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Andy Boyns Interviews...
VoiceOverXtra's John Florian:
'You've Got To Do What You Love'
Aug. 9, 2010
At VOICE 2010, the huge voice over industry conference in Los Angeles in early June this year, international voice talent Andy Boyns (pictured, left, with VoiceOverXtra's John Florian), pulled aside voice actors and coaches to conduct one-on-one audio interviews on a wide range of voice over topics.
The result is an amazing collection of industry wisdom in a series he calls "The Person Behind The Voice."  
Podcasts include chats with John Garry, Bobbin Beam, Dave Courvoisier, Bob Bergen, Stephanie Ciccarelli, Bob Souer, Penny Abshire, James Alburger and Pablo Hernandez. To access these audio gems, please visit:
Today, Boyns released an interview with John Florian, the founder and webmaster of VoiceOverXtra, the voice over industry's online news, education and resource center.
As Boyns describes it:
"Fresh from receiving the VOICE 2010 Community Award, John Florian talks about his journey into voice over, and how this passion - combined with his background in journalism - led him to develop the industry news source, VoiceOverXtra."
Here's a link to that nearly 12-minute audio interview: And below is the full text.
Two things are interesting to note, says Florian.
"If you compare the text and audio of Andy's interviews, you'll get perfect examples of how voice is so much more effective in conveying a sense of character and meaning.
"I'm also impressed by the quality of the audio from Andy's equipment," Florian adds. "For my interview, Andy pulled me into an unlocked, empty storage room off a hallway - and despite the bare walls, he got great sound."
For the interviews, Boyns used a Zoom H4n recorder. He explains:
"I edited the stereo channels effectively into mono only, using that part of each channel which had speaking. This cut down the background noise, which was especially problematic in some of the other interviews - Bob Bergen's, which was outdoors, and John Garry's which was in the Ballroom.
"The audio quality would have been even better if I had had the chance to learn how to use the Zoom properly, but as I only got it at the start of the conference I hadn't had the chance to play. It really is a cool, high value for money, device."
Andy: We're here at the end of VOICE 2010, and I'm delighted to have - to be sitting with John Florian. Hi John.
John: How are you, Andy? It's great to be here. Thank you.
Andy: John is the owner of - we were hoping to chat a couple of days ago, but because the conference was so busy we didn't have time to sit down. Actually this has been a good thing, because you had some exciting news last night at the banquet.
John: It's amazing, and I'm really thrilled because of the technology that you are using now. I am floating on the ceiling, and so you've had to suspend yourself next to me to be able to get the recording
Andy: That's right.
John: It's amazing.
Andy: We're six feet off the ground.
John: Last night at the banquet I was given the VOICE 2010 Community Service Award, and I'm just thrilled about that.
Andy: OK. Well before we come back to talk about the voice over Community, can I ask about you? What is you background?
John: Publishing. And I've been a voice actor for about 10 years and before that, for about two decades I was in business magazine publishing - and some consumer magazines too - and basically I would create magazines.
Write them. Edit them. And I had a partner who was on the business end - and that went on for almost two decades.
When that partnership ended I was on my own freelancing, and I got into voice acting. (But) I missed the packaging aspect, the putting things together and serving a niche community with a publication.
Andy: OK. So what's the jump between publishing as print format and voice acting? How did that happen?
John: I had a radio show years and years and years ago. You know, people say "You should get into voice over" and that kind of thing, and so I took a course in it and did a first demo and then did other demos and marketed.
I went through the routine and got in that.
The publishing and voice acting didn't have anything to do together until I put them together.
Andy: OK. So why were you interested in using your voice?
John: It's fun! It's fun.
In high school I was in plays and announcing things, and then college. After college, I wanted to become the next - this dates me, of course - but the next Walter Cronkite - broadcast news.
I got in the service - the military - and had a radio show in the evening.  But they said, if you want broadcast journalism, you've got to get into journalism. So I went into newspapers and became a city reporter, and going to the police every day. Stuff like that.
