The Business of VO: Client Expectations

Researching clients. What do you look for? How do you speak their language? How can you get your foot in the door? Anne and Gabby cover these topics and more in this VO BOSS podcast. Rev up your business model and have a pen and paper ready!

“Being a voice actor and trying to do everything it’s like throwing darts at Jell-O. You’re just not going to get anywhere. Nothing’s ever going to stick that way. There’s too many avenues and there’s too many options. It’s overwhelming. Who wants to try to do that?” – Gabby Nistico

Check out Episode 3: Client Expectations on iTunes and Stitcher


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. When we’re talking about vocally branding ourselves in the industry, it really helps to have a targeted audience

  2. Remember – it’s about your client, their needs, and how you can best serve them that counts

  3. Make sure that you have those skills to be able to back it up, and that you have done your work in terms of training, honing and perfecting your craft as a performer.

  4. Know yourself well enough to know the things that you enjoy, the things that bring you joy, the things that you have the talent to back up, and fit them into your business

  5. Make sure you know how to speak the language of the client that’s hiring in your arena.

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Share ideas with your own network ++

At the end of the day, it's not about what your skills do for you, it's what they do for your client #VOBOSS

Being a voice actor and trying to do everything is like throwing darts at Jell-O #VOBOSS

Understand what your clients brand encompasses and how you can best serve it #VOBOSS

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Research your client’s brand to speak their language  – Google!

