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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...

Feb 14, 2023

The advertising landscape is changing. People want to connect with real people, not just faceless brands. Anne & Lau share their tips for putting yourself out there visually. What matters is that you are enhancing your natural essence, not turning into some inauthentic version of you. Share yourself on social media & your website. When clients see who you are, they feel like they really know you. It also makes them more likely to remember you and recommend you to others. If all else fails, present yourself in any way that makes you feel comfortable & shows those around you that you care about what you're doing.
It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS Podcast and the Business superpower series. I'm here, Anne Ganguzza, with my bestie, favorite special guest, co-host Lau Lapides. Hey Lau.
Lau: Hey, Anne.
Anne: You know, Lau, since I started with you, I made that decision to have all of our podcasts also be on video. And I have to do my hair, I gotta do my makeup . And I found myself increasingly out there on camera and in front of people. And remember back in the day, when you made that decision -- or maybe you didn't, but I did. It was always like, well, I don't wanna have to be in front of a camera. I just wanna be an actor behind a mic and nobody needs to see my face. Well, I think that's changed.
Lau: Mm-Hmm.
Anne: And I think it would be a good thing to talk about is it necessary for us to have a visual image as well as our voice?
Lau: And I remember actually, like it was yesterday, I remember the day where it was fairly detrimental to be seen because you would be pigeonholed. You'd be stereotyped. Like let's say I, I'm able to do a 10-year-old boy's voice for animation. Then all of a sudden you see me, and I look completely different than that. And now it's stuck in a producer's mind. That was the mindset back then of like, keep yourself hidden enough so that you're branding could go all over the map. And now it's like completely changed in so many ways.
Anne: Has it? See, 'cause that's the question I get these days, especially from character actors, or let's say actors that don't look like they sound. And so they're concerned about being pigeonholed if they show their face. But I am like, these days, especially with video being right up in the forefront right up and everybody's faces, it's so popular. And especially after coming out of the pandemic where people weren't in contact anymore, I do believe that people wanna connect with people. It's a human need to connect with people, to connect with faces. And I, for one, I cannot stand it when I cannot, let's say, call up a business to ask a question to get a real person on the phone. And I know this is weird. Where are my millennials? I'm sorry. My millennials are like, but I can text.
Anne: But even so, I like to call to make sure I can hear a voice on the other end. Or I like to meet on Zoom, a lot of times with new clients, kind of I validate them to make sure they're human. For me, it's a thing. I need to connect with humans. And I am always telling my business students that people wanna connect with a person and not necessarily a logo.
Lau: Yes. Yes. And here's pure irony. You and I come from a generation where we need to do that. Like I, I remember the days where when I needed to get a phone number, I'd call something called Information. Information was 411. And then I'd hear someone, usually the same woman, and she'd be like, hello, Information, how may I help you? And I loved talking to people. I still, I don't trust online booking for hotels. I don't trust online booking for air fare. I, I still have that in me to wanna talk to people, wanna make that connection, wanna have that trust.
But here's the irony. In voiceover of those days, that's where we had a lot of announcer reads. That's where we had a lot of caricature style reads, especially in the commercial market. Today, today, no one wants to talk to each other. You'll always get a machine, you'll always be online filling out those fields online, right? You'll never be able to get customer service. But stylistically we want naturalism. We want to have naturalism.
Anne: We want authenticity. Mm-hmm. Authenticity, that's the biggest trend. Isn't that funny? And especially from the younger generation, right? They want that authenticity. So I believe that a visual image, an in-person or an on-camera or a, that kind of a thing really helps to bring the authenticity to the business.
Lau: It does. Like I wanna see you. I wanna see that you're a real person. You're not a bot, you're not an avatar. You're not a cartoon drawing. That's okay. Like I love seeing those, but that doesn't take the place of the person. I still wanna see the person. If I'm gonna work with you, hire you, cast you, whatever, I still wanna see that you're a person and get a sense of that.
