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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 13, 2022

There is no perfect voice for a genre. This week, Anne & Erikka let you in on the secret of genre exploration. Every genre has sub-genres and adjacent genres, but you’ll never know which ones work for you without trying a few out. Examine what kind of work you are drawn to and where your passions lie. That will inform what jobs creatively challenge you vs. ones that make you feel stagnant. As Anne advises, always follow your passions. With a growth mindset, focus on the message you send with each script + a little help from your Balance hosts, you’ll be on the path to success!


>> 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. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza, and I am with the lovely and talented Erikka J this morning.

Erikka: Hello!

Anne: Hey Erikka.

Erikka: How are you, Anne?

Anne: I'm doing good. How's it going with you?

Erikka: Going pretty good, man. Hanging out, you know, just another day in voiceover land. <Laugh>

Anne: There you go. Another day in voiceover land. And it's so funny because we're so like, oh yeah, this is our day. This is what we're gonna do. We've got our auditions to knock out. We're gonna go find some new clients. We're gonna be working in the booth. I do have a lot of students that always ask me when they just get involved in the industry, well, first of all, how do I know that I have what it takes? And what genre, what is my niche? Where do I go in this industry? And for me, that's always a wonderful question of self discovery. <laugh>

Erikka: Yeah.

Anne: I think there's lots of ways to find your niche in this industry, but I think it would be a good topic to talk about how we found our niches and what our recommendations are for BOSSes out there that are just getting involved.

Erikka: Yeah, absolutely. Balancing to let the genre find you.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. I think that it's kind of like letting your brand find you too. I think they're very similar. They're on parallel paths. And I know for me, the genres that I ended up doing, number one, I'm a big believer in following my passion. I've been that way all my life. Now, I don't know if that's just a thing that I just decided to listen to since I was young, but I've always followed things that I've enjoyed doing and found joy in doing, and I followed my passion. When I was young, I played music, I played piano. I had a love affair with horses. I owned a couple of horses, rode horses as a little girl. I would teach my dolls. All these things that I loved, I did and I explored, and I have to say that the same is true in my career.

As I went to school, what I studied, what I ended up working in, in the corporate world, and in the educational world. And then ultimately I've found that I've been able to kind of bring it all together in voiceover. Because for example, I love to teach. As a little girl, I taught my dolls. I ended up 20 years being an educator in front of the classroom for kids, adults, college kids. And I find that I love eLearning. So the genre is kind of paralleling where my joys were and where my experiences brought me to. So eLearning, I worked in corporate for a short amount of time and then did a lot of corporate consulting. And so I love the corporate read.

All of those things have kind of allowed me to do the things that I love to do. And obviously, because I love to teach, I'm a coach as well. And so for my business that is so wonderfully my own. And I feel so lucky and so joyful that I am able to do what I love and be able to support the household <laugh> be able to support myself with it. So what are your thoughts, Erikka, on how do you find your genre? How did you find your genre?

Erikka: Yeah. Very similar.

Anne: Or genres.

Erikka: Yeah. Yeah. So for me, like I'm always like somewhat ADD with my interests. Like I like that. Ooh. And I like that, and I like that, and I like that so <laugh>, but sort of my foundation and where I started, I had worked in corporate for quite some time and still do, in primarily in tech sectors. So I absolutely adore tech explainers or products because a big part of what I did as a project manager, sort of understanding the layout and then also breaking down requirements so that when somebody says, I want a widget that does this, having to break it down and be like, okay, so you want this to come out, kind of breaking that down for the user and putting it in layman's terms, so to speak. I enjoy doing that sort of breakdown, but maybe in shorter forms.

So as opposed to like where you're talking about how you love eLearning, I'll do some eLearning, but I really love like the short form 90-second, let me help you understand this thing and what it does. And, you know, taking something complex and making it super simple to understand. I love that stuff. So that's really where I started.

Corporate narration, same thing. Because of coming from the musical background, which essentially is storytelling in usually three to six minutes, see for a really long song in six minutes, <laugh> but that's why I love like the commercial work or the short corporate narrations where, you know, I'm really sort of telling a story, sometimes getting more dramatic or using comedy to be able to tell those stories in a short amount of time, it just aligned with where my experience was and what I enjoyed doing. So those were sort of my foundations along with video games, love games, played games a lot as a kid, not as much now as I'd like, <laugh>. I'm surrounded by gamers in my house. So constantly watching that. And I lean towards the dramatic and the dark more than the comedy. So I like using that, but yeah, those are kind of like my genres that hit me in the narration. Just loving to tell stories. Those are --

Anne: Yeah. I love that. And I think anybody that's just starting out in this industry, take a look at who you are from young age on up and where you've evolved and if you've followed those joys or those things that you really enjoy doing, and then try to translate into genres for voiceover. Or not even just for voiceover for your business, you know, the other part, it's not just the genres, right? But it's also letting the entrepreneurship follow you. <laugh>

Erikka: Yeah.

