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GVAA Coach Interview

So happy to be a part of the GVAA family!

GVAA Interview - 18:15

Sean: Hello everyone. This is Sean Daeley with Global Voice Acting Academy. I am so excited because we have got a wonderful guest with us today. Today's guest has over 20 years of experience in the voiceover industry, both as a voice actress, as a coach, as a marketing and career strategist, and also as a cohost for the very popular VO BOSS podcast, which is helping voice talent of all levels of experience improving their business practices. Today's guest is none other than the Grand Duchess of Radio Imaging, Gabrielle "Gabby" Nistico. How are you doing, Gabby?

Gabby: [laughs] Oh my gosh. Thank you! That was a fabulous introduction, holy cow! Grand Duchess, I love that. My best friend who I grew up with pretty much my whole life we grew up together, her name was Anastasia, so we always called her the grand duchess. So today I got the title. [both laugh]

Sean: Wonderful. Well, I don't know, just like in our interactions and just the way you present yourself, “she looks like she’d be a good grand duchess of something.”

Gabby: I’ll take it.

Sean: Wonderful. So without further ado, Gabby, why don’t you tell us about yourself and your journey into voiceover and how you got to where you are now?

Gabby: OK. It’s, you know, it’s been a long road. I started at a super, super young age in the radio industry and kind of worked my way up in the radio ranks, which for anybody who’s had a broadcasting career in a previous life, you know what that’s like. You pretty much do every job, anything that you’re asked to do, everything that you’re asked to do just to climb that ladder and hopefully try to make enough money to make a living at it. I started getting – really I became very passionate about the production side of imaging early on, and I was asked to start voicing commercials, and it kind of snowballed. One thing led to another. Long story short is I started doing a lot of freelance stuff on the side. And I really didn't have a grasp on it at that point. I just started doing – I would do anything anybody asked me to. “Could you read this?” “Sure!” [laughs] I didn’t know! And one day I was asked to audition for something in New York City, so I went, I did that, I ended up booking at. When that check came, it was a union job. I was completely floored by what I earned, and I went, holy cow. And then it became literally just the mission to go, “how do I make more money doing this and less money doing anything and everything that radio asks me to do?” So there’s the short answer there. I have been full-time as a voice actress for right at about 20 years now. Do a lot of commercial work, a lot of imaging work, a lot of promo work, and the rest of my time is spent helping other voice actors to either get where they want to be, or to improve on their current career success and basically expand on that and help with just getting the word out, marketing, branding, brand strategy, I do a lot of that. And yeah. Just, you know, I don't like to consider myself a cheerleader. I'm a little too cynical for that. [both laugh] But I do love this industry. You know, anything I can do to help people in it, I’m all about.

Sean: Wonderful, so let's talk about radio imaging because I know it’s a genre that you specialize in, but I feel like it’s one that especially talent just getting in to voiceover, it’s a term that they’re not familiar with. So what exactly is radio imaging and why is it important to know?

Gabby: Sure. So back in the day I think everybody knew what imaging was. They just didn't know what it was called. It’s all of these little prerecorded messages that you hear in between components on the radio. So usually in between songs, and this is not the jocks, by the way. This is not the DJ, because none of it’s live, and it’s used much in the way TV promo is to help remote the radio station, the goings on, concerts, events, and ultimately it’s to promote that you listen to more radio. [laughs] So again much like what TV promo does for television. Now especially because of digital media and because of streaming radio and because of HD, and I mean, so many things have changed in the radio marketplace, yeah, some of the brand-new folks who are just coming up in voiceover now have never heard of imaging. They don't really know what it is. And then in another sense it’s had – I don't want to call it a revival, but definitely a resurgence because more and more stations are becoming automated, companies are basically trying to figure out ways to cut their own costs. DJ's are becoming somewhat a thing of the past. So more imaging is being used than ever before. So for talent who have paid attention, they’re kind of like “hey, how do I get this work? How do I do this?”

Sean: Alright. Well, we can talk about that in a second too. Because you mentioned that there was some similarities to say TV promo, but I’m curious like as a genre, like what makes it similar to like promo and are – is there any special considerations you need to think of when you deliver a radio imaging script?

Gabby: So there’s special techniques and there’s definitely very specific ways that it's read. It’s read much more like promo or trailer work than what you see in the commercial vein. It’s not the most conversational of performances, and it’s very broken apart. It’s not as fluid as what you see in commercial or narration. As far as the I guess genre as a whole, the genre is broken into a lot of little mini genres that all are based on radio formats, because there’s lots of lots of formats for radio. You got Top 40, and rock, and classic rock, and light rock, and CHR, and rhythmic, and hip-hop. I mean pretty much every genre of music that exists, there’s a corresponding radio format to go along with it. So typically imaging talent find their format. You find the format that speaks to you the most, the format where you will be the most accepted, and you go after work in that vein or highway as opposed to trying to do all of it. Although some people do… all of it. [both laugh]

Sean: That’s great, and that kind of leads me into my next question because I know that you’re touted as a bit of a marketing and branding strategist. And so you were just mentioning how it’s important to have an awareness of what your interests, and what kinds of musical genres you might be appropriate for. Other than that, why is it so important to have a strong sense of branding when someone is starting or when they’re trying to improve their success and their efforts?

