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Special Guests: Brian Talbot and Randy Ryan

VO Boss’ first-ever quadcast with the hosts of the Let’s Talk Voiceover Podcast, Brian Talbot and Randy Ryan. Anne and Gabby enjoy chatting with their male counterparts about their backgrounds, how they started their podcast, their insights into the current voiceover climate and even their experience with Xzibit and Pimp My Ride!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Remember the 80/20 rule

  2. Creative people can have a hard time selling themselves

  3. Price should be the last thing you negotiate with

  4. Don’t let technology drive your decision making

  5. There is no such thing as exposure. There’s a one in a million chance you’ll get “discovered.”

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


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.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO quadcast. Today we have some very special guests with us, and I am super excited to, of course, welcome in my BFF bestie, bostie, Gabby Nistico.

Gabby: [laughs] Hi, Anne.

Anne: Hey, Gabby. [laughs]

Gabby: We got two dudes with us today.

Anne: We do!

Gabby: We got some company. [laughs]

Brian: Oh, it’s hot.

Anne: We have with us today hosts from the podcast “let’s talk voiceover,” Brian Talbot and Randy Ryan.

Brian: Thanks!

Randy: Hi Anne, hi Gabby!

Brian: Thanks for having us, this is great. It’s funny because no one’s ever been interested in having us on a show before, so we are a little lost here. We have to beg, plead and send a $100 bill to get guests.

Gabby: Well, I mean, I’ll still take the $100.

Anne: Yeah, we’ll take, yeah, absolutely. So I want to just say first of all, thank you, guys, for being a part of this amazing, I’m going to say, first-ever quadcast. We are altogether on ipDTL. This allows us to come together from all different areas, myself from California, Gabby from North Carolina, and where are you guys from?

Brian: I am from Nashville, currently. That is destined to change.

Randy: And I am in Austin.

Anne: Gabby and I are so honored to get to know you guys. Tell us a little bit about — you have been in the industry for a long time and known each other for a very long time, hence your podcast, I’m assuming. So tell us a little bit about each of you and your reason for being in voiceover.

Brian: Well, I started coaching Orson Welles back in the 1930’s.

[all laugh]

Brian: I actually got involved in it from a long, long time ago. High school theater major, college theater, then you know switched to broadcasting because I really wanted to get paid. How stupid was that?

[Anne laughs]

Brian: Right? I’m not going to work in theater, I’m going to get paid by working in radio. Really!

Randy: There’s no pay in radio.

Brian: There’s no – no, there’s no pay. So umm but I had the fortune, the good fortune of being out in L.A. in the late, mid, mid-late 80’s and ran into this funny little man called Marc Graue. And Marc is not only voiceover royalty and — he actually grew up in Hollywood. I worked at one of his — I think it was actually his first Marc Graue recording studio in Hollywood. And just absolutely fell in love with it, started from there, started doing voices, goofy voices, because when you hang around with Marc Graue long enough, you just start doing goofy voices. Um and, and did that stuff and then moved all around the country, moved to New York, and then moved back to Indianapolis at one point for family reasons and met this goofball, long-hair musician freak named Randy. And umm he has been trying to shake me ever since. I keep sticking by. We’ve been friends for almost 25 years now.

Randy: I keep moving, and you keep finding me.

[all laugh]

Brian: I actually moved back out to L.A. back in the early 2000’s, and Randy moved to Austin, so what did I do? I left L.A. and I went to Austin just to, you know.

Gabby: Anne kept stalking me. She wouldn’t leave me alone, and then she was like, “please do this podcast,” and I’m like, “dammit woman, where do you keep coming from? Go away.”

Anne: I did. I kept popping up.

Gabby: I just agreed finally. It was easier.

Brian: Thank God for Google.

Randy: I hit this a lot differently than Brian did because I’ve been asked to be a voice actor a lot, and I’ve always steadfastly refused to because, well, I believe you should know how to be able to act. And that’s never been part of my background.