Anne: There's the whole period of my life where I like to solve problems. I mean, you and I were both in technology, right? It's always solving problems and I also have an engineering background. And so because of that, I love the whole entrepreneur owning a business, kind of a thing, where I'm excited to build things, to build my business, to see where I can grow, where I can expand, how I can achieve success, how I can continue to reinvest in my business and grow in my business. I think that's the most important thing for me is if I am stagnant -- it's like, for me, I'm building a character, but I'm really building a business, right?

Erikka: Yeah, yeah.

Anne: I keep adding to the story, and I have to keep evolving the character. I have to keep evolving the character of my business. And for me, if I don't, if I become stagnant, then number one, it's boring. And I don't do well with boring. But number two, it always allows me to grow kind of the whole, think of how do I make money the whole, how do I make money challenge? I even do like a class on money blocks where some of us have built in money blocks from long ago where maybe women weren't supposed to be earning as much as men or those types of things or the way you were brought up, the male was the breadwinner. Don't be greedy. That kind of thing.

Well, I consider it part of the entrepreneurial game, right, how to make money with my business. And so it's not that money is like my first love, but I think it's the challenge of the game to be able to invest my money and then make a profit. And so I think what we all want to do with our businesses is to make a profit. And so that also evolves. And that was part of my personality. A big part of my personality is loving to solve challenges and solving problems. Yeah, I took that right into my business.

Erikka: Yeah. I love that you said self discovery 'cause that's something that I talk about often too, is that you have to figure out sort of who you are as a person. And that kind of leads you to who you are as an artist. And as that evolves and develops, staying in touch with that is gonna tell you when maybe a genre isn't for you or if a genre isn't necessarily your primary. Like for instance, I love reading. I never get enough time to do it as much as I'd like, but I am not really into doing audiobooks. I know that I like the short form stuff. My attention span gets like mmh, so it's just not for me, even though I love books and I fully appreciate them, but it's not for me to do that as narrating. I had learned that about myself and be okay with it.

In coming from a performance background, I discovered live announce was something that I really enjoyed. I'm used to being able to, you know, like on the fly, something live might happen and you've gotta be able to react and not be flustered. I did that on stage. So I was like, huh, didn't even know this would really be a thing for me.

Anne: That's a special skill.

Erikka: Right. Yeah. Yeah. So.

Anne: The whole live thing.

Erikka: That self discovery is really key to letting that genre. And your business, like you said, it's a persona, but you're building a brand your brand has an identity. It's a story. So you've gotta know who you are that's gonna align with the brand that you're building.

Anne: Absolutely, absolutely. And interesting that you said being the voice of God. So back in the day, when I used to have to record onto phone systems, you had to do it live. And so you had to be on. If you screwed up the prompt <laugh> in the middle of it, you had to start all over again. So there's a special skill in being able to, to be quick on your feet and to execute without mistakes. To me, if I were figuring out my rate sheet for that, that becomes a factor in the special skills like for medical narration.

I mean, I worked in the orthopedic industry for six years, you know? And so I love medical narration, and that kind of found me. I mean, I kind of evolved because I started off in the engineering aspect of things. And then it kind of brought me into a narrower focus with biomechanical engineering at my job at the orthopedic company, which then ultimately translated into medical narration here. And the medical narration has expanded so that I'm not just talking orthopedics, and I'm certainly not a doctor, but the challenge therein lies in learning and discovering new topics in medicine that also I find I love to do that discovery, and that translates to my voice.

So if somebody were to say what genre, I think really it can be any genre that you find that joy of discovery or that joy in. And sometimes you don't know it until you've tried it. Like you said, for the voice of God, you didn't know, right? Until you tried it and then you realized, oh wow, this is something that my theater training has prepared me for. And so I think every one of us should explore different genres. That's why I think workshops and sessions are a great thing. And one of the reasons why I developed the VO peeps so that I could have special, amazing guest directors come in from all different genres so that my community could have a lot to choose from and a lot to experience, a lot to explore and a lot to learn.

