Lisa Biggs is a professional voice artist who has been working in the voice-over industry for nearly a decade, providing voices for clients such as PBS Sprout, BugBox Animation, and Fisher Price, just to name a few. In the competitive world of voice acting, it takes a lot of work to get noticed, and that’s why Lisa brought together Voxy Ladies, a “unique boutique” of female voice artists who have found a new way to work together in order to improve all of their careers. Along the way, they’re also helping others and providing us all with an abundant amount of entertainment.
Lisa recently gave us some of her time to answer a few questions about the formation of Voxy Ladies, her appreciation of “frou frou” drinks, her fandom of Game of Thrones, and how she managed to go from being teased about her little voice in grade school to using her big talent to turn that voice into a moneymaker.
Project Fandom: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. First things first, what was the genesis for Voxy Ladies? What brought a group of such talented female voice actors together?
Lisa Biggs: Aww shucks, thanks for the kind words!! Our gals are super awesome & I couldn’t ask for a more talented group of Voxy Ladies. I started developing the concept behind Voxy Ladies in the spring of 2011. The brand itself didn’t flesh out for a few months, however I knew that I wanted to create a vehicle that would help women in our industry continue to move forward & succeed individually as well as create opportunities for female voice artists everywhere.
Being a “niche” voice myself, I have had to be equal parts actor & entrepreneur. Although I have 15 agents & representation in every major market as well as international markets, I haven’t had the luxury of relying solely on my agents & manager to build my career for me. I’ve had to go out there & make things happen for myself. People don’t get “discovered” in this industry anymore, the talent pool is overcrowded to say the least & so you have to do whatever it takes to break away from the pack. Voice actor & teacher, Pat Fraley says, “don’t wait to be discovered, be discoverable”.
Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting women who share that understanding & know what it takes to be successful in the voice acting industry, so when I started building the Voxy Ladies brand, I asked a handful of those ladies to come along for the ride.
ProFan: What does it take to be a Voxy Lady? Is it just a ton of talent and two X chromosomes, or is there something else that qualifies someone to join the Voxy Lady ranks?
LB: At this point, Voxy Ladies is a “invite only” deal. It takes an incredible amount of hard work & collaboration to keep this train on the tracks. Also, continued success in the VO industry relies heavily on relationships & so we’ve built Voxy Ladies on a foundation of mutual trust, respect, and integrity. All of my girls are professional voice over actors, almost all of them make their living behind the microphone. Our goal is to continue to keep our roster small, that’s why we refer to ourselves as a “unique boutique” of voice over artists. That way, each girl gets maximum visibility & opportunity to book work through our collaborative marketing efforts.
ProFan: On the Voxy Ladies blog, you advocate for “coopetition” in the voice-over industry; is that something you and the Voxy Ladies feel is necessary for the industry to truly move forward?
LB: I love that word! Yeah, we believe working together is an important element to continued individual success as well as moving our industry forward. There is more opportunity than ever to work as a professional voice over actor, there is also more competition than ever before. Also, since most of our gigs can be done from our home studios this career can be pretty dang isolating some days.
Although we’re scattered all over the country (and some gals are in other countries) we interact everyday, holding each other accountable & encouraging one another to keep truckin’! Like I said before, we no longer have the luxury of being actors who rely on our agents to shape our career, we are equal parts actor & entrepreneur, but we don’t have to do it alone even though most of us work from home.
ProFan: The Voxy Ladies have been very active in giving back to the community; how important is that to you, and would you say altruism is an integral part of what it means to be a Voxy Lady?
LB: So funny that you’d mention that because just this morning I read an article in the NY Times titled, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead. At one point the writer says, “The greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.” I’m inclined to agree with this philosophy. Pursuing a career in voice acting can make you pretty self centered. You have no choice but to think about yourself most of the day because your “product” is your voice. You’re selling your voice & so you spend an awful lot of time thinking of you & ways to get your voice “out there” and into the marketplace. We welcome & encourage any opportunity to help others because A: It’s the right thing to do and B: it frees us from being self centered & ultimately makes us more productive.
I can speak for all of my Voxy Ladies, in that we feel so blessed to have been able to make a living behind the microphone & look for many ways to give back & share the good fortune we’ve been given. As voice actors, we wake up “unemployed” everyday. We know that it takes a lot of hard work & faith to make it in this industry, and that instills a sense of gratitude for every opportunity & every day that we’re able to wake up and do it all again.
ProFan: Last question about Voxy Ladies: you routinely hold events, and there’s one coming up in April, Robapalooza. Could you tell our readers about that and how they can attend this event or others in the future?
LB: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you asked about Robapalooza!! We are so freakin’ excited to host this event featuring the one & only Rob Paulsen in Charlotte, NC, later this month!! We’re inviting folks to spend a Saturday morning with one of Saturday morning’s greatest! We’ll spend Saturday with Rob as he shares his expertise as an Emmy Award winning voice actor who gets “paid to do what got him in trouble in 7th grade”. Rob will share stories & insight into how he’s remained one of the most successful voices in our industry. He’ll talk about how he got started & how he’s remained “on top” for the last 30+ years. One of the things that makes Rob Paulsen’s time and expertise so infinitely valuable is its relevancy. He continues to work almost every day, and records for several animated series & films on a weekly basis.
