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The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

May 9, 2023

To create a successful voiceover performance, authenticity is key. This can involve using props, physicalizing the script, and infusing in personal experiences to deliver a realistic & engaging read. Anne & Lau emphasize the importance of intention, nuance, and understanding the corporate story & mission. Just as a chef must gather and prepare ingredients before cooking a delicious meal, hard work and effort are necessary before reaping the rewards.Want to improve your performance? Try taking notes, emphasizing key words, and using aids like pictures & videos, and of course, tune into VO Boss! We'll guide you through it.
It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast and the BOSS Superpower series. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza, and I'm here with my amazing special guest co-host, BOSS lady Lau Lapides. 
Lau: Hey, hey. Hey, Anne. 
Anne: So Lau, I am very excited that it's early morning, and I have my coffee. 
Lau: Me too. What would we do without it? 
Anne: I know. So many people have contacted me and said, it sounds like you and I in the booth in our podcast are just sharing a cup of coffee and shooting, shooting the breeze, having a conversation, 
Lau: High balling the water, which you gotta do in between the coffee. 
Anne: That's right. That's right. 
Lau: Just to wash the vocal folds out. 
Anne: Let me share — there's my big old water bottle with the coffee. 
Lau: And then I'm gonna show everyone, I think everyone already knows this about us. Watch this. We're gonna do this as well. 
Anne: (laughs). I love your lipstick. Oh, so here's mine. 
Lau: Wonder Twin powers activate!
Anne: Right? Wonder powers activate. So, yeah, my red. But you know what, guys? Maybe one of these days I'm gonna switch it up. 
Lau: Hmm. Ooh, you should. You should. 
Anne: Oh gosh. 
Lau: Naked lips. Let's see what naked lips look like without the red. That would be fun. 
Anne: I feel like I'm so pale. (laughs), but I feel like I'm so pale. 
Lau: You are pale. But that's your beauty. 
Anne: Pale without my lips. Well.
Lau: But you know what I just noticed, Anne? You know what I just noticed? Literally, I just observed this, that we just used like three props. Three props. 
Anne: Oh my God. 
Lau: In our world. 
Anne: We totally did. 
Lau: And we were talking all the way through that, as we always do. And we had no problem using the props, talking and connecting, getting our points across. And that suddenly just dawned on me, like, that's a part of our world in finding connection -- 
Anne: That's what we do.
Lau: — and authenticity with each other. 
Anne: That's what we do in the booth. Interesting. So let's chat about this. Let's take this apart, because you know, I do this a lot when I'm trying to talk to students about being authentic and believable with the script. And I think what just throws the whole wrench into it is that we've got these words in front of us, and all of a sudden we don't know how to make them a part of us. And interestingly enough, like we just demonstrated, and BOSSes out there, you just heard it, even if you're not looking at us on YouTube, we were able to pick up objects and share ideas, and have a conversation, engage with one another, and not miss a beat. And we weren't even thinking about it. But what I want you guys to do is let's take a look at, a more in-depth look at this to kind of figure out how we can take what we do in real life and translate it into the booth to be believable and authentic. Right? Bring that real life into the booth. 
Now, one thing, I think that was first and foremost, we talked about props, right? Ah, I always have my trusty lipstick or my cup of coffee, or probably most of you have one of these, a phone or even just a mouse (laughs). Like you must have something in your booth. 
Lau: I mean, it's endless what we have really with us. And doesn't that make us feel comforted and taken care of? And we identify with that brush in a lot of ways. It's part of our life. 
Anne: I'm bringing all my makeup out. I've even got jewelry in here, but (Lau laughs), in case I --
Lau: I think a man's gonna pop up all of a sudden. (laughs), 
Anne: Gosh only knows I have tons of these, the headphones in there. So now, if you're trying to sound authentic and believable, one thing that we've covered multiple times in our podcast is there's not a perfect voice. Right? There's all sorts of imperfection in our voices, and a lot of that can translate -- I mean, not that — everybody has a beautiful, wonderful voice all on their own. You don't have to perform behind the mic, right? It just is beautiful when we're engaging. And so props can help us to bring that scene to life, right? I know I just had a really wonderful workshop with the amazing Ellen Dubin, and she was talking about video game acting, and all of it was about blocking, get up, move around, change your position. Do that, because that's gonna add that reality. 