And I think that letting the genre find you, finding what you enjoy doing, I think is probably at the very core of it. And you know, for me, like you were saying audiobooks, I did one audiobook <laugh> and then I said, nope, not for me. I've kind of found the things that I love to do, but again, I don't wanna close my mind to trying new things. So for right now I've done a little bit of character work, but I've not really expanded into animation or even into like promo as much. But I know that I've got an interest in it. And it's something that I wanna look at.

Erikka: And that's why I think that workshops are such a valuable tool to use in the beginning or as you start to make a foray into different genres, because it's more cost effective. Right?

Anne: Yeah.

Erikka: Usually they cost less because it's a group as opposed to like one-on-one coaching. You're able to hear what other people are doing and how they're getting directed, seeing all types of different coffee, experimenting with different directors, different coaches in these group settings. And that way you can kind of see like, is this really my thing? Like for me, promo, I sort of assume that since I have this lower register voice that, you know, has a lot of power behind it, that it might be something I really wanna do. And I always love beating the boys if I can, no offense. But...

Anne: Hey, I hear that.

Erikka: You know what I mean? And it is still something I wanna get into, but I found that it ended up being lower on my priority list because I wasn't getting as much traction as I was in other areas I was moving faster. So I was like, you know, maybe let me really refine and kind of get to expert level and everything else and consistently look. And then I'll come back around to promo. So it can help you prioritize your genre list as well.

Anne: I like that you were talking about kind of letting it find you and you were getting hired in other genres. That's a really good indicator to find out what genre you might pursue in a more targeted, strategic fashion is what do you tend to get hired for? Do you tend to get hired for explainer videos? Do you tend to get hired for those one-off commercials, or do you tend to get hired for audio books? Whatever that might be, might be the genre that you really flourish in. And again, it doesn't have to be just one genre, but again, it shouldn't be every genre.

I really don't know many voiceover artists that do every single genre. I think we all tend to just narrow down the focus a little bit and it doesn't have to be just two genres or, you know, it can be like narration. There's a lot of closely related -- corporate explainers are very closely to corporate narration. It's very close to corporate training, which is very close to medical narration. It's all part of the corporate world anyway. So all of that really kind of works for me. So there's multiple genres there that I can excel and flourish in.

And then explore the ones that I haven't really had time to do before, because I've been working so much in these other genres, like character or promo or imaging. Like see, I've always wanted to do radio imaging, but I've never even tried it, like never <laugh> But I'm always like, I wanna sound cool. So for me, I'd be like, oh, that would be a cool sound, but I've never tried it. I've always been a little shy actually.

Erikka: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Anne: About it, but I don't wanna not try.

Erikka: Exactly. And that's the thing is like, unless you really do it and you're like, this is not my thing -- I feel like audio books are probably off the table for me, other than I did like a couple kids books. And I have like a couple like mid-length books that I've entertained or that I'm like, I might just do this one. It's, you know, public domain. I'll do it as a passion project one day just to kind of practice. But if I get one that's expected to be like 12 hours of audio, like I'm not gonna do the 48 Laws of Power. I know I'm not gonna be able to do something that long. God bless the voice actors that have that type of stamina. I know I don't. And I'm okay with it.

Anne: You know, where I might go because I love the geeky stuff all the time, right, if there was a book that was completely geeky about, I don't know, a business book. And if it was something that I would discover as I read, I think that that could work, but the editing I would have to outsource. <Laugh>.

Erikka: Yeah. I just, I just don't think I could, maybe that answer will change in a few years for me, even though I love reading it and consuming it or listening to audio books.

Anne: Sure.

Erikka: I just wanna be in and out. I just wanna get it done and to be done. <laugh>

Anne: Yeah. Well, I think it's important that we don't get complacent.

Erikka: Yes. Agreed.

Anne: And for me, that's just always been a thing where I haven't felt comfortable when I get complacent. I think I get nervous. Maybe it's more that than bored or maybe it's a combination of both, right? I don't wanna get complacent in one job for too long. And, and to be honest with you, my 20 years in education, I think my job, I had actually, believe it or not, in my job, there were certain levels that I traversed. And I went from getting my hands dirty and learning a bunch of stuff and really challenging like, oh, why does the network not work here? Oh, let me go and dig the wiring or look at the wiring in the ceiling and see what's going on there. And I love the whole challenge of that, kind of getting my hands dirty.

Ultimately I started, year after year, I would, I would advance, you know, then I would go into like the networking. Then I would go into the administration. And then ultimately at the last part of my career, I was a project manager. And at that point, I wasn't getting my hands dirty anymore. I was managing people who were getting their hands dirty. And for me, I found out that that was not where I flourished. For me, I wanted that challenge of getting my hands dirty, figuring out the solution, not necessarily managing people. And at that point in my career, I had started to become a little bit restless. And that's when I really said to myself, well, I need to do something that's gonna allow me to grow.