THEN on Sunday, we’re inviting 12 people to spend the day in an intensive voice over workshop with Rob covering topics such as: Breaking into the Commercial & Animation Markets, Interpreting Copy and Developing a Well-Defined Clean Character Sound, Learning to Properly Market & Promote Yourself, and Obtaining and Keeping an Agent.
Participants in both events will receive an invitation to an invite only dinner with Rob on Saturday night at Pinky’s Westside Grill.
Yep, we’re pretty pumped! If any of your readers are interested in pricing & registration information, they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a link to the event page. Also, here’s a link to our Facebook event page.
Also, yes we do host events & networking opportunities pretty frequently, so subscribing to our email newsletter by sending an email to email@example.com and “liking” our FB page/following us on Twitter at @VoxyLadies will keep folks in the loop as to what we’re up to & how they can be a part of things!
ProFan: Now, I would like to ask you a few fun questions about yourself. How did you get started in voice acting? Who is your favorite voice-over artist (and I’m going to let you off the hook by not letting you pick any of your fellow Voxy Ladies)?
LB: Haha!! Thanks for letting me off the hook ; ) That would’ve come back to haunt me! Hmm….well, obviously Rob Paulsen is one of my favorites!! I also love Candi Milo & Bill Farmer, both equally as nice as they are talented! PS-Candi coaches & Bill coaches & produces demos for those that are interested!! See www.toonhouseinc.com for more on Bill & www.candimilo.com for more on Candi! I got started in voice over about halfway through college. I had always thought my voice was a curse & a hindrance as it caused me so much grief growing up. One summer, while I was in school I decided to up & move to NYC to study acting. I had no idea what I was doing or how to perform a monologue, but I knew that if I wanted to pursue voice over, I had to learn to to act. As unique as my voice is, I learned quickly that voice acting is acting first and foremost. After returning from NYC, I took another voice over class (I had taken three at that point) and felt it was time to cut a demo. I went to a studio in Charlotte, NC, & paid to have a professionally produced voice over demo (word to the wise, this is NOT a DIY industry, it is a profession & you CANNOT afford to cut corners. You’re going to have to PAY for classes & training, you’re going to have to PAY to have a demo professionally produced. Please respect the integrity of the art form & of the industry. Most likely you won’t see an immediate return on your investment, but if you take the time & energy to pursue this as the profession that it is, you will be unstoppable & will one day, run circles around your competition. Anywho, I took my demo & shopped it around to several of the top agencies in LA & got picked up by one of the best. I’ve been really blessed to have been surrounded by people who believed in me & “went to bat” for me early on in my career. Pat Fraley tells many of his students, “to find a champion.” The best way to do this is to find a coach who will not only teach you the art of voice acting, but will also be in your corner.
ProFan: I noticed, on the Voxy Ladies website, it’s mentioned that you have been tattooed 9 times by your fellow Voxy Lady Jen Davis. First, that’s impressive; I have zero tattoos. Second, do you have a favorite among your tattoos, or is that like picking between children?
LB: If you ever decide to get a tattoo, will you let me take you to Jen?? I think my favorite(s) are the three butterflies on the tops of my feet. Jen is an amazing artist! Both when she’s slingin’ ink & when she’s behind the mic!
ProFan: At Project Fandom, we like to encourage women to embrace pop culture and really flaunt whatever fandom of which they may be a part. To that end, let’s hear it; what television show does Lisa Biggs enjoy? Are you a Whovian? A Browncoat? Trekker? Or maybe you’re more into books or music?
LB: Do you know what last night was? THE SEASON PREMIERE OF GAME OF THRONES!! AHHHH!! I love books & TV : ) I love allegorical fiction & anything with a theological undercurrent. As far as TV goes, I have a few shows I love. Dexter & Game of Thrones are definitely on the top of my list!
ProFan: Do you drink? If not, that’s cool; we support the consumption of both kinds of beverages: alcoholic and water. If you do drink, though, we would like to know: do you have a favorite cocktail?
LB: I really love “Hummingbird Juice”, which is Pear Cider & Frambroise. I’m a “frou frou” drinker when I drink, which isn’t very often. Two glasses of wine & I’m three sheets to the wind : )
ProFan: Finally, who shot first: Han or Greedo?
LB: Haha, umm….Han?!?!
We’re glad Lisa answered that last question correctly. Be sure to visit Lisa Biggs at LisaBiggs.com, stay up to date on all things Voxy Ladies at VoxyLadies.com, and don’t forget to find out more information on the Voxy Ladies’ upcoming event Robapalooza, taking place April 27th-28th, in Charlotte, NC.
All photos courtesy of VoxyLadies.com.