  2. Kumbayah

  3. Kelley Buttrick

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss! A V.O. B.O.S.S. Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success with your host, Anne Ganguzza. Along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss. A V.O. B.O.S.S. Anne: Welcome everybody to the VO Boss podcast. I’m Anne Ganguzza along with my lovely co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby! Gabby: Hi! Anne: Today’s podcast we’re going to be talking all about the business of VO client expectations. And so, Gabby, this leads us to the discussion of our particular different backgrounds and how we are able to market to our clientele. What is it that makes your voiceover business perhaps different than mine? And how do you market to your clients? Gabby: When we were talking to Elaine Clark, she said something that was really awesome about wearing multiple hats, but not wearing the entire hat rack. And that’s really what this is all about. So, me as a professional voice actress, I would say my specialties, my focuses every day definitely my commercial work. My… to… I guess the specialty areas that I’m known for throughout the voiceover community because I coach for them, is radio imaging and tv promo. And then I also have some really specific character voices that I market. Because I do accents, but not too many. I’m not like a character animation actor. I just have like a very small handful of things that I’ve perfected over the years. So, when I go about branding and marketing and getting my voice out there and my website, those are the things that I focus on. And they all have their nice little neat, compartmentalized boxes in my business plan. Anne: And I think that that helps you to market more effectively, actually, rather than trying to market to the entire… Because really, you know, when we’re talking about, you know, brands and perhaps vocally branding ourselves in the industry, it really helps to have a targeted audience and I know we’ve spoken about this in the last few episodes. That targeting your clients and your audience is super important because you can speak their language and market to them directly and again, serve their needs. Again, it’s about your client. It’s not necessarily about you. Gabby: Yes. Anne: And so, if you can really discover where it is that you fit vocally in the industry, and what markets you fit into best, then I think that’s a great first step into being able to be successful in those markets. Gabby: Well, it is. And it’s weird because it is about you, but it isnt about you. It’s kind of both at the same time, because yes, you have to know your strengths. You have to know those skills that you have, that you possess, that are superior, but at the end of the day, it’s not about what those skills do for you, it’s what do those skills do for the clientele that are going to hire me and how do I get their attention with that? Anne: Excellent point. Gabby: Yeah, and you know, the other thing I always tell people this. I’m like, look. Being a voice actor and trying to do everything it’s like throwing darts at Jell-O. Like, you’re just not going to get anywhere. Nothing’s ever going to stick that way. Because there’s too many avenues and there’s too many options. It’s overwhelming. Who wants to try to do that? Anne: Exactly. Gabby: Anne, you know, your business model couldn’t be I don’t think more different than mine. And you’ve got a whole different area of expertise, so let’s talk about that for a second. Dive into your stuff. Anne: Exactly. Well, and I think that’s great because, and yet we can co-exist together and work really well together. So, for example I… Gabby: We are not going to sing Kumbayah. That is not happening. I’m laying the law down on that. Anne: You know, I’m typically known for, you know, my narration style, my narration voice, my telephony work. That’s actually, it’s funny because I always try to bring it back to the point that it is stuff that I find joyful as well, so not only does it fit my area of expertise, but it’s also stuff that I find truly enjoyable, and so I excel at that. And I think that that’s a… it’s a great way for you guys to kind of figure out where you should start off in the industry. And I think I mentioned it before that, you know, you can evolve into different areas but all of the areas that I’m known for are all varients of the same skill that I excel at and that I truly enjoy. And so, whereas, you know, you would be known for, you know, radio imaging or your commercial work, I’m known for, you know, corporate narration, E-learning, telephony, and I have also a couple of characters that I do. And, you know, but again I wouldn’t say that I do character work per se. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: Like some of our guests, you know. And so that’s their area. And so we know the areas that we’re good at and it took us a while probably, I would say for any of you newcomers to the industry. It’s okay, it will take a little bit for you to figure out where it is that you fit in best. And it’s something that I think that you can, you know, also find out with the help of a good coach. They can help you know, steer you, or say to you that, you know what? Your vocal type sounds really great in this type of, you know, scenario. Or this type of market. Gabby: It’s essential. You have to have that. I mean, it’s like… I don’t know if anybody else had this experience. I think this is what it was like for me in junior high. We were, you know, given the opportunity to go meet with the music teachers when it was time to select instruments and join the band or join the orchestra and all of this silliness. And I remember it was kind of like they just, they did the most amazing thing, though. They basically just poured like an entire classroom of kids into our theater room and kind of went, “Here are all the instruments. What calls to you guys? Like, what speaks to you. And we got a chance to… Anne: Yeah. Oh that’s great. Gabby: …play and you know, kind of be silly and, you know, be goofy with them and ultimately that’s kind of how everybody chose what instrument they were going to go forward with, and many people of course wound up taking that on to high school and then beyond, so that’s what your coach enables you to do. They kind of go, “Here are all the instruments kiddies. What do you want to bang on today?” And then you learn from that process and figure out, yeah, where’s my home? What calls to me? Anne: Exactly and it’s not that you shouldn’t try. You know? Every… I’m always, you know, I’m a lifelong learner, so I’m always encouraging student to just, you know, take a class in promo. Take a class in, you know, commercial. Take a class in narration. Whatever it is, because you’re not going to know unless you try it, and then, as you experience it, as you learn different techniques that are essential for that particular style of voiceover, you’ll find out if it suits you, if you enjoy it, and again I think a big thing is, does it call to you? I love that you said that Gabby, about does it call to you. Because I’m a big believer in that. So, yeah, does it call to you and is it something that you enjoy, because you’re probably going to work hard at it and you’ll want to excel at it, and that will make you, I think, a good… …that will make you excellent at it. Gabby: Absolutely. The other piece to the puzzle is when we start looking at that all important branding piece that we’re always talking about. You will see that there are threads, there are similarities, commonalities to the different things that you end up gravitating toward and that make up your career. Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: And that as a whole is oging to help to construct your language, the way you present yourself, and the things that you’re comfortable with. People that know me well, who’ve been to my website, I mean, for God’s sake, it’s called Voiceover Vixen. It’s edgy. Yeah. Anne: It’s you. It screams you! Gabby: But it’s edgy and it’s, there’s language that I use and things that I do that many, many voice actors would look at and go, “No, ho, boy! No, no. That’s not for me! I can’t. I can’t do that!” And that’s okay! That’s totally fine. I completely respect that, but at the same time, that works for me. I’m willing to put myself out there in that way. Anne: That makes you stand out. Gabby: Right. But if I was trying to box myself in to something that was maybe more conservative or more corporate, it wouldn’t really work and I wouldn’t have the same success. So, that’s one of the reasons we need to all sort of look at those little moving pieces and figure out Anne: I think that’s great! Gabby: Yeah. What does it mean for me? Anne: And I think it’s something too, like, you know, I came from a corporate, well actually, alright. I always say… I did. I came from a corporate background and then I went into an educational background and then I went into voiceover. But I knew when I worked in the corporate, in the corporate world that, you know, there were certain things in the corporate world that I didn’t, like, my beliefs were not, you know, aligned to them. And I knew that I would be better off, you know, working in the educational world because I love to teach, I love to share. You know, my experience in the corporate world, you know, at the time it was kind of a cutthroat sort of experience. Where everybody was like, you know, hanging on to information and there was all sorts of meeting and that, for whatever reason, it just at that time for me, it was, it didn’t, it wasn’t making me happy, so to speak. And so, when I did go into the educational world, that was something that allowed me to be more of myself and to really express more of myself and to allow mysel…grow. Grow my skills in that area. And then it became more of a creative venture where voiceover really fulfilled that in me. So, I always try to stay true to my heart and to what was calling to me to really kind of you know, figure out where it was that I belonged. Gabby: And I think that’s genius. And I mean, I totally get the corporate side of things, because you’re too progressive for that, but… Anne: Thank you, Gabby! And I don’t want to, I don’t want to, you know, I’m not disrespecting the corporate world because I know there’s a lot of people that have jobs, it just wasn’t for me. And I knew that right away. And, you know, anything that doesn’t bring you joy, I think you need to take a look at. Gabby: Right. People sometimes ask me, they go, you know, radio imaging, what is that for you? Why do you do it, why do you pursue it? And all this. And I go, you know, I have a radio background yes, but that’s not really the driving force behind it. The driving force for me, honestly and truly, is the copy. I get to read… imaging is one of the only places I get to read the most outlandish, sarcastic, irreverent, ridiculous things on a daily basis, and I love it! I love the absurdity of it. Because that is me! I relate to it. Anne: Uh huh. And I love to learn, which is why I love like, really good narration copy or you know, I use to install telephones and I was geekily excited by that. I mean, I can’t even explain that to people! But I love the fact that, you know, if you call me up on the phone and you don’t get anybody live, that you’re going to hear my voice. I love that challenge and that’s why I enjoy it. It’s really funny and there’s some really fun copy in there that’s challenging to make it sound, you know, friendly and warm, when in fact you know the person on the end of the line is going, “Oh my God, just get me to a live person!” So, yeah, that to me is the challenge and that’s what brings me joy! Gabby: So, so, okay. Let’s talk about a takeaway out of this. Because we’re going to call that, like I don’t know, part one for this podcast. And the takeaway there is, know thyself. We’ve all heard it. Know thyself. Know yourself well enough to know the things that you enjoy, the things that bring you joy, the things that you have the talent to back up, obviously, and being able to put those handful of voiceover categories down on paper and making sure that you have all the skills, again, to backup those areas. Anne: Absolutely, and I think another good takeaway would be to not be afraid to try.. try all of it, to discover if it is indeed something that, you know, you would excel at, or that you… it brings you joy, and something that you may evolve into. I think they’re all going to be closely related to where your passion is. Gabby: Now, we look at the client expectations. So, what does that equate to? Well, we know what we enjoy doing and we know that we have the skill to back it up. But do we know how to speak the language of the client that’s hiring in that arena? Anne: Excellent, excellent point. Gabby: Hugely, hugely important. Because, obviously, if