It just evolved. I got into magazines - consumer magazines, guidebooks, and business magazines. I loved it. I've loved my career.
And I love now what I put together with the publishing (of VoiceOverXtra). It's the type of thing where I've got to get up at 6 a.m., because I love it. I've got to pull myself away in the evening, and before I go to bed, to go back and check to see what's there.
I just ... It's the passion.
Andy: One of the really interesting things about meeting folks here - both here at VOICE 2010 and online - is just finding out the sheer diversity of backgrounds of people.
But there's one common element, which is the passion you just mentioned. You keep hearing, "I'm having fun doing this, and I'm being paid for it!" But the key ...
John: Just like you. You've got the passion.
Andy: The key element is the desire to perform, which is wonderful. So, you're a voice artist yourself, and with the publishing background that led you to create VoiceOverXtra. Is that right?
John: Right.
Andy: What actually - what service does, your website - what service does that perform?
John: Well, when I was searching around for something to do, publishing wise - before I even came up with, say, using voice acting as the topic for it, I first was considering a medium.
Do I do a newsletter? Do I do a print publication? This was back in 2002.
Print, I'd been through that. I created in the 1980s a newsletter for magazine editors, and this was a print product. (To produce it) I bought the first personal computer - the Osborne Personal & Business Computer. I wrote it on that and printed out the newsletter.
But mailing and addressing and everything cost so much. I mean, I made a little bit of money, but now I needed something cheaper. And the Internet was coming along in the year 2002, so I said it has to be online. It has to be web based. And so it evolved.
A business coach brainstormed (topics) with me and said, "Well, you've got to do what you love."
So I said, “Alright. It's going to be voice acting.”
But I was afraid to do it! I didn't know if it would succeed. So I went into another business for about three or four years.
Then I went to another business coach and got all fired up. (This involved) a week-long conference where you're doing all kinds of things. You are climbing mountains, you're on trapezes, and you're walking through coals - hot coals - all this stuff.
Oh! It was amazing. You come out of there and you're going "Yes! I can do anything!"
So, I quit the job  and started developing VoiceOverXtra.
Around that time, too, was VOICE 2007. So I came and told Jim (Alburger) and Penny (Abshire) about it, and Don la Fontaine, and everybody said, "Yeah! Do it! Do it!".
About four months later I told my web developer, "OK. It's time to do it. Push the button. Start it. Get it live."
I'd spent all this time putting it together with articles and directories, and every thing like that, and I said, "OK" - on the phone with the web developer - "Press the button."
And it goes live! And I sit back! And I'm waiting for the income and the subscribers. And I find out that you've got to work a little bit more.
Andy: So it doesn't happen like that.
John: It doesn't happen like that, but it's been an awful lot of fun.
And doing this gets me into so many situations, and learning. Meeting so many people, like you contacted me.
By the way, I've got to tell you. I admire you. Your persistence. Your passion for what you're doing. And how fast you've become known in this industry.
Andy: Well, Thank you.
John:  It's tremendous. An inspiration to a lot of people.
Andy: Well, that's something I didn't expect. Thank you.
John: You're very welcome.
Andy: But I think that I'm nothing special. I'm just somebody who believes in what I am doing, and if you sit on your backside and do nothing, nothing happens. So, everybody can make a niche for themselves.
John: If they find what they are passionate about.
Andy: Yes.
John: Or overcome the obstacles to that. They may be passionate about something, and then there's this wall. There's a shyness. Like for me, for years I said, "I'm not going to make it. I can't make it with this type of thing. (But now), Yes, I can! Because I believe in it."
Andy: Let's imagine I don't know anything about Why would I go to your website?
John: Well, for one thing, everything is free there. It's a virtual library of ...
Andy: That's a good reason!
John: ... how-to information, which is very conveniently divided up into (categories including) home studio, voice acting, business information, coming events for industry.
