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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...

Sep 12, 2023

Anne and Lau recently held an Audition Demolition workshop which included a live callback and casting process. In this episode, the Bosses discuss the audition demolition and how it mirrors the casting process. They explain the importance of taking direction well, researching scripts, and approaching every piece of copy as an actor. During a live callback, don't forget to have fun and enjoy being in a room with other people. Anne and Lau also discuss the importance of feedback and how it can help aspiring voice actors hone their craft Finally, we examine some of the memorable people and performances that stood out. The Bosses finish by reminding listeners that our next Audition Demolition is coming up soon!


0:00:01 - Intro

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.


0:00:19 - Anne

Hey everyone, welcome to the V-O Boss podcast and the Boss Business Superpower series. I'm your host, Anne Ganguzza, and I'm here with my bossy co-host, Lau Lapides. Hey Anne, how are you? I'm awesome, Lau. How are you Good? Fantastic, Lau. We had the most amazing audition demolition this past weekend.


0:00:45 - Lau

Woohoo, it was super, super power.


0:00:49 - Anne

Yeah, I think we should chat about it. Oh, let's go, I'm ready. Yeah, well, for those bosses who are unaware, we created a audition demolition workshop, which is very similar. We did it once before a Lau, but we added a couple of new twists to it and essentially it was to mimic the casting process, the audition process, and so people could enter and they could choose to get feedback or not. They could audition and get feedback, or audition and not get feedback through our Dropbox new application called Replay. Lau and I were selecting a short list after that and ultimately did not announce the short list until the live show, which was this past weekend. I think it was so exciting, Lau.


0:01:42 - Lau

It was so fun, it was great. It took a while right. It took us time to get through it. It wasn't a quick deal. It took us. How long was the show, how long did it run?


0:01:52 - Anne

A couple hours, it was a couple hours and we had 10 people that we called back, just like in a real audition I was talking Lau about. When I used to drive into LA I would get notice from my agent that said you've been called back and they want to hear you. I would drive oh God, I would drive into LA and go to the studio and I'd see a lot of times I'd see my voiceover friends there. It was kind of nice. It was like a big party. But yeah, we were still auditioning and so I was a little nervous. I think all of us had a little bit of nervous.


But we would be called in one by one to read a script and Lau, and I tried to mimic that as much as possible during our weekend, and so people were not aware if they were on the shortlist until they got to the live show and then we announced the shortlist one by one. It wasn't, we announced everybody on the shortlist at once. It basically like as if you were waiting in the studio lobby to be called into the studio to read, and so that's what we did. Everybody was surprised and we had 10 people that we shortlisted and we had them come in and guess what? The client changed the script. Now, we did that before, but that's typically what happens, right, you read an audition and then when you go in person to audition, they have a different script. That's almost always the case, I think, and so we changed the script on them, and I don't know Lau. What were your thoughts?


0:03:15 - Lau

I thought it went really well. I mean surprising that I kind of thought to some degree many would fall apart with that and not know what was going on and there would be mass confusion and there would be fire and tornadoes and earthquakes. And Charlton Heston would come out of the booth and then we would be eating alive, right, and then the sea would part.


I was like, oh, what are we doing inviting this? But no, seriously. We had some faith in these wonderful talent, and rightly so. They all came through. Everyone came through, I think, with flying colors, and we did. We're good actors, ann. I mean, we made them sufficiently sweat a little bit as if you would in a real live audition. There was a little stress, little tension in the air. I know people were nervous because I saw conversations beforehand flying around on email and in the chat and I love that.


I think that that gave it that flavor of a real. You know it was a mock audition but it was a real audition feel, which is something we wanted to mirror for the professional development and education of it. Absolutely, that worked well. I thought that really worked well.


0:04:20 - Anne

And I think that it's really good to get yourself practiced in a live situation where you're definitely feeling adrenaline, whether you're nervous in a good way or even a bad way, right, it really helps you to get seasoned and to figure out what you have to do to work out those nerves to really perform well, and I think that that was a good experience for everybody that participated.