And I think that selecting your genre and balancing your genres or your performance or discovering what that is really comes with a lot of self-reflection in what it is that brings you joy and what it is that you're getting hired., a combination of that, what it is you're getting hired for. And if you're just starting out, try to focus on what are your past experiences. Like for me, I had experience teaching, which led me into e-learning. I had experience working for an orthopedic company, which led me to medical. I installed phone systems as part of my job that led me to a lot of telephony. So take a look at your experience and see what genre that might lend itself to, because when you can speak with familiarity and with confidence about something, it's going to be reflected in your voice. And that I think is gonna make you good at what you do.

Erikka: Absolutely. And the other thing is to like not necessarily write off an entire genre to maybe to explore the sub genres, right. 'Cause like there's animation and I really kind of thought animation was off the table for me. I was like, everybody wants to do that when they come in, eh. Maybe video games, which I do think that that's still more my lane than animation. What I love, I love doing the villain stuff in animation. So I'm not really necessarily gonna too often -- I don't really see myself doing like the 14-year-old boy, like some women are able to do, but gimme a villain role I'm in and I'm excited about it. <Laugh>

Anne: Now psychologically, Erikka, why is that? Where is that? Because that relief of tension --

Erikka: -- in real life. <Laugh>

Anne: That's right. And then the alter ego kicks in.

Erikka: So then I get to rrr, you know, it's fun.

Anne: Yeah. Well, Hey, there's a creative challenge. And I think that, so BOSSes, we are all brilliant. Right? We are all brilliant people. This is the way I like to think of it. Right? We like the creative challenges. And so what is it that challenges you? What is it that you think will give you a challenge that you will enjoy? And so for me, the medical, of course it's because I feel like I'm helping somebody. I feel like if I do a voiceover for anything medical, right, it's helping somebody. But even more than that, there's like that challenge of, okay, what's the largest word that I can say eloquently?

Erikka: The verbal acrobatics (?) of medical.

Anne: Effortlessly? There you go. That to me is like, ooh, it's such a challenge. And I love it. Like I dig right in once I get a medical script and there's all these words. I dig in and I create my little phonetic spellings and I practice it so I can say it effortlessly, so it sounds like I'm a doctor. But that sort of stuff, I think letting the genre find you and letting your joy find the genre too is something to really think about. And so is there a voice for a genre? I don't think so. I think a lot of people consider like, oh, to do promo, I have to have a low voice. What are your thoughts on that, Erikka?

Erikka: So not true. And the thing is that the more that you study the genre that you're trying to get into, and I don't just mean workshops and being coached, but I mean actually like watching TV, like going to watch the promos that are on -- it's been such a male-dominated genre historically that we just assume you have to "come in there and sound like this, tonight at eight." And that's just not it not now. So like I've heard women with much lighter voices than me that are super conversational to the point of sounding like a commercial, and they're booking promo. So I think that was a challenge for me and kind of was why I wasn't booking there at first because I had the idea of what it supposed to be, instead of bringing more of the authenticity to it. The reads are much closer to commercial now for promo, finding a promo voice.

Anne: I love the whole authentic thing do and because --

Erikka: Yeah, me too.

Anne: -- I think that voiceover artists, like in the beginning, it was always like, for me, when I got behind a mic, I was like, ooh, my voice is amplified.

Erikka: Oh my goodness.

Anne: And then I was like, I like to hear that in my ears, you know? 'Cause it was something like, I think sounds good or that somebody would want to hear. And I love the whole "let's get back to being authentic and being ourselves." Some of the most beautiful stuff that I've listened to is not a voice that many would consider to be like, oh a voiceover voice. Every time somebody asks me on one of my consult calls, so do you think I have what it takes or do you think I've got the voice?

And I'm like, it really honestly, you know, and I've said this before, BOSSes, you guys, if you've listened to the podcast, it's only the first few seconds, maybe 15 to 20 seconds, 30 seconds that people are listening to what your voice actually sounds like. And then all they care about is what you're saying. Right? And what does it mean and is it of interest to them? And that connection that your voice has to them and how it can help them, that's really where it all counts. And I think that's why the authentic, the genuine is what sells, you know, in advertising, and it's what connects people together. And I think that's what we all, as humans, we really want.