Gabby: Sure, sure. Because partially brand strategy and brand success nowadays is because of competition. Right? There’s so many of us, there’s so many voice actors. And there’s a really easy analogy that I make for people, and I say think of yourself as a restaurant. If you’re a classic pizza place, what makes you different than every other pizza restaurant that’s available to your customers? You don't even think about it on a huge scale, on a nationwide scale, even just locally. You know, if you’re one of ten pizza choices, why are people coming to you? What makes you different, what makes you special, what are they going to expect to get when they walk in the door? So voice actors are kind of in the same boat. We have to really think about what makes us different, what is a buyer getting, what can they expect to get when they work with us, and how do we express that to them easily, clearly? Because for the most part, we’re at a point in this industry now where it’s not always the best voice that gets the booking. It’s the best brand. It’s the person who’s reaching – yeah, the most people, and reaching them well. We see that again. You can compare to the pizza places. You know? I might upset some people with this, but you know Domino's doesn't make a great pizza. [both laugh] I’m a New Yorker.

Sean: I actually agree with you on that.

Gabby: I’m a New Yorker. I know great pizza.

Sean: Great branded.

Gabby: Domino's doesn't make a great pizza, but they sure as heck sell a whole lot of them, and a lot of that is branding and strategy and advertising. So yeah.

Sean: Wonderful. That’s just one of the things we’re going to be talking about with some of the events that you have coming up for GVAA. So let's talk about those.

Gabby: Yeah. I’m excited. We’re going to do a workout first that is going to be all about radio imaging and giving people a chance to experience it. Now the cool thing about this is you don't need a radio background. Please, please, please, please understand that! Nobody coming into this needs to have radio experience, needs to be a DJ. If you do, great. But you don't have to. Matter of fact, radio is always looking for things that are fresh, and new, and different. So sometimes not having that background gives you fresh perspective and you’re thinking differently than someone who does know that industry. We’ll be doing workout for – what we go, about 90 minutes on those?

Sean: Yeah.

Gabby: Yeah, and it’s fun. It’s a chance for us to explore different formats, help people to find their fit, see what formats they like, which ones they don't, and kind of start to develop some stylization if you will of imaging techniques and try it on, which I is, I always think it’s fun. It’s just neat to explore something you’ve never done before.

Sean: Wonderful. And so that’s gonna be for our guest coach workouts, that’s a free benefit of being a GVAA premium member. If you’re not currently a member and want to find out more, you can just go over to our website at

Gabby: Why would someone not be a member? Why?

Sean: I know, I know! You get opportunities for stuff and with wonderful coaches like Gabby, and peer led workouts with myself and Marielle Nuval, and get chances to practice, get your questions answered, and just get ongoing support for your voiceover business.

Gabby: Community. I mean, that's what we all need. It’s like, it’s so fundamental today. I mean, come on. We work in little padded boxes all by ourselves. Membership, yes, yes. I wish I had this kind of stuff when I started out. [laughs]

Sean: Exactly, exactly because some, like people need that ongoing support. Sometimes if you get an individual coaching session, it might not – like you might eventually plateau, but we’re always – I hear it again and again from the people at the top of the industry, they never stop training. They never –

Gabby: No. No.

Sean: – stop working to improve themselves and improve their brand.

Gabby: So true. So very true. [laughs]

Sean: So once again that’s gonna be for our guest coach workout. So that is gonna be on February 24, not this Saturday but next Saturday, and I will be opening registration for our members for that on this Saturday, on the 17th, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, 8:00 Eastern time. So that’s one opportunity you get to work with the Grand Duchess of Radio Imaging. What is our other workshop that we have coming up with you?

Gabby: So I think that’s gonna be the more intense exploration of imaging for people who are really wanting to pursue it as an avenue of voiceover work for their potential niche or nitch, however you want to say it. It’s going to cover a lot more ground, the ins and outs of the business, how it works, how to find imaging work, how to establish a name for yourself in this business. It really is going to dive a lot deeper, and it’s gonna be more, I think, a balance of here’s some performance and here’s the business of the radio imaging genre and what you need to know to be a part of it.

