Special Guest: Tom Dheere

It’s time to Boss-up a level with advice from this week’s guest – Tom Dheere – the Voiceover Strategist. This funny, charming voiceover actor and coach is all about business so naturally; we had to have him on the show. Remember, the H is silent, but he’s not! Hit play and get down to business with three VOBosses in this week’s episode!



Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Tom Dheere was an acting major with Shakespearian aspirations.

  2. He found voiceover acting in the mid-90’s and never looked back.

  3. Anne, Gabby and Tom can play a game of six-degrees of separation since they are all from the NY/NJ area.

  4. Tom lives in NYC and considers himself to be a blue color, non-broadcast voice actor.

  5. He’s happy to make a living with the ‘boring’ voice work that DOESN’T make you a household-name.

  6. Like many voiceover actors, Tom didn’t know much about the business of VO when he started and had to learn it on his own.

  7. He tries to help other’s avoid mistakes he made early on in his career.

  8. He cautions against the American Idol, starving artist mentality of performing for a living.

  9. Agents do not come and seek you out – an agent can only make you more successful than you already are.

  10. Agents don’t make you a star – they help you get opportunities you would not get otherwise.

  11. Tom is big on numbers and cost-benefit analysis. He gets a lot of work from recommendations from fellow voiceover actors.

  12. Spreadsheets and the like help him manage anxiety and his business via structures.

  13. Voiceovers can be chaotic and unpredictable – making it a numbers game – takes away some of the fear.

  14. Chaos and creativity do not go hand in hand.


Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


Tom Dheere’s Website

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 the VO BOSS podcast, I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my bosstie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby.

Gabby: Hi!

Anne: Today we have voice talent, speaker, coach, proclaimed VO strategist. [laughs]

Gabby: I, yeah, I think we can please say that.

Anne: Yes. We must tell everyone that the H is silent, but he is not. Welcome to the podcast Mr. Tom Dheere!

Anne and Gabby: Yay!

Tom: Thank you for having me.

Anne: It is so exciting, Tom, to finally have you on.

Tom: I know, right?

Anne: It’s like our East Coast like soul brother. [laughs]

Gabby: We met for the first time at VO Atlanta this past year. And I was like “where has this man been all my life? What’s going on?” Like a long-lost brother, you know, cousin, somebody, something, yeah.

Tom: Oh shucks.

Gabby: So tell us – yeah, you know the drill, tell us your tale. Tell us how you got into this wacky business.

Anne: Tell us your tale.

Tom: Let’s see. I was an acting major, got my BFA in acting, I went to the National Shakespeare Conservatory here in Manhattan. My original plan was to be a working New York-based Shakespearean actor. That’s what I wanted. I didn’t want the Hollywood thing, I didn’t want to be rich or famous. I just wanted to ply my trade doing Shakespearean acting. I dropped out of school for various reasons. And I’m hanging at home with my mom, and she’s reading a copy of New Jersey Monthly Magazine, and she’s looking at the back where it’s got all the classifieds and want ads and stuff, and she’s like “what’s voiceover?” I’m like, “I don’t know. You make money to talk?”

Which is exactly what it is. And she’s like, “well, there’s this coach in Ridgewood,” which was about a half hour from where I lived at the time. And she said, “you got a good voice, you should check it out.” So I called her up, went over there. Her name was Hope Noah, who was a voice coach back then, and did a diagnostic. She’s like, “yeah, I think you’ve got potential,” so I worked with her for like six months, and then I cut my commercial demo and then she gave me – this is 1995. She gave me a stack of Xerox copies of production company listings, and she’s like, “Ok, well congratulations, here’s some production companies you can cold call, good luck.”

Anne: [laughs] See you!

Gabby: Aww. Tom, that means you and I were in New York at the same time beating our heads against the pavement trying to find voiceover work.

Tom: That’s right.

Anne: But wait. But Tom, you were in Ridgewood, which was like two towns over from where I was working at the time. And so we were like –

Gabby: Oh for the love of God.

Tom: Really?

Anne: I know, isn’t that crazy? I swear to God. I was working in Hackensack, and living in –

Tom: Oh, Hackensack! I know Hackensack.

Anne: Living in Mahwah at the time.

Tom: I know Mahwah as well, right on Route 17. Yeah.

Anne: Yep, so wow.

Tom: That’s funny.

Anne: Yeah, I used to frequent the restaurants in Ridgewood quite a bit.

Gabby: So this episode has the potential to be the butterfly effect. Basically, had one thing had gone differently, we may have all crossed paths.

Tom: I turned left on 34th street instead of right.

Gabby: That’s amazing. Alright, so you’ve been at this a good bit, and I know you do coaching, and you do a lot of audiobook work. I mean, tell us a little bit more about your day-to-day now.

Tom: My day-to-day now is that I’m living here in New York City with my wife, and right here in the heart of Manhattan. I’m just a block away from Madison Square Garden, so I’m like right in the middle of it.

Anne: Wow.

Gabby: Nice.

Tom: About 60% of my work is non-broadcast, e-learning, explainers, industrials, you know, the boring stuff that you didn’t know was an actual voiceover when you got into this industry because you were trying to be – do cartoons and stuff. And then I have this really bad habit. It’s called eating, and I’m kind of up to like three times a day now, so when I found out that, “oh, I can pay my rent doing this quote unquote boring (I think it’s awesome) nonbroadcast stuff,” I’m like “ok. I’ll do that.” That’s more than half of my work, about 10% is audiobooks, and then the balance of voiceover work is, you know, commercials, your occasional medical narration, occasional video game, that sort of thing. And so another part of my day, big part of my day is I do a lot of coaching, a lot, a lot of coaching as the VO Strategist and demo production as well.

Anne: Tell us a little bit about your business practices because that’s really what this podcast is focusing on, the business of the day-to-day of VO.

Tom: Well, funny you should ask, Anne. This is – what I teach now is everything that I wish I knew 20 years ago. Because I went to Montclair State, I got my BFA in theater, you know, National Shakespeare Conservatory, I learned a lot about the craft, about acting, but didn’t learn how to get an acting job. And then I transitioned into voiceovers, I didn’t know for a long time how to get a voiceover job, you know, all the ins and outs. And it’s like, “ok, well now I got the job, what do I do, how do I comport myself, how do I invoice, how do I pay my taxes, how do I brand and market myself?” So I teach all the things that I wish I knew. So my goal is to give back to an industry that has been so amazing to me over these 20 plus years. I call it my karmic penance, by trying to share with as many people as possible all the things that I did wrong so they don’t have to go through what I went through so they can do it right.