[Anne and Gabby laugh]

Randy: Just saying, I think it’s kind of an essential element that a lot of people skip. I’m a musician. I got into voiceover really as cash flow because when I, when I started this company that is now called Hamster Ball, we were doing advertising. We were doing advertising music, and the market was heavily saturated with people that were already there, so we started – I started doing voiceover, outsourcing everything, going “well, you know, it runs some cash through the till. And if people start using us for VO, then maybe they’ll start using us for music.” And so along the way I started realizing I’m listening to other directors and going, “I think I can do that, and why am I paying them?” And actually Brian was the one who really encouraged me. It’s like “dude, you can do this.” So that’s essentially over a long period of time what I started doing. We now do way more VO casting and directing than we do music. We still do some music, but it has really kind of become a VO thing. So I kind of came at it from a different spot than where, you know, you guys did.

Brian: And I like to encourage people. I go, “oh yeah, you can do this, you can do this, sure.” No problem.

Randy: I think it was working with exhibit where he was like, “dude, you can take the next one.” That was it.

[all laugh]

Gabby: I have to ask because you know it was part of your bios. Please tell us about the “Pimp my Ride” exhibit story. So yeah, please enlighten us.

Anne: Please.

Brian: I’m out in L.A. at this point, right, and Randy and I had worked together directing all the poker pros for “World Series of Poker.” We had a good time, and we spent Easter weekend in Las Vegas trying to get 30 poker pros to say something, because you know, if you ever watch the poker pros, they wear the dark glasses. They don’t say anything, they just kind of sit there. I’m like, “well, here’s your line.” “I don’t say anything.” “Ok, great. This is a videogame. Can we pretend?” “No, I don’t pretend.” OK, fine.

Randy: But you did get Jennifer Tilly to say, “I want you all in.”

Brian: Well, ok, you know, really we had to go there, we had to bring that.

Gabby: Jennifer Tilly’s said worse though.

Brian: Normally not in a videogame.

Gabby: True.

Anne: Right.

[Anne laughs]

Randy: I don’t know if that line actually made it in the game.

Brian: So we had done that, and, and we got some pretty good accolades for being able to help Activision out with that one. They started doing a bunch of IP property. And we did a bunch of fun ones. We did “Dancing with the Stars,” flew out to Orange County, New York and did the “American Chopper” guys.

Randy: Oh, that’s right.

Brian: They’re very much like they are on camera. It’s not really an act. A game comes along, and it’s, and it’s “Pimp my Ride” based on the MTV show. Randy calls me up. He goes, “hey, so Pimp my Ride?” I’m like, “yes, great, we can tag team on this.” He goes, “why don’t you do that one?”

Randy: [laughs] I had already had conversations with the producer who was telling me all these things that were going awry. And my thought was “my personality probably is not going to be real well-suited to somebody sitting in a studio trying to direct over my shoulder and somebody — and talent in the booth that actually doesn’t really want to be there. I’ll call my good friend Brian who’s got this great personality and is really good with people and have him do the whole thing.” I kind of neglected to tell him, neglected to tell him some of the details.

[Anne laughs]

Brian: “It will be fun! I can’t wait!” We, first day, you know, we ended up taking 15-minute breaks every hour, and then you know, by day three, he didn’t even bother to leave the studio to do his extracurricular activities. It was good. It was good. It was a good game.

[all laugh]

Brian: So first day everything was great, and by the third day, mm OK, editing room floor. Good.

Randy: I was getting daily calls from Brian that were just vents. I would see it, and it’s like, “I know this is not going to be a fun 20 minutes. Hi, Brian, how did it go today?” “Gahhh!” Ok, I’ll leave the room for a bit.

Brian: There was that one time I called that he accidentally picked up the phone, and I said, “Randy,” and he went, “this is Randy’s voice mail. Please leave a message.”

[all laugh]

Brian: Nahh, I’m not going to get through that one. It’s actually, it’s been incredibly cool — I have been incredibly blessed to be able to work in this industry for literally over 30 years. I’ve been around and worked with some of the very best voice talents there are out there in some of the best studios, amazing engineers, incredible casting people, agents. It is truly a dream come true after over 30 years of doing this, every time I get done with a job, I still get that tingly feeling like I, like I was stealing a cookie out of the jar, and Mom was watching me, and she didn’t say anything. She just let me do it with a smile on her face. I want to help other people understand what it, what it is, and what it could be, and what it should be, not only a great way to make a living but also just kind of a privilege to be able to do this.