And I feel that, by the way, and so what? We waited until the very beginning and we said guess what? The client changed the script and then we gave them the new script. So talent did not have a lot of time to prepare. As a matter of fact, I would say the first talent that we called up usually is the one at the disadvantage for this particular show, because typically we're not listening to each other audition. We're going in one by one and it's a private thing and we get private feedback. But this because we wanted this to be an educational experience. We had an entire Zoom room full of people who didn't know if they made the audition and were listening to the feedback live, real time from both Lau and myself, and so that will happen a lot of times.


Lau, right in a real situation, you'll have more than one person giving you feedback. You'll have an engineer in there, you'll have a director, you might have a client. You might have more than one person that's offering you direction at the time, and they could have different ideas about the direction. Now, I think Lau, you and I, we think fairly similarly, but there were some auditions where I wanted to hear something different than you did or feedback that we gave was absolutely, I think, different in different spots, but I think overall, we were sticking to the casting specs that were laid out there and that was very similar to a lot of casting specs. That is, make it authentic, make it real, make it, make it conversational. So that's always a task, I think, for talent, and when they're just seeing the script for the first time and even if we've been directing other people, they might be oh my God, they might be preparing. They might not have listened to our feedback, right?


0:06:24 - Lau

Yes, yes, and that was the great part of having everyone in the room. That would not happen in an audition most of the time most anywhere but we wanted that educational experience. We wanted people to observe each other's work and get the benefit of everyone's feedback so that even if they were nervous in preparing, they could absorb some of what they were hearing before they went on. And I think that it was a blessing for people to kind of go later and it was also a blessing for people to go first.


0:06:55 - Anne

Sure, oh, I agree.


0:06:55 - Lau

Because it's a very different experience. I also wanted to bring up, too, our experience, ann, of when we were commenting in the Dropbox and doing all of our feedback, that I heard in the session from a number of people and post via email thanking us that they felt that the feedback was so wonderful, so detailed, so necessary and it was like a drink of nectar for a lot of people that said I'd like to think what you said was authentic and real and that it gave me time, it made me feel special, it made me feel like someone was paying attention to me, that status casting agency status, coaching status and that I could walk away with some real tools, practice tools to work on.


Absolutely. It wasn't just about am I good, am I bad?


0:07:46 - Anne

am I right am?


0:07:46 - Lau

I wrong. It was much more about reminding me that I have a full process here and I can go in many different directions, and I'd like to think that you and I gave as much authentic feedback as we could, rather than artificial feedback just for the sake of entertainment value.


0:08:03 - Anne

Oh yeah, no, absolutely, and I'm going to say that I think that what I loved about it is that the educational component that came into it with the feedback and this is the feedback not just during the live show, this is the feedback via Dropbox. The really cool thing about Dropbox Replay and offering feedback there's a lot of times you'll notice that you submit your auditions via Dropbox and you always have to be careful how you name them and there's lots of criteria when you upload an audition. The cool thing about being able to offer feedback for all the people that requested it is that we were able to give feedback along a timeline, and so if there was a particular passage that they did well or a particular passage where they maybe lost their authenticity or we had a critique, we could specify it at the specific time that it happened, and that's something that you don't always get in a real audition. As a matter of fact, usually in an audition you'll go in and read, and it's very rare that they'll offer feedback. They might give you a set of directions to do it again and may not offer as much verbose feedback as we did during the session, and you're kind of left with.


Okay, I hope I did good. And so you know, I'm always walking out of the room going well, I think they liked me. I hope they liked me, I hope I nailed it. And a lot of times they will give some generic thank you so much. Sometimes they won't say a word, they'll just say okay, thank you, and you'll walk out that door going gosh, I hope I nailed it. Which is what I love about the audition demolition is that we were able to really go beyond that and really act as like okay, here's what we would offer you feedback for the educational component. And then, when we made our decision Lau this is what I loved we muted ourselves, because a lot of times we're there, live in the studio or we're in a Zoom session and we are being directed and then all of a sudden they're gonna mute and they're gonna talk and we can see them talking behind the glass and you're like okay, did they like that?


What are they talking about? And you know, maybe they're talking about lunch, we don't know. Maybe they're talking about my performance. Was it good, was it bad? Oh, my God, what are they gonna tell me next? And then they'll say okay, thank you, we're done. But I liked our mimicking of that.