And a lot of this talk about the AI voice, there's going to be a place for that. And I know Erikka, we could have a whole podcast episode on this. There's definitely a place for that, but only when it's transparent. And I know that I'm talking to a voice that is not a human voice. Like, well, I talk to Alexa all the time. I talk to Siri all the time and I'm okay with it. Siri helps me, Siri has a job to do and she helps me. So when I don't necessarily need a human to help me, I am okay with that.

But for everything else, right, our human voices need to connect. And I think that's one of the most important things. What genre can you divulge your authenticity in and connect with the audience of that genre. 'Cause different genres have different audiences. There's a different audience for corporate training than there is for promo. Right? People listening to promo voices are trying to find out information of what's on television. What's the next exciting thing? Or <laugh> maybe it's like, oh what's happening next on HGTV? Right, there's your in-show narration. So depending on the genre, there's different audiences. So figure out not only what genre excites you, but know who is listening to the genre and who your audience is, because that's where that connection's gonna happen.

Erikka: Yeah. And I think it's important to not limit yourself mentally and just say, well, oh, I'm not gonna do that. But try it. Like I said, like the audio books, I did a couple of kid books. I did a couple of mid-length narration for like news and I enjoyed that, but I was like, I couldn't do much more than this. So I know it's not for me. But like if you don't even give yourself the opportunity to see if you would like it, you might miss out on something that you're really good at. And/or like if medical intimidates, you try it anyway because those skills can translate. So if you're practicing reading multisyllabic words, you know, you finally get it, imagine how much better you're gonna read commercial copy now because you exercised your mouth to be able to get those kind of words out.

So now when you get to just sort of regular English, <laugh> you're gonna have that skill that you can translate into another genre. So I think it's good like you said, to just stay limb, stay flexible, learn how to play, not get stagnant ,and play with other genres, but know what your primaries are. And if you do have hard boundaries to just know, like that's not for me, <laugh>.

Anne: That's not for me. I know a lot of students in the beginning will spend a lot of time like investigating all the genres. And I love that. I think there's lots of good things to be said for that. But then there's also students who might spend time in every genre because they're afraid to start. That might be another podcast, but at least I think exploring the other genres, taking a few classes in the genres. I mean, I took some promo classes with a coach that I loved. I've really explored. I've taken some audiobook classes I've taken -- like I said, the one thing I haven't done is radio imaging, but <laugh> I know a lot of people that do radio imaging, and I'm still like thinking about, oh, that's kind of like such a older genre. I'm not sure how well it's faring these days. Because I do believe I heard you <laugh>.

Erikka: I did do --

Anne: I heard you the other day. Yes I did. So it's very cool.

Erikka: But that was fun. Like it taught me how to play better. Like, and I actually did a little bit of character development and I've taken that into some commercial copy. So.

Anne: Well, that's an excellent point about that because the crazier and the more dynamic your character is in imaging, it really can help you in other genres. And I think a lot of times people that take my corporate narration, 'cause I'm always teaching how to be the real authentic voice. And that's not what people expect with narration. They expect to have a narrator's voice, and I'm like, no let's connect people. And so they can take that technique that they use in narration and apply it to commercial. Because learning how to be real and authentic with words that aren't yours is something that applies to every genre. So BOSSes, if you're out there trying to discover that genre, make sure that you are also getting those skills that allow you the acting to be real and authentic in those genres. So take acting classes, get coached on it. That'll do nothing but help you in any genre you decide to pursue.

Erikka: And corporate narration I'm finding is increasingly having more opportunities for us to play. So it's obviously gonna be corporate to an extent, but I've seen some copy where it's like, they kind of want you to have the joke, land the joke, you know, be a little funnier, be a little more, you know, laid back.

Anne: Or be dramatic, be passionate.

Erikka: Be dramatic. Yes, absolutely.

Anne: Yep. That's the corporate gold I've always talking about. It's good stuff.

Erikka: Yep.

Anne: So yeah guys, what genre are you?

Erikka: Yeah. And prioritizing them. Yeah.

Anne: Yeah. Look back, look at your passion. What brings you joy? And don't forget that even though you have genres, if you do have genres that you're already pretty well settled into and familiar with, don't forget to always play in other genres 'cause you just never know. You never know. Good stuff. So question for you, BOSSes, do you have a local nonprofit that is close to your heart? Because if you do, and if you want to help them, you can join an organization called and help them extensively even if you don't have a lot to contribute. So find out more at And big shout-out to ipDTL, our favorite way to connect and network like BOSSes. Find out more at All right, BOSSes. Have an amazing week, and we'll see you next week.

Erikka: Bye BOSSes.

Anne: 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.