Anne: And you know what's so interesting? It's gotten to the point where I am putting myself out there so much visually that I have a brand ,and you know what my brand consists of? Headphones, that might be red or blue or purple. Or I just got a really beautiful pair of navy blue, and I got a pair of blue glasses, . And I just ordered, do you know what I just ordered? A pair of red glasses. And I also ordered a wind sock that is red . Uh, so maybe when I'm gonna be in the BOSS booth recording an episode, I might have a red headphone with red lipstick with red glasses, with a red -- but it becomes a visual part of my brand and it becomes something that people recognize for me. And it becomes consistent. I believe that consistency brands recognition and brands, something being more memorable. And I think that in addition to your voice being memorable, connecting that with a human, authentic being on the other side and also adding some visual branding can really help to make you a memorable brand.
Lau: Yes. And anyone who has been an actor either on tv, done film, done theater, knows the power of wardrobe, the power of makeup, the power of a mask. You know, we'll call it a mask right now because it could be be for men as well, or whatever you identify as. You have something that you may utilize to initiate your branding visually, whatever that is. It could be a hat, it could be, as you said, glasses, lipstick, it could be even a pen that you use, even a prop that you use. You know what I mean?
Anne: Nails.
Lau: Yeah. Nails. Right. So that it sort of gives you a little bit of superpower. It gives you a little bit of dynamic to fall into that role, whatever that role is for you, that if you don't do it, and you don't have it, it's a tougher way to reach the role that you're trying to play.
Anne: And that includes websites too, because that's one of the biggest questions I get is, do I put my photo on my website? Because that has always been the biggest bone of contention, right? Because I'm a voice actor, they don't need to see my face, but again, online people, before they even know you, you want to make yourself as memorable as possible. Yes, it's wonderful to think that my voice alone could do it, but why not your voice combined with your authentic headshot? And I'm gonna say, even if you don't sound how you look, I can say there's value in having, on your about page, a photo of yourself.
I don't think that that is going to misrepresent you at all. And especially if we're talking about authenticity, right? Who is it behind the voice? I think that that really warrants a lot to showcase a photo of yourself. Now, for me, I've always been about visual branding, and so on my website, I've always had a photo of myself, my voiceover website. And I feel as though it doesn't hurt me at all. I think it probably helps me. I think that I probably look like I sound. I don't know, Lau, what do you think? Do I?
Lau: Yes. I think your visual branding matches everything else that you're doing. Not always the case with voiceover talent, but that's okay. For you, I think it's perfect. Perfect. Your visual matches your vocal. It's wonderful.
Anne: So then again, let's talk more in depth about if your visual doesn't match your vocal. Can it hurt you if you put your photo on your website or -- I mean, I feel like you're gonna have to interact with your clients at some point.
Lau: Well, that's it.
Anne: In some way. Right?
Lau: That's it. I think he, you can't avoid the unavoidable and you know, you may not always meet everyone in person, but you are going to be -- now that we're in post COVID, we're having many more in-person events come back.
Anne: Or video meetings.
Lau: Or Zoom. Yes. Mm-hmm. Video meetings. And do you always wanna have your video off? Do you always wanna look a little bit MIA, like you're not fully present? No. You wanna have the ability to have confidence and say, I like the way I look. I'm proud of the way I look. It's part of who I am as a business person. And if they misconstrued my sound with the way I look, you know, hey, what can I do about it? That's called living in the world. I would rather see someone than not for sure.
Anne: Exactly. Yeah. As a client, absolutely. I would much rather deal with someone that I can see visually. Now have I seen all of my clients visually? No. No. But I have usually contacted them via email or at one time or another, my repeat clients, right, I've seen them. I've been in a video meeting with them to discuss a project or I've contacted them for some reason one way or they've live directed me. Some people can put the camera off during one of those sessions. But I like to have it on just to say hi. Just to let people know, hi, I'm a real person. And now during my performance, I don't necessarily have to have it on me as long as I've introduced myself as a part of my business with my visual face.
Now let's talk about, is there any sort of code of how should I look? Remember a long time ago there used to be restrictions, I know, for in the workplace about hair, right? And about beards and about that sort of a thing where it wasn't considered corporate to have a beard or long hair or something like that. So what are your thoughts about today and, and for a voice talent, is there a code of anything really?