And I'm always telling people physicate behind the mic, because that's gonna make our vocals not perfect for some reason. If we sit silent and straight behind the booth, and we just read these words, hello everyone, and welcome to the VO BOSS podcast, and the BOSS Superpower series, right? So I'm just reading, but I'm not moving, that physical part of having a prop, having somebody to talk to 00 expressing, expressing with our bodies. 
Lau: I love this. You know, you had me physicate. Like I have never heard anyone use that word. So I'm stuck on physicate. But yeah, I would love voice actors to take it a step farther and just Johnny Depp it out. Like take their script and go somewhere. Go to a store, go to a Starbucks, go to a library, go be in your car, and I want you to deliver that. Deliver the line as part of your universe. 
Anne: What a great idea. 
Lau: Yeah!
Anne: Yeah. 
Lau: Right? Doesn't the booth at times sort of pen us and it becomes boxy to us in our minds where we can literally move it outside, move it, and see how it flows and works, and physicate in that environment. Like, if I'm ordering a drink or I'm getting food, or I'm sitting at a table, or I'm da da -- how would that line live within that universe versus only within the universe of the booth? I mean, ultimately, we can't do that on every script, but as part of your actor's work, it's well worth the time to do that so that you can bring that imagination back into the reality of your beliefs. 
Anne: Sure. 
Lau: And relive that, you know, relive those moments. 
Anne: What I like is, even if, alright, let's say you've got a very dry corporate narration script, right? Maybe a company talking about their corporate responsibility, which may not be the most exciting stuff that you'll ever hear in the world. So for me, I'm always telling people, in order to kind of make it sound conversational, and it may not be written conversational at all, or authentically, or it's basically like here, this is stuff that you would typically read. You wouldn't necessarily say it out loud. You would typically just read it and then understand it as information that the company has provided to you. Take that script and put it into your own words. So you might have this long run-on line that's talking about corporate responsibility and all of these things about what we are doing to promote corporate responsibility in the workplace. And so take that, those words, and just put it into your own words. 
And when you can take that sentence, which sometimes most of the time is a run-on sentence and formulate your own speech about it, or your own personal conversation about it to someone else, explain it to someone else, that's gonna give you the idea behind the melody and the point of view that you wanna take. And then all you do is, when you get in the booth, replace it with the words. But you have the intent, you have the point of view, you have the thought of, here, it's this idea, and then this idea, and then I'm gonna combine it with this idea. And then that's the finished sentence. So it's kind of allowing you to regroup the information that's presented in the sentence in a very structured way and creating it in your own authentic way. 
Lau: That's right. And you have to think of your work like you're layering a cake. You have the cake; to some degree, you have the cake. Even if you're at the beginning of your career, you still have some sort of cake. It might be a demo, it might be a beginner level studio, whatever it is. But I have to layer that over time and make it more interesting. So for instance, if I were to take my pen, my trusty prop, and talk about my corporate responsibility script, I might take a note on that. Because if I'm working in corporate, I'd be writing down minutes, I'd be taking notes as I went. And that puts me in a mindset, a frame. It gives me a framework to work by that when I'm corporate -- and this is just my choice, it's not the right choice, it's just my choice — when I'm corporate, I always tend to write a few notes. I tend to take a moment to write things down. That changes my sound, it changes my pace, it changes everything. 
