In this new episode, I bring to you the main VO Boss lady herself, Miss Anne Ganguzza. Among other things, Anne will talk about what makes a successful VO boss, how to connect with the listener and be engaging, and a few ways to find eLearning and telephony work.
Anne invites us to rethink the reason for wanting to get into a particular genre because, in the end, it’s all about connecting. She maintains it has to come from a place of wanting to help or wanting to educate others.
In this new episode, I bring to you the main VO Boss lady herself, Miss Anne Ganguzza. Among other things, Anne will talk about what makes a successful VO boss, how to connect with the listener and be engaging, and a few ways to find eLearning and telephony work.
Anne invites us to rethink the reason for wanting to get into a particular genre because, in the end, it’s all about connecting. She maintains it has to come from a place of wanting to help or wanting to educate others.
Anne is a top voice actor, coach, producer, and host of the VOBoss podcast. As a coach, she helps students boost their VO career to the next level, using target-marketed demos and customized marketing strategies. Anne’s credits include United Healthcare, Delta, Pearson, Mercedes Benz, PayPal, Wells Fargo, and many more.
She has received multiple nominations at the Voice Arts awards including best narration demo, best commercial demo and best podcast. And she won the award for Outstanding Narration Demo in 2017.
Throughout the interview we talk about the purpose of motivating and inspiring people, the feeling of being able to help someone as a voiceover artist and what the whole challenge and the entrepreneurship of being a voiceover artist is all about. We also discuss the impact of technology in our jobs, the need of establishing a two-way conversation with our listener and even specific recommendations to read medical terms.
You can find more about Anne Ganguzza, including coaching, and demo production on her website www.anneganguzza.com/ I recommend you listen to her VO Boss Podcast, find it on social media as @vo_boss and last but not least, she has her own VO Peeps group, www.vopeeps.com, where she does monthly guest director workouts, and where you can sign up for a membership to receive educational materials and discounts.
**Visit www.nickymondellini.com/podcast and download the ebook “Learn to handle the NOs of the industry” for free, and subscribe to receive La Pizarra’s monthly newsletter with news about new episodes and various resources for the best development of your artistic career
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** Visit https://www.nickymondellini.com to learn about the work of actress, host and broadcaster Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky Mondellini is an artist of international stature with more than thirty years of artistic career, her voice is heard in commercials on television, radio and digital platforms worldwide. She is the host and producer of La Pizarra with Nicky Mondellini since 2020.
Her work as an actress includes more than twelve telenovelas, several classical and contemporary Spanish plays, short and feature films, and the hosting of morning shows in Mexico and the United States, as well as image commercials, and advertising and corporate videos.
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Speaker 1: This is La Pizarra. A place where we explore creative minds in the entertainment industry on both sides of the mic and the camera. Here is your host, Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky Mondellini: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of La Pizarra. I’m your host, Nicky Mondellini, and I’m very happy today to be talking to the main real boss lady herself, Ms. Anne Ganguzza. She is a top voice actor, coach, producer, and host of the VO BOSS Podcast. Among other things, Anne will be talking about what makes a successful VO BOSS and how to find e-learning and telephony work.
If you’re watching this episode on YouTube, you will notice that I’m in a different location. This is Los Olivos Recording Studio in Los Angeles, owned by the talented musician and producer Beto Hale, who is also a dear friend. You can listen to his interview from Season 3, as well as all other episodes on lapizarrapodcast.com or on your favorite platform. If you’re listening on Apple podcast, I would very much appreciate your five-star review so that others can find us and benefit from the information and all the advice that we share here on the show.
Before we go on with the interview. I want to tell you about SquadCast. The platform that I’m using to record most of the interviews for this podcast. SquadCast has excellent sound quality, and the best thing is that your guests can join the session from a computer or their mobile device from anywhere in the world. All they need is a stable internet connection. Find the link in the show notes and try SquadCast free for seven days, and then you can decide which plan best fits your needs, either audio only or the video option. SquadCast has many advantages, like the possibility of having up to nine people in the session, for example, in a virtual meeting, and you can download your mixed and mastered audio files with Dolby sound quality. Try it out at squadcast.fm/?ref=La Pizarra. This link is in the show notes.
Anne Ganguzza is a professional voice actor, coach, and award-winning producer with a dynamic on-mic presence and a passion for all things voice and technology. As a coach, she helps students boost their VO career to the next level using target-marketed demos and customized marketing strategies. Her network group, The VO Peeps, offers meetups and workouts with incredible opportunities for feedback and growth. While her popular VO BOSS Podcast can be heard weekly around the globe and it covers industry topics with a fresh take on what’s happening in voiceover. I will link to that in the show notes. Anne’s credits include UnitedHealthcare, Delta, Pearson, Mercedes Benz, PayPal, Wells Fargo, and many, many more. She has received multiple nominations in the Voice Arts Awards, including Best Narration Demo, Best Commercial Demo, and Best Podcast and she won the award for Outstanding Narration Demo in 2017. Welcome Anne to La Pizarra, thank you so much for giving me this time for the interview. I know you’re super busy and it’s in the middle of a very busy weekend here in LA right now.
Anne: It is.
Nicky: We’ve got That’s Voiceover Career Expo where you presented. Did you do your presentation today or is it tomorrow?
Anne: It was yesterday, actually.
Nicky: Oh, it was yesterday. That’s right. You said it was going to be Thursday. Then, of course, Sovas, for which you were nominated so congratulations for that.
Anne: Thank you. Thank you.
Nicky: Yes. Let’s really keep that hope up.
Anne: Although I consider a nomination a win. I’ll say that right now.
Nicky: I feel the same way. I feel the same way. You’re right, because really, so many nominations, so many categories, so many talented people that are up for this award. Just to be nominated amongst so many talented people is definitely a win.
Anne: Yes, I truly feel that.
