On The Mic with Tania Possick

December 10, 2021
We find out just how Source-y LA actress, voice artist and choreographer Tania Possick is. We laugh a lot and debate the relationship between dance and voiceover, the fine line of when to finish an artistic project (watch out for the “sting in the tail”), ….and remote working and auditioning during the pandemic. We discuss market changes in voice style, we vaunt how to learn, we get ‘Tania Tech Time’, and we celebrate the enjoyment of performance. Find out just who is “the ginger guy”, and how is your relationship with your agent? (talent not secret).

Tania is a Voice Over actress and choreographer based in Los Angeles. She has a long list of credits in the entertainment industry all over the world. She has experience as a dancer, choreographer, producer, instructor, and voice over artist.

A Southern California native with Central and South American roots makes Tania a bilingual voice over artist. She is described as a perkier sounding Scarlett Johansson. She has worked for notable brands such as Target, Fisher Price, Dockers, Dole, and more! She loves animation and dubbing work. She is a member of Trailer Voice Artists and is repped by Atlas Talent. Her on camera agents are at DDO.

Tania got her start in the biz as a dancer and choreographer. She has won various awards including a Backstage Garland Award and the NAACP Theatre Award - both for Best Choreography. Her passion for dance and health continues and she can often be seen performing and teaching dance in the Los Angeles area.

In the Summer of 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Tania launched - WOMEN IN VO - a networking group for women in the voice over industry. Our mission is to build a supportive, global network for women and to provide tools and opportunities in their voice over careers.

 

 

Listen to the full epidotes in our Podcast:

Ep8: Source Elements On The Mic with Tania Possick - Part1

Ep9: Source Elements On The Mic with Tania Possick - Part2

 

Interview Part 1

Mike Aiton: Hello and welcome to Source Elements "On the Mic" with Mike Aiton.  Today, my special guest is Tania Possick.  Not to be confused with Tanya Pusick as Apple autocorrect tried to write when I wrote my script.  Apologies for that introduction, Tania.  

Tania Possick: Wow, thank you.

Mike Aiton: That's probably the worst introduction you've ever had.  It can only get better.  

Tania Possick: It's probably the worst one I've ever had, I'm not going to lie.

Mike Aiton: It can only get better from here.

Tania Possick: Oh, thank goodness.

Mike Aiton: Okay.  And how's the weather in Southern California today?

Tania Possick: Well, usually beautiful today also beautiful, but in a different way because there's some rain.

Mike Aiton: Well, if it's any consolation, it's gray, overcast, and dull as hell in London today.  But anyway, never mind we shall make entertainment on the internet. 

Tania Possick: Yes, we will. 

Mike Aiton: Okay, to start off with I'm going to start with our quick-fire question round for a warm-up which is called what's your source?  So treat it as a game show. 

Tania Possick: Okay.

Mike Aiton: And you've got three to five seconds to answer all the questions.  And if you can't answer a question, say pass.  And if you want to have two answers, by all means, fill up your five seconds with two answers. 

Tania Possick: Okay.

Mike Aiton: Fine by me, okay.  

Tania Possick: I am so nervous right now.

Mike Aiton: No pressure.   Tania starter round for 10, fingers on buzzers, no conferring.  

Tania Possick: Okay.

Mike Aiton: Your favorite biscuit or cookie?

Tania Possick: Oh, chocolate chip and if it has a walnut in it, I'm happy with that as well. 

Mike Aiton: Favorite book? 

Tania Possick: Oh, I like Catcher in the Rye. 

Mike Aiton: Ooh, inspired.  Mac or PC? 

Tania Possick: Mac.

Mike Aiton: Starter or putting? 

Tania Possick: Starter.  

Mike Aiton: Analog or digital recording? 

Tania Possick: Digital. 

Mike Aiton: Okay, if you're listening to music, do you prefer to listen on vinyl or CD?

Tania Possick: Well, both but vinyl sounds better.

Mike Aiton: Okay.  Do you play a musical instrument?

Tania Possick: I don't which makes me sad.

Mike Aiton: Oh, okay, there's always the future. 

Tania Possick: There's always another life. 

Mike Aiton: Yes, for now, we'll just play the fool. 

Tania Possick: Yes, that's right. 

Mike Aiton: Or blow our own trumpet, how about that? 

Tania Possick: Yes, yes. 

Mike Aiton: Okay, what's the most recent music that you purchased? 