Anne: I think that people entering into this industry, it’s a whole lot different today. I would look to hear your take on how it’s changed and evolved over the years.

Brian: [in old voice] When I was a young kid starting out in the business, we had – [normal voice] no, it is, it is interesting because there is this thing called the Pareto principal or better known as the 80-20 rule. And one of the parts of that says 80% of the work goes into 20% of the people or 20% of the effort. Right? So when I started out, first of all, everything was local. So if you wanted to do voiceover, you actually went to a studio in your local area and then you did it. You even went into the studios to audition. And that was great. The 80-20 rule did apply but in kind of a little bit more interesting way especially where I was. I was in Indianapolis at the time, when my voice career really started taking off. And instead of 20% of the voice actors getting 80% of the work, there were literally 20 people who got 80% of all the work in that market. And it was, it was about 60-40 split guys — men to women. And I was fortunate enough to be in, you know, that magic 12 people who actually got to book a lot. It was really awesome. I was, I was very fortunate. You know, but the thing is I was working in Indianapolis. So if you wanted to work in Cincinnati where Proctor and Gamble was for instance, you literally had to make the drive, go to Cincinnati, find Cincinnati agents, start talking to Cincinnati production houses, and try and find Cincinnati agencies and, and companies to work with and introduce yourself to. Same thing with Chicago, and obviously all of that has changed dramatically with the Internet. It does allow you to live anywhere. The cost of technology has come down so dramatically that, you know, we are doing this. And, and 25 years ago when I was actually still doing some engineering work, ISDN was brand-new, and you could not afford the phone lines. We’re able to do this, and I think this is pretty amazing. The upside is that the technology allows you to do this from anywhere. That also is the two-edged sword because then all of a sudden everyone thinks that they can be a voiceover artist or a voice actor. It dilutes the waters pretty dramatically. When I used to audition, I used a book probably about 15% to 20% of everything I auditioned for. It was because you had local relationships, you had personal relationships, you had the ability to really work with people. And they would not submit you for everything. Everything was not a cattle call. Right? They would submit you for what you were right for. And so when you’re — you know, you book one out of every five auditions you hit, and that was awesome, because it was effective for everybody involved. Nowadays literally I have, you know, agents in different parts of the country. Sometimes I will get the same audition from different agents. But every agent is expected to submit anywhere between 30 and 50 auditions per every script that comes through, per every request. And then people go, and they talk with somewhere between 10 and 20 agents. So you’re literally competing against 1000 auditions every time you submit. I have been on the casting side with Randy. You get ear fatigue after about 20 or 30 of them. And you know, the likelihood of you getting, of someone getting through more than 50 or 60 auditions, it is just a very high probability that you’ll never even get listened to for all the work and effort you put in.

Randy: The other side of that is that what it requires, that I’ve seen and I know you’ve seen, because we’ve talked about this, it then becomes a speed game. If you are going to even have a prayer, you have to be one of the first 50 people because, as you said, everybody stops listening.

Brian: Yeah. It shifted a lot, so it does become really a big numbers game. Right? And then on the flipside of that, the other thing starting to happen that’s really wearing everybody down is rate degradation, because everybody wants to do it. And because you can get in with a $100 USB microphone and your laptop, right, all of a sudden, you know.

There, there’s a guy who’s a video producer, friend of mine from the last 20, 25 years, and he came at me a couple weeks ago and said, “hey, I have got this new thing for an online explainer video. And we’ve got $100. You want it?” I’m like, “no, no. That’s ridiculous. Come on.” You know? And, and I walked away from it. He was like, “alright, fine. It’s a new company, and they’re going to be doing a lot more.” I’m like, “don’t play that game. Don’t play that game.” Everybody has a worth and a value, right? And the more we’re willing to buckle under and take the discounted rates, and take the lowball rates, all we’re doing is training those who are our clients or prospective clients that they can lowball, and they really can drive us down into the, into the depths of the Voice Bunnies and the Fiverrs and all that stuff. And I’d rather not do this than play that game.

