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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...

Dec 12, 2023

Get set for an enlightening journey into the world of voice acting as we promise to help you crush confusion and self-doubt. Prepare to discover the significance of being in the present, letting your improvisation skills shine, and understanding how overthinking can interfere with your ability to take instructions and deliver exceptional performances for your clients. We also delve into the realm of imposter syndrome and how script comprehension can drastically boost your confidence. Listen closely as we walk you through techniques on warming up, shattering negative thought patterns, and building the courage to ask those essential questions that could transform your voice-acting career.

00:01 - Intro (Announcement)
It's time to take your business to the next level, the boss level. These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry's top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a V-O boss. Now let's welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza. 

00:20 - Anne (Host)
Hey everyone, welcome to the V-O Boss Podcast and the business superpower series. I am here with my wonderful, awesome bossy co-host, law Lapidus. Hey Lau, how are you? 

00:33 - Lau (Host)
Hey Annie, how are you? 

00:35 - Anne (Host)
I'm great, it's so good to be back chatting with you. I mean, I feel like it's been forever. It's been forever. 

00:41 - Lau (Host)
I know, before we start, I have to give you just a quick direction. I hope you don't mind. We're on Riverside right now Okay. I just need you to hit button one so I can hear you a little clearly which button. 

00:53 - Anne (Host)
I'm sorry, which button? 

00:54 - Lau (Host)
There's a button there and it says one. Could you just hit it One? 

00:58 - Anne (Host)
But wait, there's multiple buttons, there's like three buttons. 

01:03 - Lau (Host)
Okay, your sound confused, I know, but I'm asking for one. Okay, but why not? 

01:07 - Anne (Host)
So if you could find the one and hit it, that would be great. Okay, but two, isn't two supposed to be the one that starts it, are you sure? 

01:13 - Lau (Host)
you don't want two. What If you do two? You're going to find that it's not the right button. 

01:18 - Anne (Host)
So if you could hit one, that would be great, okay, so should I press it now? Anne, you sound really confused, I am. 

01:27 - Lau (Host)
Law. I know it sounds like you need to be a member of our new Confucius Club. 

01:33 - Anne (Host)
The Confucius Club. I love it. Oh Law, you know, I'll tell you what we should talk about the Confucius Club. And when, let's say, your clients or students kind of challenge your direction and ask you and are very confused and are not necessarily listening, I would say to direction from. 

01:56 - Lau (Host)
It's frustrating. It is, I'll tell you, it's very frustrating for the onlooker, the listener, the audience, the director, whoever you're working with is very frustrating process and I want to talk to you today about maybe some of the reasons behind why that is happening and how to troubleshoot that, and why some people seem confused all the time about everything. 

02:17 - Anne (Host)
Yes, let's talk about that. Let's talk about that. First of all, I want to talk about the confusion, and I'll also talk. Part of the confusion is when you've got somebody that you're directing and they'll say but that's not the way I hear it in the commercials, or I don't hear it that way online, and so therefore it turns into almost like a challenge to the director. And I think number one we are artists, we are actors and we are paid to do a job that essentially is for our client right, and the client is giving us direction, so why would we not follow direction? 

02:55 - Lau (Host)
Well, it brings us back to the old skill that we talk about incessantly, and that is the skill of improv, which is really the skill of living life moment to moment and being able to accept suggestion of stimuli around you that we don't always understand. Like we go into the natural world, we go into the technical world, we go into the human world. Do we always know what's happening around us? 

03:21 - Anne (Host)
No, of course not. 

03:22 - Lau (Host)
Right, but there's that element of moment to moment problem solving it, figuring it out, trying things, taking risks. So I think one of these areas that we're really hitting head on is, if you find you're that person that is confused constantly and just doesn't get it, are you stuck in your head? Analysis is paralysis zone. 

03:46 - Anne (Host)
That's a great point. Are you stuck in your head? Are you stuck with the sound that you hear in your head that you think it should sound like really, and not able to get that out of your ears so that you can be in the story and immersed in the story? And I will say that for a director or for a coach it's almost like but why? It's like those questions, but why? But I don't hear it that way and I think there's a whole scientific reason as to why we hear things differently. 

