This week Anne and Gabby interview a bilingual power-house! Simone Fojgiel is an award-winning, influencer, trend-setter, muse, coach and friend to countless Spanish and American voiceover actors. In this episode she takes us on a spiritually enlightened journey; from her Uruguay radio origins to her humble view from the top as one of the world’s most loved (and heard) Spanish voice actors. We talk voiceover, cosmic law and about Simone’s relationship with singer/songwriter James Taylor!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
English is the global language of business
Latin American voice actors will become stuck if they don’t strive to speak and write English fluently
You must negotiate jobs in the same terms as your client
It’s important to be a visionary in your career
We are living in a world of high segmentation – excel in one thing – especially in voiceover
Conferences make a huge impact in your career
There’s always something to learn by looking with the ‘eyes of a beginner’
Surround yourself with people who know more than you so you can learn from them
Spanish speaking voiceover actors are doing wonderful things and want to compete with the same conditions as their American colleagues
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
More info on ipDTL
Announcer: Today’s voice over talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss, a VO BOSS. Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success with you host Anne Ganguzza along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS.
Gabby: Hey, guys. It’s Gabby. Before we get started on today’s show, we want to tell you a little bit about all the ways that you can live the BOSS life.
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Anne: [laughs] You can do this on a monthly basis or a quarterly basis. What’s really cool is we incorporate your own list, and we manage it and send out the marketing blast on your behalf, all in your own brand.
Gabby: You want to go to voboss.com, click on shop, and go check out the Book-Out Build and Book-Out Blast features.
Anne: OK now, let’s get on with today’s episode. Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Anne: Gabby, I am always so excited when we have a super special BOSS guest on, and today, we have an amazing, amazing lady boss. Welcome to the show Simone Fojgiel.
Anne: Yay! Simone, finally, we were able to get you on for a show. [laughs] You are one busy lady. [laughs]
Simone: Yes, like you girls.
Anne: Any day, but you are busy —
Simone: Any day. Every hour.
Anne: I always say is a good day if you own your own business, for sure.
Simone: Oh, I agree 100%.
Anne: I’ve known you for quite some time now, quite a few years. I mean, I’m trying to think. At least six years or so, right?
Simone: Or so.
Anne: Or so, and I think Gabby as well. Right? We’ve known you for a long time.
Gabby: Oh gosh, longer than that.
Anne: Right? And I’ll tell you, I am a fan girl. Um having watched you over the years just evolve into this powerhouse in the VO community, in the Spanish community, just in general. So for those listeners that may or may not be familiar with, with your history, tell us a little bit about your entry into voiceover and how you’ve come to have evolved to be this lady boss of the day.
Simone: It was through music. Music is my real passion, actually. Umm I was playing live on a, on a pub with the keyboards. You know, I play keyboard since I was four by a year, and someone discovered me from a very well known FM station in Montevideo. That is the city where I was born. And he invited me to go to the station to do some pilots, and of course it was horrible.
Simone: I realized, I realized that radio was much more beautiful than I expected, from the inside part. To make the story short, I ended up recording a song for a radio show that I was a big fan of um on another station, and the owner of that station bought the rights, the copyrights, of that song so they could play it every single day for that show. They loved the song, and they invited me to do some other pilots. Like we say in Spanish, la tercera es la vencida. That means, you try to the third time, and that is the very last one. Right?
Anne: Third time’s the charm. Yup.
Simone: Professor at the University where, that I was attended, studying social and mass communications, discovered me, and he told me that, you know, I should visit this station that is going — it was going to be a brand-new station in the country. And he referred me to the owner, and I did pilots for about three, four months, until I was ready. Of course I wasn’t ready.
Simone: It was a disaster. And that’s how I started being a live, a live host, presenting my favorite music. And I, I needed to record commercials as well, and I was very lucky because I was surrounded by people who really knew a lot about voiceover and radio broadcasting. Even though I, I quit my role at the station back in 2005, I still keep a wonderful, wonderful relationship with the company. Just to give you an idea, a couple of days ago I spoke with the owner of the station for about an hour and a half. Every time I fly to Uruguay, I go there to visit them, and we have lunch together. And, and the radio, as a media, means a lot to me. I am a big lover of radio broadcasting, and the fact that I could combine both music with mass media, with my studies and everything, helped me a lot to build a very good musical ear for voiceovers. I learned everything by myself, by ear, everything, how to play the piano, how to sing, how to do voiceovers. So I thank God every day for this particular gift he gave me.
Gabby: So as a kid, were you — this must have been really everything for you was literally just hearing, and repeating, and doing. So when it came to learn English, was it the same process you?
Simone: Yes. My parents were very visionners, and they told me, “you know, you need to learn how to speak English,” and I realized, of course, that they were so, so right because the younger you are, the most moldable, the easier it is for you to learn new skills. Um and I started learning English when I was seven. And I was even an exchange student here in the States for a year. And that helped me a lot because the, the English that I learned was the British one. So you know, instead of saying eraser at, at high school when I was an exchange student back in the time in Massachusetts and then in New York, instead of eraser, I said rubber.
