VOICEOVER HERALD FEATURE - The VoiceMaster Interview



·        Tell us something about yourself, your previous work (prior to being a voice over), and how did you get your start in the voice over industry.


I am Pocholo Gonzales, also known as the “VoiceMaster of the Philippines”. I am a veteran voice artist and voice director, experienced radio broadcaster, internationally-awarded youth advocate, author, and a highly sought-after trainer and motivational speaker.


My love for voice acting started when I was 7 years old, growing up in our humble home in Bataan, one of the provinces here in the Philippines. Back then, we didn’t have television at home, and most people would be asleep as early as 7pm because there wasn’t much to do. Every night at 8pm, I would listen to a radio drama called “Gabi ng Lagim” (Night of Doom). I started imitating the character voices I heard – little boy, Grandpa, monster – and I enjoyed it! Eventually, I practiced by imitiating famous cartoon characters, personalities, and yes, even my grade school teachers.


At age 16, I started my professional voice acting career after winning a radio drama and singing contest on the country’s top national radio station. I bested 10,000 other auditionees, and became part of a group of young voice artists who performed a live radio drama every Sunday. Eventually, I became one of the program’s anchor, scriptwriter and director. It wasn’t long before I got into doing voiceover for commercials, dubbing for localized anime and foreign soap opera, and more radio drama.


When I was starting out, I experienced the politics and monopoly surrounding the industry. I’ve met with a lot of frustrations and rejections, especially from those who have been in the industry for a long time. I’ve got roles and projects taken away from me, and have been told that I’m not good enough to be a voice artist. Those experiences ignited in me the vision to make the Philippines the center of voiceover excellence in Asia.


This led to the founding of my own voiceover company in 2005, Creativoices Productions. We are the leading VO company in the Philippines online. But what makes our company different is that it houses the FIRST AND ONLY voice acting school in the country, the Philippine Center for Voice Acting. My mission in creating this school is to open the doors of the voice acting industry to all aspiring voice artists, and to promote voice acting as an art. I am proud to say that for 11 years, the school has produced more than 1,000 graduates. Hundreds of them are now establishing their own careers in the world of voice – as voiceovers, hosts, broadcasters, and even as public speakers.


I am one of the most respected and recognized voice artist in the Philippines, and my story has been featured in dozens of TV and radio programs, publications and websites here in the Philippines. I was the only Filipino/Asian panelist in the 2012 VoiceOver International Creative Experience (VOICE 2012) in Anaheim, California.


2016 marks my 20th year in the voice acting industry, and that is why this year, I also released my second book entitled “Gusto Kong Maging Voice Talent” (I Want to be a Voice Talent). This book encapsulates 20 years of my experience and expertise in the world of voice, which I am sharing to all those who would like to get into voice acting. It is written in my native language to make it easily understood by my fellow Filipinos. But I am currently working on the English translation for its international distribution, which I will call “Who Wants to be a Voice Talent?”


You may learn more about who I am and what I do by visiting my website -- http://www.pochologonzales.com/and http://voicemaster.me/.



·        What are your biggest and most memorable projects you have done so far (can you share a link or a clip for this project)


I consider the following projects to be my biggest and most memorable:


1.      Voice Director of the first full-length animation film in the Philippines, “Dayo: Sa Mundo ng Elementalia”. I also voiced 2 monster characters in the movie. This film birthed a whole new genre in the film industry in our country, and it’s a pleausre and an honor to become part of it.


2.      I am the voice of the Tagalog Audiobible produced by Biblica, the largest distributor of the Holy Bible in different languages around the world. I was selected among dozens of voice artists who auditioned for the project. It is fulfilling to represent my vernacular in one of the world’s most widely-read book.


3.      I believe that the Filipino voice acting talent is globally competitive, which is why in 2008, I presented the Filipino voices to the most popular gaming company, SEGA Games. I have voiced and voice directed their games such as “Harley Davidson King of the Road,” “Golden Gun,” “Venus Wiliams Flash Game,” “Operation Ghost,” and the ever-famous “Transformers.” These arcade games are featured in most malls here in the Philippines.



·        How big is the voice over industry in the Philippines? Is it as massive as its neighbor Japan?