0:10:14 - Lau

And there was a funny moment, though you can't forget to share, that hilarious moment, where we had talked about giving each other a call, a cell phone call, so that we could have this sort of intercom system between the two of us in case we wanna bring up some details to each other or just remind each other about certain cues. I totally forgot, and it was about a quarter of the way through and I said oh wow, I get a call. And I called Ann and I said Ann, listen, because one person didn't show up. I said do you want to have another call back, since we have an open slot? And she's like Lau, everyone can hear you. Right now Can everyone hear Lau? And they're like, and I'm like, that's okay, they'll learn from it, it's great for them.


0:10:59 - Anne

There you go, there you go, and here's the deal In a real situation, right? If you don't show up to that casting call, that's it. You snooze, you lose, you're out, and they may make a decision at the last minute to call more people, or they need to hear more people, or maybe they didn't get what they needed from the first audition. Gosh, that goes on all the time.


Right, Lau, they recast it because they didn't really get what they wanted. So we did that too which I love it through a wrench in it, because everybody that was shortlisted thought that was it. And then all of a sudden we had a discussion. We said we'd like to call back Actually, we were gonna call back two people, but we ended up calling back one other person, which again added that element of surprise which again hypes up the adrenaline and the nerves. And so I think again, this audition demolition Lau we can do this like regularly, because I think it's a skill that every voice artist should have in their toolbox to be able to be prepared on the fly, work through those nerves and just perform and get that gig and be able to take direction well, right, and no matter how we slice it, of course we're always about process or process oriented people.


0:12:14 - Lau

But there is a product, there is a gig at stake and in this contest we had prizes, we had some cash.


0:12:22 - Anne

We had cash.


0:12:22 - Lau

We had cash we had cash, we had a going on. People were really fighting and cLauing for the real deal. It wasn't just oh, you won, congratulations. It was, let's actually reward you. Who is something real world that you can enjoy, right and people love that.


0:12:38 - Anne

I think people love that. I mean, who doesn't love cash? Who doesn't love cash? I mean, that's just as you know, that's an investment in your business, right? So invest in the audition demolition and you can win cash and or swag, and so I'm extremely excited to have offered that.


0:12:54 - Lau

I wanna ask what were some auditions that really stuck out for you and why did they stick out for you? I mean, even in the larger pool, not just the short list, but even in the larger pool there were so many unique people. Oh yeah, they were diverse talent very across the board. No two people were the same. What were some of the more memorable people and performances that your audience can learn from today?


0:13:18 - Anne

Well, first and foremost, understanding that I'm going to be casting for a particular job and a particular company, which this happened to be University of Phoenix, I had a demographic in mind that I wanna advertise to and I had a sound in my head that I thought would be a good representative of this particular company or university that would be able to sell effectively.


And I think that every casting director has an idea in their head as to what kind of a voice they're looking for, which usually ends up in the specs. But sometimes they change their mind when somebody gets creative or maybe interprets the script in a little bit of a different way. And it was always those auditions that stood out to me, the ones that it wasn't like the song that I heard in my head. Right, we were asking for authentic, we were asking for conversational, and those people that could really come into the first few words, that sounded like they had a story, they had a person they were talking to, those were the ones that perked up my ears. And, of course, those that had a very different, a very different sound as well. I mean, I will say I mean I can't say that your sound doesn't come into play here, because, again, we're hiring people based upon how we think they're going to effectively sell our product. Right, what?


0:14:40 - Lau

about you Lau? I would agree, and I made a concerted effort to come in with a very open mind and play the producer, who has not as much idea of what I'm actually looking for. I just know, I know the product, I know the school, I know the program, I've seen their advertising campaigns. I get that, yeah, but I want to keep an open mind because I'm not exactly sure which direction I want to go in. Yeah, age wise, diversity factor, accent wise and I'm glad I did that, because everyone was so different and so unique. I would have been let down only in the sense that I would have been looking for that needle in a haystack.


Oh, I was looking at the whole haystack and because we did that, our shortlist was so diverse.


0:15:27 - Anne

Oh, it was no two people who are alike, right.


