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Special Guest: Tanya Rich

What happens when a loyal fan and fellow voice actor wins a VOBoss contest and takes over the show? Awesomeness, of course! This very British episode of VOBoss features guest host & veteran UK voice actress Tanya Rich. Ever wonder what the voiceover industry is like on the other side of the pond? Tanya shares loads of great stories and tells us all about it. We haven’t seen a British Invasion this cool since the Beatles. You’ll be vexed by Tanya’s ‘Rich-craft’ too!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode

  1. Tanya Rich has been a voiceover actress for over 30 years in the UK.

  2. She got her start before ISDN. Years ago, In England, voiceover actors toured the country like a band or comedian. This resulted in very versatile voiceover actors who could perform any number of characters or accents.

  3. The UK isn’t a large geography so this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Breathing and breath control was very different and more controlled when recordings went ‘to-tape’.

  4. Tanya made her first demo after two years. The snail mail sending of demos (on cassette or CD) was a laborious process. There was a lot of tangible product and paper products involved in being a voiceover actor. No one had a made-up or studio created demo. A demo was made of work you were hired to perform. That is still largely the standard in the UK.

  5. Tanya is a global actress with clients all over the world.

  6. Tanya has multiple websites to aid her in meeting the needs of clients in the USA, the UK and other countries.

  7. Longevity is important to SEO and web presence.

  8. Functionality of a website is often more important than design.

  9. The UK also has many people trying to prematurely become voiceover actors.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Check out Tanya’s Website
Recorded on ipDTL


>> 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.




Tanya: Hey, everybody, welcome to another edition of VO BOSS. I’m your guest host, Tanya Rich, and I’m coming to you all the way from Bath in the southwest of the U.K. So this is a little British invasion of the VO BOSS podcast. Anne and Gabby are with me. Hello, ladies.

Anne: Yayy!

Gabby: Hello.

Anne: Tanya, what an amazing introduction. That was so awesome.

Tanya: You know, you’re worth it. [laughs]

Anne: Thank you. Thank you for the British invasion of our podcast, and for those of you listeners who are not aware, Tanya was our winner for our guest host contest on Instagram this month. So it was an amazing way to, to get to meet you and get to know you, Tanya, and it’s, it’s just, it’s our pleasure to have you guest hosting.

Gabby: So fun.

Anne: We might have it become a thing maybe.

Tanya: Well. That would be nice.

Anne: Every once in a while. [laughs] So, so Tanya, you have been in the industry for quite some time, close to 30 years I understand?

Tanya: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And I, obviously that’s the great thing about being a voiceover, isn’t it? Obviously I did start, I was a mere child. [laughs] But the nice thing about being a voiceover is it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, it’s how you sound.

Anne: Right?

Tanya: So yeah, I’ve been doing it an awfully long time, way before ISDN and all that stuff, you know, that everybody relies upon now.

Anne: Tell us a little bit what was it like in the beginning for you, and how it’s kind of changed today in terms of, I don’t know, your day to day activities, how you get work?

Tanya: Basically when I started as a voiceover, everybody or a voice actor, everybody traveled all around the country um to visit studios. So we were a bit like kind of touring bands. So you would get at the end of the year, you would get all the radio stations uh calling you and booking you for the whole year in advance, which was marvelous. And then you would set off a plan. So you would start in perhaps the north of the country, and you’d work your way round. And along the way you’d call the production facilities to make corporate videos and everything like that. And uh, you know it was a really fantastic time because we — you know, I remember the first mobile phones, because before that, we used to have to call our answering machines all the time, stopping at phone boxes to get our messages from either our agents or clients, saying, “oh, I know you’re here. Can you come here for this time?” And then that all that stress driving about. Then the first cell phones came, and they were great, those great big like comedy phones, you know, that you see now.

Anne: [laughs]

Tanya: [laughs] Weighed a ton, battery life of about five minutes, and the great thing about, in those days, was you never knew what you were getting in advance. You would get your scripts, and you could get anything from 10 to 50, especially the male voices, and you would be anything from a fairy, to a witch, to a mother, to a hard sell, anything. And I think that was a great training ground, because it made us all incredibly versatile. Because we had to do everything. You were often two or three characters in the same script because it would just be you and another. So it would be one female voice and a male voice. And yeah, that went on for years until ISDN was invented.

Gabby: It’s so interesting because there is, there’s a little bit of parallel there in, in what you’re saying of course about having to do everything.

Tanya: Yep.

Gabby: You being very, very versatile. It was the same way here in the States, but this idea of the touring, traveling voice actor, that’s amazing to me. That’s really neat.