Simone: I had a lot of problems.
Anne: Oh, that must have been fun in high school.
Gabby: Kids are so forgiving.
Anne: Aren’t they? [laughs]
Simone: But that, that helped me a lot, you know, to land into a brand-new dimension about the language, and definitely it opened me a lot of doors for my profession. Just to give you an idea, when I was working at this FM station in Uruguay, Océano FM — Ocean FM, I had, I was very lucky to be the person assigned to cover concerts. So when James Taylor came to Uruguay, I was the one who spent most of the time with him. I was like his shadow, and even went to the port because he was going to Buenos Aires afterwards. And I went to the port especially to say goodbye to him. And, and you know, he even gave me his phone number. And I ended up calling him.
Anne: Now that’s impressive. [laughs] And then what happened? No. [laughs]
Simone: Nothing, nothing.
Anne: That’s fantastic. [laughs]
Simone: He had, he knew, he knew I was going to New York two months after we met, and he gave me his phone number in case I would like to make an interview.
Simone: Anyhow, English opened me many, many doors, both are covering events like this, and also to build my global career. And that is something that I keep on telling all, all voice actors from Latin America and Spain, to my, to my students. “If you don’t speak and write English properly, you are going to be stuck, because English is the language of business.”
Simone: And that’s the way it is, like it or not. And if you want to succeed, no matter if you are 50, no matter if you are 30, no matter if you are 25, you need to learn how to speak English. You need to, to know how to negotiate and to — in the same terms, and, you know, and getting, and, and, and really understand what you are negotiating, what you are proposing, and what you are able, able to give you. You know?
Anne: That’s an excellent point, Simone. And I don’t think it’s something that people think of right off the bat, when they are talking about, you know, voiceover as a full-time career. That’s super important. And so I assume that that was one of your biggest challenges.
Simone: I started working as a global voiceover actor since 2004 back in the time when Voice 123 was really new.
Anne: A sparkle in somebody’s eye. [laughs]
Simone: Yeah, so that gives you an idea how all this whole global vision of my career started. And I — actually, I was the first one in Uruguay to move forward to this vision of my career. Nobody did it before. I was the first one, and, and I, I feel very proud of that. This is not because I was the visionner. It was a very dear friend of mine who lives in Spain right now, and she’s an engineer in communications. And she told me, “this is your future, and you’d better pay attention to this and investigate more about this, because this is going to define your future as a, as a voice actress.” And she was absolutely right, and I keep on thanking her all the time for opening my eyes. Because otherwise I don’t know where I would be today.
Anne: Simone, in my, my observation of your progressing in this industry, so amazingly, you’ve never closed your eyes. You are always so out there and, and proud, and standing up, and forging forward. I really, truly think you are one of the, one of the pioneers.
Simone: Well, you are too. I think that women are creating a very big revolution in our industry. And I feel so proud also of having seen you girls evolving and growing. I know you both from other stages in your life, in your careers, and I could, I can say that you are really good visionners. And it’s wonderful what a beautiful community, a female community we have been building this past five years. I could see a lot of um of evolving in the way you have defined your careers. And like it or not, girls, we are living in, in a world of high-percent-mentation. And the more high-percentmented you are in the kind of product you offer, in the kind of voice over you offer, the better position you are going to be. It’s old that idea of the voice actor who does everything that, that he does or that she does is perfect, that you excel in every single format. That doesn’t exist anymore. You better, you’d better excel in one little thing, and that you are the number one person by doing so. And that, that is something that I learned by attending conferences with you.
Simone: By joining conferences together, as a, as attendees and then as presenters, right?
Gabby: I have to say one thing that I noticed, and I agree with you completely, events like Voxy Summit, which we were all at this year, you know, make this use different in, in the impact and the momentum that women are making in this industry. But Simone, one of the things that I’ve noticed about you, over the last couple of years, is that you’re, you’re at a place now in your career where you’re, you’re an influencer. You are a coach. You are sought out by other Spanish-speaking voice actors for advice, for consulting, for just, in some cases, just inspiration. But yet, I see you attending some of the workshops, some of the events with the same admiration, with the same eyes open approach —
Gabby: — that someone who is brand-new might have. And I think that that is remarkable because it speaks to you. It speaks to your character that you go, “I can always learn something. There is always something to glean. Yeah.”
Anne: It is brilliant, really. Gabby, what a great point. It is, it is brilliant.
Simone: Thank you, thank you, and I think that that you always need to be humble in this industry because you never know. Sometimes your, your student ends up being your master. It’s, it’s a cosmic law. You can never where you’re coming from. You can never forget those who have helped you along the way. That’s a mantra that I have, you know. And, and you always need to feel and to be surrounded by people who know much more than you. I think that I been going through also, Gabby, through a, a huge spiritual path over these past years, after touching bottom in my career, when I felt that there was nothing else that I could give. I was very bored about being just a voice actress. I, I thought that I had a lot, a lot more to give, but I didn’t know how, so I needed to, like you, reinvent myself.