Anne: So that physical action of writing something down — also, the fact is, is what would you write down? Right? If you had that big, long run on sentence, right? What are the notes that you would take? Right? Typically, those notes are the most important parts of the sentence, right? Those are the notes that you as an actor want to probably linger on a little longer. So when we talk about being authentic, and Lau, and I, when we're speaking, our pacing isn't the same. Sometimes I, I pause, like I just did, and sometimes my words are longer. And usually the ones that are are longer the ones I want her to hear more. And so when you're creating those notes, right, you're creating, this is an important point that I wanna express to someone. So that word can be a little bit longer than maybe the word the (laughs) or the word at the beginning. At the, at the, or just tiny little words that connect. Beginning is an important word. So at the beginning, notice how at the becomes almost like a, I don't know, a 16th note in melody if I was speaking vocally, but in the beginning, beginning is an important word, so I'm gonna linger on that. 
Lau: We can emphasize, you need to linger on that, right? If every word is the same, and every word is important, nothing's important. (laughs).
Anne: Right? It sounds monotonous and robotic. 
Lau: Like what's important if every word is important, right? 
Anne: Right. 
Lau: But if I take that pen -- and to me this is a corporate moment or a business moment, or whatever you wanna call it-- I think maybe I'm gonna do bullets, how I would do in my life. I’d take a sentence, I'd take a thought, and I'd pull a word or two out of it that are my emphasis words, my bullets, and do like little bullets. and say, wow, out of that sentence, I got coffee. That was the word of the day for me, coffee as a bullet. So that when I go back and I review that for my speaking, I can remember, I can mark that coffee, that the word coffee or the name of the coffee is really an emphasis for me. 
Anne: Sure. Absolutely. 
Lau: This helps me with that. Like, because then I'm gonna say coffee, like Starbucks coffee. 
Anne: Right. 
Lau: And I'm gonna use this. 
Anne: And the other thing too that I think is super important to remember is that we talked about you taking the script and going out into the real world with it, right, and start practicing with it and playing off of maybe someone else. Notice how you said, well, let's play off of someone else. I mean, when we started this podcast, you and I were talking to one another. We were engaging with one another. 
Lau: Yep. 
Anne: Well, when we're sitting here in our studios behind the mic with a script, you cannot be alone (laughs) just saying. In your head, you must be the person that is speaking. And you must also have your imaginary friend that you are speaking to. And so you want to make sure that you are engaging with that audience member or that listener. And so you must talk to them, and they will have reactions for you or questions or comments. Right? And you cannot just start talking to them like, oh gosh, have you ever had a friend, Lau, that you can't get a word on edgewise? Like, and it's basically all about yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, ya. It's all about them. Right? All about their monologue. 
And so when you're behind the mic, don't let it be all about your monologue. Let it be about you engaging with your listener and allowing that listener a beat to acknowledge, to respond, to have a question, whatever that is. And I'm not talking about you have to time things, but that's an imaginary beat where I've said something, and now Lau, I'm looking for you to respond, right? You just shook your head, right? You just went, mm-hmm. So that's where I think we need to also invite that into our script, right? And invite that real life into our script. 
Lau: You have to do it. It's so important. And have cheaters if you have trouble reaching that at times. Like in our daily life, we're not always great conversationalists, or we're not always in the mood for a talk or whatever. So you have to have those cheaters, whether you're talking to your kid or your dog, or a photo or a video or something that stimulates you into thinking, this is part of my daily experience. This is part of a reality of my life that I can connect to right now, that I can make real. Because I may not be in the mood or in the mindset every single day to connect to that particular audition or to connect to that particular product. 
Anne: What I love is like literally like now that I've sat here, and I'm taking notice and, and BOSSes out there, really, let's watch the YouTube video on this, because I was just watching you, Lau, and everything you said, you had your hands, everything you said, and I was responding. I was shaking my head, I was going, mm-hmm. So that's the parts that you have to play in your script. And believe it or not, even in a mundane medical narration script or in a telephone prompt, believe it or not -- I'm always imagining, here I am and I'm talking to the listener and they've got their thoughts about me (laughs). Because maybe they don't wanna listen to an automated attendant. Maybe they're angry, maybe they're frustrated. But yet I will still talk to them with a tone where I'm like, I know you're frustrated. I know that you don't wanna listen to my voice, but let me help you. Okay? And so that point of view, that intention — all of a sudden, I'm speaking about intentions so much lately -- I think that intention, before you even approach voicing or opening your mouth, I think your intention is so very important. 