Tanya: Yeah, that’s exactly what we did. And I mean, it was fantastic, and you just, you just pick an end of the country. So say a company in the furthest point of the south of England booked you, you’d just work your way back up to home, and you’d be away mostly all of the week unless you were working within an hour or two hours’ radius. Because of course you have to remember that us people in the U.K., we find it incredible that in the states, people think nothing of driving 100 miles to a supermarket, whereas we moan if we have to, if we have to drive five. [laughs] So you know, we can’t quite get our heads around the vastness of the USA. So I don’t think you could do that in America. [laughs]

Anne: [laughs]

Tanya: I mean, you’d just never do it, would you? And the other thing that I think was one of the best training grounds, we really learnt how to breathe.

Anne: Yes.

Tanya: We did everything to tape. If you had lots of [inhales] kind of thing, the engineer would get very cross with you as he’d have to keep splicing you. So we all learnt to do diaphragmatic breathing and breathe really quietly.

Anne: Oh, that’s, that’s amazing. That’s a great nugget of, of wisdom, right there.

Tanya: [laughs] Yeah.

Anne: Breathe, we’ve got to breathe properly.

Tanya: I actually got accused by somebody once of using EQ, a compressor, and I actually don’t have one. I don’t use one at all. Because my wave pattern was so perfect, they thought I couldn’t possibly have done that just with my voice. But I did.

Anne: Well, that is impressive. [laughs]

Tanya: ‘Cause I had to ‘cause I used to get shouted at! [laughs]

Anne: Yeah. And, and that’s very interesting, I can only draw a parallel here in live telephone recording, like when you’re, you know, live telephony because you had to be able to do it, and do it properly, and do it right the first time, otherwise you would have to retake everything. Everything was live.

Tanya: Yep.

Anne: So yeah. My question to you is, because I love this on your bio, it says “is this how you developed your larynx full of characters and accents?” [laughs] I think that’s a great, a great reference.

Tanya: It sounds nicer than the actual visual image it conjures up, right?

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Tanya: Yeah, it was exactly that because you didn’t, you never knew. But I tell you what was fantastic in those days, apart from the fact the training and you know having the experience. Nowadays I don’t know if it is the same in the States, but in the U.K. the radio stations tend to be owned by two or three large groups and they have central production facilities. In the old days it wasn’t like that. Every radio station, and there was more and more coming online or on board, had their own production department. You know, so that was amazing. But yeah, you had to do things and find out things that you could, you know — that you didn’t ever think you were capable of doing. It was great. And of course the laughs we used to have. You’d go into some sessions with makeup on, and you’d end looking like Alice Cooper’s mother by the end of it.

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Gabby: That still happens to me.

[all laugh]

Anne: That happens to me here at home in my booth too [laughs] Just sayin’. On a hot, on a particularly hot day. [laughs]

Tanya: Oh, oh the heat is another factor, isn’t it, for us ladies? [laughs]

Anne: For sure.

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Tanya: Yeah, it was great. It was very happy years.

Anne: Talk to us a little bit about the marketing process as, you know, as you were developing and gaining experience as a voice actor. How did you market yourself?

Tanya: Well, the first two years of my career I spent as the second voice at my local radio station. So I had gone in to ask them to audition me because my mother had been — done voiceovers when she was an actor. And uh they seemed to think I had what it took, and they just said they’d train me up. And I spent two years, you know, learning inflection, going, to the other voiceovers, “really? that number again, where,” you know, and all these ridiculous things. So after two years I had enough material to make my first show reel which was on a great big, you know, proper tape, and then it was made into cassettes for me. And then literally you sent out your cassette to the letter, “hello, blah-blah-blah-blah, here is my show — my voice reel,” I don’t know what we called it then, “my tape.” And you got work from that way. And it was all snail mail.

Anne: Ah yes, snail mail.

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Tanya: Yeah, so.

Anne: I remember sending demos out snail mail. It was not a fun process, but –

Tanya: On cassette, was this on cassette?

Anne: No, mine were on CD’s.

Tanya: Oh ok.

Anne: A little bit, little bit more advanced technology. But gosh, it’s still, the process was, was crazy.

Gabby: It was brutal.

Anne: Mm-hmm.

Gabby: And it was very costly.

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: And that’s something I find interesting because you know when people complain sometimes now about the digital investments about websites, “I’m like, please, no.”

Tanya: [laughs]

Gabby: “You don’t know what it took me to get a demo out in 1998.”

Anne: What a good point. And the next time somebody says to me, “yeah, I don’t have” — I’m gonna just refer that and say, “you know, back in the day — get off my lawn!” Back in the day I had to spend money on the print. Right, on the, on the print? Did you, did you send mailers out too? Like mail?