When we're voicing something, then, let's say, the person that's directing us. Right, because we have to develop an ear. And what does that mean? To develop an ear for knowing when you're sounding the same or sounding like, you know, a commercial, or sounding not when you're immersed in a story. I think if you have the time to evaluate whether you sound a particular way, then you've spent way too much time thinking about your sound and not enough time thinking about the story that you're in or the character you're playing, or how you're going to be immersed in that, to story, tell or educate the listener. 

04:50 - Lau (Host)
Right and just basic biz 101 that we've covered a million times is who is this all about? Anyway, it's about your client, it's about your audience, it's about your target demographic, it's about the person you're speaking to. Thank you, the scenario that you're in is really about helping solve a problem, fill a need from an actor's point of view, but also from a business owner's point of view. If I'm stuck in my head and I'm in that confusion state, I'm literally not problem-solving for that client because I'm not actively listening, I'm not picking up cues and I'm not asking really important questions that need to be asked in order to serve them. It's really about who am I serving. Am I serving me? Am I serving my intellect, my ego, so I can understand what's going on, or am I serving you by clarifying it and giving you exactly what you? 

05:45 - Anne (Host)
want. And I think there comes a time too, when actors are in the moment they're being directed, live directed where they become so in their head determined to give a sound right that they can't get out of their head. How is it? Because I know my students have been like well, how do you get out of your head? How do you step outside of your head and get into the story? And I'm going to say, I'm going to ask you that question, but I'm going to preempt it with saying, from my point of view, you've got to do your research before. If you can research that script, analyze that copy, figure out who you are, who you're talking to, I think that's a good start. What sort of tips do you have? Law, when you're in the middle of a live session, how do you get out of the way? How do you get out of your head? 

06:28 - Lau (Host)
Yeah, it's so funny. It's reminding me about actor technique and having either an inside, locked in, psychological approach to the work or having more externalized, outside, communicative and oftentimes physicalized approach to the work. I find that both can work hand in hand. I don't think one is right or wrong, but I do think American actors it is a North American thing that we have been trained in the methodology of method for generations now to lock inside from here up and so all the stress, all the tension, all the worry, all the Confucius concern is here and really just not trusting the rest of your sphere that your brain is in your whole body, your heart is in your whole body, everything is flowing and connected. So if I'm locked in here then I'm shutting you out, but I'm also shutting out the lower hemisphere of my being. 

07:25 - Anne (Host)
Oh, I love that Law. That's wonderful. Your being is all a part of telling that story and being the actor and immersing yourself in that character I love that. 

You're right, getting locked in your head. So are there some techniques that you have to? When you're in the middle of a session and I think you're right you're locked in your head and you get frantic. You're like, okay, this is not working, I'm not able to provide what the director is asking for. And then I think what happens is it just escalates, right, and then it just becomes worse. Until you can get yourself out of that. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Okay, that didn't work. Okay, so now what do I do? And so tips, techniques. 

08:03 - Lau (Host)
Law. Yes, one tip I have is a very old and dear broadcasting friend of mine, who did very well in the broadcasting field, who's a major newscaster, actually suffered from anxiety and depression for many years, especially after she retired, before she started her company. And one of the tips she talked about that seems so simple and yet to do it is magic is, she would say, when I wake up in the morning and I get out of bed and I'm a busy person, I always have things cooking and lined up I get up and I move and I physically do tasks. I don't stay in my head, I don't think about things, I don't sit in a chair, I get up and, whether it's making my bed or making my breakfast or showering, whatever, I physically move, and then somewhere in there I reach out to someone else. When I reach out to someone else, it breaks the negative energy that I have already recorded in my head, patterned after years and years and years of getting locked in my head, my brain. It breaks that energy and it forces me to think about the other person. 