As technology grows, the need for voiceover grows. 20 years ago when I was starting out, voiceovers are only needed for radio/TV commercials, radio drama, and dubbed anime and soap opera. The proliferation of the internet and automated technology brought about the need for voiceover in these emerging media – telephony systems, educational materials such as e-learning and virtual tours, audio-visual presentations, websites and mobile apps, and interactive gadgets like GPS, elevators and the ATM.


I believe I have revolutionized the voice acting industry in the Philippines through my school. Voice acting grew not because of the demand, but because of the SUPPLY. Hundreds of new voices have become available to choose from – in various ages, dialects, range, characters, etc. – and that made the industry more known especially to the organizations that need them. Take audio-video presentations (AVP’s), for example. We get a lot of voiceover projects for corporate videos, events, production promotion, explainer videos, etc. It used to be that these clients would just choose an employee in their company with a “good voice” to do the voiceover. Now, they know that the voiceover can be done by a professional voice artist.


Localization has also made the industry huge. There are a lot of projects like children’s stories, foreign movies and TV shows, even e-learning that need to be translated and dubbed in our native language, and even in some of our native dialects. Many of these projects are with international clients. For example, there’s a mobile app called “Share Your Faith,” and I was the one selected to do the voiceover for the Filipino language. My team is also working with another international client who translates timeless fairy tales into different languages. We translate and dub for the Filipino version, which are available in Youtube.



·        How accessible is voice over training and work in the Philippines?


Through my school, voice acting training has become very, very accessible to aspiring voice artists. Four times a year, we conduct “Voiceworx: Basic Voice Acting and Dubbing Workshop” in our studio in Makati City. Voiceworx is a 2-month workshop – 8 Saturdays, to be exact – where students are taught the basics of voice acting, dubbing, translating scripts and creating character voices. Aside from me, Voiceworx is taught by the best veteran voice artists and voice directors, who are still very active in the industry today. Not only do our students learn the basic skills needed in voice acting, but they also get to develop their self-confidence in the process… something that’s crucial to succeed in the voice acting industry.


The workshop also goes beyond the confines of the classroom and exposes the students to real-life experience in voiceover, dubbing and broadcasting. Even after the workshop is over, we (the teachers) invite our students to our recording sessions, auditions and radio programs so that they can apply what they have learned in training. The great thing about our school is that it promotes the culture of sharing opportunities and learning. We encourage our students to submit their voice demo and audition for projects even outside our studio.


Despite the success of our school, however, we are still faced with the challenge of making voice acting training more accessible, especially to our fellow Filipinos in other parts of the country. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked if we have another branch in a certain province, if we can accept one more student when the slots are already full, or if we can do the workshop more often in a year. That was also one of the driving factors that led me to release my book on voice acting, the first-ever in the Philippines. I worked with a huge publishing company to make the book available all over the country at a very affordable price. It may not be as intensive as what students learn in our workshop, but the book contains a lot of information, activities and exercises to get anyone started in their voice acting journey.


·        What type of work do Filipino voice over actors normally get?


There’s really a wide range of voiceover projects that we get here in the Philippines – commercials, dubbing translated content for different media and platforms, radio drama, video games, audiobooks, e-learning, AVP’s, IVRS – you name it, Filipinos can voice it. Filipinos are very good English speakers, and mostly have a neutral accent, which is why we remain to be the top choice when it comes to English voiceovers in Asia. Plus, as mentioned earlier, there’s been a huge demand over the last few years for localized content, which gives more opportunities to voice artists.



·        Who do you look up to in the voice over industry? Why?


My favorite voice artist is no other than Mel Blanc, the “man of a thousand voices.” Even back when I was starting out in the industry, I have always admired his vocal versatility and how one man has given life to the entire Looney Tunes ensemble!


Mel Blanc has influenced me to become one of the – if not the – most versatile voice artist in our country. Just like him, my voice has been used literally thousands of times in commercials, anime, dubbed films and soap opera, children’s shows, video games, audiobooks and many more. I’ve had projects where I am the voice of multiple characters, including the voiceover! I have even been hired for projects to imitate the voices of famous personalities. I can do most of the character voices of Disney, Spongebob Squarepants,and yes, Looney Tunes.



·        Do you have any mentors? What has been the biggest lesson you have learned from your mentor/s?