0:15:30 - Lau

You'd say, was there even a breakdown involved with this, because they were so large?


0:15:33 - Anne

and that's what's so cool. What I love about what you just said was I said okay, I had an idea in mind, right, I know the demographic, I know the product and I know the type of sound that I'm looking for and that's what I'm gonna put in the casting specs. However, you're absolutely right. By being open-minded and hearing a bunch of different voices, then I started to think, well, okay, for this campaign, I like this voice because of this factor. I like this voice because that's the one I originally thought would be a really great choice for selling. But now I can see that this other voice, which may not have been anywhere, like I thought right, would really be effective in helping to sell my product as a casting director.


So, yes, keeping it open-minded, understanding, guys, that even though the casting specs may call for something, right, if you bring something unique to the read, you bring yourself, you bring that personality, you bring something that just makes us go oh, okay, I didn't think about that.


It really is a wonderful testament to, literally, your voice. It could be any voice, right, it doesn't have to be a particular sound, doesn't have to be a particular style, it can be you, it can be what you bring to the read and that can sway a casting director's choice, which is amazing, right, it's wonderful, it's hopeful and it makes you feel like, alright, well then, I still am gonna give my best, right? Well, if you're looking at the casting spectrum, I don't know, I'm probably not gonna get it. I mean, no, don't feel that way at all, because we were surprised very, and actually even in our decisions, right, in terms of who were we going to cast when it came down to it. Right, we were going back and forth between a couple of different voices and I think that, well, let's keep these guys on hold or on call back, or who else would be great for this campaign. There were multiple choices.


0:17:19 - Lau

Yeah, and I was playing tricks in my head saying, oh, I can't wait to see who's gonna win this thing, because I have no idea right now. Literally throughout the whole thing, I literally Could not figure out who is going to win and who is going to book the gate, and I think that's very true and very accurate to the casting process. Many times it comes right down to the wire when everyone is disagreeing on a talent or maybe they need to bring in another talent, and you and I did that.


0:17:46 - Anne

We weren't necessarily it didn't bring but, we were going back and forth about.


0:17:50 - Anne

We wanted to narrow it down, and it was tough for us to narrow down those choices because we each had our own Independent, we had our favorites and we had people that we thought were best suited for the campaign. I'm glad that we were able to. Obviously, we awarded the gig to one person and that's a congratulations to Joshua Goodman and then we awarded to runners up, because that was something that we thought you know we're gonna keep you on our shortlist for perhaps the next campaign and that was Pat Kennedy, was one of our alternates and gender Macintosh. So congratulations to everybody and really congratulations to everyone who auditioned. I mean, I was so impressed with the professionalism and the talent that we heard and I'm excited to do this again, and I'm excited about changing up the scripts, the genre right and changing up the scripts and having even more people audition for this. So I think it was a real success. I don't know what are you excited about for what's up next?


0:18:51 - Lau

Well, I'll tell you one piece of excitement, and I don't like to say this at the top. It's what we call metatheatrical. It's a reality within a reality, within a reality, but the truth is, this was not a mock audition when I looked at this, and I'm sure you were thinking this too, in regards to recommending clients for projects that you're a part of. I am always looking for new talent. So there will be people that I'm going to reach out to for MCVO contracts.


0:19:20 - Anne

We don't say that and I'll be referring people because it becomes a top of mind. I know who my talent are Top of mind, yeah, and I'll be casting for projects as well. While I'm not a talent agent like yourself, I do have a number of clients that I help cast for and I actually have a couple of rosters that I place people that I recommend I place them for jobs and so the truth is is like it's a mock audition for educational purposes.


0:19:47 - Lau

but there's a subtext of reality that whenever you're in front of working people in the industry, they're always going to be thinking about you for potential work. How do you put someone like us in front of some of these people and say don't look at them for work, just look at them as a student? It's not possible, because they're working people, they're working professionals. So we want to give educational value, lots of educational value and development, but we also want to potentially find new people.