Lau: I think it's the best time, Anne, to be able to show your face because the playing field is so open now with what's acceptable, what's welcome. Everything's diversity. Everything is age, everything is background, everything is, you know -- when you go into, like even in Manhattan, when I go into some of the more corporatey kind of firms, they're very business casual. The younger generation is much more casual --
Anne: I love that.
Lau: -- than they were years ago. I love it too. So I think a lot more is acceptable. But that being said, I don't think it gives people a free pass of saying, oh, I'll just look like whatever. I'll just stick on whatever. I'll just do whatever. I would take the time to work with a coach, your coach, whoever is great with styling, great with image, great with fashion, great with branding, and say, listen, this is who I am. This is what I do. I don't wanna go too far away from my authentic, neutral self, but I wanna look really great for who I am. I wanna look put together, I wanna be fresh, I wanna have great colors, great fits.
Anne: Or you wanna look like you care.
Lau: Yeah. Yeah.
Anne: Look, there's a lot of casual people in California. I get that. I've lived here for enough years to know. But coming from the east coast to the west coast is, in terms of clothing and ideals about looks and how you would dress for a corporate job, it's actually quite a bit different. But the cool thing is like, I wear black, I wear leather. Everything I wore on the east coast, I wear on the West Coast. And I haven't changed because I've changed where I've lived. And the cool thing is, is that it allows me to be me. I mean California, for all their casualness, you don't have to put on fancy clothes. But I think also you don't wanna look like that you don't care about your appearance.
Lau: Exactly.
Anne: And so I think that no matter what you have, like, and I remember, gosh, I remember tattoos weren't a thing either. This is my corporate background coming in. Tattoos weren't a thing, nose piercings that -- I've always wanted to get a nose piercing, by the way. This is, this is is Anne's admission. And I think I'm going to get one.
Lau: The truth comes out.
Anne: At this age, I am going to get one, a very small delicate, 'cause I'm a, I'm a bling girl. Right? And I feel like a small bling right here would look awesome.
Lau: Do it, do it.
Anne: But, so now people are gonna hold me to it. So maybe at one point, everybody, BOSSes out there, you'll see me with a little bit of a nose, a nose pierce.
Lau: A little diamond bling right there.
Anne: Little diamond bling. 'Cause it's --
Lau: I love it.
Anne: I like the bling.
Lau: I love it.
Anne: But yeah, I do think that as long as you're showing your authentic you and it's something that your authentic you is something you care about, I think that presents -- because again, it's personal, but don't forget that our personal brand is a business brand. And so we're representing ourselves to people who might want to hire us or maybe not hire us based upon our looks. Is that a thing? True. I mean, I think if we're gonna be brave and show our face and show who we are, we have to also accept the fact that maybe people won't hire us based upon our looks. Lau, thoughts?
Lau: Yeah. If you're meeting people too, which you and I are meeting people all the time, whether we're on Zoom or we're in person, we're meeting people, you know, how do we come across? How do we look them in the eye? Do we smile, all this stuff? So I don't want it to seem like you have to put on armor to meet people. But you wanna enhance your natural beauty, your natural essence, your natural energy. It's sort of like the rule of thumb for a really great actor headshot is I don't want it to be glamorous. I don't want it to be overdone. I want it to be super natural and look like you on a really great day.
Anne: Yeah, yeah.
Lau: So that's sort of the rule of thumb. And ask yourself this question, look at all the businesses out there that now have the owners or the people working in the business show their visual faces. Real estate agents, they all have their faces on cards, right. We have a lot of branding in advertising for everything from furniture to cars to on and on it goes of people who own the dealership, people who run the furniture stores, and, and you're thinking, well why? Why are they on there? Why don't they have, you know, beautiful looking talent on there that are gorgeous? No. Because people wanna see real people. They wanna see who they're creating relationship with to buy these products, but they just wanna make sure that they look good on a good day. They don't wanna roll outta bed. You know?
Anne: Do you remember Don LaFontaine for many years? We heard his voice, heard his voice, heard his voice, and then he started doing the commercials where he, he was in person? I love that. And also because you're on the east coast, oh Lau, please let me know if you -- Men's Warehouse, do you remember his voice? Oh my gosh, for years --
Lau: Oh yes!
