Business of VO: Awards and Self-Submission

“I’d like to thank the academy!” Who doesn’t dream of being an award-winning voiceover actor, recognized for their skill and efforts? A lot of people actually. It all depends on how you view the business of awards-shows. Anne and Gabby are on opposite sides of this coin (a shocking first!) So grab some popcorn and listen to today’s Game of Thrones inspired episode.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Actress Gwendoline Christie self submitted to the Emmys and got nomination for the award even though HBO refused to submit her for the award. This bold move got us talking.

  2. Awards bring validation to hard work and can also act as a marketing tool.

  3. Many people believe that awards can be bought or manipulated to an unfair degree.

  4. Those who can spend a large amount of money on submission can often dominate a show or its categories.

  5. It is generally considered a ‘fair win’ if a company or another entity is submitting the nomination.

  6. Is it purely ego to self-nominate?

  7. There’s no guarantee that you will win.

  8. But if the competition is limited, you are greatly increasing the odds of winning.

  9. There’s a lot of division in the voiceover industry as it relates to the S.O.V.A.S awards.

  10. A group nomination or a project nomination is generally respected because there are multiple parties receiving and benefiting from the award and it’s a team win.

  11. Category domination happens in virtually every award show.

  12. However, the opportunity does exist for everyone and anyone to submit.

  13. The words ‘Award Winning’ or ‘award nominated’ can be very effective marketing & sales tools.

  14. It’s up to an award show to create categories that are fair and well defined so that consideration is fair to all.

  15. Award events are expensive, time consuming and a very big undertaking for the organizers and creators.

  16. If you are considering entering into awards why not go big? Make sure that investment has the most notoriety and return for what is being made.

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Brienne of Tarth for the win! #VOBOSS Click To Tweet

Everyone deserves recognition for exemplary work. #VOBOSS Click To Tweet

If I win, the whole team wins! #VOBOSS Click To Tweet

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. SOVAS Awards

  2. One Voice Awards

  3. Brienne of Tarth submitted herself for an Emmy

  4. Recorded on ipDTL

Full Episode Transcrip

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.




Anne: All right, welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my bestie, Gabby Nistico!

Gabby: Hi!

Anne: Hey.

[both laugh]

Gabby: So did you see the recent news about “Game of Thrones” and Gwendolyn Christie?

Anne: Oh yeah. That’s a big thing. [laughs]

Gabby: So I want to talk about this. I mean, I think that most of our listeners know that, you and I, on most things, I mean, we agree with each other. We’re usually pretty in accord. And this is a topic where I think we kind of differ.

Anne: Maybe a little bit.

Gabby: It’s sort of fun.

Anne: Yeah. [laughs]

Gabby: Gwendolyn Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, the beautiful Amazon [laughs] on the show, who really in the last season, and I’m not gonna spoil it, just in case people like you haven’t seen it, she steals the season in a lot of ways. Her character is just phenomenal throughout it. Well HBO, for whatever reason and the production team, decided not to submit her for the Emmys. So she self-submitted and got the nomination.

Anne: [laughs] Yes, she did. [laughs]

Gabby: It opens up a whole discussion, right, about industries, creative industries, certainly voiceover is part of that. You know, where do we stand on the awards things?

Anne: Oh yeah.

Gabby: You want to kind of give me your two cents first?

Anne: [laughs] Well, I –

Gabby: Or should I just come in and be the bad guy? You tell me.

[both laugh]

Anne: Let’s talk about it. I mean, is it a necessity to have awards in an industry? I think it is. Awards in an industry bring validation to a person’s creative work and can work as a marketing tool for them.

Gabby: Yeah. Everybody likes recognition, and I certainly do believe that awards should exist to honor and to recognize exemplary work. And you know, that’s, at their core, their function.

Anne: And establish a benchmark.

Gabby: However, in smaller settings, small industries like voiceover, there’s sometimes the thought, and this is where I tend to lean, that you’re buying your own award. You are submitting, spending the money, paying the fees, ultimately you have to pay for the statue. Sometimes it can feel like he who has the biggest pocketbook wins.

Anne: Well…

Gabby: I don’t know why I give “him” a purse, but that’s ok.

[both laugh]

Gabby: Very progressive of me, I guess.

Anne: I think this is, I think it’s complex, Gabby. I think it’s a complex web. I think there’s a couple of different factors here. One is the nomination factor. Is someone nominating you versus you submitting yourself? You know, that’s the first point of, I don’t know, discussion?

Gabby: It is. And I think that’s the big thing. I know you and I both have won awards that way, where we have been submitted by the entity we work for or by a larger company and subsequently won. That’s all of my broadcasting awards were won that way. I still had to submit some of the base paperwork, but it was my employer saying we want to submit this for this.