Tanya: Headed paper, compliment slips, you know, all these kind of things, padded envelopes. And before, you know, and before that it’s like I told you about having the first cell phone, I mean, they were so expensive.

Anne: Yes, they were. And they were huge. And they were huge.

Tanya: They were huge, and they were expensive. They were rubbish, really. [laughs] So you know, there was so much expenditure then, and everything took longer, and there was no instant gratification, which I think now people want.

Gabby: That’s a really good point. Yeah.

Anne: Yeah.

Tanya: You know, people want a demo and they want it now. You know, and I say it took me two years to make my demo.

Anne: Because you made it all off, off of stuff you had done.

Tanya: Absolutely, and that was the other thing, yeah, nobody had a made-up demo in those days.

Anne: I think in the U.K. you approach demos differently than we do here in the States, in terms of demo production, and I think it is more of spots that you have done if I’m, if I’m correct in that.

Tanya: Yes. Yeah, you are right although a lot of the newer voices do go to people who make them show reels, and there are pros and cons to that. I have my own personal feelings on that.

Anne: Yes. And I can understand those, absolutely.

Tanya: But yeah, I mean the thing is unfortunately there is no quick fix. Because by making a demo over time, and whether that be one specifically written for you to showcase your talents that you have learned, properly, so you’re a really confident voice, there is no quick fix, because — and that’s why I think, there weren’t people making us demos. You literally would go and do a job, and you’d say, “oh, I really liked that commercial or that corporate. Can I have a copy of it for my cassette?” And then you’d wait, and then you’d get it on cassette, and then you’d have to go to another friend to get them all on cassette for you, and it was time — it took a lot of time.

Gabby: What’s the market like from an, from an international standpoint, where you are as well? Like do you, are you working with other countries, or is your work primarily all coming out of the U.K.?

Tanya: No, I work for other countries. I do some work for the U.S., not as much as I’d like, but I do some work for the U.S. I work in Holland, France, Australia, anywhere. Basically, you know what we are like, us voiceovers. We’ll say anything for any money, right?

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Anne: You’d be amazed at what I’ll do for money. Yes. That’s what I always say.

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Gabby: How are you marketing to those other countries? Tell us a little bit about that.

Tanya: Well, I have two websites now, so I have one that’s really just for the U.S., and it’s more kind of international and general voice specific, and I have an agency in the U.S., so I’m working for people that I’ve worked for maybe, oh gosh, probably about 15 years from the states, you know, studios that’ve known me. To be honest, I can’t remember how they found me in the first place. It was probably when ISDN first came in because I was one of the first people to have an ISDN studio. And then you just kind of just, I just trawl people and just — not troll them, but trawl the Internet. And I just write to them, and a lot of my work comes from reputation because that again is another bugbear of mine. You know, what you say you can do and what you can actually do, and when you’ve got a client that’s changing their mind every five minutes, that sorts out the women from the girls, shall we say, men on the boys.

Anne: Mm-hmm.

Gabby: Very true.

Tanya: I think we are really on the same page, us three. [laughs]

Anne: You know, and, and I love how everything you’re saying just keeps reiterating the fact that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, really, and I think anything that Gabby and I have ever spoken about in terms of being an entrepreneur and being successful in this industry really does speak to that. And I think people just need to have patience, and I think maybe the digital revolution has kind of made us very impatient, and I think we still in terms of our businesses and our success, we have to, we have to really be patient with that, and understand that it is a process. Even digitally if I were to talk to you about websites, because I like how you have multiple websites, depending on your market. I think that’s a really great strategy to have. Even a website has to have some longevity I think to work success for you in regards to search engine optimization, let’s say.

Tanya: Yeah.

Anne: I think you’ve got to be out there, you’ve got to have had some, some longevity on the web, and people have to have been to your website or be able to find you, and I think that’s important.

Tanya: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. I’m not prepared to pay, well, hundreds and hundreds of dollars to possibly move up from page four to page one of the Google rankings. I’d like to think that I’ll go up that way because people will start clicking on me and finding me. It’s always interesting to me when I do these ranking things because there’s so many people that might come up on the first page as a British voice, but actually they’re not always necessarily, genuinely British. [laughs] And that can be an issue. Or you see people and you think, well, “OK, oh you’re there, are you? Well, that’s good, good for you.” You know? But I had a very good advice with my website. One of the best things I had — I was looking for a new web designer. I used an American company. They advised me to have my demos on the front page, because all the page that I was sending them from England — because a lot the top U.K. voices have fantastically intricate sites with animation and — and I said “I want to look like this.” And they went, “no you don’t.” [laughs] “OK, tell me why.” And they said, because when casting directors are going, they just want to go demo, demo, demo. And so I took their advice. And in the U.K. people quite — can’t quite get their head around the fact. They’ll say “could you send me all your demos?” I say, “why don’t you go to my webpage? Every demo you need is there. Just download them. It’s dead easy.” In the U.K., they can’t quite get their head around that, so it’s interesting, isn’t it, how different our markets are in marketing?