Here in the Philippines, my mentors especially when I was starting out were Sir Joey Galvez and Eloisa Cruz Canlas. They were my mentors in broadcasting and radio drama, and I would say that it was from them that I learned how to really develop the versatility of my voice. I have also been fortunte enough to be mentored by the father of Philippine dubbing, Sir Danny Mandia. I was his Assistant Director for the dubbing of the famous Taiwanese romantic soap opera “Meteor Garden.” Sir Danny is now one of the teachers in my voice acting school. They are some of the few generous voice artists in the industry, and they inspired and motivated me to go beyond the confines of a recording booth and share my talents and expertise to others.


I was also blessed enough to work with international mentors – Penny Abshire and James Alburger, the powerful tandem behind VoiceOver International Creative Experience (VOICE). They also authored the book “The Art of Voice Acting.” I have learned most of the voice acting techniques that I teach in my workshops from them. It was also James’ book that inspired me to write my own book on voice acting, to reach more people who would like to learn the craft.



·        Can you tell us more about your book Voice Care for Teachers? What inspired you to write one?


I always believe that teaching is the noblest profession. Teachers stay in the profession because of their passion to hone young minds, and I can totally relate to that as a youth advocate. I wanted to do my share in helping teachers cope with the demands of the 21stcentury classroom, which has greatly changed since the previous generation. So in 2013, I created a training program called “Voice Acting for Effective Teaching.” My goal was to teach teachers the basics of voice acting, storytelling and even gamification that they can use to effectively teach the students in their class.


The program had a very short lifespan – one training day, to be exact. Because when I first conducted the training, one teacher approached me and asked, “This is great, but how can I (teacher) use my voice acting skills if I don’t even have my voice to teach my class the next day?”


That question brought me to the huge realization that there is no program for teachers here in the Philippines on how to take care of their voice. And as a professional voice user, I can totally relate since I know what it feels like to wake up with a painful throat, or to wake up without voice on a day when I have to teach class or do a recording.


This realization was followed by several months of research and developing of my Voice Care for Teachers workshop. It is a 2-day workshop that includes voice care tips, vocal exercises, science of voice production and many more. The Voice Acting for Effective Teaching is also part of the program.


So my book “Voice Care for Teachers” is the written version of the workshop.



·        Where do you see the future of voice over in the Philippines?


Voiceover in the Philippines has significantly grown, and will continue to grow in the next 10-20 years.


I can clearly see how the Philippines can easily become the first choice for dubbing and voiceover in Asia, because we speak English relatively well and have a neutral accent compared to our Asian counterparts. In addition, through my voice acting school, voice artists also get to learn the many facets of the voiceover industry – including translation, sound mixing and sound design. As long as we develop the culture of sharing knowledge, skills and opportunities, it won’t be long before my vision to make the Philippines the center of voiceover excellence in Asia will be realized.



·        Finally, what three tips can you give to aspiring voice talents?


To all aspiring voice talents out there…


1.      Seek a good voice acting training. One of the myths I usually have to dispell amongst aspiring voice artists is the belief that all they need is a “good voice” in order to get into the industry. But it’s like saying, “You have nice, long legs, you should join Ms. Universe!”


Voice acting is an art, and it is an ensemble of tools, techniques, skills, and even qualities that need to be honed, developed and practiced in order to make it in the industry. Learn from books, attend workshops, watch videos… get your hands on all the information you need in order to develop your voice. If you are serious about getting into voice acting, you must be willing to invest your T.E.A.M. – time, effort, ability and money.


2.      Get into voice acting ONLY if you’re passionate about it. Most people salivate over the fact that voice acting can be a good way to make money. It could be true… I mean, who would want to earn a few hundred dollars for a few minutes’ work, right? BUT, if you are only in it for the money, I can tell you right off the bat that you will not last long in this industry. Your passion will drive you to audition one more time after several rejections and frustrations. If you pursue voice acting as a passion, there’s no easy or difficult project. Free or paid, you would not just do it… you would do it with heart.


3.      Believe that you can do it. I think one of my biggest contributions to the voice acting industry here in the Philippines is that I have helped so many aspiring voice artists to believe that they actually have a chance to get into a rather-elusive industry. I have even taken in many students as a scholar to the workshop (I paid their tuition fee) because I believe that every person has skills and talents that is hiding somewhere in them, and they just need the venue to discover and express those skills and talents.




Can you also share any video with your voice over or other sample works that we can include in the article, 2 profile photo (one landscape and the other in your studio) and maybe a group photo of the other talents in Creativoices.


Creativoices featured on local TV






More sample work:




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