"Sneeze Scam" – a Warning to Female VO Talent From Pervs

August 3, 2009  |  Articles

I got a warning email yesterday from Mark Davidson of The VoiceOverDirectory informing me of a scam some pervs are playing on female voice over talent.

I tried to get permission from Bobbin Beam (the author of the post) to reprint her article but she hasn’t responded yet so I’ll just link back to the original article on VoiceOverXtra.com (Taji’s Edit… Bobbin finally gave me permission so I’m going to add the article here)

This article originally appeared on  VoiceOverXtra.com here

The Audio Play Perv

Watch out for a new weirdo audition from a guy who has an “audio play” for educational classroom purposes. Yeah, sure.

I love play acting and agreed to audition a portion of his script.

After giving him three separate, yet innocuous script readings, the last script he sent me had one word that was a red flag. I wouldn’t read that particular line, and sent it back and said I was not reading any more.

Either he was going to cast me or not, and I would get paid for anything else.

By the way, he asked me to read this last particular audition script through twice. Connect the dots …

It Gets Worse…

Then he emailed me back to say what a great range of emotion I have, bla bla bla – and asked if I would be interested in reading erotic material for pay, for his personal use.

I was so stunned that I had to take time to process what had happened.

I didn’t write back. I had to take a shower.

Weird Radio Calls

When I worked in radio, sure I got strange calls from listeners on drug trips, guys who wanted to hit on me, the guy who wanted to know the color of my panties, and a few absolute nuts.

One guy believed he had a wire plate in his brain that transmitted the radio station, and said he heard derogatory things the DJs would say about him over the air.

Beware – The “Sneeze” Audition Scam

It happened to me about a year or so ago. Some man called me and stated he was with some ad agency and asked if I would do a phone audition- a simple sneeze over the phone.   He also said that his name didn’t show on my caller ID as he was calling on a VOIP telephone.

I thought that this is a REAL unusual request, but I went along with it. I have auditioned for other things before over the telephone, so I thought it was OK.

But I couldn’t sneeze on cue. It just felt wierd, and I wasn’t going to feign it!!!! Then he suggested I take a little white pepper and inhale it gently. That’s when I told him I wasn’t interested in this job, and hung up quickly, feeling a bit violated in the aftermath. I’ve seen a lot of interesting and sometimes strange things in my
v-o career, and this one is right up there in the top 10 Most Bizarre!

I didn’t think much more about the incident until I listened to a recent Voiceovers on Demand podcast #13 with Ben Werlin of Such A Voice, who discussed this somewhat humorous and alarming story.  It turns out there have been a number of vo ladies contacted by telephone this way in the recent past.

A man who calls himself “Bill Johnson from the Lang Agency” in Las Vegas has been calling female voiceover talent and asking them to sneeze for an audition for a national commercial.

I don’t remember his name, but I do remember how wierd the experience was, and to learn that this is still happening, I’m doing my part just getting the word out….

……And here is Bobbin’s update on this issue from yesterday

So here’s the update:
The perp calls himself Bill Johnson from the Lang Agency in Las Vegas, right?

Adding to the confusion, there is a legitimate Lang(e) Agency based in Las Vegas run by former Los Angeles agent, Linda Lange. I’ve heard she is very familiar with this scam and is really annoyed at how long it’s gone on.

Talk about viral, in more ways than one!

Hopefully the more this scam is exposed, it will affect less individuals!

(end of post)

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I can’t say I’m surprised at some of the degenerate things people do … but this is especially gross.

Please read and tell any fellow Female VO artists not to fall for these Perverts.

Taji


3 Comments


  1. Hi!
    Sorry I was delayed in my reply. Yes, this nonsense has been going on for quite a while.
    As a follow up, to add to the confusion, there is a legitimate Lang(e) Agency based in Las Vegas run by former Los Angeles agent, Linda Lange. I’ve heard she is very familiar with this scam and is really annoyed at how long it’s gone on.

    Thank you for acknowledging what is a very important issue for female voiceover talent.

    All The Best,
    Bobbin Beam

  2. A guy called me today on my cell phone with the “sneeze audition” story. Sounded fishy from the get go but I played along for a bit until he wanted me to twist the end of a tissue and then put it up my nose in order to tickle it and make me sneeze. I told him I was driving (which I was) and that I did not want to sneeze while driving…

  3. Hi all,
    This scam is still alive and kicking. I just got off the phone with a guy calling himself David Cohn from Central Casting. As soon as he mentioned the sneeze, I knew he was a perv.

    I told him I would have to call him back.

    Beware! Creeps are everywhere.