Nicky: Yes, it’s the best of the best in the industry. Really, I feel good about that. Anyway, I want to cover a lot of things today, but I really want to start with how you started in voiceover. I know you came from the corporate world, but how was that experience for you to just suddenly start to get your feet wet into what voiceover is?
Anne: Well, gosh, I didn’t even know what voiceover was when I was in the corporate world, and I actually was installing phone systems for multiple locations on the East Coast at my– I actually worked for an educational institution. We were a county school, and we served all of the schools in the county as well as we were an internet provider, a phone provider for many, many government institutions in the state. We were one of the first places to implement voice-over IP. Part of my responsibility was to install the voice-over IP phone systems.
The last part of it was they have their phones, and I’d say, “Congratulations, you have 300 phones, and all you have to do is record that welcome greeting.” They would just laugh and go, “Oh, no, no, no, you’ll do that right?” I ended up recording like thousands of welcome greetings and phone greetings. For me, it became this wonderful kind of respite where I could lock myself in a room because back then you had to pick up the phone and record into the phone, and nobody could bother me when that happened because I had to have quiet and it was a live recording into the phone.
At that point, nobody could complain to me that their network was down, their computer wasn’t working, their email wasn’t working. I ended up being in this wonderful little world of phone messages, and I really, really enjoyed it. People would say to me, “Oh, wow, I heard your voice. You’re the voice on the welcome greeting.” They said, “You should think about doing this as a living.” I thought and I investigated and lo and behold, there was such a thing called voiceover and did my due diligence, got some training for a while, got a demo, and started actually doing voiceover part-time while I was still working full-time and I loved it.
It was such a creative outlet and I think what I loved about my job at the time was I was a network engineer and I was always solving problems. That to me is a creative aspect of a technical job and so getting into voiceover was really just expanding on the creative part of it. I love that. After, gosh, I worked for the school for about 20 years, and then I decided that I was done. While I loved coaching and teaching, which I still do, and working with the technology, I was really so invested in trying to make a go at voiceover full-time, and I said, “Yes, you know what, I’m ready to make that leap.”
I haven’t looked back.
Anne: Absolutely one of the best decisions I ever made, but I think everything up to this point contributed to who I am as an artist. Every bit of experience, every bit of corporate experience, educational experience, teaching, every part of me is now who I am in Voiceover and that’s what I really love, is that I’ve been able to embrace everything that I’ve come to this place with and really just have a lot of fun with it.
Nicky: I think it prepared you, everything in your experience in your career, to now be like one of the top voice artists in your areas, but I mean, you also do commercial. At what point do you think that it started to become something that really drew you in to do E-learning, to do medical? Because you also do medical narrations and my goodness, tackling those medical terms. How do you do all of that?
Anne: That’s a great question, and again, I think every piece of me is in every part of what I do today because E-learning, I was in education for many, many years, and I’m also a coach. I think probably if you said to me, “Anne, what is your purpose in life?” I think it’s education and mostly it’s hoping to motivate and inspire people.
It’s something that I truly, truly love. Of course, voiceover, yes, but I think the whole education will always be a part of me. I love to do E-learning because that’s me teaching behind the mic.
Anne: My career after I graduated college was I spent six years at a medical company, at an orthopedic company. I designed hip and knee prosthetics. I was an engineer. Again, that whole creative problem-solving thing, I was an engineer and developed hip and knee prosthetics, which was a wonderful wonderful experience, but that also drove me to wanting to be in medical narration as well. I think that the whole feeling of being able to help someone, whether it be me designing a knee prosthetic or instructing them with a voiceover, or easing their anxiety or pain.
Reading the pharmaceutical label. Because I always imagine when I read the back of a pharmaceutical label, I’m nervous. I’m looking for I don’t know, do I have this symptom or what if I took too much or how much do I take? I always feel like being the voice of that being somebody who can help and comfort and ease anxiety, that to me it’s just so wonderful. I mean, it’s just something that I love to do. All of that, all the parts that I love to do are embraced in my voiceover career.
That includes, like I said, the coaching because I love to teach medical narration because I had experience and I love to help people and educate them. Really it’s just all about this genres that I love to do. I choose to do them. That’s what I love about this career, is that I can shape my business the way that I want to have it directed versus, me working in education or the corporate world where I’m working for someone, obviously. The whole challenge and the entrepreneurship of being a voiceover artist, voiceover actor, is also something that I absolutely love about being in this industry.
Nicky: For example, when you teach your students and it’s someone that hasn’t had that experience in the medical industry or the technical aspect, or has been an educator, but they love voiceover and they like to do e-learning. What is something that you tell them, because you have a very conversational natural approach to that? What is required so that people actually pay attention when they’re absorbing all this important information for learning purposes for education. What is something that you tell your students so that they will not feel very alien to the copy if they don’t have that background?
Anne: Well, I think first of all, I always ask them why they want to get into e-learning or medical. I think if the answer is, well, I hear that there’s a lot of work, or there’s a lot of opportunity there, a lot of money. I always stop them and say, but really I think I want it to come from a place of wanting to serve, wanting to help. I actually think, even commercial copy, right? To a point, when you are voicing copy, you are servicing the copy, the company that you’re reprenting, the student that you’re teaching. It really isn’t about you, it’s about them. It’s about who you’re talking to and how can they be helped or how can they benefit by listening to what it is that you have to say.
I think that’s number one. I always make sure that you really– I think you want to try to rethink the reason for wanting to get into a particular genre because it really has to be from a place of wanting to help or wanting to educate, because that’s going to make the best connection with the listener. Really, it’s all about connecting, right? With the listener, no matter what you’re doing, really. Unless– I think any genre, you still have to connect with the listener. You have to speak to them, and you have to be engaging. To me, being engaging means it’s a two-way conversation. It’s a give or take. It’s like me speaking to you and you’re listening and then you’re accepting or you’re understanding or you’ve got a question, and then you bounce that back to me, and then I answer, and then I might bounce something back to you.