Lau: So very important. And you know, in the script, in this context, it would be an actor's intention because you're in a false reality. You're not in your real reality; you're in this technical reality. 
Anne: Sure. 
Lau: But then you have intentions or purpose, or whatever you call it in your daily life and thinking about, wow, how much do I care about things? How much do I connect? How much do I try to make action happen and go well? Well, I have to bring that intention into the booth. I have to bring that into the booth. And I think if we were honest, we would say, in our daily life, half the stuff we do is crap. It's like chores. It's like, I have to go to the dump because I have --
Anne: I don't want to go to the dump.
Lau: -- bring my trash. Right? (Anne laughs). But how do I have a joyous life still being able to go to the dump? Well, I keep the intention alive that it's not about me hating to go to the dump. It's about me wanting to have a clean and wonderful household. 
Anne: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. 
Lau: That's really what it is. So it's the same with the script. if I have a disdain or I have a dislike for the delivery or for the language, or for the content --
Anne: Or the message, maybe. Right? Yeah. 
Lau: — then I'm skirting the intent. What's the intent? Oh, the intent is to get you to understand how this new product worked, or, or how the new program is gonna help your lifestyle. That's really what it is. It's like a, in acting, we call this the super intention, the super objective. 
Anne: Maybe this is the wrong way to phrase it, but I think intention can change throughout the script. So you don't come at the script in the first couple of sentences with a particular intention and it stays that same intention. Because a lot of times, right, we're there to tell a story. And so intention point of view changes along with the storyline. And if you're not necessarily reading that, right, or understanding that, then you're not doing a good job at telling the story. Lau, at the beginning when we were talking about coffee, I was like, oh, thank God, coffee. I was, was that sense of relief. And then we started talking about, well, my lipstick, I get excited, right? 
Lau: Yeah. 
Anne: So I have a different, and it may not be an extreme change in my emotion, but I talked about my lipstick. I'm like, it made me smile. Right? And so that was a different intention. And as we flowed with the conversation, our point of view changed. Our intention changed to help us to go along and flow with the storyline. 
Lau: Yeah, exactly. And I think that if you BOSSes listening in can have fun, you know, treat it like a board game, have fun with your actor friend, or your accountability buddy, or even with your husband — have fun and take a few minutes and say, okay, what are all the things I'm using in my world here that can be helpful to the delivery of the read? But, oh, wait a second. What's the intention? What's the intention of this? Why do I take a moment and put this on? There's a reason for it, there's a purpose for it, whatever that is. Why do I pick up my water bottle and drink it? Sure, it makes me feel good and it's delicious. But the intention is what, to hydrate. 
Anne: To be healthy. 
Lau: To to be healthy, right? Why do I drink my coffee cup if I'm delivering a script, right? It's not just for Anne to see that I'm drinking coffee. It's for me to feel energized, to feel warm, to feel connected. Coffee's a big psychological connector for a lot of people. Right? 
Anne: And notice all of the emotions that go along with that. I mean, that is something to really think about. I think that, you know, I'm always telling my students that there's a purpose for every word. Even if you don't agree with all of the words that are there, there's a purpose for them being on the paper. Somebody somewhere at some point thought about what they wanted to communicate, and all of those words have meaning. So to just read through them as if they didn't have meaning or any point of view, I think is a disservice. It's a disservice to the copy. It's a disservice to the story that you're telling. And so, no matter how nuanced it is, right? You don't have to be like, oh my God, I'm so happy! And then, oh, I'm very, very -- you know, it doesn't have to be that to be dramatic. Nothing has to be dramatic. As a matter of fact, the more nuanced you are, I think, the more you, you can really connect. And the people that are listening, they'll get that. And sometimes I feel like nuances mean more. I really believe that.