Tania Possick: Well, it's actually just a track for something that I choreographed so it wasn’t of my own- and I don't even remember what it's called so there you go, not very often.

Mike Aiton: That one by thing me jig. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, that one, you know that one, right.

Mike Aiton: I got that one.  It's on the triple life platinum album, take a hike, Marsha.

Tania Possick: That's right. That's right. 

Mike Aiton: What's the most recent software that you purchased? 

Tania Possick: Oh, I don't know if I remember something other than Source-Connect that I pay for every month.

Mike Aiton: What a wise choice. 

Tania Possick: I know. 

Mike Aiton: Who's the most famous person you've ever met?

Tania Possick: I don't know.  Probably, oh my gosh. I don't even know if I have any photos with anybody.  I feel like I see celebrities all the time in LA and I should know this, but I don't. 

Mike Aiton: Okay, we'll move swiftly on, on that one.  If you go away for a holiday, do you prefer mountains or beaches?

Tania Possick: Beaches.  

Mike Aiton: What are your preferred headphones?

Tania Possick: I have the Beyer dynamic 770s and I love them 

Mike Aiton: For a weekend break do you prefer a city break or the countryside?

Tania Possick: Oh, I think I like the city for a weekend.

Mike Aiton: Okay.  What's your most hated colloquial phrase?

Tania Possick: YOLO

Mike Aiton: YOLO.  What does that mean?  Sorry, that's a new one on me.

Tania Possick: And you only live once but, it's a little bothersome.

Mike Aiton: Okay.  Yes, I would definitely punch them saying that it has to be said.  What's the last film that you watched?

Tania Possick: I watched Return to Oz which is a childhood favorite. 

Mike Aiton: Okay.  Which famous person alive or dead would you most enjoy a night out with?

Tania Possick: Michelle Obama.

Mike Aiton: Oh, interesting.  Who would you most like or like to have recorded or worked with?

Tania Possick: Oh, wow.  I feel like Tom Hanks.

Mike Aiton: Favorite actor. Would that be Tom Hanks?

Tania Possick: No but I don't know, maybe.  I just feel like Tom Hanks is so epic, you would learn so much from him. Yeah.

Mike Aiton: I know what you mean.  Okay, that finishes our quick-fire question round. 

Tania Possick: Oh, great. 

Mike Aiton: So Tania, let's talk about you. 

Tania Possick: Okay, let's do it.

Mike Aiton: So we know you're based in Los Angeles, presumably are you freelance?  

Tania Possick: Yes, yeah. 

Mike Aiton: And you have your own studio?

Tania Possick: Yeah, at home.  It is a woman-made studio, it is a walk-in closet that I have converted into a studio.

Mike Aiton: Perfect, seems to work very well.  

Tania Possick: Yes, it has worked great, it has been very interesting over this pandemic for sure.

Mike Aiton: If you have to go to work in another studio is there a particular studio you prefer?  And why?

Tania Possick: Oh, I have several that I love in the area.  I don't know if I want to say names, do we say names? 

Mike Aiton: If you'd like to, you're free to compliment people. 

Tania Possick: Okay.  So in my close area, we have Real Voice LA, we have Studio Awesome, we have Patches Sound, Lime in Santa Monica, Sound on Studio.  I love these studios because the people are so amazing and so nice, the engineers are so great.  I feel like I walk in and the energy is so good and I love that.

Mike Aiton:  Okay.  So it's a vibe thing for you?  

Tania Possick: It is and but I have no complaints.  There are zero complaints when I record, I think everyone's got their stuff together.  And on top of that, I get to say hi to friends, it's pretty fantastic.

Mike Aiton: What better way can you have than to work with friends? 

Tania Possick: That's right.

Mike Aiton: How would you describe your job to those who know the industry well?

Tania Possick: Well, right now I feel like I'm in a padded room all by myself all day long.  But we all know, everyone who's in the voiceover industry is so hard-working, and it's filled with ups and downs.  You know, there's so many auditions and bookings but I feel like we can all vibe together in saying that it's ever-changing.  It's an ever-changing industry and you have to sort of keep up with the times.

Mike Aiton: So how would you describe your job to someone who doesn't know your industry well?  

Tania Possick: I would say the same.  And on top of that, just add that is so much fun, the people are so great, it's so wonderful to be in a creative job and to use your voice.  It feels so satisfying to do that.

