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Voice Actors’ Guide: What is an NDA?

Chloe McWhinnie

Chloe McWhinnie

11 April 2024

Voice Actors’ Guide: What is an NDA? - Voquent

What is an NDA, and why is it important for voice actors to comply with confidentiality?

So, you’ve secured a role in an exciting project and can’t wait to get started. Then comes the scary acronym—NDA.

Also known as Non-Disclosure Agreements, NDAs can seem intimidating at first, but they are crucial for safeguarding the confidentiality of sensitive project details. The language in these contracts can often seem like a bunch of confusing legal jargon, but don’t worry; we’re here to help you navigate through it.

So, in simple terms, what is an NDA?


Understanding NDAs: What they Mean for Voice Actors

Before we dive into the nitty gritty specifics of NDAs, it’s important to understand their purpose. Essentially, an NDA is a legal contract designed to protect confidential information shared between parties involved in a project. In this case, between you (the voice actor) and your client.

NDAs can cover a wide range of details, such as the project title, character descriptions, plot lines, and even cast members you’re working with. Companies often use them to maintain an advantage over their competitors and ensure an exciting product launch. If they have a profitable idea, they want to protect it and prevent other companies from copying or sabotaging it.

what is an NDA? Voice actor NDA

Essentially, they’re all about the confidentiality of information.

This is important, as confidentiality isn’t just a formality in the voice acting industry; it’s essential. Remember, all NDAs have a confidentiality period, with a specific end date to the agreement.

But why is maintaining secrecy around projects such a big deal?

Controlled information release – studios and production companies will have carefully crafted marketing strategies to promote their projects. Any premature disclosures can severely disrupt these plans and undermine promotional efforts.

Preservation of surprises – surprise elements in a project, such as plot twists, character reveals, or easter eggs, are a key part of an audience’s enjoyment of a project. Leaked information spoiling these surprises can dimmish the overall impact and enjoyment of the work.

Professional integrity – Upholding confidentiality demonstrates your professionalism as a voice actor and shows your respect for the process. Voice actors who honour NDAs create a reputation of trust and reliability among industry peers and casting directors – You want to get invited back for the sequel, don’t you? 


Navigating NDAs: What Voice Actors need to know

Now that we’re aware of the significance of NDAs, how can you navigate them?

The scope of confidentiality – As a voice actor, it is important to understand the extent of information covered by your NDA. For example, the contract may require secrecy around the project title, the fellow voice actors involved, character details, or release dates.

Working with unreleased information – In most cases, as the voice actor, you will often receive confidential project information that is necessary for the audition and recording processes. Some projects may choose to adopt code names or working titles to mitigate leaks, but voice actors must always exercise caution when dealing with potentially sensitive information.

What is an NDA? Voice actors NDA

Timing of disclosures – Knowing when it is permissible to discuss your involvement in a project is crucial. It is best to wait for explicit confirmation from clients or studios before sharing your involvement or any details regarding the project. Some companies will require secrecy around a project indefinitely, while others may only require you to withhold information until the project release date or announcement.

Social media etiquette – In an age dominated by social media, you must be wary when sharing updates about a project online. Booth selfies, likes, retweets, and even seemingly harmless comments can lead to leaks, so it is important to exercise caution.


Case Studies: Learn from Past Mistakes

To highlight the importance of NDAs and your obligation to adhere to them, we’ve put together some real-world examples where breaches of confidentiality had some serious repercussions.

Fallout 4 Leak

In 2013, leaked documents revealed that the highly anticipated Fallout 4 was in production before the game’s official announcement. The premature disclosure led to Bethesda’s marketing plans being disrupted and widespread speculation and fan theories.

What is an NDA? Voice acting NDA. Fallout 4 leak

While the leaker’s identity remains unknown, they will face severe reputational damage within the industry as they have abused the trust and professional integrity of the gaming company. Not only this, the legal consequences of violating an NDA can range anywhere from lawsuits to financial penalties, such as damages for any profits that would have been lost.