Randy: Right, I completely agree. And again because I come from a slightly different perspective because I’m not an actor, you know, I was a road musician for 15 years.

Functionally since I’ve been an adult in one form or another, I have been what amounts to a freelancer.

Brian: Easy there, Mister. You’re no adult and you know it.

Anne: [laughs]

Randy: Well, I can go to the store and buy beer, so I figure that’s all I need. I got my card.

Brian: That doesn’t make you an adult. So can my youngest son. And trust me, he is no adult.

Randy: Yeah, well, that’s Joe. You know, I, I’m better than Joe, man. Anyway. Ok, I’m not.

[others laugh]

Randy: So I had to sell, essentially sell my entire life. And when you do that, you learn a lot of things. And you also watch other people who have never learned these things. Creatives are always, have problems with, with selling themselves. It’s just, you know, it’s just the ones that can do both are the ones that do well. But the dirty little secret is that the people who can sell and maybe don’t have the talent will do better than the people who have enormous talent but don’t know how to sell.

Gabby: Very true.

Randy: It’s just the way it works. And so part of what is driving the market down is because everybody does have access. It is that early salesperson mentality that, “what do you have to negotiate with?” “Price.” No, you have so many other things to negotiate with. If you lead with — price should be the last thing you negotiate with. And this is so hard for people to understand because everybody wants to even monetize themselves and devalue themselves because they don’t have the confidence to say, “well, no, what I bring to the table are these other things.” And I don’t know how we teach that. I’m going to contradict myself a little bit here. Used to be you would get an agent, and the agent would do the selling, but you know, the other thing that you guys all know is that, well, you still have to sell. Your agent, your agent is not the golden goose. It used to be a little bit more of a control than it is now. Because the agent would at least be there and in most cases say “no, you are not taking that job for this price.” That’s — all bets are off now. And the creatives haven’t gotten any better at selling. They’re just now loose on their own, and I don’t think that most of them see how much they are driving the market down.

Brian: We now have an entire generation that doesn’t know the, doesn’t know life without the Internet, and the Internet’s always been free. So it really has changed the perception of what has value and what doesn’t. And so those people are now in hiring positions across companies and agencies and places like that.

Anne: Absolutely.

Brian: I think that is really affecting. They are like, “well, you know, I can get someone to do this on Fiverr.” I’m like, “well, go ahead because that’s the quality or going to get.” They are like, “yeah, well, then too bad.” So the people who are actually the buyers are not trained to understand value, except when it comes to a celebrity name. Then they are willing to pay anything there is, right, because it’s a celebrity name, which is crazy. If I get another, “hey, can you sound like Sam Alec? Sure.”

Anne: They don’t have a concept. They just don’t have a concept of the value of the industry. I think you bring up such a great point. I love how you even said that I would rather not do it at all, you know, than do it for $100. And so I think that that’s just such a strong testament, and bravo to both of you for bringing that up, and I think it’s going to be of such value to our listeners. Thank you for that.

Randy: Just to be fair, 100 and a quarter, we can talk.

[others laugh]

Gabby: Hey, Anne.

Randy: A case of Schlitz lite.

Anne: Yes, Gabby?

Randy: Oh gosh.

Gabby: I’m a little freaked out. I feel like we’ve found our male doppelgängers. This is kind of weird.

Anne: I think so too. I know.

Gabby: I’m just sort of letting them talk. “Wow, ok, I would have said that too.”

Anne: All good stuff. Yeah, I’m back here going “bravo, bravo, yes, yes.”

Gabby: Yes.

Brian: We are going to have to get together one of those VO conferences and do a panel of four.

Gabby: The live quadcast! Yes!

Anne: Oh, I love it.

Brian: There you go, there you go. Of course, whoever puts on the conferences won’t want us to do that, so we will just set up a little table in the hallway and do our own thing.

Gabby: Yeah, it’s fine.

Randy: We’ll just be out in the lobby. That’s totally fine.

Gabby: Anne and I haven’t been in a conference yet where we have not like you know stolen tables and rearranged furniture —

Anne: Exactly, exactly.