Mike Aiton: I noticed from your website that you've worked as a dancer?

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: And you still do?

Tania Possick: I still do. 

Mike Aiton: And a choreographer.  So when I was interviewing Emily Blank, who used to mix- or still does mix Game of Thrones, we were talking about this thing of, dance being the ability to be able to be flexible and dynamic, but also it's interpretive.  So my question is, do you think being a dancer has helped your voice career?

Tania Possick: Yes, absolutely, 100%.  I feel like, you know, what I teach my dancer students is that even if you are not a dancer, you don't do this as a profession later in life, you're always a dancer, the lessons that you learned stay with you forever.  It's just like you said, the taking direction, being flexible, and also being creative in it.  And you are a character when you're dancing in a way.  I feel like when it comes to voiceover timing is something that dancers are really great with and I feel like has helped tremendously.  But mostly for me, at least in taking direction, I know, as a teacher, I expect a lot out of my students.  And we're changing all the time, because sometimes we're performing with less people and more people and you just kind of have to learn to adjust.  And I feel like it's very similar in the voiceover industry, you just have to learn to adjust.  And if that's not something you're good at, it's going to be hard, it's going be difficult, to kind of stay on.

Mike Aiton: So you think you're quite receptive to being directed effectively.  And also, I think this the interesting your point about timing as well because she said being a dancer and her sense of timing was very important because she said, part of moving the faders and the knobs and the switches with respect to the picture and timing it's a performance.  And having good timing means you can do one rehearsal bang, you’ve got it, you can do the same thing again. 

Tania Possick: It truly is.

Mike Aiton: Or you can do two or three things at once and know what the fourth thing is coming up because that part of your brain is developed, that thinks sequencing.

Tania Possick: Yes, timing and doing multiple things at once, right, you're moving your legs, your arms, your head here, everything, you're blinking.  And when I've done dubbing, I have felt that a lot, because there's a certain time, and you have to watch the lips flapping and you have to say your words at the same time, and you're reading them off the screen and sometimes you're hearing it in another language or whatever it is, it feels like multitasking.  It's also very satisfying for me, as a dancer, in the voiceover world, I enjoy that sort of challenge.

Mike Aiton: Because effectively it's the sense of performance isn't it that you identify with?

Tania Possick: Uh-huh.

Mike Aiton: And you're tiptoeing your way around a dodgy director.  Sorry, that's a very poor analogy.  But speaking of which is my bad segue into you were talking earlier about your sense of direction.  So you take direction well, and you're adept at taking critique?

Tania Possick: Yeah, I think so.  I think it's what makes you a good actor, even if it's not going to be the last take to at least try something to see if it works, I think that's important.  And I know, on the flip side of that, as a choreographer, you have these ideas, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  And I'm sure directors are the same, sometimes they have these ideas, and they either work or they don't.  But to be working with someone who's able to work with you and at least try with you, I think that's important in a team.

Mike Aiton: Yes, indeed.  There's a lovely quote by Ben Burt, the famous sound designer for Star Wars, who said that sound design is about going down nine wrong avenues to find the 10th one, that's correct, that's what makes the really stand out sound. 

Tania Possick: I love that.

Mike Aiton: It's not having the fear to go wrong nine times and having the wisdom to know that nine attempts were wrong but finding that 10th.  And he said experience is about getting to the 10th a bit quicker, that's all. 

Tania Possick: Yes. 

Mike Aiton: So it's an interesting parallel sort of thought.  Do you like it when sound engineers or so sort of chip in because some directors or voice artists don't, and they're kind of, shut up and get on with engineering and other people have a more sort of collaborative style?

Tania Possick: Yeah, I don't mind it, I've been in situations where it's been both.  I feel like, since I've been at home, you know, there's certain teams that I work with consistently, and the engineer chimes in.  And I think it's great, because they're seeing the timing on their end, they're hearing different things that I may not pick up on.  With certain teams, it just feels more of a collaboration and so it feels great, I don't mind it. 

Mike Aiton: When you're working in another studio, do you prefer open or closed talkback between takes?

Tania Possick: It's usually closed and I don't mind that.  I don't need to- it's not something that I need to listen to.  But sometimes it's nice to hear just because you're like, "Oh, they're just talking about something that has nothing to do with my performance" or anything like that. So it's kind of-

Mike Aiton: They're discussing the football game tonight, yeah.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  It's a little bit of a relief because sometimes, you'll be kind of on hold for quite a while.  And you're going, "Oh, gosh, you know, I hope this is going well", and it really has nothing to do with you at all.