Sean: Wonderful . So if people are interested in participating in these, how can they prepare themselves to get to work with you, and how to really think about what kind of areas that they might be appropriate for in radio imaging?

Gabby: So I always say start with what you know. Right? I mean, we hear that all the time anyway in this business. But start with the genres of music that you prefer, and I know I will say it now for the potential news talk sports people, if that’s what you prefer, that’s cool! We have that too. [laughs] So if you go “I’m not really into music,” that’s OK. But start with what you know. Start with your own lifestyle, your own habits, your own listening, whether it be in the car, whether it’s Pandora or whatever you choose. You start with that because it’s gonna be passionate, it’s gonna be close to your heart. I mean, I can't think of anything more personal than music, so when you start to identify your own box if you will, what you fit in, the quadrant, we can check that and start to explore that format as your potential leader because chances are that's what it’s going to be.

Sean: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. Do what you’re passionate about. It’s gonna be you’re most honest performances and your strongest performances.

Gabby: Definitely, and it’s gonna be relatable, and with radio it’s all about relatability, and it’s all about being part of something bigger. It’s about the lifestyle that the music represents. So you want to embrace that. And you know to not only be yourself, but there’s some pretty cool stuff we get to do in this genre we don't do anything else. You get to ad lib. [laughs]

Sean: Oh really?

Gabby: And we get to – yeah, we go off script. We get to do all kinds of fun stuff.

Sean: That sounds wonderful. So once again that’s gonna be radio imaging with Gabby Nistico on Saint Patty's Day on March 17 at 10:00am to 1:00pm Pacific time and then 1:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern. And then once again, we also have our free guest coach workout for premium members, and that is going to be on February 24, and registration for that is going to be on February 17. So that’s this Saturday at 5:00pm, starting at 5:00pm Pacific, 8:00pm Eastern time. Other than that, I know – one of the things I love, we talked a little bit about your marketing and brand strategy support, but recently you started your own podcast.

Gabby: Sure, sure. So it’s Anne's baby, she came to me and she said, “hey, I have this really amazing idea, this brand.” She had it already to go. It was literally just insert cohost here. [both laugh] It was pretty great in that respect. I really didn't have to do a lot of the prep. I give her all the credit for that. It’s a fantastic podcast, website, resource. It’s really taking off in ways I don't even know that we expected. It’s all about the business of voiceover. We don't rarely if ever talk about performance. We talk about what it means to be a boss, to be an entrepreneur in this every single day in the trenches, the pitfalls, the celebrations, the challenges, you name it, everything. We talk to a lot of industry experts and other voice actors, and we try to really be concise, stick with the topic, explore it to its fullest, but doing it all in 20 minutes which is amazing. It’s on iTunes, it’s on Stitcher, you can also check out the latest episodes from the website, and we just recently launched VO University which has different expansions basically of products through the podcast that you can participate in.

Sean: Very cool. Some of our viewers know I have my own podcast, and it sounds like I have the same relationship with my co host as you do with Anne. It’s just kind of showing up and then everything just happens.

Gabby: I – truthfully, and I tell people this all the time, it’s one of the easiest, it’s one of the most amazing working relationships that I’ve had because it’s not work. It’s not work. We’re both passionate about it. We love it. We love each other. We have a great relationship so it’s just so easy.

Sean: It really does fill a need because I listen to a great, like a huge number of podcasts, many of them voice acting related, and usually they just cover the performance or maybe a more comprehensive view of everything.

Gabby: Everything, yeah.

Sean: Like over a long time. But there’s really not one that focuses specifically on the business aspects. And that’s something where a lot of talent struggle with and want to know more about.

Gabby: It is. I always say, we have two brains every day in this industry. We have actor brain and we have entrepreneur brain, and we have to feed them both.

Sean: Exactly. That’s wonderful. So once again, that is the VO BOSS podcast with Anne Ganguzza and our lovely guest today, Gabby Nistico. It’s a wonderful podcast, highly recommend you check it out. And if you’re interested with working with Gabby, like I said, we have three events, or three potential opportunities for you to work with her. We have our guest workout that’s coming up this month, her workshop for radio imaging that’s coming up in March on the 17th, and we also offer one-on-one coaching with Gabby if you’d like to do performance work or some of the marketing business strategy stuff that we’ve been talking about. So there’s plenty of ways to get your daily dose of Gabby, and I highly recommend it. So thank you so much for joining us today, Gabby. It’s been a real pleasure.

Gabby: Same here, thank you so much, Sean. [laughs]

Sean: You’re very welcome, have a great day.

Gabby: You too. [both laugh]

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Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, Voiceover Coaching, VO Coaching, Voiceover Coaches, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, auditioning tips, audition help, GVAA, Sean Daeley, radio imaging, VO BOSS, Global Voice Acting Academy

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