Anne: That’s going to work well for you in terms of marketing. So people will find you easier and quicker.

Tanya: Let’s hope so. [laughs]

Anne: Yeah, yeah.

Tanya: Yeah.

Anne: Absolutely.

Tanya: Do you know what I was going to say? One thing about marketing, I don’t who she is, and you’ll probably know this lady, but I remember when I was a young VO being very impressed by an American VO that had sent her mix tape from, from the U.S. to English places. And all I can remember is this, and it shows how, how good her marketing was, but I can’t remember her name, so sorry, was she had — certainly it was something like the lady voice, the voice with the velvet voice. And it came in a black velvet drawstring bag.

Anne: Oh.

Gabby: Wow.

Tanya: And I thought, “wow. Now that’s class.” [laughs]

Anne: Right? Absolutely.

Tanya: Yeah. [laughs] Mine would probably have come in a Brillo pad or, you know, a wire of wool or something. I don’t quite know. [laughs] Anyway. [laughs]

Anne: How broad and extensive is, is your market in, in the U.K.? Are you — like I feel like, here in the States, there’s like thousands upon thousands of voice artists that every day that pop up because, you know, they’ve got a mic, a USB mic. What is it like in the U.K.? Are you feeling like there is a ton of potential people that are claiming themselves to be voice talent, or how is that?

Tanya: Yeah, I always have this analogy, you know. I love bathroom fittings. I love a lovely bathroom. But would I go tomorrow and buy and tell everybody that I’m a full-time plumber? No, I would not. I would go learn my trade. So yes, there are lots and lots of people coming online all the time telling us they’re professional voice artists, and [laughs] yeah. [laughs] That’s all I can say. I think it’s exactly the same situation here. And there’s, you know, I have a real problem with what I call drip-fed show reels because a parrot can repeat anything.

Anne: Mm-hmm.

Tanya: And they’ve got a basic vocal skill, they can do that. They don’t need to have trained their ears to hear. They don’t need to have their voice to actually change. And so people are booking people from reels from the first thing on the reel. Everybody knows you got to put your best thing on there. And if you have repeated a line after line or it’s been chopped together, the first one’s going to be great. Now what happens when they get a job and we’ve said that clients change their mind? They might start off saying they want a woman sounding this. By the end of the tape you could be, you could have lost 10 years, gained 10 years. You know, you don’t know what they want. They don’t know usually. If you’re only as good as somebody drip-feeding a line into your ears and patching you together, what are you going to do? And so now we’re getting a situation when some people are being told, “we’ll pay you for the session, but we’re not going to pay, give you the transmission fee or whatever, you know — let’s say it’s a TV ad — until we have decided we want to keep the audio.” Now that is something I have never had said to me ever.

Gabby: It’s happening here.

Anne: Mm-hmm.

Tanya: Is it?

Gabby: Same, same exact scenario where talent, clients are saying “we will pay for the session, but we will not pay for the audio until we know we are using it.” And if they decide to release it and not use it, that’s it. You are only getting paid the session fee.

Tanya: Are they releasing it though? Or are they just not releasing it because it’s not good enough?

Gabby: That’s a good question. Sometimes I think we see situations where it’s an advertising agency that maybe is pitching their client, and they’re not sure they’re even going to buy into the idea.

Anne: Yeah.

Tanya: Yeah.

Gabby: So it is sort of a creative unknown, but yeah, sometimes it’s, the client goes, “this voice actor is not working for us. We’re gonna have to get somebody else.”

Tanya: Well, I did have one person say that to m, you know. And I said, “what do you mean? I’ve never” — I said, “well, you will want to use it. So there.”

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Anne: I love that confidence. That’s amazing. Everybody needs that.

Tanya: I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but —

Anne: No, not at all.

Tanya: You know, it’s like –

Anne: No, not at all. I think that’s incredibly confident, and I love that. I think that manifests success for you. Absolutely.

Tanya: Well, thank you. I mean, it’s genuine confidence because I’ve earned it. I mean, you know, I’m lucky. You know, I’ve had so many situations where I’ve gone into sessions, and they’ve changed completely. They’ve moved the goalposts from the beginning to the end.