So one of the tips I have is get up and do tasks and then go connect to another person. It could be your mom or your best friend or your child or whoever it is, or your cat, and find out if they have. Or your cat, your dog? I was going to say that Do they have what they need? Do they have what they want? Are they happy? Did they have a walk? Did they get their bone? Has their water changed? Right, because it breaks that negative cycle of being locked in and getting confused, because then, all of a sudden, a lot of people talk about imposter syndrome and feeling like I don't know if I should be doing this. I'm all confused because you're locked in the negative recording pattern in your brain that is tricking you into thinking this is wrong, this is incorrect, You're not doing it right, you're not doing it right. 

09:56 - Anne (Host)
You're not good enough and all of that. Yeah, I love that. 

Those are two tips I love that because that gives me a good excuse. I mean, lately I've been really working on it, but I've been working on getting up and as soon as I get up and just have oh, I have to have a couple of sips of coffee, but I try to get out and exercise for just 30 minutes to kind of just blow off the steam and to just get everything going and warmed up. And I think not only does that help me warm up my voice, because I think it's not just about your vocal cords, it's warming up your entire body, I mean every your head, your neck, your body, as you said, your whole being to allow that to flow. And I think, if you are just getting up and running into your studio and locking yourself into your head and then trying to deliver what you think the director wants and this is not easy bosses I mean we understand this that it's not easy to get out of your head sometimes it really really isn't, and it's just something that I think takes practice. 

And again, it's one of those things that I think that sometimes we are just so impatient with ourselves and we think that it should just be easy, and it should, we should just be able to do it, and then, if we can't, we get frustrated and then we just keep that vicious cycle in our head, and so I think you just have to give yourself some grace as well to know that you're not going to be able to accomplish this by tomorrow. 

I mean, if you're just starting out today, it is one of those things that evolves. 

I mean, as humans, we are constantly growing, evolving and being, and I think that this is again one of those things where we have to allow ourselves to evolve, allow ourselves to really become the character, understand the scene and really just try to. If you're in the middle of a session, let's say, after you've gone out and I love the tips that you gave law got your body moving and then connected with somebody else and then came into the studio, and I think almost always well, I shouldn't say that, but a lot of times we do have the script a little bit in advance I think there's a lot you can do in five minutes with a script to really familiarize yourself and try to create a scene. Or even if you're not creating a scene, you're there and you're being live directed. You can certainly ask about the scene right, and that can help you to be in the scene versus to be in the sound. Like be in the scene, don't be in the sound. I love that. 

12:16 - Lau (Host)
I also would say too, when you're in those moments, give yourself one necessary question to ask If there's one necessary question that you cannot answer on your own. Your coach, your husband, whatever, cannot answer it for you. Give yourself the necessary question and write down the answer. When you hear what that answer is, but don't allow it to go into a slippery slope of questions. Allow it to sink in and, just like you would try any risk taking, move, like you would step off a cliff to go hair-sailing right. Well, you jump off the cliff and you float and you fly. Just understand. There is going to be that nuanced period for you of literally not understanding fully what someone is saying to you, but trying hard to problem solve it on your own. Yeah, yeah, because they're hiring you. They're hiring you to figure it out. They're not hiring you to have them figure it out for you. Yeah, absolutely, they really are, and I also think to. 

13:15 - Anne (Host)
I've had a few students that have said this. Where I'll be directing them. I'll say but I don't hear it that way. On TV when I watch the commercial, it doesn't sound like that. A lot of times I'll give references to, let's say, youtube videos of like real world, let's say corporate narration or real world commercials. And my student will say to me but I don't hear it that way. 

And I always say to them well, that doesn't necessarily mean that I think it's well done or I think it's telling a story, or it really is how the director at the time wanted the piece to sound or to come out. And so it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to compare sounds and then say, well, because my sound doesn't equal that. Therefore, I don't understand what you're asking me to do. Why do I have to be in a scene I don't understand? Why do I have to ask questions? Why do I have to react? Well, essentially, because that's what's going to be giving your unique point of view, is going to be your interpretation on behalf of the company or the product. And again, as you mentioned before a lot, it's not about you or your sound, it's about how you're serving the listener and the client that you're also performing for. 

