Gina Scarpa gets it. A lot of people don't want to hear from her right now.
The voice actor usually can't wait to share her work on social media, posting commercials and video games that feature her voice. But not the political ads.
"I understand how people feel," said Scarpa, who has been flooded with political voiceover requests. Her approach to ads — like the four she did attacking Republican Second Congressional District candidate Tyler Kistner — is to think about motivating people to take action.
"Also to just speak like a real person who has a stake in what's going on in the country. Not be an announcer and not to talk at people, but to be a person who deals with these issues and has opinions like anybody else," said Scarpa, who lives in Connecticut.
As money has poured into politics, the demand for voice actors has exploded, and Minnesotans have been inundated with their work.
Political ads first landed on Minneapolis-based talent manager Celia Siegel's radar in the 1990s. A small number of people did the voiceovers then, and she said they fit a certain mold: older men with "authoritative" voices from Washington, D.C.
No longer. Advertising firms come to her agency looking to book Korean, Spanish or Vietnamese voices. Portland ad agencies contact them seeking only Oregonian voices for races there. Campaigns tend to want voice actors who work solely for Democratic or Republican candidates.
"The closer you can be to the candidate, and the more of an insider of the community where we're trying to microtarget that you can be, the better," said Siegel, who works with voice actors across the world.
The turnaround for such ads is fast.
Voice actor Ian Fishman, who lives in Minneapolis, said it's not uncommon to get a request in the morning, record a couple hours later — a process that could take as little as 15 minutes, with perhaps a couple requested tweaks — then have the ad air that night.
"Every day, there's something new happening out on the campaign that they either need to capitalize on or refute," he said.
Fishman, like an increasing number of voice actors, only does ads for candidates he supports or against those he dislikes.
His negative ads tend to be conversational, he said, describing his tone as, "Come on, we all see through this, right? As opposed to, 'They did this, and this, and they also lied about lunch!"
Andrew Lander, who lives near Atlanta, has done two attack ads against Minnesota Republican Secretary of State candidate Kim Crockett. He takes a different tack.
He gets in the zone with a sneer, turning down the corners of his mouth. Then he spits out the words "like you're eating the worst thing that you didn't order at a restaurant."
"To do this well, you have to be the best version of yourself. It's not being fake. It's just taking whatever you feel to be happiness, disgust, sadness. Any emotion, take what you know that to be and dial it up," Lander said. "Then you'll start getting into the sweet spot of what really makes people's ears perk up and go, 'Oh, I really felt that.'"