Simone: And isn’t that amazing that you realize that the more you give to the world, the more you receive? That’s another cosmic law, divine law.
Gabby: That’s true.
Simone: And through coaching, through mentoring, through creating umm the Spanish program back in the time at VO Atlanta for three consecutive years, I received multiplied by 10,000 what I originally imagined. You know um, and also Latin American voice actors come from a very different culture, and that is something that I learned from you American and Canadian voice actors, that you need to share. You need to be generous. You cannot keep the information just for yourself, because you know what? Not only you are going to be affected by that at the end, but you’re going to hurt your entire community.
So why is the U.S. voiceover community grows, and grows, and grows, and it’s unstoppable? Because you share. Because you create events where you can give, where you can listen to other people, where you can nurture yourself, not only in terms of um your profession, but also as a human being, as a woman, as a humble person who has a lot to learn, and a lot to listen to, and a lot to say. So I try to, to translate that into my activity. And I feel so full and so blessed by being a coach, by helping others, no matter how poor their countries are or how limited their possibilities are. That’s why I created my courses, and also that’s why I created my Spanish demo production company with another wonderful person, who is very well tuned with my spiritual path, which is Antonio Fornadis.
Gabby: I love him. I see him on social media all the time. Somehow we’ve become friends, and we share jokes back-and-forth now. [laughs] He’s just, he’s such a great spirit and sense of humor.
Anne: Oh yes.
Simone: We make a great team, and we are helping voice actors who, believe me, don’t have the same opportunities as we have here in the States to be well known. Last year for instance, there, there was two of our, of our uhh voice actors who hired us for, for producing their demos. And in the commercial voiceover demo category, they both won.
Gabby: Oh wow.
Simone: It was very unusual.
Anne: I want to emphasize is that, that you won a number of awards last year. Five? [laughs]
Simone: Five in the same category, and four of, four of them were just ours. You know?
Simone: And two of them, two won. But what I’m trying to do is to help our, our Spanish voiceover community to be on another level, so people don’t see us as the cheap ones, you know? Those improvise people. No, no. We are doing a lot, and I want to contribute in order to change the order, to, to, to create a new order of how things are in the, in the Spanish voiceover community, and tell the world, “hey, we’re doing wonderful things too.” We’re studying. We are preparing ourselves. We want to compete with the same, with the same conditions, compared to our American colleagues. That is something that I want to do from now on, to be, to be someone who contributes not for her ego, but for the world, you know for, for helping others to achieve their dreams.
Anne: I think you’re truly helping to elevate the entire voiceover community and Spanish voiceover community. You’re right, so that everybody can compete on the same playing level. I think that is so, so important and such an important role, and you’re a pioneer in that, and I, and I thank you on behalf of the community, on behalf of being a woman for you, really having that, that, that belief and moving forward with it. That’s just a fantastic thing. Thank you, Simone.
Simone: Thank you, girls. Thank you so much, and thank you for your wonderful work. Thank you for helping us to achieve our dreams too. And the more connected we are, and the more generous we become, and the more giving we become, the higher the spiritual um tune we’re going to be. That’s the only way things can happen, by uniting our souls, our visions, our experiences so we can all, all land into a better place. No matter our race, no matter our language, no matter our origins. When you are tuning love, that’s the way things, good things happen.
Gabby: Simone, that is without a doubt the most beautiful thing —
Gabby: — anyone has ever articulated on this podcast.
Anne: What else is there?
Simone: A natural English speaker, so —
Anne: I love that.
Gabby: That was just beautiful. Anne, I don’t know if we can add or contribute to that.
Anne: I don’t think we can. This is just a beautiful podcast, and Simone, I just want to thank you for taking the time to share all of this wonderful sentiment and, and advice with us and the rest of the voiceover community. Thank you.
Simone: Oh, thank you, girls. And, and I am a true believer that our voice can heal. I’m really convinced that through our voice, as it happens with music, we, we can create a better world. And that’s my mantra too. I want to help this world to be a better place where to live through my voice. I’m not the start here. I am just a channel. I am just an excuse.
Simone: And I want that excuse to be as beautiful as possible in order to create a better world where we can, we can all live.
Gabby: Thank you so much for joining us.
Simone: God bless you both.
Anne: Thank you. Simone, how can people get in touch with you if they need to, if they want to find out more?
Simone: My website is simonevoicetalent.com. And my email is email@example.com.
Anne: Well, I’d like to give a big shout out to our amazing sponsor, ipDTL. You too can record like a boss and find more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: And of course for all things BOSS, you can find us on all of the social media outlets and our website, voboss.com. You can subscribe to us on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, iHeart, and Spotify.
Anne: Thanks, guys. See you next week.
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.