Special Guest: Rob Reese – Warrior Voices

In honor of Veteran’s Day and all who have served, The Bosses have a super special guest – Rob Reese, Founder of WarriorVoices.org. Warrior Voices is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to training and job places for voiceover veterans. Rob tells us all about the amazing work his volunteer staff is doing to make a difference in the lives of veterans every day. These good works left us speechless a few times. This episode will give you all the feels!



Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. WarriorVoices.org provides training, equipment, demos and more to Veterans free of charge.

  2. Veterans are very well suited to a career in voiceover. Especially those with disabilities.

  3. The digital nature of voiceover allows veteran voice actors to work from all over the world.

  4. All Veterans from any branch of service are encouraged to contact Warrior Voices.

  5. Norm Silver created the Warrior Voices voiceover curriculum.

  6. Vets with PTSD may have a hard time working a standard 9-5, so at-home work environments are a great option for them.

  7. Warrior Voices is 100% volunteer and they are actively seeking more help.

  8. As a 501-c3 non-profit company, any money a client pays is 100% a charitable donation that they can claim on their taxes.

  9. All the money a client pays for a voiceover goes to the Veteran. Warrior Voices doesn’t change a commission.

  10. Warrior Voices will also create commercials free of charge for any Veteran owned business.


Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


Visit the Warrior Voices Website
Learn more about Rob Reese
Recorded on ipDTL

Transcript

>> 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.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to a special edition of VO BOSS. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my amazing cohost, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby!

Gabby: Hello!

Anne: Gabby, today we are talking with Rob Reese, who is founder and CEO of Warrior Voices, an amazing nonprofit organization, whose goal is to provide support, training and employment for veterans and their spouses in voice acting and voiceover services. Welcome, Rob Reese, to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.

Rob: Hi.

Anne: You have such an impressive resume and experience in all aspects of voiceover and production. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with Warrior Voices.

Rob: Well, I, I started radio when I was 17 years old up in a tiny little town called Petoskey, Michigan. And from there, I, I got into voiceover, voicing for the station. I’d voiceover advertising and you know, commercials, different things of that nature. That eventually blossomed into a television career, and as far as how Warrior Voices came about, it was January 5, 2014, about 6:05 a.m. I woke up with the words “warrior voices” in my head, and couldn’t figure out why I was thinking about those two words. Was getting my daughters ready to go to school, and poured a cup of coffee, decided to check my email, and I had an audition request for a voiceover. And that’s when the lightbulb went on, and I knew right then, Warrior Voices is going to be a U.S. military veteran voiceover agency, and we’re going to teach especially disabled veterans. That was our, that’s our main focus is to help disabled veterans with this. Within a couple of weeks, we had a Board of Directors. We had a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS within three months, and away we went. And since 2015, we have given out over $150,000 in voiceover work to the veterans that are on our talent roster.

Gabby: Wow.

Anne: Wow, congratulations. That’s amazing.

Gabby: So cool. I kind of found you guys I think through social media, and I was just blown away. I was like, this has got to be one of the coolest things happening in our industry right now, and more people need to be aware of it. And of course we wanted to have you on specifically for Veterans’ Day. Can you tell us a little bit about what some of these vets are going through, what some of the process looks like with training, and, and just helping them to have this new career?

Rob: We receive emails believe it or not from veterans all over the world, who are living in the Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, and —

Anne: Wow.

Rob: And of course all across the United States. And when a — when they find us, a veteran will email us and inquire about online voiceover Academy or voiceover training. And if they’re from, let’s say, Dallas, Texas, we have a coach down in Dallas, Texas, we put them together with a coach, and they, they begin coaching them. They give them lessons. They teach them mic techniques. Everything we do is free for the veterans. So all of the training, if they need a blue microphone or if they need even a laptop, we’ll, we’ll provide those for them. And then once they’re, once they’ve gone through the training, we create a demo for them, a voice reel, and we create a talent page, and so they become a Warrior Voice talent upon graduating were being certified as a voiceover talent.

Anne: Wow, you are like an all in one. That’s amazing. Not just —

Gabby: Staggering.

Anne: Not just education but also equipment and demo production. You must have quite a team.