Anne: Oh gosh. Almost — yeah. [laughs] It’s a large percentage of the time. [laughs]

Tanya: Yeah, exactly. I heard a commercial I tested for, for Facebook, and they’d asked for like a young, kind of young late 20’s, early 30’s, just regular U.K., no accent, but very neutral, but conversational. Yeah, fine, no problem. I didn’t get the job, never heard anything more. Heard the ad, saw the ad on TV, young, male, early, very early 20’s, London. There you go. Exactly the same copy. Huzzah. I mean, I do some coaching, and I will not — none of my students are allowed to do a show reel unless they are absolutely competent VOs able to handle anything, and they get loads of opportunities in different ways to handle anything. And I just say to people, if you want a quick fix and you want me to, to parrot the lines to you, you’re coming to the wrong person.

Anne: Yeah, I totally, I’d — I don’t know. Gabby, Gabby’s like that as well. Because you’re right. Absolutely, you want, you want to be able to put your name on it and proudly know that that person will be able to go in and execute when they’re called upon, so.

Tanya: Exactly. Yeah, but I coach after, after a certain period of time, I do a thing called meet the producer. But they don’t see the producer, but we do a link-up with an ISDN or SourceConnect or ipDTL or whatever. And they get, they’re put into real-life situation, they get the scripts, they get like a couple of seconds to look at it, boom, straight in the booth, cans on, somebody they don’t know, they don’t know anything about, and they don’t care who they are. They’re not being kind, they’re not being nice. They’re just being normal, everyday producers. And they’ve got 15 minutes to knock out three scripts, and if — that teaches me — them a lot, and then I get the feedback. And of course woe betide them if I get the same feedback as I’ve been telling them month after month, or fortnight after fortnight, or whatever. You know, and that’s how they — and then they’ll say the thing, “actually I’m not ready. I’m not ready yet to go into the big world of VO, am I?” “No, you’re not, but you will be eventually.”

Gabby: So you put your students through a gauntlet. That’s amazing.

Tanya: Yeah, absolutely.

Gabby: Wow.

Tanya: [laughs]

Anne: She’s given me some good ideas, I’ll tell you.

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Gabby: Yeah, yeah.

Anne: I love that.

Tanya: [laughs]

Anne: I love that.

Tanya: But one of the things that you know, as being a VO, is one of the best things is having a nice voice is part of it, but if you haven’t got good ears, you’re really never gonna make it.

Anne: Yeah, you do have to, you do have to develop and train your own ears for sure. It’s a luxury to be, to be directed these days.

Tanya: Oh yeah.

Anne: I love it. I love it, but [laughs] starting to think it’s a luxury.

Tanya: But I love it, but I tell you what’s interesting, you know. You do a job for a new client, and you do it, you read their script, and you hear complete silence the other end. And you think, “OK,” and then they go, “oh, uhh yeah OK. Shall we just one more?” “Yeah, sure.” Blah blah blah blah. “Oh, OK. Well um” — and then the engineer will go, “well, I can’t think of anything else. Can you?” And the director go, “uh no, OK”. And you feel like saying, “sorry, who have you been working with that you’re so amazed by what I’m doing, because really this is nothing special.”

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Tanya: Or is, but it isn’t.

Anne: Or they’re thanking you profusely for — “We are done!”

Tanya: [laughs]

Anne: “Wow, thank you so much. That was great! I’ve got a professional.”

Tanya: It’s really irritating to me, but you can’t say that. You want to go, “instead of using them, why don’t you just come back to me because actually I’m really quite — I’ve got a larynx full of accents.”

Anne: There you go.

Tanya: Boo-boom.

Anne: I love it.

[Anne and Tanya laugh]

Gabby: Speaking of which, how can people find you, learn more about you, get in touch with you?

Tanya: Well, if you’re in the States, you can go to and [laughs] and in the U.K., I’m And if anybody wants to work with me, but I am a voiceover that coaches, not the other way around, and I only coach by audition, it’s

Gabby: [squeals] Thank you!

Anne: I like that. I like that URL.

Gabby: Oh my God, I love that.

Anne: That’s like, that’s like one of my favorite URL’s I’ve heard in a long time.

Tanya: [laughs]

Anne: That’s great. Tanya, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I loved, I loved hearing all your stories.

Tanya: This has been such good fun for me because I very rarely get to speak to anybody else, my solitary life in the booth, so thank you both so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Anne: Oh God, it has been amazing. I want to give a big shout-out to ipDTL, bringing us together like this and sounding like we’re all in the same room. I love, love, love my ipDTL. If you want to find out more, connect and record like BOSSes, go to BOSSes, have a great weekend. We’ll see you next week.

Gabby: Bye everybody.

Anne: Bye!

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.