Posted on

Guest Post: Do I Need To Incorporate Or Form An LLC For My Voice Over Business

“Should I be incorporating my voice over business? What about an LLC or S Corp?”

This is a question I get asked a lot, and admittedly, it goes beyond my brain capacity. Add to that, the rules are different in Canada and the US and probably most other countries in the world. So there likely isn’t a one size fits all (or most) answer to the question.

As with anything else in life, when you don’t know the answer, ask someone smarter than you who does! And with that, I give you this very insightful guest post from Rob Sciglimpaglia.

Do I Need To Incorporate Or Form An LLC For My Voice Over Business

Many voice over artists ask me whether they should start some corporate entity to operate their voice over businesses, or if should they operate as a sole proprietor. Although there is no standard answer for everyone since everyone’s situation is different, there are some generalities that apply to all.

Firstly I must say that I see this question posed a LOT on the various social media websites, and I see the answer “stay a sole proprietor until you make enough money and then worry about forming an entity.” I find this very amusing. Think if someone was going to start a pizza parlor, and they said “let’s wait to see how many pies we sell before we decide to incorporate.” With that approach, how many slices do you think they are going to sell?

Starting a business takes a commitment. A commitment to succeed. So there is no “wait and see” about it. It’s either commit to be successful business, or do it as a hobby. Hobbyists are not businesses.

Secondly, I see voice over artists say on these sites, “We don’t operate a brick and mortar business so our liabilities are less and you don’t need to incorporate. No clients are visiting your studio.” Well, Google, Amazon, even Apple Computer started out in someone’s basement or garage, so that logic is flawed also.

The question should not be SHOULD I form an LLC, or S or C Corp. That answer is a resounding YES. It should be what entity is the right one to form. Why should everyone form some entity? Simply because you can! It only takes one disgruntled client, student, producer, ad agency, agent, or any other person VO Artists deal with on a daily basis to sue you. If you don’t have that legal protection, then you are risking your personal assets. If you have an LLC or Corporation, then only those assets are at risk.

Most people starting out in VO have another source of income. A job, retirement income; or assets; a house, a collector car, a bank account. Why put that other income or assets at risk? If someone is just starting out, right out of school, with no assets, then I would say that maybe Sole Proprietorship is OK for a short period of time.

Tax issues are a completely separate consideration, but that is another one that should be taken into account when deciding which entity to form. For instance, if you have a paying job, and you just cut your demo and bought your studio gear, if you had an LLC set up prior, you could have an accountant “depreciate” those “assets” over a period of years so that you can write them off over the years you will be making income, thus saving taxes.

There are many other considerations when starting a business, like what State should you form your Corporation or LLC? Should you form it yourself or hire an attorney to do it? In my opinion it is worth the extra upfront expense a corporate entity will cost because over time, it will save you a great deal of expense, and may even save your ass(ets).

I will be doing a webinar for Global Voice Acting Academy on September 26, 2017 at 8:30 eastern; 5:30 pacific to more fully discuss these issues. Click for Details

Rob Sciglimpaglia practices in Entertainment including trademarks and copyrights, as well as workers compensation, personal injury and real estate.

Rob is also the author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Voice Over Legal.” Get your copy at

Posted on

Broadcasting Auditions on Social Media

Odds are you’ve seen someone do this, or maybe you’ve done it yourself. Broadcasting an audition live on social media using a platform such as Facebook Live or Periscope. The question is, should people be doing this?

Today’s special guest contributor is Rob Sciglimpaglia. Not only is he an attorney, he’s also an actor and voice talent. He knows our industry and he’s got some really great advice!

Broadcasting Auditions

I’m sure many of you have noticed the increase in voice talent filming themselves auditioning for a project and posting it on social media, or even now using Facebook live or Periscope to broadcast the audition live. I don’t understand why voice talent would risk doing this. Psychological explanations aside, this is a very dangerous practice that can lead to serious legal and career damaging consequences.

Even in the absence of a talent signing a non disclosure or confidentiality agreement, audition material should be protected as confidential property belonging to your potential client. What client would be happy seeing their project that has not been released to the public by them, being released to the public by the talent they are looking to hire? This is clearly actionable in a legal sense in that the talent can certainly be held accountable for any damage caused by “leaking” this proprietary intellectual property.

More practically speaking, this can also get the agency or casting director who sent you this material in a whole lot of hot water as well. In the words of casting director Marci Liroff who wrote about this topic in her September 10, 2013 column in Backstage magazine:

“Your auditions for my project should not be available for public consumption. They should only be viewed by me and my filmmaking team, the network, and the studio. The material (the script and audition scenes) are not meant to be viewed by the public at this preproduction stage or, frankly, ever. You’ve heard of spoilers, right? If I’m casting a project that has a top- secret script, it would be extremely detrimental to the project if there were auditions popping up all over the Internet that would reveal the storyline. On my last project, the producer found three actors who had posted their auditions for our film on YouTube and berated me because I didn’t control this better.”

You better believe that if it was your posting that caused the casting director to be berated, then that casting director will think twice, or even three or four times, before sending you another audition.

In my opinion, voice talent should NEVER post their auditions on line, even if they have received permission from the client to do so, because it puts the talent’s need to be seen ahead of the importance of the client’s project, which for an audition, and even the actual job, is the ONLY thing that should matter.

Rob Sciglimpaglia practices in Entertainment including trademarks and copyrights, as well as workers compensation, personal injury and real estate.

Rob is also the author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Voice Over Legal.” I’d be putting this one on your Christmas Wish List to Santa! Get your copy at

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

Posted on

Think Before You Post: Guest Post

This guest post was provided by Rob Sciglimpaglia.

Rob is an actor and voice actor, who also happens to be a brilliant attorney. He understands us, as talent, and he understands the business in which we work. If you’re looking for any of legal advice related to voice over, he’s a great guy to reach out. You can also purchase his book Voice Over Legal on Amazon.

Think Before You Post

voice-over-legalSo you got a wonderful job and you want to tell the world on Social Media! Or you want to take a piece of the gig and put it on your demo. Before you do that, will you land yourself in legal hot water? Or worse, will you land your production company client in hot water?

Did you sign a Non Disclosure Agreement, or a Confidentiality Agreement? If so, DON’T POST ANYTHING! Not a word, not even something like “I got a job but I can’t say anything”, because guess what, you probably just breached it! Do you know what your NDA or Confidentiality Agreement allows you what you can do or not do, or is it a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo?

Even if you did not sign an NDA or Confidentiality agreement, did you sign a contract with your client saying you will “Indemnify and Hold them Harmless for any legal actions against them” due to your actions?

So what if you post something about your gig, and the end user client complains to your Production Company client, and ultimately has to pay a penalty or they get sued by end user client because or your post? Losing your client will be the least of your worries. Hopefully you carry Errors and Omissions insurance in that instance.

Do you have your clients sign your own contract? If not, the above is even more of a reason to do so because you are the one that should be asking for hold harmless/indemnification language. And if you are reading this saying “this stuff doesn’t happen” or “this won’t happen to me”, thank you, because you are the ones that keep me in business!

Trust me on this one, it is much cheaper to prevent these issues than resolving them, and they happen quite frequently.

Rob Sciglimpaglia
Voice Over Legal

Get your copy of Voice Over Legal from Amazon

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.