Anne: The guy who owned Men's Warehouse had the most beautiful voice and I thought, wow, he should be doing more voiceover instead of his commercials. And then they showed him on the commercial. And so he brought his visual brand, and I loved it. I absolutely loved finding out who the person was behind the voice. And --
Lau: And now they all do it. Now they all do it. And sometimes you're looking and you're going, I'd rather they stayed behind the camera. . Like, you know, they have these deep, you know, Boston accents, you know, come on in and buy a sofah.
Anne: Yeah, yeah.
Lau: You know, what I mean? But the point is, that's what the largest demographic in the commercial market really wants. They want approachable, natural, authentic, real authentic.
Anne: And you know, just like, okay, so just like being an announcer has gone off trend, right? And whenever we get behind that mic, we feel like we have to put on that voice. Here is my voiceover voice. Hello, I'm Anne and this is my voiceover voice. Like that's a put on kind of a -- like people want more authentic. Now character, we're talking something completely different, right? Because you become that character, but you're becoming an authentic character, right? So just as, we don't necessarily like inauthentic sounding or inauthentic in social media where everything's always perfect, we like the authentic person, and that visual brand helps to bring out that authenticity. And I think that is something that can truly help elevate your business as scared as you are.
And for all of the people out there who have gotten into voiceover, because, well I got into voiceover so they didn't have to see my face. Well, I think it's time guys for you to appear and show up to your businesses and show up because we wanna connect with you. And I'm always talking in terms of performance, when I'm trying to get that conversational read, even for narration, right? I'm trying to get that engagement. It's that back and forth. That visual can help you. I'm always talking about, I want that authenticity, I want that engagement. Your visual brand can help you. And that visual brand is in person, when you meet people, your website, it can be a great indicator for your visual brand as well. Even if it's just a picture of you on the about page. I think that it's something that can bring a lot of value, a lot of value.
Lau: I agree. And I think you feel differently. You internalize your external. So you know, it's a fine line. Like we're not all about what we look like. We're not all about what externally comes out. But there is a deep connection between what I'm internally emotionalizing and feeling and what I'm externally giving out to the world. And so I think we can learn a lot from actors who are going for visual roles that they don't dress in costume, and they shouldn't dress in costume for an audition, but they should give a flavor, give a hint of the character in how they're gonna present themselves when they walk in the room.
Anne: And it's always bringing themselves to the character. Right? That really is the winning --
Lau: Yeah, you're gonna do --
Anne: It's the winning. Right? Your twist. Your unique, authentic twist to the story no matter what. Whether you're performing behind the mic, performing in front of the camera, your online storefront, whatever that is, it's helping you to bring that organic, authentic part of you to the role. And even yeah, as you say, character acting.
Lau: If you're gonna do a narration, a corporate narration gig, don't come in wearing your old t-shirt and shorts and flip flops because there's gonna be a little bit of a psychological jump for you to do to that particular job. Come in, you know, come into your booth in your home.
Anne: You're coming into it as an employee, right? In reality, if they've hired you to be the voice of their brand, you are now an employee of that company. So now, dress visually and I think emote as if you were a part of their brand, which you are. If they've hired you and they're going to pay you, you are now an employee, quote unquote, of that company. So.
Lau: Yeah, there's a culture. So there's always this culture to every gig, every client, every happening that shifts and changes. It really doesn't and shouldn't stay the same. To have the mindset of like, well they'll just accept me the way I am -- okay. Sometimes they do. But sometimes they don't. Sometimes they want to have a visual mirror as to who they are, how they're coming in, how they feel about the work. Same with your clients that are your coaching clients or demo clients.
Anne: Sure.
Lau: They wanna feel comfortable that you understand where they're coming from. And sometimes that's visual cues.
Anne: It's very interesting because I coach without visual, I do not coach through Zoom. I coach through ipDTL. Yay, love ip -- why do I coach through ipDTL? Because it's a high quality audio connection, and I need to hear those nuances, especially when I'm doing long format coaching for narration, medical, nuance is everything -- actually nuance is everything for every part of voiceover I think. But that's me. And so I need to be able to hear really well. I need to be able to hear that coming through. And it's interesting 'cause I'll coach a student 10, 20 sessions, and then I'll talk to them over Zoom when I reveal their demo. I always do a Zoom reveal so I can finally meet them. And most of the time I'm not necessarily surprised at how they look 'cause they have a presence on social media or they look like they sound. But sometimes I am completely surprised and pleasantly so. I've never been unpleasantly surprised. But absolutely when I've seen someone, I'm like, wow, I had no idea.