It becomes something very personal and intimate. I always feel like we are in other people’s ears, and we want that conversation to be directed at them. Nobody wants to sit and listen to somebody read a PowerPoint presentation. If you’ve ever been in a presentation where people have read off the note cards or reading off the PowerPoint, it’s not engaging at all. As a matter of fact, I could be that person sitting in the back of the room going, “Well, she’s not going to notice if I text, so let me just, check my email or let me just text my friend here. She won’t notice because she’s not talking to me. She’s talking to, I don’t know the air, she’s talking to the group of people.”
I always feel, for us, we really need to establish that connection to our listener to be the most effective. I think for people to want to listen to us, we have to be talking to them.
Nicky: Exactly. Talking to them and for example, tackling those medical terms that are not easy for people that don’t have that kind of background. What do you recommend in that case?
Anne: Well, you know what’s so interesting is if you break it down into technical aspects, if you’ve, taken your English or Spanish class or whatever it is, right? There are nouns, there are things we talk about. There are actions that happen in a sentence, and then there are actions that happen on nouns in a sentence. Breaking it down into, let’s say diagramming an English sentence, it would be a noun verb, and object. Those things are important to the context of what it is you’re saying, like what are you talking about and what’s happening?
What’s happening to the object that you’re talking about? Those are the words that need to be highlighted, so to speak, into the ear of the listener because those are important to the actual meaning of the sentence. We are communicators, right? We need to always assume that maybe people are half listening to us. Whatever words that become emphasized are the ones that will stay in the ear. That would be like the noun. What is it you’re talking about? The medical term, that you’re talking about.
All of those, if you can break down a sentence into what is it, what’s the action and what is the action being taken place or what is the action taking place on, you can understand what words are important, whether you know them or not, whether that medical term is foreign to you or not. It’s usually something that needs to be highlighted or emphasized.
It has to be emphasized in a way that’s not overly dramatic or overly articulated even because today there’s so much information out there, and our attention spans have gotten so short that we need to actually be the– I always talk to my students that we’re the audio Cliff Notes for the listener, really, if you know what Cliff Notes are back in the day.
Nicky: Fact summaries.
Anne: You’d buy that summary. You vocally have to summarize what’s happening in the copy so that if somebody’s half listening to you while they’re standing at the refrigerator grabbing a drink, or something to eat, they hear those words that are important. It’s like writing a telegram. I mean now, I’m going to date myself, but it’s like sell car gone France. If I say that to you get what I’m saying, like, sell car gone France. Sell’s your verb, car’s your object, gone, France. Those are the important words of the sentence. You get the idea. Those are the words that need to be brought up to the level of the listeners’ hearing and ear so that they understand what you’re saying and you’re breaking it down and summarizing it.
Nicky: Yes, absolutely.
Nicky: For someone who really wants to get into that, but they don’t know, or they would like to have their own clients and let’s say not only rely on pay-to-plays. Maybe they don’t have an agent, but they want to get a lot into that and they really want to look for that type of work, e-learning or telephony. What do you recommend, because I know you teach courses on that, but if you could give us a brief summary of that?
Anne: On how to get the work?
Anne: Yes, that’s the golden question, isn’t it? [laughs] It’s so funny because, you can you can get coaching, you can create a demo, and then all of a sudden it’s like, well, what do I do with this now?
Nicky: Exactly, yes.
Anne: How do I get the work? That’s like, I’m going to say, for anybody in the VO business, even the people who’ve been in the VO business for a long time, it’s a good 70% to 80% of the work is marketing yourself. People can’t hire you if they don’t know that you exist, or they don’t know that you offer voiceover as a service. You really have to get yourself out in front of the people or the potential people who can hire you.
That is, the golden question. There are so many ways to do that. I think you have to employ all of them because especially when coming from corporate I had a paycheck that came every two weeks and I could depend on that. Well, now we are entrepreneurs and that’s no longer the case unless you have a contract with a company that you’re voicing for and that can happen. I’ve had multiple contracts but they haven’t lasted, I have one contract, some of my clients I have worked for for 16 years. A lot of these jobs, sometimes they’re just one-off jobs and you get the job, they pay you and you’re done. You continually have to be searching for new clients.
Pay-to-plays are one way to do that. I mean, you’re just getting your voice out there. I have a product called the BOSS Blast, which is because I became very busy because I was trying to do everything that I wanted to do, and I was doing a fairly good job of it coaching, doing voiceover running– Doing my podcast and then also running the VO peeps. That was just a lot of things to do. I didn’t have a ton of time to audition.
I thought, well, I just need to direct market to agencies or in-house production companies or just companies in general. That’s what made me come up with the BOSS Blast because that, allows me to submit or send marketing emails to potential clients who can then, get back to me and say, “Hey, this is great. How much would you charge for this?” They’ve heard my demo. I think probably the goal is if you can, we’re an online business, get people to your website so they can hear your demos or market to them via email so they can get to your website or attach your demos so they can hear them. Then they’re interested, they like your voice and then they will respond and say, “This is great, how much would it cost for this?” That would be for a lot of e-learning gigs or corporate gigs.
If you have an agent of course they mostly will cover the broadcast, commercial, promo, animation, and so you have a combination of all of those things working for you. I think even with an agent you still have to market yourself, you still have to audition. There’s pay-to-plays, there’s your agents, there’s direct marketing and really it’s just constant. There’s having a presence online, having a presence on social media, there’s creating content. I have content everywhere, and it’s not an easy thing to do.
It certainly takes a commitment. I think having content out there that’s valuable to your potential clients is also something that brings you in front of them so that they can hire you. Again you have to get noticed and there’s an awful lot of content out there.
