it out for causes freely when I believe in what I am doing. However, I am not living in my parent’s basement or off of a Trust Fund and have struggled with limitations I must work within to keep my time profitable.
It not only includes a sample response, but links to the use of Creative Commons Licensing, which allows the use of your work, but protects you in the event of misuse.
Rather than quote her extensively, I urge you to go and read the article in its entirety. I told Kat that she is “about 18,000,000 times smarter than me,” and that may be an understatement. Thank you, Kat, for taking the time to put this into the public, and I hope it will become a resource for everyone struggling with these questions.