And so I think a lot of times when I'm coaching for voiceover, right, that is primary is voiceover is your voice and hearing the nuances in your voice. But I always wanna hear your authentic self come through in the voice. But always, especially when you're representing a company, you are the employee of that company. But I need your unique, authentic self to come through. And a lot of times that authentic self is your personality. Right? A lot of times your voiceover, I think, is made better by your personality, your unique personality that you bring to it.
Because I'm here to help you, I'm here to serve you, I'm here to tell you about this great product that you're -- it's always positive. I don't think we're ever, unless we're doing character work, right? I don't think we're ever emoting things that are negative. Right? Typically we're not hired for negative sounding voiceovers or angry voiceovers, again, unless we're a character. It's mostly a positive, comes from the heart, from a helpful situation. What are your thoughts on that, Lau?
Lau: Oh, I agree. I agree. And I, I mean when you consider how many people out there that are visual learners, they literally take in information, process information and create quick output based on what they're taking in visually. Like I have to give them something to work with if I have the ability to. If they don't see me, they see nothing visual that I do, well, okay. But oftentimes they will, they'll go to my website. They'll go to your social, they'll go to something that has you on it, whatever that is, . And they'll say quickly, do I feel comfortable with this person? Happens in like two seconds.
Anne: Excellent point. And I'm glad you brought that up because whether people decide to put their picture on their website, which is the biggest question I get, or not, right, there's social media somewhere, somewhere out there, there's going to be a photo of you that someone might discover. And maybe that's not the photo that you want them to discover first. Maybe it could be a photo from years ago when you weren't in voiceover or maybe you're being crazy and you know, having fun at a party. Maybe that's not the first photo that you want your potential client to see.
So I figure if you're going to put out a photo, put out that photo that is authentic you now and not you maybe 20 years ago when you weren't doing voiceover. And that's what a lot of my argument is. They're like, yeah, but I, you know, they're not hiring me for my face. And I'm like, true. But they wanna connect with a human being. And by the way, if they really wanted to, they probably could find a picture of you somewhere out there on the internet.
Lau: Yeah. And you know, it's really interesting too. Like it's, this is on topic, off topic. It's like when we were at the conference out in LA, you and I were at that conference out in LA, which we had a fab time, and I pay attention 'cause I listen, listen, listen for cues -- this is all face-to-face in person -- when I'm going through the steps of speaking at that conference, I'm listening to comments to me and comments about me, about who I am and about my brand. And a number of times I heard sometimes from men, sometimes from women, like, oh, I'm standing next to this beautiful woman right here. Or oh, this pretty lady, whatever. Or isn't she just sweet whatever, making initial comment on my visual in the way I look.
And I take it all in because I say, well, that's what they're getting in the first 5, 10, 15 seconds of not really knowing me, just kind of knowing my brand or knowing my name, whatever, I'll take it. I'm not offended by any of it because I feel like people wanna find the quick way to make themselves feel comfortable with you.
Anne: Yeah.
Lau: Whatever it is. Maybe I look like their mom, maybe I look like their wife, maybe I look like their daughter. Maybe I have an elegant presence to them in some way. Great. I'll take it. Rather than them saying, oh, you know, she could have switched out that sweatshirt. You know what I mean? She could have put some nice --
Anne: She could have put some nice clothes. Not dirty. That would be my mother talking.
Lau: Yeah. She could've put some, you know, taken off the dirty tennis shoes to come here. You know what I mean? It's--
Anne: My mother who always, you know what I'm saying? My mother, my mother did. Your mother, my mother used to say this all the, all the time she could like if I was going on, she goes, now make sure you put clean underwear on in case you get into an accident.
Lau: Yeah. In case you're an accident.
Anne: Yes. Oh my gosh. . So, but Lau, you know what's so interesting that you mentioned that when I first met you, I think one thing that was instantly drawn to was your smile and your laugh. And that I feel is like an inherent part of who you are and your personality. And again, I feel like that was a visual before I even heard you. Because remember we met during that webinar, we met on video.