Nicky: Oh, for goodness, yes. There is a lot of competition and some of that content is relevant and some of it is not that much and you have to come up with creative ways. Getting back to your email blast, so how do people get on that list and what does it take someone gets you send from different people’s emails and you send it out to your curated list of clients or yes? That’s how it works?
Anne: Yes. Actually, I purchased a service that is a list of over 90,000 creatives. Gosh, I’ve had this for over five years. The cool thing about it is it’s not just a static list of people. It literally is a dynamic list that gets updated when somebody leaves an agency. The name is taken off the list when somebody they add new agencies on all the time or the new companies or new production companies all the time. I pay for that list, and then basically anybody that I market for with a BOSS Blast they get a subset of that list.
Not everybody’s marketing to 90,000 clients but then again I’m target marketing for them. Let’s just say you want to, you’re very successful commercially, you get hired a lot to do commercials. I would meet with you, and I’d listen to your demo, I’d take a look at your website and I’d say okay so what do you want to focus on? You might say, ” Okay so I usually get booked doing commercials. I get booked a lot doing commercials,” and so we would go ahead and then think about where do you want to send this blast because it’s geographically driven. You can send to the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, New York, California. I’ve got six different regions and essentially we decide where we want to send that. You can send it to the entire US if you want. It really depends on what you want to do with it. Then as a VO BOSS, because VO BOSS has permission to send to these lists, I would create a subset of that list, probably a list of anywhere from 800 to 2, 000 people on that list, and then you’re the only person that is going to be sending to that list.
That I pretty much guarantee, I don’t work with a ton of clients so that we can split that list up. We would send an email on behalf of your boss introducing you to a list of clients, and then a couple weeks later we send another follow-up email. Then you decide, we look at the stats, we can see who opened them, we can see who clicked any of the responses. If an email goes out to a client or a potential client and they are interested, they can reply to that email and it goes to right you specifically.
I don’t even know if anybody is, I don’t know because I have the reply all set going directly to you. You handle all the clients they’re yours. I don’t get involved in that. I just promote you basically. After we look at the stats if you’re happy with them it becomes something like a top-of-mind thing. You decide whether you want to send to the list monthly or quarterly. I usually recommend monthly.
Nicky: Monthly okay.
Anne: My example is I subscribe to Old Navy because I want deals. Maybe I want the 20% coupon or whatever. Old Navy sends me an email at least three to four times a week. Now I don’t always open that email but I look at it as it comes in my inbox and if the time comes–
Nicky: You’re reminded of it?
Anne: Yes I’m reminded of it, and if I all of a say, “Oh, I need a pair of pajama bottoms or a T-shirt,” I will then click into the email and then see what deals they are, and then if they got something that’s attractive to me I’ll click and go onto the website and buy. That’s the same thing with our voiceover services. It really is a whole game of timing. You could have a great client that’s interested but they just don’t have anything that they need you for at the moment, and so they may put you away in their folder if they’re organized or they might be like me where I’m like every once in a while if I see that email I’m like, “Oh yes that’s right, I need those shorts.”
Nicky: It might be a no but it’s not a not ever it’s just a not right now.
Anne: For now. It’s a no for right now. If you think about it, let’s think about a company like Apple. Apple has a bunch of products but they don’t introduce new products every day. They introduce I don’t know every season, every year there’s a new iPhone or there’s a new iBook or a new MacBook or something like but it’s not every single day. Therefore they might have already voices that are representing that particular product, and so they don’t need one right now, but next year when the new iPhone comes out they’re going to need something.
Or they’re going to need a voice, and so that’s the way it is for any type of real product. Now the interesting thing is when I create these lists I have choices where I can send to agencies. Now agencies work for multiple companies usually at a time or multiple clients. If I’m sending to an agency and they might have 10 or 20 clients, I might have a better chance maybe of getting a particular gig. Maybe not if it’s corporate narration because a lot of times they’re working on commercial or whatever it might be.
It really depends again on the timing of it, and so it’s important for you to remain top of mind to your clients. This is one way to help you do that.
Nicky: Exactly, but because a lot of people I know in my case when I was starting out, I was mainly on pay to plays and with one agent in Houston. I know when work was coming and then I was just depending on those two things and it wasn’t coming in fast enough so I was you know with those periods of time where I’m like okay, no this is not working. Then I would start to look for people here and there but then I wouldn’t really follow up that much.
That’s the mistake that many people make I think especially at the beginning because they think like well I’ve sent to 10 people and it’s been three months and I haven’t heard back. Well but did you follow up two weeks later? That’s the thing.
Nicky: If you don’t follow up and if you get discouraged that’s it, you’re losing the battle. It’s not personal, if they don’t open your email it’s not personal.
Nicky: If they see it continuously then they might open it at some point but they know that you’re active, that you’re there, that you’re searching, and that’s it. That’s what helps.
Anne: You know what else is important to know is that there are different types of lists. There’s another way obviously where you can go and get your own or you can kind of do a search and get addresses on your own, look for companies, post-production companies, and then look for an email address, and you send an email.
That is what I call somebody who did not give you permission necessarily to market to them, so you have to be very very careful. The one distinct difference between that and my BOSS Blast is that the people on the list have already agreed to have to be marketed too. My 90,000 people have already agreed that VO BOSS can market to them, and so because you are a VO BOSS client that we are representing, if you purchase a BOSS Blast you will be email@example.com, they will agree to be marketed to by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then ultimately when that email gets to them the reply to is sent to you. We are representing you kind of like an agent but not really, because I don’t get in the middle of it once I market for you. That’s is what I call a vetted list or a list that has already given you permission, a permission-based list. That is so much different than I’m sure you’ve gotten spam mail. I get it every day. People who want to do my SEO, they want to do my website, they want to– They actually it’s incredible what they want to do all sorts of, they want to market for me on Instagram or I could be an influencer. I get those and I’m like not sure, I never signed up for this. When I get those emails I get annoyed, and so it’s really difficult when you’re doing that type of marketing when you’ve curated your own list and you send an email soliciting your services. That’s actually if you don’t give them a way to opt out of that and you don’t there’s spam laws. That’s actually probably not– You have to be very careful, not the best idea. You got to be very careful in how you word it so that you’re not going to make people angry and annoyed. I get to the point where I’m like, “I will never, ever buy from you because you’ve just sent me five emails and I am not on your list.”
