Rubber ducks with ties and sunglasses on
If you’ve been following the news, US presidential candidate John McCain’s commercial voice over talent “Joan”, whose identity is deemed a corporate secret, has been a topic of discussion and I’ve no doubt in my mind that she had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

Have you ever had to sign a non-disclosure agreement for a voice over job that you’ve recorded?

Leave a comment!

Incognito VO

There are many people in our industry who need to agree to non-disclosure agreements for their work and perhaps you’re one of them. I can appreciate why the McCain campaign is keeping Joan’s identity under wraps and am aware of many, many NDA jobs that have come to voice talent registered at, usually through direct contacts from their profiles.

A certain sweet satisfaction must come from the fact that you’re voice is considered top secret and valued so much that they don’t want their competition finding out. On the other hand, it must also be frustrating because you are just about to burst and want to let people know “That’s Me!”. While I’m not asking you to reveal who you’ve signed agreements for, I do want to know if you have ever had to sign an NDA for voice over work.
How common are these jobs would you say?

Does any of your voice over work require NDAs?

Looking forward to hearing from you,
© Belknap


  1. Well depending on how the election goes, it might be a good business decision for “Joan” to remain anon. SNARKY!
    I’ve had to sign NDA’s for major commercial campaigns. It’s really been no biggie. What’s funny is without signing an NDA I just don’t normally talk specifics about work. The second I sign the NDA, I want to go posting stuff on my blog LOL!

  2. Hi Jeffrey and SomeAudioGuy,
    Thanks for commenting 🙂 I’m waiting on Joe J Thomas to get in on this one too as he has signed many an NDA and even wrote a song about it if you recall 😉
    I wonder if because an NDA is signed that it gives people outside of the project, TV viewers, for example, the license to speculate who the voice of the commercial is, possibly giving credit where credit is not due?
    A while back, there was a television commercial voice over for the new Apple iPhone (at the time it was new last year) speculating that the voice over was performed by John Krasinski, star of the sitcom The Office and several comedic films.
    This was covered by another source which spawned dozens of reports that it was John. The posts circulated the net and then many people said, “No, it’s this guy named Glenn Martin”, which it very well could have been but there was no official confirmation to back it.
    Here’s a link to an article we wrote after reading that John supposedly was the voice:
    After comment after comment came in to the contrary, I called Apple HQ and spoke with their PR people and they couldn’t confirm the voice, perhaps because there was an NDA, but that wasn’t confirmed either.
    I emailed Glenn Martin’s agent to ask her for a confirmation and did not receive a response. To give Glenn the benefit of the doubt, he also has an Apple spot on his voice over demo.
    When companies opt to have NDAs, they may also set themselves up for public speculation, something that may have happened with the Apple iPhone TV commercial from 2007 rumor that it was John Krasinski when it very well could have been someone else, in this case, potentially Glenn Martin.
    But, because no one with any official clout, including Apple, Glenn Martin’s agent, or Glenn Martin to confirm or deny, there isn’t any proof that it wasn’t John Krasinski. John has done other VO work for Apple TV commercials (see his IMDb page) in the past so it technically isn’t a stretch to think it was him again.
    NDAs seem to be a double edged sword for both the voice talent and company they are working for. On one hand, there’s a cool mystique that comes with not revealing who it is, and on the other, you’ve got to shut the door on a lot of targeted and valuable publicity.
    Perhaps producers prefer ambiguity because it spurs on more conversation about their commercials, employing the writing vigor of both sides of the equation who adamantly champion their guesses?
    Do NDAs ever expire?
    Lastly, I could see producers not wanting to name the voice over talent because the professional might be picked up to record for a competing business.
    What do you think?
    P.S. If you’ve signed an NDA, feel free to jump in and comment. If you’d like to continue the conversation that I’ve started within this comment, please reply via commenting below as well.

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve signed my share of NDAs, but the ones I’ve been asked to sign are usually designed to keep the clients new product or method a secret until it is unveiled rather than to keep my name secret!

  4. Hi Stephanie
    Your recent article on NDA’s (non disclosure agreement’s) is very timely. Two weeks ago I landed a job through Voices.Com that required me to fill out, sign and fax back the document as part of the deal. I couldn’t even respond to your ‘Who Got the Gig’ blog because I would have violated my agreement with the client. I have no regrets though, the satisfaction of being chosen and the value of the project was well worth it.
    Continued Success!
    Bob Jordan

  5. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve only been a member of Voices.Com for a few weeks but I’ve been doing VO’s for about 15 years. I’ve had to sign several NDA’s throughout my career but they have been with Video game developers who need to keep their projects top secret! The world of video games is a very competitive business and with the millions of dollars in investment that it takes to create today’s high-profile games, sometimes if felt as if I was working with National Security secrets!
    George Ledoux

  6. Yes, I’ve signed many NDAs… and for me, it was usually the same thing… a propietary product or service that a client was launching. But I also signed one with a well known travel web site when I voiced a video that would be placed on their site.

  7. Hi Stephanie,
    I just stumbled on this after deciding to see if any other VGAs are frustrated by this.
    I’ve signed many for video games and can understand they don’t want technology, plot or character to be revealed. But the fact I’m in it? That part seems weird. I had posted recently about a game I’m in that fans of Resident Evil 5 will dig (I played the villain and picked up several fans in the process) but was just told by my agent that their legal department called and requested I take the page down ( I only mentioned I worked on it, not who I play, plot, technology, etc. It was more about process, etc. (By the way, I actually don’t recall signing an NDA for this one – probably a paragraph at the bottom of an I-9!)
    Here’s the thing, though. The more my newfound fans hear about this game I’m in, the more they’ll want to get the game. One would think it would be good for this company’s business. And, of course, it helps to secure new jobs for the VGAs since these games take so long to roll out. The window of excitement closes quickly after a game’s release.
    If the NDAs were for a new nose-hair clipper or Nuclear Missile, I’d understand. But an Apple commercial? A Video Game? Me thinks the lawyers get a little too crazy.
    My 2 cents!

  8. Hi D.C.,
    Thank you for adding to the conversation! I really appreciate hearing your thoughts. You’re absolutely right that there is a shelf life for hype and the popularity of a video game. I guess it could be likened to someone playing a role in a film but not being allowed to say that they’re in it before opening weekend (or at all, for that matter)!
    Thank you again D.C. It was a pleasure to hear from you.
    Best wishes,


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