Marc Scott was asking around for a source to talk all things political voiceover with for his podcast, Everyday VOpreneur. He found that Aya, our Head of Casting’s, name kept coming up as the go-to expert in this field.
Fresh off of her trip to D.C. for the Campaigns & Elections Creative Summit, she was the guest for his latest episode: “How to Cash in on $10B in Political Ad Spend.” They discussed takeaways from the Campaigns & Elections Creative Summit, what makes a great political voice actor and current trends, how to break into the industry and find the work, aspects of a great political demo, and more. Aya expands upon their discussion below.
How did you become such a well-known name in the political voiceover space?
When I started with CSM in 2020, we knew that political was a little bit of an untapped, but lucrative, market in terms of voiceover. We also had talent on our roster who were passionate about politics (just like me!) who wanted to get involved so it was a no-brainer to dive head-first into the arena.
We began investing in conferences and forming connections with political consultants and agencies from coast to coast, and the relationships have only continued to grow with how tightly-knit the political community is and how actively we’ve engaged with them. So it was really about forming those connections on the talent’s behalf, and then letting our talent and service speak for themselves.
Is there ever really an “off season” for political work?
The election season is becoming more and more year-round. Even when it isn’t a Presidential election year, there are down ballot initiatives, legislative propositions, non-profit and advocacy organizations, and smaller races that need voice over. If you’re seeking it, you can find work in the political sphere all year round.
In terms of the upcoming 2024 election, it’s best to start preparing for the political storm now (if you haven’t already!). Now is the time to update your demos. Remember, they should sound like real political spots, so do your research. YouTube and Vimeo are a great place to start since political consultants and strategists love to promote their work. Address candidates and issues that you care about for that personal touch. I think it’s important to note that your spots shouldn’t be more than two years old (before the 2022 midterm cycle) because everything in this sphere moves so quickly, and relevancy is key. I also highly recommend coaching in this genre! The skillset and delivery in political is different from the ones you’ve honed for commercial, promo, corporate and beyond.
What are important things to keep in mind as an actor looking to pursue political work?
It really requires a passion and an “on the ball” attitude due to the fast-paced nature of the political world. Speed, availability and high-quality delivery are huge factors. If promo are the golden handcuffs of the VO industry, political is probably the silver version. I’ve had talent who needed to pull over on the side of the road and record in the car while on road trips for jobs, so be sure to have a great travel rig on hand at all times too!
The other big thing is authenticity. These campaigns want someone to sound human, trustworthy and credible. At the C&L Creative Conference, that was one of the biggest takeaways. Where can we as human beings outmatch the growing AI industry? AI cannot yet act or portray those nuanced emotions in the way that humans can. So it’s important to hone that and master it. The biggest pitfall that talent might meet when transitioning from commercial work to political spots is overselling the copy. Learning to play with nuance is pivotal for political work — and once you nail it, you can become a go-to talent because you’ll have the sound that many campaigns are looking for.
Localization is also huge in the political space. It’s important to know how to market yourself as a local talent — which places have you lived, or where are people close to you from, that you can nail the regional accent for? Also, what languages do you speak? That’s a big bonus too as people are targeting different communities across the nation. There is a huge market for Latinx and Asian American talent.
What are the key differences between a great commercial demo and a great political demo?
In the political space – you’re talking to political people, which differs from commercial work where you’re interacting more with creatives. You have to serve them the read that they are wanting to book on a silver platter. They expect you to know. The more that your demo spots can reflect the sound, feel, and delivery of what’s actually airing, the more bookable you will be. I would say that 90% of the political bookings I get in my inbox are straight from demos. Since things have to move so quickly, you’re not seeing as many long casting processes with days to audition. Your demo is your audition in a lot of cases. It’s an investment for sure — but a great demo will pay off.
Aya had a great time sharing her knowledge and experience in the political VO sphere. For more takeaways, listen to the full podcast episode here.
Work With Us
The Political Château has a growing list of clients in the political advertising space, across the spectrum of political opinions – and we’d love to work with you! Browse our roster of diverse political voiceover talent here.
Contact Aya with a short description of your project (firstname.lastname@example.org). From there, she will have free voice auditions as well as a quote back to you within the hour. We are proud to be recognized as experts within the political market and look forward to working with you to bring your campaign’s message to life.