Nicky: Yes. Exactly.
Anne: You have to be careful with that.
Nicky: You do, because then you’re going to be shooting yourself in the foot. You have to be smart about how you reach out to people.
Anne: Yes. Another important thing, another important thing for, I think, for making yourself available in putting yourself out there, is if you have a great website with good SEO and that people find you. If somebody’s doing a Google search and they’re looking for a corporate narration or commercial in the Orange County, California area or whatever, bilingual talent, whatever it is they’re searching for, if you’ve got good SEO on your website and you’re producing content so that your site comes up at the top of the list, they’re going to go to your website. If you’ve got your demos front and center, and they can listen to it, they like it, and then contact information up there so they can send you an email, boom, now they’ve already listened to you, they’ve already liked you, and all you have to do is negotiate the deal.
Anne: Yes. That, I think, for me, thankfully that’s how I get the majority of my work. That and referrals from clients and repeat clients and my direct marketing. That’s great because it helps me to run the business that I want to run. I’ve also been around a long time. I think a lot of people don’t give the marketing aspect enough time. They get very frustrated.
You have to realize that, gosh, they’re our marketing department. The whole entire marketing departments in companies, that’s what they’re hired for.
Here we are, voiceover artists, and we throw out an email or two or three, and then we get really depressed and rejected and, “Oh, my God, nobody’s talking to me and I can’t get any work.” I’m like, gosh, people are assigned to companies like departments, marketing, day after day after day after day, and finding leads and following up on those leads. We have to do the same thing. We have to realize–
Nicky: We have to. We have to be with patience and knowing that it takes several different areas and different streams that you have to be keeping up with.
Anne: Yes. Yes. If you never considered yourself a marketer, well, you have to be one now. You do. Google is your friend. It really is. I never went to school for marketing, but yet I market all the time. People have told me that I’m fairly decent at it. I never went to school for that. I literally learned that by doing, by looking, by educating, by researching. The information is all there.
If you want to find out how to market, honestly, get on some lists. If I have a company that I want to be the voice for, I sign up for their mailing list. The cool thing about that is that when I’m on their mailing list, I see how they market to their clients, so I learn a lot about them. That’s one way that you can find out what they might need.
Anne: Ultimately, if you were sending an email that was unsolicited, you could at least say, “Hey, I’ve been on your mailing list and I’m really impressed with your product, and I would love to maybe discuss how we might work together.” That kind of a thing where you’re nurturing a relationship. You can also learn a lot about marketing by just being on people’s mailing lists.
I know so many people are like, “I don’t want to have tons of email.” I’m going to look right now. Let’s see, wait a minute. Today, I literally have, let’s see if I can find it. Okay, this is the number of unread emails that I have in my Gmail account, 870,939. I’ve had a Gmail account since they started, and because it’s Google, I never delete. I can search for any email, but that’s the amount of unread emails. You know that I have tons and tons of email.
For me, I’ll sign up for your list. Ultimately if it’s really something that I’m not interested in, yes, I’ll unsubscribe. I learned so much by getting marketing emails from other companies, and that’s really, you can find trends that way. You can see what verbiage works, you can see what verbiage doesn’t work. It’s–
Nicky: It’s true. That’s true. The really attention-grabbing words, what makes you open an email from a company at a given point, and then you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute I can use that for myself.”?
Anne: Exactly. Exactly.
Nicky: “I can move it around and use it to my convenience.”
Anne: It’s something that even veterans in this business have been in this for years, you still got to market. I don’t stop marketing ever. It’s just something you either have to get used to or you outsource it to someone to do for you if you hate it.
Nicky: It’s a continuous thing, it has to be.
Anne: It comes with a job, to be honest with you. I think that even if you hire somebody else to do it, you’ve got to oversee what’s the content that’s go– You’ve got to have content to market, and what’s the best thing that we can market as voice talent? Probably our demos. Our demos, our previous work, that kind of thing. You have to make sure that you have the content to market.
Nicky: Exactly. You have to be prepared, you have to set up the store before you invite the clients in-
Nicky: -otherwise you’ve got nothing to offer, right?
Anne: Exactly. As a matter of fact, I actually have to meet with people before we’ll do a BOSS Blast because I got to make sure that you have a good demo, that you have a website that will allow people to reach you, something that’s representative of your brand. Ultimately, if it’s something that may not look as professional as it could, I will give you that advice and say, “You’re not ready yet. Here’s what I suggest. Do you have a YouTube channel with the work that you’ve done? Do you have more of a verbiage for your bio a little bit?” Because again, remember, SEO works on, or search engine optimization works on words.
These people that want to have clean websites, well, that may look nice, but it doesn’t index very well. People aren’t going to be able to find you, and again, if they can’t find you, they can’t hire you.
Nicky: Exactly. Exactly.
Anne: If you look at my website, I got words all over the place, and people might think it’s too wordy, but honestly, people do not have a problem finding me.
Nicky: No, no. Then no, you have to put all those words there and repeat them. It’s all about strategy, right? For sure.
Anne: And content. Content will get you found. I just, yesterday I was introduced by Stefan Johnson, who got this amazing TikTok following, because he does commentaries on food. He just started, I don’t know, eating Fruit Loops or he’ll rate the cereals, and he’s really funny and he’s really amazing, and he’s not selling his voice, but while he’s on video, he’s talking, obviously people are hearing that beautiful voice of his, and literally, the work comes in.