14:22 - Lau (Host)
Right, you're not an automaton, you're not an inanimate object. People want to work with you because they like you or you, they like your voice or they like what you're delivering. So they are running on assumption, a professional assumption that you know what you're doing. So the more you give it away that you are absolutely clueless yes, you're in the Confucius Club, you have no idea what you're doing the more they doubt your product and your value. You have to be careful. There's like a fine line there between investigating really smart questions to get the answers and then applying them and then just asking questions for attention or because you feel insecure, because you're unsure. You have to be really careful of that. They're hiring you for an expertise, of knowledge that they themselves oftentimes don't have. They don't have that craft. They're not an actor, they're not a voice talent, they're not oftentimes right. 

15:16 - Anne (Host)
You have to know what you're doing, and you certainly don't want those questions to be challenges to them. I mean, you're there to make their lives easier and to hopefully give them the performance that they're looking for, and maybe something that they don't even know that they want, right, exactly. 

I think, if we start to really think that we're not being hired because of our voice and our sound and I keep going back to that, I feel like I'm harping on it but in reality they didn't hire us necessarily for the fact that we can sound a particular way, but mostly interpret the script and bring it to life yes, and that is really what we're being hired to do. So don't go in a session thinking that I want to make it sound a particular way. They're looking for a particular sound. No, you need to be immersed in the acting, to deliver the performance that makes it believable, authentic, and that is what you're being paid to do. 

16:11 - Lau (Host)
You took the words Annie out of my mouth, because how many times throughout the years that we've been in a session and we heard someone say something like I want you to sound like a rhinoceros, okay. And the talent says or maybe we're the talent, you and I were talent for many years and I'm thinking I have no idea what a rhinoceros sounds like. But instead of saying what does a rhinoceros sound like, I rely on my expertise and my vocabulary to say I don't know what that sounds like, but I know what they look like. I get a sense of them. So I'm gonna go with a really big animal. I'm gonna do my best elephant. See how they feel about that and they go. That's awesome, I love that great rhinoceros. 

16:51 - Anne (Host)
Yeah right, but you didn't tell them it was an elephant. 

16:53 - Lau (Host)
No, because right because they don't care about your process. They're not asking you for that. They're asking you for what you're outputting to them and they're gonna decide on that. But if I brought them in to my confusion, process of problem solving the difference between an elephant and rhinoceros, they'd be very irked by that. They'd be very annoyed by that. To say we're hiring you, we're paying you 500 bucks or 1,000 bucks or 2,000 bucks. You can't make it up, you can't figure it out right. So I mean, I'm using a simple example. But that could be a medical textbook, that could be an educational portal question that I've never heard before. That could be any kind of esoteric language that is not in my sphere. That I now have to quickly do my research, of course, do my research. But I'm not gonna learn a whole industry. I'm just gonna get some cues and clues and then I'm gonna create it, because that's what we do we create. 

17:50 - Anne (Host)
That's what they call us creatives. 

17:52 - Lau (Host)
We have to be creative in nature, right, In order to make people feel like that's what we're doing. And then one more tip I wanna give, and this is a toughie because it's a very non-PC tip. Sometimes you have to give in the old razzle dazzle. And that is you're an actor Act Exactly, act like you know what you're doing. 

18:11 - Anne (Host)
You may not know at all, but just try, just try. 

What's the worst? That happens Absolutely. Now we've just spoken about okay, this is during a live session, right? And you're feeling like challenged and maybe panicked and not being able to deliver what they're asking for, and so how are you getting out of your own way? Now let's talk about you're in your studio and you're by yourself and nobody's live directing you and you are self-directing. 

How do you get out of your own way when you're self-directing? Right, I have a lot of experience with that. I do a lot of non-broadcast, I do a lot of stuff that isn't directed and it's self-directed, and a lot of times I'll give my students homework, right, that is not live directed. So how are you, in your studio, all by yourself, getting out of your own way? That, I think, can sometimes be tougher. You're not necessarily under the gun, so much to do it under a certain amount of time, but now you might have all the time in the world and then you'll second guess yourself to death, right? So tips for when you are self-directing how to get out of your head and allow yourself your being to be. 