Lau: Nuances are life. 
Anne: Yeah, exactly. 
Lau: Right?
Anne: And it can really, really have meaning. And so I say look for the meaning in the point of view. And the point of view to me is synonymous with bringing yourself to the copy. Bringing an emotion to the copy that is reflective of how you feel the company would like to bring that emotion out to the potential client. 
Lau: Anne, hold on one second. Hold on. I'm coughing. (laughs). 
Anne: All right, no problem. 
Lau: I love nuances though. I wanna say something about that. My intention (laughs). 
Anne: Now see, there's a real world moment there where Lau is actually having a little bit of a coughing spell and(laughs), see, and I've reacted to it. Show a little bit of concern.
Lau: I don’t mind if you show that too, Anne; I don't mind if you keep that in, because the intention sometimes changes with the same item. So we don't have to stay static on our intentions, is exactly what you saying. The nuance of being hydrated is important. We do it and we know it's important. But see how my intention changed? I had to get myself out of the coughing fit by dealing with the vocal folds quickly so that I could continue the conversation. So it deepened, the stakes got higher. It became much more important that I drank the water. 
Anne: Oh yeah. Absolutely. 
Lau: So the prop in itself changes. It changes, the intention gets deeper. You change it. You have the power, you have the superpower to take your environment and have it utilize it in your favor to solve your problem or to fill your need. 
Anne: And I think also -- so it goes beyond just like a surface — here are some words on a piece of paper. Let me read them and let me try to figure out what this company is saying. Like what we've done is we've actually brought in so many components of our real world experiences to help us to tell this story better. And I think it warrants, BOSSes, it warrants a little bit of time from you before you run in your studio and do your audition. I say this all the time, I feel like there's this, I don't know, a long time ago, there was like, somebody said, you must do this many auditions in a day. And all of a sudden we become like, I must get 60 auditions out a day in order to be successful in voiceover. 
And in reality, like getting 60 auditions out a day probably does nothing for your performance in terms of, if you're just so intent on rushing through them, and you're not thinking about what's the story? How am I going to bring this to life? And I believe it takes a few minutes of your time -- not a ton. You don't have to spend hours breaking apart a script. But you do need to spend a few minutes really kind of reading, rereading, trying to find out what is the true message. And again, I'm always saying, sometimes we will get auditions, and I'll be like, I have no idea what this is even talking about. Now when that happens, that means that Anne has to look at the script again and again, and really try to read those words. Do my Google, Anne GanGoogle, do my Google to find out what I can, if the product is listed or the company is listed, or even any phrase that seems like it might be a tagline, Google it. God, we are so lucky, right, to have that?
Lau: So lucky. 
Anne: And to just try to understand what is the story? Because again, somebody was paid probably a good deal of money to sit down and write that story. And you just may not be privy to what product it is or what company it is. But you have to understand what that story is. And I think a lot of times, it's probably purposely vague because they wanna see who the actors are. (laughs). They wanna see who can bring those words alive and tell the story. And that requires our imagination. And every time I ask somebody to think about corporate and what's your moment before when you're gonna do this corporate responsibility -- everybody's like, what? Like, what do you mean? What's my moment before? Why would I ever say this? 
And you really must, because to somebody at that company, it's their heart. Like they're responsible, like their corporate responsibility is, this is their purpose. This is something probably that came very deep within, or I wanna say this, I mean, unless you're an evil company, right? I mean, but (laughs) for most companies, like my company mission, my company purpose, come from a very deep, deep within my soul because I formed that company because I believe that I had a product that would help someone. And that's what I like to believe about all corporate scripts. And that helps me, by the way, to get into a purposeful and positive mind frame, to be able to voice just about any corporate script. Because that's how I, I assume every founder or owner of a company must feel at some point like, I'm gonna form this company 'cause I have this great idea. This is gonna help people. And yeah, of course, maybe I can make some money too off of it. But I like to always consider the heart mission of a company or a product that.