Mike Aiton: I found it quite an interesting question from the respect that some people have a sense of, I've just done a performance, I kind of need to rest and think and reflect and actually like to switch off while they have a little rabbit about with each other in the room about, "what do you think about that?   I liked take three the best."  And then they're like the sense of freedom until it's Tania, can we just do one more that does a bit more of it?  And you go, "Okay, well, I've got a clear message, bang, I know where I'm at, I can do that." 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: And other people kind of sense they like the roadmap way of getting there because they like to hear the background conversation and that enables them to get the result faster.  I think sometimes, I suspect it very much depends on the sense of dynamic within the room. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, I think so too.  I think, when it's these one-off jobs where I've never worked with the team before, I'm happy, doing the line and then like you said, like taking a moment grabbing some water.  And then there's other times with the teams that I work with more consistently, one I feel like I know them a little bit better, even if I've never met them in person.  And just hearing what their thought is like, "Oh, you know, maybe we should listen to it with picture", and then I can kind of hear, you know what they're watching or maybe I'll see it on my end and I go, "Okay, that makes sense."  And that feels to me like, I can do my job better because of that.

Mike Aiton: Okay, for sure.  But it's interesting the difference in the dynamics and depends on whether you're confident enough within your own space in the work environment in the booth to be able to say, it's okay to have silence for a while, that's not a problem. 

Tania Possick:   Yeah, it really is. 

Mike Aiton: They need thinking time.  And some people I think, are less secure and kind of like, not needy, that's the wrong word.  But have a sense of I need to hear because I want to feel involved and I don't like- I feel alone and in the dark and isolated.  And I think, you know, it's kind of like shredding as a paradox, it's both but neither, you know.

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: There isn't a clear win

Tania Possick: When I'm in a studio, it feels like it's more closed, and that's great.  Whereas here at home, I think you're sitting here in on my booth going, "Oh, okay well, it's been quiet for a while."

Mike Aiton: Yeah, -I'm watching the paint. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.  So it's a little bit different but yeah, either or, I'm happy.  It is nice to take a break sometimes.

Mike Aiton: Okay, let's, let's talk about you and your background.  How did you start in the industry? 

Tania Possick: Well, I was looking for an on-camera commercial agent, about seven or eight years ago now.  That's because I was a dancer transitioning, and I knew I was sort of not going to do dance full time anymore.  And I was like, what, on-camera seems like a good sort of transition.  And when I interviewed with an agency, they signed me for on-camera, commercial work, and for voiceover.  And I was just elated.  I was like, "Yes, this is so amazing, I've always wanted to do voiceover." 

Mike Aiton: I've got one yeah.

Tania Possick: I had a couple of friends that did voiceover and I was so curious about it, and how one would get started.  And it was really one of those things in my life that felt like, "Yes, this is a win."  And then I thought immediately after, I don't know what I'm doing, that was really interesting.

Mike Aiton: Yeah fake it till you make it, sort of thing.

Tania Possick: Essentially which is I guess how a lot of people do when you change course, in life.  And that was okay, by me.  I was so excited to start learning.  I kept getting auditions and I thought, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just kind of- this is what I think I'm supposed to do and my agent seemed happy.  I mean, I had an open conversation with him about it saying, "I need some guidance."  And he was like, "Oh no, you're great, you're doing great."  And it's been a long road and I've loved it, I really do you love voiceover.

Mike Aiton: So in a way you've kind of stumbled into it by to all intents purposes, thinking you were going to do on-camera work and then seem to pick up on the voiceover work?  

Tania Possick: Yeah, yeah.  And, you know, as much as I'd like to say that it fell into my lap, I think also with your other training and everything, it's really not far from the dance world like we were talking about, and it almost feels like I've been sort of training for this for my whole life, in a way.  Yeah, I got lucky, I think with the agent because I know a lot of people struggle with really presenting themselves for an agent.  I know it's hard work getting one, I'm sure even now during the pandemic, it's difficult.  So I feel really lucky in that regard.

Mike Aiton: Yeah, that I can understand.  So how do you think- as a dancer you've obviously had to physically train to keep your body in shape for the physical demands.  Do you think that's had a sort of an effect on you as a voice artist, where do you do vocal exercises?  Or have to actively maintain your voice?  And do you do treat it as a sort of an athletic temple in the same way a dancer treats her body?