19:14 - Lau (Host)
Well, I got two right off the top of my head. The first one is like you, annie, are to me. I have a professional network of very close people that I love, adore, trust and work with. I don't want to drive them crazy and I don't want to call them every day because they don't want to hear from me every day, but when I get in that mode I can pick up the phone or jump on Zoom. I will have one of those people there who go Law. What are you talking about? 

Just get out of your head try this, do this and I'm like thank you, that's all I needed. Thank you, that's all I needed. I also will jump on Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo whatever you're using and have some visual and soundscape inspiration. I like that, again, to get me out of what I think it is. I'm going to go to the library, go to the museum, go to the reservoir so that I can start choosing images visual, vocal that I can pull from. That'll help me get out of the paralysis that I'm in. 

20:12 - Anne (Host)
Absolutely Visual and audio. I love that Law because visual and audio external references are going to get you out of your head, because you'll be focused on something else other than just sitting there looking at your microphone and your head going oh my god, okay, I got it. Oh, that didn't sound good. And the soundscape, too, is very interesting, because a lot of times people can play music softly in their headphones and really get a different read depending on the type of music that's being played underneath, and so that, I think, is some really good hints. Go to Google research, research, research that product, that company, and you can get a lot of hints and clues from understanding what their brand is like and getting a visual look at their brand, because that might evoke oh, I'm a busy mom, or it's bright and happy, or maybe it's more serious, or whatever that is. It can get you into a different mood and that mood can affect your performance. 

Right, going to be channeling a different character. I'm going to say I don't want to say voice. You're going to be channeling a different character, and as long as that character makes sense, right for the product and for the company, I think that that will give you that rather than let's make it a different sounding take. Let's make it a different take where you're in a different scene, you're in a different emotion, you're not busy and harried and hectic. You are now thoughtful and reflective. That can give you a couple of really different reads. 

And then, ultimately, when you can showcase that to any casting director or talent agent that understands oh, there's an actor, that's what's going to get you hired. And then law I say this all the time you don't need me to teach you how to read pretty or to sound a particular way, because we all have that in our head. It's funny because I always say let me read it to you the way that everybody pretty much hears it in their head. And whenever I do that, my student will be like oh yeah, that's exactly how I recorded it. And I'm like good, I want you to give me something different, right? So how? 

22:01 - Intro (Announcement)
are you going to give me something different, right? I don't want it to be predictable. 

22:05 - Anne (Host)
I want you to bring your eating spin on it. And how is that going to happen? Change your scene, channel a different character. I love the whole getting out of your head and that was such a visual thing, law, that you did getting out of your head and allowing the whole being, because that just brings into play your whole body, getting into the character right, and that will have so much to do with a good performance. 

22:27 - Lau (Host)
Yeah, and what you're doing should be in a three dimensional sphere in your world. Unfortunately, it's all one dimensional if you're in a box and you're on a piece of paper. Hopefully, gone are not the days but when you had like actors, like Johnny Depp, who is trained in method technique, would go into the culture, into the scenario, into the environment, to live in the environment for a little while in order to figure out who the character is. Well, you may or may not have time to do it, but if you do have time to do it, go to the store and look at Play-Doh again. Get Play-Doh. 

Go to the movies and remember what AMC is. Go to the company and see what the company culture is Like. It could only take you 30 minutes or an hour to enrich your whole reservoir to pull from when you're doing this kind of work and say, oh, I know what that is, I know what their attitude is, I know how they dress, I know how they talk to each other. I'm going to start to feel that and embody that so I can connect with you in a slightly more authentic way. Versus how do I sound. 

Do I sound good? Do I sound like? One more thing, annie, I wanted to point out. This drives me crazy. This is one of my pet peeves that I've heard several clients say over and over and over again over the course of a long period of time Say I don't know what you're saying to me. I don't understand your feedback law. I'm not an actor. You're treating me as if I know what you're talking about in regards to acting or being a voiceover talent. I'm not really that and I said well, why are you standing here with a credit card asking me or others to work with you and become that? So this comes from my dear friend, joanne Yarrow. One of the great tips that she gives and exercises she does which I love is, even if you're just starting out, like just starting out, you're listening to this and you're going I haven't done anything. Call yourself what you envision yourself to be yes amen. 