0:20:19 - Anne

we could be working with Awesome talent. No question, let's there to lose for auditioning, right? So our next audition demolition and again. By the time this airs, it may have passed already, but I really think, talking about our experiences with the first one, I think it ran gosh. It ran smoother than I even thought, and so I'm really excited to continue this on a regular basis because I think it's just so educational and, as bosses, we're all about the education. I'm all about providing a great resource. That's what we do here at the VioBoss podcast, and we're here to help. We're here to hopefully give you some advice and tips along your journey in this crazy voiceover industry that we all love so much. And hey, what can I?


0:21:03 - Lau

say I think it's fantastic and I want to be clear to those who have no idea what we're talking about and want to get involved with it that you're getting literally hours worth of feedback. Oh yeah, not just a quick. That was great and you're done. You're getting all the written feedback first Plus and our Dropbox Plus.


You're going to show up on the contest day in real time live and you're going to get all sorts of feedback. You're going to hear everyone else's feedback. You're going to get to observe and steal and absorb everyone else's. Then you'll get your own. So it's like double feedback, Endless feedback.


0:21:38 - Anne

It's like double feedback. It's more than if you just go to one session, because you're getting much more written feedback from both Lau and myself, whether you make the shortlist or not, and during the class you're going to have the exposure to finding out. If you're on the shortlist and even if you don't make the shortlist, you get to watch the others perform and be redirected and get that education as well. So I mean, gosh, the value I'm just saying the value is incredible, guys.


0:22:08 - Lau

It's massive, it's huge. I mean, I don't know any other circumstance that offers that kind of thing.


0:22:14 - Anne

And who offers cash? Who offers? Cash as a prize and the amount of time that we're dealing with a compressed amount of time, right, right, you can win back your money plus some, win back your investment and some, and have fun doing it and be top of mind for those people that may be able to help cast you in further roles.


0:22:34 - Lau

So and do you have a couple of quick tips? I love tips, couple of quick tips for the next round of talent. Who are like I have to do this, I got to get in on this or the round that just came through. I know a lot of them are already talking about coming back. They want to have another go of it, they want to be challenged again. Let's talk about quickly a couple of tips that we can offer them when they come back. Good idea, when they're coming in for the first time.


0:22:58 - Anne

Well, I'm going to say, first and foremost, do your research on the script, do some analysis before you run into your studio and just read it as if you this is the way you think it should sound.


I really think you've got to spend a few moments and, if you can, google the product, google the company, find out like who their demographic is, find out if they've had other campaigns. Take a look at those campaigns. See what their style is, what their brand is, what their mission statement is, and I think all of that information can help you to voice for that company better. And also make sure that you are, after the analysis, that you really look at it as an actor and I know you're gonna probably expound on this one, but I want you to really look on that script as an actor. You're not gonna probably get a storyboard with it, and so you have to try to imagine what's happening in the scene, always know who you are and who you're talking to, and really put yourself in a scene so that you are authentically in it, telling a story where all storytellers right. We have to tell the story. We have to engage the listener into a believable, authentic performance and Lau. I'm sure you're gonna go off on that one, oh my gosh.


0:24:11 - Lau

I second that. I third that I also don't want you to lose that fun factor, because there is a tremendous fun factor to not just voicing the copy but also being with people in a room. When you're with people in a room, I know it's scary, it's nerve-wracking, you don't know who everyone is, but I want you to enjoy, like, really relish the moment and have a little bit of personalization as you. So some of the time when you were giving a direction in, or we gave an adjustment or we were just greeting people, there were some people that stuck out in my mind as being very memorable because they had that mix of business acumen with warmth and fun, and they smiled a lot. There was one talent His teeth were so white I couldn't stop looking at them. He just smiled the whole time because we were visually in a room seeing each other.


We weren't just hearing each other audio wise, but all of that counts for something it does. Yeah, so that I know, okay, this talent knows how to smile on a lot of commercial reads. This person knows how to be a warm, engaging person. So if they're dealing with our clients, they're gonna be that way, like there's a lot of reasons.


0:25:20 - Anne

Good points, excellent Right.


0:25:22 - Lau

We have to enjoy. Let go be social a little bit, be personable. We're not gonna waste time, we're not getting into huge conversations. It's not a party, but it is a real time engagement of real people, and those people stick in my mind and relationships do matter.