Tania Possick: Yeah.   I've gone through a lot of, you know, vocal exercises, I try to warm up.  One thing that was interesting is that for a while I was teaching a lot of dance and doing voiceover work and someone could hear it in my voice that I have some rasp and that's all because of the teaching.  

Mike Aiton: Dance teachers do a lot of that sort of semi shouting and encouragement?

Tania Possick: All the time. 

Mike Aiton: Come on, yes, kick.  

Tania Possick: Yes, to the point where I do have a cyst in one of my vocal folds, and I had to see a doctor, an EMT a couple of years ago because it got so bad that just having a normal conversation like this was a struggle for me.  It felt like, my throat was tight, it felt like it was hard to get the words out.  Yeah, I went through a whole diet change, just to figure it out.  

Mike Aiton: Wow, did that really have an effect?

Tania Possick: Yes, it really did.  And then, I was going to get surgery actually, to get it removed from my throat, then the pandemic hit.  And so I actually did not ever get the surgery done.  But during the whole pandemic, because I was just working from home, my voice, just my throat just sort of healed.

Mike Aiton: Because it wasn't being strained by the dancing?  

Tania Possick: Yes, all of the time.  And it's insane how the body starts to adjust, when there's constant, blows to your throat or anything else.  So and it was kind of miraculous to me.  And so I've decided not to get the surgery but since I started teaching a little bit more in person, and I'm choreographing a show right now, I do feel that rasp coming back.  But I do feel like, I am highly aware when my diet is on point, when I'm resting my voice, when I'm doing my vocal exercises is definitely when I feel the best.

Mike Aiton: When you're on your A-game sort of? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, granted, I am not perfect and that doesn't happen all the time.  But when I really need to, I definitely go there.

Mike Aiton: Okay, that's, that's very interesting, actually.  Part of your source of discipline as a dancer has helped your pathway as a voice artist, but also your sense of as a professional dancer, you feel working professionally within the creative industry, whether it's in acting or whether it's in dancing, there's a sense of you know when it's right to stick your hand up and go, what about this?  And you know when it's right to be quiet? 

Tania Possick: Yes.

Mike Aiton: There's a sense of knowing the time and a place and a behavior that's right for the occasion, and that's professional.  You were sort of, I'm wondering if you were alluding to that earlier that you were sort of saying that-

Tania Possick: I think so.

Mike Aiton: When you say you feel like you've been training for this all your life, that's the part of what you've learned today, you've learned to behave professionally, creatively in front of other people?

Tania Possick: Yeah, I haven't put too much thought into that.  But I think when you work with people in creative spaces, it transcends from one to another.  I find that people in the dance world are fantastic and I find people in the voiceover world are fantastic.  And you know your roles, when you're a choreographer you listen to people's opinions, because they're the ones performing, not you necessarily.  And so when you have a dance assistant or something, and they have an opinion, and maybe this would work better, it's just a collaborative team effort.  And although, for the most part in the voiceover world, it seems like most of the directors I've worked with, they kind of know what they want, but sometimes they don't and will have to try things.  And I go, "Okay, you know, what if we tried this?"  And I'm not going to take over the whole session or anything, but there is definitely a sense of you know when maybe someone has a half idea, and you can meet them halfway.

Mike Aiton: Yes.  Or can I take your idea and roll with it further maybe this is what you're after? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Aiton: A lot of what you've learned has been sort of learning by experience and the sort of trial by fire effectively, in your voice career from what you've said. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: And do you think that's a good way of learning?  And if you had your time again, would you change anything? 

Tania Possick: Oh, boy.  Well, I think that even though I had no experience going into it, I definitely started taking classes after a little bit,

Mike Aiton: Okay, so you have done some sort of academic training?

Tania Possick: Oh, I have done so many classes, and that is something that- I mean, everyone needs to take classes.  And with multiple people, I think that's very important to learn from different people.  When I first stepped into a booth, I was so nervous and of course, this was long before the pandemic.  And when you could go take a class in person, and you would actually be able to step in a booth, put on some headphones, read the copy from the paper.  Like, I would get nervous every single time until one day, I just stopped being nervous.

Mike Aiton: What's the worst that could happen?  You get it wrong, and you do it again.

Right.  And but that's-

Mike Aiton: It's the plane is not going to crash.