Anne: That’s always, I think, an ideal. Right? I think that’s an ideal situation if you get nominated or if you get submitted by your employer or your boss or your coach. That’s the first step of validation. Right? Because a lot of this is, in the sense of ego, in the sense of personal ego and craft, it’s the first sense of validation that you get, that someone else thinks you have value and deserve an award. And I think that’s awesome.

Gabby: Yeah, and certainly if the judging is large, and the categories are big, and there’s a lot of submissions, I mean certainly we really do feel accomplished to just be nominated in a lot of those situations. I’ve won a handful of New York state broadcaster awards back in the day. I mean, that’s what they were. It was like holy cow, like I beat out the state of New York. That’s amazing. There’s yeah, there’s a lot of pride that comes with that. And also you’re right, the marketing piece I think is huge because then you as the individual or the company you work for can forward and say, hey, look what we did. A winner.

Anne: Nominated. You said something earlier, Gabby, that self-submission meant that you were buying your award. There’s no guarantee, Gabby –

Gabby: No, true.

Anne: – that you’re getting an award. There’s our first set of differences. I don’t think, just because you self-submit doesn’t mean you’re gonna get an award. However, if you’re in a smaller industry, I see where you’re coming from, and perhaps there’s not a lot of competition, it might be thought of that that’s what you’ve done. This has been a topic on the groups for a long time. There’s a huge division there. Some people are for these awards and think they’re fine and think they’re necessary, and then there are people who just say uh-uh, that’s buying an award and it’s not necessary.

Gabby: In voiceover, right, we have the SOVAS awards. It’s small. It’s a small industry. There’s a number of different categories. In the ad world, either the end client or the advertising agency responsible for a campaign or a piece of work says “hey, we think this is really, really great. We want to submit it for an award.” And then all the parties involved, the actors, the performers, the photographers, I mean literally everybody potentially gets a win.

Anne: Sure, and Gabby, this is what we did actually for our podcast and what I do my students where, if I think there’s a piece of work that’s credible and deserving of an award, I’ll submit. And I have no problem submitting because I’m acting as that mediary or maybe that employer that is saying, “you know what? I think this is good enough,” and if I submit on behalf of my student or I submit on behalf of our broadcast, we have a team of people. Just the fact that we get nominated is very, very helpful for, number one, marketing and also validation for my student. And I feel that there’s value in the work that they’ve done that’s worthy of an award.

Gabby: And I totally agree with that, yes, and that I’m fine with. Where I get upset with some awards shows or with some of these categories is that unfortunately what happens is, and you said it earlier, there’s no guarantees, there’s something to be said for not having a cap. There’s something to be said for people who will submit, and submit, and submit, and submit, whether it be to dominate a particular category or to dominate just the award in general, it’s a numbers game at that point. You’ve almost guaranteed yourself a win because you’ve submitted so much, and you’ve spent so much money.

Anne: Right, and if you’re thinking in terms of investing, really, that’s what it is. I see that on a grander scale, yes. If you’re talking about domination of an awards show, category or anything like that, then it does appear to look like you would be buying an award. But the opportunity exists for anybody. And so if not everybody is taking that opportunity to submit, then you’re kind of left with people pointing fingers and saying you’re dominating a category. Well, guess what? I mean, anybody can submit here. This is an open playing field, right?

Gabby: Sure. It’s sort of like the lottery, right? You’ve got to be in it to win it.

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: Yeah. So I get that. But again, I think that in some cases if an industry is small, there should be a cap. There should be a limit to the number of times any one individual, coach, category, whatever it is, can submit. See, like in the case here with what happened with “Game of Thrones,” and there’s plenty of articles about this online right now, you know, “Game of Thrones” is unique because it has almost 30 series regulars in the cast. Their cast is flipping huge! It makes sense, right, you have a highly anticipated show, you have huge watch numbers, you have massive media appeal, so it makes sense that you’re going to submit. If you have 30 regulars, you might be submitting 10 or 15 people for best supporting actor.

Anne: Yeah. And that totally makes sense. [laughs] So are you in agreement with self-submission for that award?

Gabby: Mmm. I’m really not. I’m not a huge fan of it. I feel like again if there’s a secondary component, like as a coach, if I’m nominating one of my students or if I’m nominating a piece of work that was collaborative, I think that’s ok. As a voice actor, if one of my clients wants to nominate me, or they want to submit the campaign, I think that’s ok. I myself, just again because of the size of our industry, I don’t think I would self-submit. That’s just me.

Anne: That’s interesting. Last year I’m gonna say, I self-submitted, but like you say, it was a very special circumstance. I self-submitted my commercial demo for consideration because I had a number of people that were involved in a team effort to create that demo, and I was so insanely proud of that team and just adored everything they did. They just worked their butts off to create an amazing production, and my voice was just a tiny part of it. And so I submitted because I wanted the team to get some recognition for the amazing work that they did.