I do videos based upon who I want to market to. Right now I’m doing teachable moments, I’m a coach. I have a lot of people say, “Hey, I look at your videos and I really enjoy them, and I want to work with you.” Or whatever it is. Content, content, and content, especially video content, Reels, Shorts. When I do my VO BOSS podcast, I’ve turned to video now, just like with this podcast here, we’re on video. I’ll make shorts of my podcast episodes and ultimately post them to Facebook or to Instagram and basically in YouTube as Shorts, and so that will help attract people to listen to the podcast.
Nicky: Of course. Now that you’re talking about it, how did you get started with it? Because you do it year round. This is like do you sleep or–
Anne: The VO BOSS podcast?
Nicky: Yes. Do you sleep, because you’re coaching, you’re doing your own work, you are marketing, you do the podcast every single day. Or every single week. Yes. It’s like, do you take vacation? Do you–
Anne: Well, first of all, thank you. Second of all, no, I cannot do it all by myself. I have an amazing team. I probably have, right now, 10 people that work for me. They’re not all full-time, but they all have their specialty areas. One thing about being successful is being able to grow year after year after year.
Nicky: And scale it. Yes.
Anne: Because I have so many things that I want to do. I have so many things that I want to do in my business, and so many things that I want to try, I need help. I’m one person, I can’t possibly do it all. I literally, let’s say from my podcast alone, I have a web person, I have an editor, an audio editor, I have a person that writes the show notes. I have a person who does the graphics. I have two people that do social media. Did I say I had a transcriptionist? It’s insane.
Nicky: Oh, okay. Yes.
Anne: That’s nine people right there besides me and my guest co-host. It’s just that alone requires that. Then for each of my brands, I also have people that do things, and I’m constantly looking to fill any gaps that I might have in order to get that content out. Because you’re right, I do an episode a week. I’ve done that for, gosh, close to six years now for VO BOSS.
Nicky: Wow. Nice. Cheers.
Anne: Yes. It’s a labor of love, as you know, right? Being a podcast-
Nicky: I know. Yes.
Anne: -yes, host. It is a labor of love. It’s not necessarily something that you make money with. However, I will say that I’ve gotten a lot of work from the podcast because people get to know who you are. Again, it’s putting yourself out there being on TikTok or putting yourself on YouTube and doing not necessarily– you don’t have to do voice over things. Just do what you love. Create a podcast. If you worked in the healthcare field talk about patient advocacy or something that I think needs to be talked about or discussed. Have a partner and discuss movies that you love. Whatever it is that gets–
Nicky: Whatever your passion is.
Anne: That gets your voice out there. It gets you out there and it gets you known for just your person. [chuckles] I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and say, “Oh my God, I feel like I know you because I’ve listened to you for years. They know me intimately. They probably do because as you know, when you do podcast after podcast, you are putting yourself out there.
Nicky: Yes, you are and also the aspect of it. A podcast is a very intimate thing. You are in people’s ears and they might listen to it while they’re out on a walk or doing chores or whatever when they want to have a little moment to themselves. The way that you talk in the podcast is first of all it’s super fun. It’s very engaging and you have nag, and I say this because I’ve followed your podcast and I’m like, “Man, I was just thinking about that the other day. How does she know? [laughter] She’s really talking about that thing that was on my mind. Thank you.”
With AI for example, he had a whole series about that and he had the people that have the companies that do AI. It’s something that we’re all worried about in the VO industry. Will AI voices be done with our work? It’s just like, “Will they take over?” It’s really unnerving and you talk about that
Anne: That was such an undertaking for me because my past career it was in education, it was technology. It was the combination of– I’ve always been fortunate to work on what I call the edge of technology, the bleeding edge of technology. Part of my job at the school was to investigate and educate on evolving new technologies. I was teaching HTML back in 1994 on Notepad before the web became a craze. We had virtual reality headsets back then. There’s just all cool technologies that were evolving. Voice over IP back then. I remember people saying, “Oh my God, it’s horrible. It’ll never last.” Now everybody has voice over IP. They don’t even realize it.
Their phones are over the internet. In reality, I have a deep understanding and appreciation of technology realizing that little old me is not going to stop the evolution of AI. I said, “It’s coming. It’s here. [chuckles]Let me educate myself about it,” because I wanted to be a resource for the community and the industry on AI because number one, I found it fascinating but I also was like, “How am I going to guide my business in the next few years? Because it’s disruptive. It’s disruptive technology, it’s going to have an impact. It already is.
I better get on board and find out all I can about it so I can figure out how to work with it and evolve with it. Because if we do not evolve with it, you’re not going to have a business. I say that if you’re scared of that, I’m sorry. It’s all technology. It’s the way it’s been for years. I’ve worked with people who are scared of technology for half my life, over half my life. I know enough now to just know that it’s coming. I’m not doing anything about it. All I can do is learn about it, educate myself, and work with it. That was my hope. I literally spent probably the last two years researching, finding out things, and then talking to people.
One thing that I’m going to say for anybody in voice over, it is so good to get outside of the voice over bubble [chuckles] because you are selling to people or companies that manufacture products and if you keep yourself embedded in the voice over community, it’s hard for you to learn about other things. Those other things are companies and people that you’re selling to. It can only help you to really understand the needs of the consumer. We are driven or our industry is driven by what the market demands. If the market is demanding– there’s so much content out there. Maybe they need that voice over quicker.
Maybe they need that pickup quicker. This is out there trying to solve a problem. That’s what AI is doing. Synthetic voices are trying to solve a problem. What is that problem? Then we need to know about that problem too because how can we help? I said this in my presentation at the panel yesterday, it’s the best time for us to get involved because we have a voice. Nobody else knows– the AI companies, they don’t know about us. We need to educate them about us just as much as we need to know about them because they need to know how we charge for usage.