Gabby: We do that.

Anne: Yeah, for sure, for sure.

Brian: Randy and I do that too, except we bring them back to our houses and we furnish our homes that way.

Randy: Seems to work.

Gabby: It’s good shui. It’s good shui.

Randy: You can’t take that as carry-on. You do have to check it, and that is $25.

Brian: You do have to check a couch.

Randy: Sometimes it’s a dealbreaker.

Brian: If they’re going to charge me $100, I am going to get my $100. You move that.

Anne: There you go, there you go.

[all laugh]

Brian: You know, it, it is, it is kind of the two-edged sword. It’s — everything in life changes. And that, that’s clear, and it should, and it needs to. Everything needs to evolve. But what we can’t do is we can’t let technology drive our decision-making, right? We have to be in control, especially as creatives. You know? And it is not just voiceover people, it is everybody that does creative stuff. Actors are through it all the time, musicians go through it all the time. Here in Nashville, there’s a big music festival coming up. And all the local bars are charging artists to play during that music festival.

Anne: Whoa.

Gabby: Woww.

Brian: So it’s not bad enough that they would play for free or play for tips. No, they are charging them hundreds of dollars to play, and it’s the same line that you’re hearing with voiceover. “Well, it is great exposure for you.” I can’t pay my mortgage on exposure. And then Randy comes with the more intelligent comment that says —

Randy: [indiscernible – sounds like “oot greet”]

Brian: Maybe not so much more intelligent.

[anne and gabby laugh]

Brian: You knew where we were all going with this, though, right?

Anne: That was so deep.

Randy: I’m nothing if not profound. But you preying on people who are desperate to be famous in some sort of way, and you know, the whole exposure thing, if there’s another thing that I could ever, ever get across to, you know, my two tribes, to musicians more so than voice actors, but to voice actors too, there is no such thing. There is networking. There is marketing. Nobody — ok, it’s not nobody. One in a million times, which people glom onto, somebody in power hears something, a band, a singer, a guitar player, a voice actor, and they go, “I want that person.” The problem is that 999,999 other times, it doesn’t happen. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than making a career out of exposure. So just stop doing it.

Gabby: Amen.

Anne: Amen.

Randy: Don’t take those jobs ever.

Gabby: Sorry, hold on. I’m lost in the pool of Randy’s deep thoughts right now.

Brian: And I’m lost in the brown liquor.

[others laugh]

Anne: I’m just lost. [laughs]

[all laugh]

Brian: Perfect.

Anne: [laughs] You guys, this is just been amazing. I, I, I want to do like five podcasts with you because —

Brian: OK.

Anne: [laughs]

Randy: Can we make the next one about chickens?

Anne: Let’s do five. Let’s do five. We will talk chickens next.

Brian: Yeah. That will be good. Let’s talk chickens. We are totally experts on them.

Anne: Thank you, guys, so much for taking the time to talk with us today. It has just been amazing, and as I mentioned, I would love to have more podcasts with you guys and your wisdom. And it has really been valuable. Thanks so much for joining us, and —

Brian: Thank you so much for having us on. Like I said, nobody really cares, we have never been asked.

Gabby: [laughs]

Randy: Brian, your script that you wrote worked. We fooled them.

Brian: We fooled them. Yes.

Gabby: Hey, guys, how can our listeners find your podcast?

Randy: Oh, that is easy.

Brian: It is “Let’s Talk Voiceover,” and it is at I can be found at if you want to call me up and stalk me because I’m a little lonely. And Randy is at, and remember there’s — there ain’t no P —

Randy: There ain’t no P in “hamster.”

Anne: That’s awesome. I’d like to give a huge shout out to our good friend and sponsor, ipDTL, for this amazing, first time ever, pioneering, pioneering breakthrough podcast, quadcast for their amazing support. You can find out more at

Gabby: And for all things BOSS, guys, be sure to check out our website,, and of course all the social media stuff. There’s iTunes and Sticher. Thank you so much for joining us this week, and we’ll see you soon.

Anne: See you next week.

Gabby: Bye.

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 Mood Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.