By Stephanie Ciccarelli
October 20, 2006
What is a voice over faux pas, how does a voice talent commit one, and just how easy is it to take a 'false step' in this industry? As the French would say, first declared in the late 17th century, a "faux pas" is a "false step".
In today's world, according to one of my Mac widgets, Oxford American Dictionaries, a faux pas is defined as an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation.
There are many faux pas in society, for instance, you would never ask a woman if she is pregnant, even if she appears to be so. Likewise, you wouldn't assume that because someone is attending a function with someone else that they are romantically involved.
Faux pas can crop up in relationships, at social events, within occupations, and in business.
Not to be left out, there are opportunities for blundering in the entertainment and voice industries as well. To be fair, more of these oops moments happen to celebrities and actors in Hollywood, but voice talent are not immune.
One item I can think of off the top of my head is that a voice talent should not misspell the proper name of a potential client in an audition situation.
While this may seem more like commonsense and easy to avoid, there are a number of people miss the mark, even some who call the client by a name or respond with an application to work for a different company other than the company to whom they are applying.
I've also heard that it is improper to mispronounce a company name or the name of someone you are interviewing in a podcast or on the air. Even worse is not introducing them at all.
You're probably thinking, "Of course it's wrong!", but there are people out there who don't take the extra time required to go over such things before hitting the microphone full-steam.
Drawing on something I read a couple of years ago, a voice talent's voice should not air on two or more rival radio stations in the same listening area at the same time. If you can share anything more about this, please leave a comment.
Faux pas can be avoided, and care is absolutely of the essence.
Prevention is the key to ensuring that embarrassing or tactless incidents do not occur.
Do you have any stories from the field to share about Faux Pas in the voice industry?
Is there anything that people new to the industry should avoid?