How does it work? They need us and we need them really. If we can work together, we can then level the playing field and I think make the most of it together. Again, I run the risk of people saying, “Oh, she went to the dark side.” I’m not going to the dark side. I don’t think there’s ever going to be not a need for a human voice because the AI voice still is not anywhere near. Again, it may not be up to us to decide that, it might be up to the market. What people want. When Alexa first came out, oh my God, she Annoyed me, but I’ll tell you what, I talk to Alexa every single day. I set timers. I ask her for recipes.
That’s the thing. I know she’s fake but I’ve accepted it and it’s okay, as long as I know. Think about it, ultimately it will evolve. Give it 10, 15 years. The thing of it is that it’s really evolving quickly right now. We have to educate ourselves because if we don’t we’re going to be left behind or you’re not going to have a business. That’s the simple truth [chuckles]
Nicky: Yes. It is. We have to and we have to learn how to charge them for that. Like you said, they need to learn about how we charge for usage because they might think that it’s okay to just borrow your voice.
Anne: Exactly and it’s not.
Nicky: There’s been a dispute for that with several colleagues. If that is regulated and it’s really established, “Okay, yes, this will be a voice bank and I will give you a certain amount of prompts or whatever. With the licensing, this is what is going to going to cost you.”
Anne: Exactly. Again, I will say again I’m not saying that our human voices are not going to be needed. We’re going to need to be more human than ever because we need to distinguish ourselves from synthetic voice. Hey, it’s okay, you can hire the human Nicky, and I’ll be amazing. I will be the most human expression full [chuckles] human being that I can be and I’ll give you all the stuff that you need. If you don’t need that [chuckles] for, I don’t know, maybe a short prompt for the telephone, you can hire my synthetic voice. I just want you to know just like my human voice, I’m not Anne’s or I’m Anne’s, I don’t go on sale.
My synthetic voice is not cheap. It’s less expensive, but it’s not cheap because again, if I’m going to manifest myself, I’m going to manifest my business and I’m going to manifest my synthetic voice as my synthetic voice, I’m a celebrity voice. You want my synthetic voice, right, you’re going to pay me like it’s a synthetic celebrity voice. If you don’t pay that, that’s okay. Somebody will. [chuckles] It’s like how I run my business. We know we charge what we’re worth. Ultimately your human voice is worth it and so is your synthetic voice. Don’t let other people tell you that your synthetic voice is cheap or it’s pennies. It’s not.
This is the time for us to establish that because it’s the wild west. The wild west of rates. Let us establish rates that are fair. That are fair for synthetic voices. Also realize that if you have a synthetic voice, you’re going to have to revenue share with the company who produces it because I don’t have that machine here to make my own voice [chuckles] I just don’t. Somewhere there’s a computer that is got the code that’s generating that synthetic voice and those words, and that audio file. That’s really all it is. Again, I would say for everyone, hone those acting skills to be the best human voice that you can be because that’s still going to be in demand.
That’s what I’m teaching all my students. Even if you’re doing medical or corporate and you think you don’t need to be an actor, oh my gosh you are so wrong. Again. It’s like why would I listen to someone reading me something if I can read it myself? It’s like you need to find out that corporate story. You need to be the teacher behind the learning module so that you are excited, you’re motivating people. Who is your favorite teacher in school and why? Because they cared about you, and so if that’s not coming through the mic, that you care about them as a student, that you care that they learn, you’re not going to get hired. [chuckles]
Nicky: Correct, because you’re going to put people to sleep if you read like that. There has to be something behind it and you have to draw people in. I’ve seen clients asking for that. They want that, whenever you see the specs come through in any audition notices, that’s what they want. They want an interesting voice that will hold people’s attention for three or four hours or however long that course will be. With technical terms and everything. Whether it’s the medical industry or the oil industry, or hospitality, or whatever. Technology doesn’t have to be read in a very boring way. If it is, that’s it. You’re lost.
Anne: I’m glad you brought that up. What’s so interesting is I like to equate it to, there’s the high school teacher or the elementary teacher that you just loved because they were so enthusiastic, they were passionate, they cared about you, they wanted you to learn, they wanted you to have fun. Then you got to college and you got that professor who says, “I don’t care if you come to class. Here’s the material,” and then he’d walk out and then you’d have to learn it [chuckles] and pass the test. That was it.
If you want to talk about the difference between the client or the company that wants that voice that engages or are you the company that’s the college professor that doesn’t care necessarily that their e-learning materials are handled by a warm, caring teacher? They just, “Here, you got to learn it. That’s it. It’s your responsibility. I don’t care if you’re engaged or not.” Again, it’s up to the client, and again, we are– I wish I could say every client should care. Every client should care about the human part of this acting and the warmth and the connection.
Not all of them will, not all of them have a need for that. For example, if you’re just disseminating news in short bursts, maybe five-second intervals, or whatever. Even something short, that it doesn’t necessarily matter or you’re doing some short copy that it doesn’t matter and we know that it’s not human, then maybe they’ll hire a synthetic voice. I think for the majority of people that really want to make a connection to their clients, they’re going to want the human voice. Again, it’s going to find its way.
I don’t know again, how long will that be, I just know that I’m learning as much as I can so that I’ll be ready and I’m prepared for whatever can happen in the industry. Again, I think everybody has to take a look at it. This is your business, and it is important for you to maintain that business and be successful. What is that going to take for you? It’s not your determination of, “You need to hire me as a voice actor that’s with all the humNickyss.” Of course, that’s wonderful but maybe not every client is looking for that, and maybe not every client needs that. Find the clients that need what you have to offer. That’s it.
It’s like, find the clients-
Nicky: That’s all you can do.