0:25:39 - Anne

I mean, it's one of those things that, like you said, it's not a party that you're gonna be talking the director's ear off, but you certainly have to have a little bit of a personality and have a little bit of joy and a little bit of definitely a lot of professionalism, but also let us see a little bit about who you are and that will help us to understand what you can bring to the table Absolutely, and that's within your interactions. When we're giving you direction and feedback, all of that comes out. So, yeah, good advice.


0:26:06 - Lau

I'm gonna throw in another one and say it's really important to warm up. We wouldn't know for sure because we weren't asking this question, but I would suspect there were a few people who are not quite as warmed up as they could have been, mainly because they were stumbling a lot, they were going back on lines, they weren't breathing well, they were holding the breath, and I do think a lot of that is just nerves.


0:26:29 - Anne

It could be nerves.


0:26:30 - Lau

Yeah, real time, but take the time, even if it's an hour. Sit in your booth or take the time to stretch, drink water, breathe the air, go over your lines, feel them through, personalize them, so that it isn't just about getting the script right or I gotta get through this and sound good. It's about how do I feel you and I talked a lot about like the person that you're being and talking to is this real person? Even though it had a little bit of a corporate, boxy language to it, it's real. They're real people. So you gotta do that in your warmup. You have to incorporate that all in your warmup. You can't warm up or come in and you're colder and then you're warming up as you audition. I never recommend that. I think you should come in fully engaged full throttle, full throttle and get ready to go.


I think that that was the difference. That was one of the big differences between the people who are a little bit on a higher level and people who are coming into it, kind of feeling it out.


0:27:29 - Anne

Yeah, yeah, and absolutely, when you're hearing direction and feedback as well, if you've got that pencil and you've got the script or your pad, your iPad, whatever it is to make some notes, cause I know, in the heat of the moment, sometimes, when you're getting direction and feedback and they ask for another read, sometimes they give a lot of things, okay, and then over here, I'd like you to lighten up here and who are you talking to and I feel like, if you needed to make some quick notes, make sure that you have the ability to do that. I love that, yeah.


0:27:59 - Lau

I even say you know, with a prop. If you're dealing with a prop and you like a prop and a prop works for you, make it a prop that counts. Make it something that is meaningful to you. The first thing that came to my mind was if I'm dealing with the University of Phoenix read, and if you watch the advertising campaigns, traditionally they're pretty heartful. There's a warmth and a thoughtfulness to it. It would be great to have what the diploma looks like in front of you, or what a graduate looks like in front of you or what personally, so that you can see how meaningful that is to someone. That is going to change their whole life. That piece of paper is going to change their whole life potentially, and just bringing that in with you can change your whole delivery versus. Let me just get the first line right. Yeah, Absolutely.


0:28:43 - Anne

You know what I mean Absolutely and, like I said, I think that research and maybe looking at other commercials that they've done or other work that they've put out there to their potential clients, yeah, absolutely, that can really make a difference.


0:28:55 - Speaker 1

So wow Good, I'm excited. I can't wait for the next one. I can't wait, bosses stay tuned.


0:29:02 - Anne

We will have the next dates on the VO Boss website, vobosscom. The events should be right there on the front page, and so we are looking forward to having all of you come and audition for us and take advantage of the audition. Demolition and Loth. Thank you so much, as usual, for another amazing discussion. Bosses, here's a chance to use your voice to make an immediate difference in our world and give back to the communities that give to you. Visit 100voiceshoocareorg to commit. And a big shout out to our sponsor, ipdtl. You too can network and connect like a boss. Find out more at IPDTLcom. Bosses, have an amazing week and we will see you at the next VO Boss audition demolition.


0:29:46 - Lau

Yeah, see you then, woohoo, bye.


0:29:50 - Speaker 1

Join us next week for another edition of VO Boss with your host, Anne 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. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via IPDTL yeah.


0:30:23 - Lau

You really know your stuff.


0:30:28 - Anne

I'd like somebody to say that to me you really know your stuff. I want every session to be like wow, that was amazing.


0:30:36 - Speaker 1

Oh my gosh, I know a man.


0:30:38 - Anne

Bob, it's been. It's been years since we've had a talent.


0:30:41 - Speaker 1

It's somebody this talented. It's been years.


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