Today, say I am a business owner. Today, I am a voice over talent. 

24:25 - Anne (Host)
today, I am an actor. I am an actor, I am an entrepreneur and I run a voice over business. 

24:31 - Lau (Host)
Right, because it's not about making money or how many jobs you've had or who you know, yet it's about embodying the psychology of belief systems and manifesting you have limiting belief values. Yeah, if you're not manifesting an abundant belief system in yourself, then you're not playing in the sandbox yet. You're just not in the sandbox. You've got to get in there and play with the dolls and the trucks and the sand and figure out what it all is. But if you say, oh, I don't get dirty, I don't play in sand, I don't like trucks, I don't know why you're asking me about dolls. And I'll say, well then, why do you want to be a talent? Because talent loves getting dirty. Talent loves playing. 

25:14 - Anne (Host)
Yeah, I love that and I'm not even interested in that. I want to bring up a point that, no matter what genre you're studying these days so, so important these days no matter what genre, you need to be a voice actor. I don't care if you're doing e-learning, if you're doing like everybody that thinks well for corporate narration, you don't need to be an actor. I mean, oh my gosh, yes, even more so I think. 

Because, corporate narration. You've got to hold somebody's attention for longer than a minute and so, literally no matter what you're doing, you need to be the actor and you need to study how you can be an actor in all different scenarios, all different pieces of copy. How can you bring those words, whether it's an e-learning module, a corporate manifesto or a medical pharmaceutical? How can you make those words sound authentic and believable and be in a world that can engage your listener? You have to, no matter what. So when you're studying with any coach, that's what you should be focusing on on the acting part of it, not just okay, I just want to get my demo and I want it to sound great so I can get work and that's it. In reality, no matter what genre you're studying, you should be studying to be an actor, and then those acting skills will carry over into every genre. Then you just have to the differences between the genres, understand the market, understand the nuances between the genres, but the acting is still acting, no matter what genre you're in. 

26:40 - Lau (Host)
And understanding that nothing you do is real, nothing. It's like I remember years ago when I was in the theater and the director would say you guys realize that you're standing in a box and people are paying a ticket to see you on a lifted stage and there's nothing that's real here and just that acknowledgement that, oh yeah, nothing in media is real. Nothing is real. It's the facsimile of life, but it is not actual real life. So what I'm doing is the old truth under imaginary circumstances it really is. I have to bring the authentic reservoir from my heart, my head, my body, my soul, my spirit, my history to a very artificial place. I can't mistake this artificial place as saying oh well, this is real, it's a real thing, I'm, I'm being. No, it's not a real thing. Right, the audience thinks it's real because they're suspending their disbelief. You're setting a really profound convention for them where they can believe it. But you know, it's technical, it's all technical, right, If you don't do that groundwork and you're confused all the time about it. 

Then how can you bring any kind of truth into a technical, artificial, imaginary circumstance? Well said. 

27:58 - Anne (Host)
Well said, woo Woo, my bossy co -host. I love it, I'll tell you Good stuff. 

28:04 - Lau (Host)
I think we said it all and after all that, I'm still confused. Are you confused? Which button did you want me? To push, I think, a one. Can you press one? Yeah, you know what Law. 

28:14 - Anne (Host)
I'm going to push one now. After that, all right, awesome, yeah, just push one. Oh goodness, bosses, as individuals it can seem difficult to make a huge impact, but as a group and together, we can contribute to the growth of our communities in ways that we never thought possible. Get 100 VoicesWhoCareorg to find out more. Big shout out to our sponsor, ipdtl. I love IPDTL and the fact that I get to connect up with bosses like my awesome, amazing friend, law Lapitas, and all my clients. You guys can find out more at IPDTLcom. You guys, bosses, have an amazing week and we'll see you next week. See you next week, enjoy, bye. 

28:59 - Intro (Announcement)
Join us next week for another edition of VoBoss with your host, ann Gangusa, and take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at vobosscom and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies and new ways to rock your business like a boss. Pre-distribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via IPDTL. 

29:48 - Lau (Host)
That was interesting.