Anne: -who will pay you what you’re worth. Ultimately it becomes, I think, a quest in your career to find those clients that will pay you what you are worth and you can deliver what they are looking for. It’s as simple as that.
Nicky: Yes, absolutely. Now, is there something that you wish you would’ve known when you started your voice over career? Something that you learned later, but that would’ve saved you time or that would’ve helped when you were starting out? What would that be?
Anne: Oh, goodness. [chuckles] Let’s see. That’s a good question. I think maybe more of an understanding in– I didn’t go to school for business. I didn’t know how do you start a business? How do you succeed in a business? A lot of that stuff I had to learn. I wish I maybe could have learned early on to give myself more grace because there’s a lot of times that you’re going to make a mistake and you’re going to fail a little bit. For me, I like to consider that and say, “I didn’t really fail or I failed, then I learned.”
I always like to learn. Maybe I just changed directions because it didn’t work. In the beginning, I was really, really hard on myself. If something didn’t work out, I remember I would worry and worry and worry about an audition and I’d be like, “I could have done that better.” I would obsess over it, which I know a lot of my students do. It’s nice because I have great compassion. I’d redo that audition 100 times and then I’d be like, “I don’t like it. Do I even belong here in this industry?” I would just sabotage myself.
We just did a podcast episode on it. I wish back then I had known what I know now because it happens to all of us. I think that we have to give ourselves some grace because this is a journey. It’s not an overnight journey for sure. I think that I would’ve spent a lot of less time. Gosh, remember when I was first starting, I think I submitted an audition and one of the people said to me, “It sounds like you’re talking through a tube,” and I was mortified. I was like, “Oh my God.” My studio wasn’t set up. I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m horrible. This is awful. I’ll never make it in this business.” I cried.
I think I could tell that girl, now that you know what, it’s okay. This is a journey. We all learn, and you’re going to be fine. [chuckles] As long as you have the will to learn and educate and progress forward. It’s going to be okay.
Nicky: That’s a great thing to talk about because I think we all are super hard on ourselves. There are a lot of clients, a lot of people that need voice over. If it didn’t work out with one client, that is a little wake-up call. Those are the things that let you learn and see, “Oh, okay, you know what that means? I need to get better equipment. I need to learn how to edit better. I need to change my mic.” Several things that bit by bit you go learning, you’re progressing, you’re upgrading your studio until finally, you reach the point where you’re like, “Oh, here I am now I’m giving top quality audio. Wow, that’s great,” but it’s a learning curve.
You do have to give yourself grace and time for that impatience of course.
Anne: Too what really drove that home was cancer. [chuckles] Do you know what I mean? I was diagnosed with cancer and I thought, “God, I was so worried about my audition.” [chuckles] It puts things in perspective.
Nicky: Yes, that does,
Anne: It really does, and it’s like you have to look at it. I can only look at it in a positive light that it was a blessing. I’m here, thankfully and everything’s good.
Nicky: Very thankfully, yes.
Anne: For that, I remember two weeks after my surgery, I was in the booth being able to– I couldn’t do a ton, but I was so thankful and I thought, “God, here I was obsessing about the way I sounded and look, that’s nothing. This little script is nothing compared to what I just went through.” It really gave me some perspective on enjoy that journey. Enjoy the learning, enjoy everything that you do, and give yourself grace.
Nicky: For sure. That’s a great bit of advice for everyone. How can people find you? I’m going to link to everything in the show notes.
Anne: Oh, thank you.
Nicky: I know you are everywhere because you do your very good marketing.
Anne: Thank you, annganguzza.com that’s a central, so A-N-N-E G-A-N-G-U-Z-Z-A .com. That’s all things here Ann Ganguzza, coaching, demo production, all that good stuff. The VO Boss Podcast, of course, is @voboss.com. I hope everybody listens to it, and comments and listens to the AI. It’s funny because I have people who’ve not listened to it yet, because again, it’s all on everybody’s time as to when are they going to really think about that as a possibility. VO Boss.com. Then I have my group, my VO Peeps group, vopeeps.com, where I do monthly guest director workouts and also have a little membership where if you want to have some educational materials available to you, you get some discounts on the live events as well as a free monthly webinar. That’s at vopeeps.com.
Nicky: Perfect. Wonderful, and of course, you give talks and workshops at different conferences, right?
Anne: I Do.
Nicky: That’s where they will find out where you’re going to give–? On your website?
Anne: Yes, I’m looking forward to being at VO Atlanta next year. I’m also going to be teaching at a JMC Euro retreat, and possibly a couple of other places. I know I’m doing a webinar in January with John Florian and I’ve got some great guests there. People can sign up now for that. I’ve got some other places I think I’m teaching for Voice One coming up soon as well. I should have all that information on my website. It’ll be advertised on social media as well.
Nicky: I think that’s the best thing for people to go on your website and then definitely follow you on social media to find all of those bits of information. Really dear listeners and you who are watching on YouTube, you have to watch the VO BOSS. It’s a great podcast. Listen to it, follow it, you will get a ton of information. It’s almost going to be like VO university [laughter] because you cover everything, every aspect of the industry. I’m really happy that you were able to come here.
Anne: Thank you so much.
Nicky: An hour has gone quickly but I wish we could touch on more things. Thank you really for sharing all your knowledge and your advice. It was great. Just wonderful talking to you here.
Anne: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure and an honor.
Nicky: Thank you. Anyway, thank you, guys, for listening to us. Pay attention to all of the VO BOSS Podcasts and all the information and well keep listening to La Pizarra. This is episode eight of season seven and we have two more to go for this season. Thank you for listening.
Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us on La Pizarra. Want to listen to more episodes? visit lapizarrapodcast.com or nickymondellini.com/lapizarra where you can sign up for our newsletter and get exclusive previews of future episodes, as well as resources for your creative business. Tune in next week for another interesting interview.
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