Call of Duty 2024 Leak

With the recent announcement of Call of Duty: Gulf War being released in 2024, one of the actors involved in the process claimed his likeness is being used for one of the main characters – ‘Ratcliffe’.

The actor Luke Charles Stafford posted pictures of what appears to be himself in a body scanning rig on his personal Facebook. He said, “Activision decided to adapt their next main character ‘Ratcliffe’ for Call of Duty off my face/likeness, and I am elated!”

While we still don’t know if this leak is true, if it is, the actor has likely suffered great consequences. It is not uncommon for actors to be completely scrapped from projects after leaking sensitive information, especially regarding the main characters. He has also likely suffered legal consequences from Activision in the form of financial penalties.


Best Practices for Voice Actors: Upholding Confidentiality

Now that you’re armed with a deeper understanding of NDAs and their implications, here are a few practices that you can adopt to ensure your compliance and professionalism around them:

Exercise discretion – When in doubt, err on the side of caution and refrain from sharing any potentially confidential or sensitive information about a project, both online and offline.

Seek confirmation – If in doubt, Ask! Always seek and wait for explicit confirmation from a client or studio before announcing your involvement in a project.

Stay informed – Keep track of the release dates and project updates to get a sense of when it is appropriate to discuss your role publicly.


What are some NDA red flags?

It’s important to thoroughly read over NDAs to help spot any potential red flags. By identifying them up front, you can protect your interests as a voice actor and ensure clarity to mitigate potential risks.

What is an NDA? Voice acting NDA

Unclear definitions – If an NDA fails to specify what information is to remain confidential or defines it so broadly that you’re left confused, it is important to ask for clarification before you sign. I mean, how can you comply with an NDA if you don’t know what information is confidential?

No termination clause – While you may be happy when you sign the NDA, circumstances can change, and you may need to be released from it. A termination clause ensures you have a way out that both parties agree on. Signing an NDA with no termination clause can trap you in an agreement, no matter the circumstances.

Unlimited liability – If you can’t see any specific figure for maximum damages in your NDA, then there is no limit to the amount of money you can be held liable for. It’s important to have a cap on damages, within reason. This will often be in the form of a percentage, which can even be more than 100%.

Violation of your rights – If there is any sign of language that can limit your ability to report abuse or criminal activity within your NDA – run! While this type of document is unlikely to hold up in court, it’s still in your best interest to steer clear or re-negotiate with the client.



As a voice actor, honouring NDAs is incredibly important to preserve confidentiality, professional integrity, and collaborative trust. You must remember to read these agreements thoroughly and ensure you understand every clause before signing.

By understanding the importance of NDAs and adopting the best practices, you can navigate these once-scary agreements professionally and with confidence.


Take a look at the Voiceover jargon you NEED to know



What happens if I refuse to sign an NDA?

If you choose not to sign an NDA, be aware that the decision can have an impact on your involvement in that particular project. If you are unhappy with some terms of the NDA, they may be negotiable, but refusal to sign entirely is likely to be a dealbreaker.

I mean, if confidentiality was optional, projects wouldn’t ask for it in the first place, right?

Where can I get advice on NDAs?

If you’re represented by an agent, they’ll be able to help you understand your NDA and answer any questions you might have. Remember, an agent reading your NDA is a supplement, not a substitute – it’s important you still read it thoroughly for yourself.

If you aren’t represented by an agent but still need another opinion on your NDA, a lawyer is your next best bet. It’s a smart investment to pay for a lawyer to review the basic terms of your contract, and they’ll be able to spot any red flags immediately.

Can I tell my friends and family about a project even though I signed an NDA?

No! – An NDA is the protection of confidential information against third parties, which includes your family and friends. When the NDA says don’t tell anyone, that really does mean anyone. You can still be held accountable for telling friends and family details of your upcoming project.

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Chloe McWhinnie

By Chloe McWhinnie

Writer, motorsports enthusiast, and Scotland native Chloe is passionate about literature, anime, Overwatch, and all things creative.

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