Rob: We do. We have got — as a matter of fact, Norm Silver is our, is our, what we call the head coach. He was a voiceover talent for many years in Hollywood and a very well renowned voiceover coach as well. And so he’s, he created our curriculum, and everyone that, that’s part of our team are either former military or voice, you know, working voiceover artists. Many of us are both. We all take turns helping new veterans. We have a pretty good roster right now of working voiceover talent, veterans who have been in the industry for, you know, 20-plus years. As a matter of fact, one of our, one of our top talent is Dan Wachs, and he’s the voice of the Republican National Convention. He’s the voice of the Buffalo Bills. If you see our, you’ve looked at our website, we have done voiceover work for some of the biggest companies on the planet, everybody from Microsoft to the NFL to Major League Baseball. And the list goes on. But yeah, everything that we do is, is to create a new career or enhance an existing career for our veterans.

Gabby: Absolutely fantastic.

Anne: In your opinion, what makes voiceover such a, maybe a suitable career for a veteran?

Rob: Well specifically dealing with PTSD, if they are physically disabled, voiceover is something they can do from their home, and create an extra, you know, an additional revenue stream. Those with PTSD, depending on the degree that they have it or are suffering from it, it is difficult for them to work, let’s say, in a, in a 9-to-5, you know, structure, office structure. So this is something that they can do from home. Everything is done digitally as you know now. It’s, you know, a lot of clients will email a script, you record it. You edit it on your home computer, you upload it to Dropbox. And there you go, you’re done. It’s great for those veterans who need something like that, where they can work from home. That’s, that’s big for them, and it’s great because voiceover is not something a lot of people think about as a career.

Anne: Sure.

Rob: And as you know, there’s, there’s so many different — there’s a huge range of different types of voiceover that you can do, everything from radio and television commercials, animation characters. A big one we have right now, Cisco is one of our big clients. We voiceover a lot of educational models, and you know, those go around the world to different techs that have to watch if, if they come out with a new software, these techs have to watch these modules. That keeps a good six or eight of our veterans are on that account alone. So again, it’s, it’s something they can all do from home. Everyone has a home studio nowadays, so it fits in perfectly with, with veterans who are suffering from PTSD, or if they are physically disabled.

Gabby: People don’t always realize that military men and women all had specialties while they were serving actively, and that a lot of those specialties can translate to tons of different areas of voiceover. So are you starting to see a little bit of that as well kind of building up their resumes?

Rob: Oh, absolutely. As a matter of fact, I just mentioned Cisco, and their third-party content creation company is called Enter One. We have a saying here at Warrior Voices. When you hire a warrior voice talent, you are hiring, you are getting military precision, pride, and performance. These guys —

Anne: Nice.

Rob: These men and women, they hit deadlines, they do it right the first time, and they take pride in their work. And with Enter One, within the first six months of working with us, they were able to increase their billable hours to Cisco by 20%.

Anne: Wow.

Gabby: Ohhh.

Rob: The ended up going, you know, switching a lot of their voiceover needs to Warrior Voices because it’s one company that they send scripts to, and we take care of all the talent, and it’s just, it’s very streamlined. Like I said, it’s military precision, performance and pride. It’s phenomenal.

Anne: Do you find that you have opportunities to do government work as well?

Rob: You know, we, we started looking into that. We’re, we’re sort of at a plateau right now where we’re putting in for, for grants and charitable funding, that type of thing, so we can market to different media agencies and hire a couple of extra people. Right now we are 100% volunteer. Everybody that works on the team of Warrior Voices, we all have our day jobs and, and our voiceover that we have to do, but we haven’t been able to reach out all that well with you know, going after government contracts. You know, the Army, Navy, they all have like deployment videos that they need voiced. What they do, you know, the branches of the military, they farm that out to third parties, to different production companies around the U.S. So it’s all about tracking those guys down and saying, “hey, let us do your voiceover.” So it’s one of those things where we want to and we’re ready to, and it’s just about pulling the trigger at this point. You know, we are going up against Voice123, you know, .com and voices.com. Those guys, those guys have a pretty good chunk of the market. We are unique at Warrior Voices in the fact that we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. So whenever, let’s say Big O Tires comes to us and says, “you know, we need three 30-second commercials that are going to run in the Texas, the Texas market for three months. Our budget is $350 per 30-second commercial.” Well first, all the money that they pay, the rate that they pay for that voiceover, 100% of that goes to the veteran. We don’t charge a commission. If the client wants to make an additional let’s say a 15% agency fee, the entire amount that they pay becomes a charitable contribution. And so they can actually take that off, you know, take that off their taxes as a charitable contribution. Helps them financially as well.

Gabby: Wow.

Anne: That’s a great marketing boo