Lau: Love that. Because it's so easy to flatten out and just perfunctory-ize -- I think I just made up a new word. Perfunctory-ize, meaning just not come with any sense of joy, energy or imagination to something that you don't care about or you don't know about. But to understand, and this is to me the true empathy factor of nuance. Like to me, the more nuanced person -- like you're a tremendously nuanced person because you have a depth of understanding and knowledge and empathy --
Anne: Empathy is huge. 
Lau: — and what someone else is going through and living through. 
Anne: Yeah. 
Lau: And you don't have to necessarily know or have experienced it yourself. You just have the knowledge and the history behind you to know it is a truth. It is their truth. And so I have to take a little bit of time to find intention to represent their truth. And that's nuance right there. 
Anne: Yeah. Yeah. I feel that. If somebody asked me what's the most important component as a voice actor that you can have? Or what's the most important thing to think about as a voice actor to be authentic and believable and real when you're voicing a script? I would say empathy. And empathy toward your listener. Who is your listener? What are their joys? What are their pains? How can you help them? And how can what you're saying make them feel better, look better, I don't know, make more money, make them healthier — whatever it is, come from a place of service?I just really believe that empathy is the one word that everybody should just have in their back pocket for a great read. 
Lau: Well, the more you give the more you do get. And sometimes the get is really like this inner true feeling, whatever that feeling is, that you then connect to the experience. And so you can bring that back to the experience. And so that's why I believe, you know, as actors and as vocal actors, we get addicted to the work, because we get addicted to the feeling of that authentic getting back. So the more we give, the more we potentially can get back. But we have to give true and authentic intention. And if we don't, then it's flat and it's kind of boring, and we fizzle out quickly; we get exhausted. 
Anne: Sure, sure. 
Lau: It's actually depleting. 
Anne: And I think, you know how I can always tell I have, I have a really great read is when I feel it. When I feel it.
Lau: When you feel it. Right. 
Anne: But I feel it. 
Lau: Right. 
Anne: Because sometimes things just happen and it's just like, I don't know how that happened, but it just did. 
Lau: It just did. 
Anne: It was amazing. Right?
Lau: That's the magic. 
Anne: That's the magic. And I wish that I had that for every single read that I do. And I think that as an actor is what I try to achieve, right --
Lau: Yeah. 
Anne: — is the feel it felt right. It felt good, it felt authentic and it felt believable. So I always try to tell people to just feel and not listen. And it's so hard to not listen because I think from a very young age, when I got behind the mic and all of a sudden my voice was amplified from that mic, right? Then I felt like, ooh, now I have to sound even better. And interestingly enough, that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for just the you that is amplified louder by a device that sits in front of you on a day-to-day basis. We're really just looking to connect with you. 
Lau: That's right. And I, I would say be careful of chasing the high. 'Cause a lot of people come in and whether it's the money or the feeling of excitement or whatever — don't get addicted to chasing the high or the dopamine kick. Just know it will be there at times for you. But you gotta like -- think of my analogy of like, you gotta take the trash to the dump. There's a lot of work, there's a lot of groundwork that happens in order for you to come back to the clean home and go, ooh, smells fresh. And I'm feeling good. So you can't get one without the other. You can't get the reward without the real work put in. 
Anne: Absolutely. What a great analogy, Lau. Like honestly, like we could just, just all go home now. Like take it to the dump (Lau laughs). BOSSes, take it to the dump, then come back.
Lau: Take it to the dump.
Anne: Take it to the dump and come back refreshed. I love it. Lau, what a really cool discussion. Thank you so much. 
Lau: My pleasure. 
Anne: BOSSes as individuals, you know, sometimes it can seem difficult to make a huge impact, but of course we've been talking with Lau today and how we can make an impact. Well, if you ever wished that you could make more of an impact with your communities in ways that you never before thought possible, find out at And thank you so much to ipDTL that allows Lau and I to connect and have these amazing conversations. Find out more at You guys, have an amazing week and we'll see you next week. Bye.
Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.