Lau: Yes.
Anne: And I just remember your smile and your laugh and I thought instantly it was an instant connection. And I feel like that's what you want to be to your clients. You want to have an instant connection with your clients.
Lau: You do. And to the point where it's so deeply psychological, they feel they know you. They feel they know you already. Like they really know you and you're thinking, I don't think you know me or they don't know me, but that's okay. That's okay. I want to know you. I'm going to know you. And if this is just a first step, then this is just a first step.
Anne: And I feel if you're on social media at all, right? Social media is so visual these days. Right? I mean if you are on social media, you're probably throwing out a picture, a picture, maybe not of you, but it could be of your family, could be of your fur babies, could be of -- you're throwing out images of your authentic self. We hope. Right? Because sometimes, as we know is the issue with social media is it becomes the fake presence. But I think if any of you are on social media at all and you've got potential clients everywhere, and they could be seeing your presence socially before they even consider hiring you, and that social impression that they get from you could be from comments that you're making or pictures that you're sharing. Everything's video now. TikTok, Instagram reels. Facebook reels. And I feel like it's almost impossible for you to not showcase your visual on social media these days.
Lau: Yeah. It is. Like you can't get away from it at all. Even if people are taking photos at an event that you attended, you're gonna show up somewhere in the photo. And they may not always be a great photo, but the point is you gotta stay at home and never leave and be super careful to not be caught in some sort of visual. And even in your branding, you have to put out some sort of visual for your branding.
Anne: And I think if your fear is being pigeonholed, I think your vocal type might be pigeonholed anyways if you have a very unique voice. Right? I think when you're talking like a very young voice for your age or any type of voice that is different than you look like, whether you put your picture out there or not, I feel like you're going to be cast in a certain role.
For example, if you have a very high pitched voice right now, although now it's becoming more commonplace, maybe you wouldn't be cast for an older personality that's buying, I don't know, bifocals. So whether your photo is out there or not, your voice is gonna be cast in that way or not based upon the sound or the perceived sound that the client is looking for. So I don't think it matters if you post a photo of yourself on your website that doesn't represent your voice because they're hiring you for the voice, and the voice is then being cast in a role as they see fit. But your authenticity comes through in that voice.
Lau: Yes. And everything's subjective at the end of the day, like you can't get away from subjectivity. That's human nature. We're based on our own frame of reference, how we are perceiving you and how we're taking you in. So I don't think we can fully control that. But there is something, I think, especially with someone who doesn't know you, there is a psychological bond that happens quickly when they perceive that you care.
Anne: Yeah. Yeah.
Lau: They perceive you care enough to put yourself together, to do that little extra whatever it is you are doing, whether it's your hair, or your materials -- or as a woman, Anne, we talk about this all the time, I get so many people who say, Hey Lau, I love what you're wearing. What's that necklace you're wearing? Or where'd you get that ring? Or da da da. Sounds kind of materialistic, but it's something that they can connect to you on. Something that they care about, something that makes them feel comfortable. And then you'll make that chitchat based exactly on, oh, where I got this or what is that? Or, and then that always leads to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing, the next thing.
Anne: Absolutely.
Lau: And so that, that's valuable.
Anne: And people who know you because of what you've put out there, like visually and/or audibly, right, becomes a point of connection that you can then use to be memorable in your brand. So great discussion. So guys, if you're afraid to put your pho -- don't be afraid to put your photo out there. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there on video. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there in person, in front of your potential clients, in front of your clients. It is a piece of who you are, it is a piece of your brand, and it's a piece of your business.
Lau: I'm with you all the way.
Anne: Well, thank you, Lau, for another thrilling discussion. I love, I love, love, love talking to you every week.
Lau: I love it too. And may I say we look fabulous today.
Anne: Yes. We thank you , because we're our authentic selves. So with that, I'd like to give a great shout out to ipDTL. You too can network, communicate like BOSS. Find out more at And also if you have a local nonprofit that's close to your heart, if you've ever wanted to help them, you can visit to learn how. You guys, have an amazing week, and we'll see you next week. Thanks so much. Bye.
Lau: Bye.

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