The home page delineates all this stuff, and for each of those sections I have about 10 of the most recent articles, and then links into the virtual library of hundreds and hundreds of other articles.
I also have blue tabs on the left hand side of the web page leading to an industry directory, calendar of events, classified ads, articles index - all kinds of things.
When I created this, my mindset was (to produce) an online trade magazine. This is what a trade magazine does. Of course, now, media is just so blurred that I can't think that way any more.
In fact, when I was putting it together my web developer kept saying, "John, you can't think in the linear, print way any more." And it took me a while to get it. You know, the links and the clicks, and all that.
But it's free. A tremendous information source, and I call it the the voice over industry's online news, education and resource center.
Andy: Well, it's a phenomenal resource, and many people are linking to you because you are generous, as well, in linking back to other people, and you've developed a tremendous credibility.
Credibility overflows into the fact that yesterday you had the recognition from the voice over community with the Community Award. So that must have - seeing your face, yesterday - that was a big surprise for you.
John: Oh, my goodness. It was.
I am glad there were chairs along the way, when I went up to the stage, because I had to grab onto them. And then I felt so - you know, now you second guess, or you think back to 'this was what I should have done.'
I'm up on that stage and all I could say was, "Wow. Wow. Wow." What else did I say?
Andy: You said, "Wow."
John: Thank you. I've got to write an article this afternoon for VoiceOverXtra saying that if I had given a little speech, this is what I would have said. It's nice to have that ability to do that.
Andy: Actually, that wasn't a very good experience for a voice artist. You really were speechless last night,
John: Oh, gosh.
Andy: But let’s hope that soon wears off, and that you find your voice again.
But Zurek was the first Community Award winner for the great stuff that he did with Voice, and really, VoiceOverXtra is in the same field, but from a different angle.
John: Well, I'm not social media.
Andy: You're not social media, but in terms of connectivity and paying back, because Zurek is paying back, you're paying back by sharing the tremendous resources that you have.
And that really marks our industry apart from all others, I think, because there is this great willingness to connect, and it's wonderful to have the chance to meet you.
John: Thank you so much, Andy. Good to meet you, too.
Andy: Thanks very much, John. Until we meet online later this week.
John: You betcha.
Andy: Thank you.
John: Did you hear that hand shake? OK.
Andy Boyns is a British voice talent residing in Istanbul, who provides clients in both Turkey and internationally with full voice over services. A member of the Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists (SaVoa), his many clients have included Credit Europe Bank, Fiat, Turkish Tourism, BP, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, and TRT.
To contact John Florian:
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Comments (6)
Pamela Tansey
8/10/2010 at 4:45 PM
Congratulations again John, on such a well deserved and earned honor! We sure do count on you in the industry - it's a small world after all ....
Stuart Scesney
8/10/2010 at 12:12 PM
check out my site I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Linda Ristig
8/10/2010 at 9:44 AM
Such a warm, genuine, and engaging interview!

John, it was lovely to hear your voice again, and I most especially enjoyed hearing you share the process that led you to the web-based publishing path you are on. I'm glad you faced down your fear and created a VO website that now has a great many followers. Thank you for your service to our industry and congratulations on a well-deserved award.

Andy, I've truly been pleased to hear your audio interviews with some of my favorite folks in the VO world. Thanks for developing such interesting interviews!
Herb Merriweather
8/10/2010 at 8:51 AM
Fantastic interview, Andy and John ...This is a great service to the entertainmennt community at large. John's passion shows in his work ethic and in person -I had a chance to meet him briefly at Voice 2010 and he richly desrves the award he received.
John Florian
8/10/2010 at 8:16 AM
Thank you, Jay. You and Any have made my day ... my week!
Jay Webb
8/10/2010 at 8:01 AM
Another wonderful interview Andy, you've done a marvelous job with these interviews. And John, you may not realize it, but you really are an inspiration to many of us in this business. THANK YOU for providing such a valuable resource for us! I don't think we can say thank you enough.
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