Tania Possick: Exactly.  And that's the experience, that I feel like I'm so grateful for- also, I would never want to go back and be like, "Oh, man, I wish I took the classes first and then got the agent second".  Like, I'm very happy that I had the agent, supporting me before I even had any real experience because I was able to focus on gaining the knowledge versus trying to get an agent, which is a lot of relief.

Mike Aiton: Yes, I could imagine for someone who's trying to sort of find the agent, the temptation is I can never find an agent, because I'm not perfect yet, I need more classes.  And you get on this spinning cycle, I need more classes, I need to get better. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: And to the point where you're never going to be good enough to get an agent in your own head. Tania Possick: 

Right.  One thing that I tell my voiceover students, and I hear this all the time from other colleagues is you take classes first.  I mean, you really need the experience first to then make your demo to then pitch that to the agent.  And that would be the 'traditional way'

Mike Aiton: Traditional way.

Tania Possick: Right.  Traditional way.  The traditional route, which- and then, of course, there's people who have crazy stories, like, "Oh, someone heard my voice somewhere, and then they hired me for this job, that's how it became." 

Mike Aiton: Yeah there's a guy in the UK who's a bit like Don LaFontaine, the film guy. 

Tania Possick: Uh-huh. 

Mike Aiton: Who does, 'Imagine the world.'  And he used to work for the tube in London and he has this story about, "Oh, I was spotted because I was saying the next train arriving a platform for his firm", it's an utter lie. 

Tania Possick: Oh no.

Mike Aiton: It's not actually a true story but it sounds good, it sounds interesting.

Tania Possick: It sounds like a great story. 

Mike Aiton: You know? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, I'll try that one. 

Mike Aiton: This particular guy was an actor for donkey's years and had been in tons of humdrum things for years and years and years until he, like you he got an agent and then "Oh, maybe you should do voiceovers as well." Bang off, he was launching and that's his career now as a voiceover guy.

Tania Possick: Yeah. I think that's funny.

Mike Aiton: Sorry, world to shatter all the illusions.

Tania Possick: But let's get back to reality where you have to do the work. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah. 

Tania Possick: I definitely wouldn't change anything.  And for me, it always works out where, I'll take a class and I book something and I go, "Oh, this is this is getting to be like, I'm happy I do this."

Mike Aiton: Have you found much variability in the standard and variety of classes that you can take?

Tania Possick: Well, now it's so different because it's on Zoom, all of them are on Zoom, even my street acting classes on Zoom.  It has been an interesting launch into the future.  People who are- I know, a lot of people who have picked up voiceover during the pandemic, because maybe they got laid off of work, or maybe they had this, epiphany of, "I need to get out of my job now and do what I love," and have started working towards this new goal. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah, if I don't do it now, I never will. 

Tania Possick: Right, exactly.  And what's interesting with the Zoom classes is that, I've been in both I've been in the pre-Zoom era of classes and the post.  And, I mean, they're both equally great.  To be honest, the fact that we're practicing on Zoom is kind of great, because this is how a lot of my work is done now, remotely.  I don't go into a studio very often.  I mean, the last time I was in one was, weeks ago, and then before that months ago, almost everything I've done has been here at home.  And so, when your work circumstance changes, so do the classes. 

Mike Aiton: So you found it quite easy to adapt between changing your academic sort of consumption of education in your workplace environment, between being physical to going online?  In the same way, you've transitioned your workplace environment to being online, you've transitioned your learning, but you found you're quite adaptable, and it's worked both ways for you?  

Tania Possick: It's been fine, but I will just say that it sort of is what it is, you do what you have to do.  I mean, some people really don't like it.  I'm fine either way because I'm going to continue doing this.  So I have to accept, you can put up a defense but in reality like this is sort of our reality right now.  So I'm just kind of going with the flow.

Mike Aiton: You haven't got any choice? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, you don't have a choice.  I mean, now I'm starting to see rolling in when I get sent auditions, they'll be like, "Oh, you know, if you can do in person, please specify if you really want to stay remote, please specify."  So there's definitely a little bit more flexibility and I do know that people are going into studios now, it just seems like companies are I'm assuming saving money.

Mike Aiton: Do you think there's a bias in terms of if you asked to audition remotely, do you think the casting directors or the voice casting directors or whoever it is that's going to hire you have a bias?  

Tania Possick: Like whether they want to?

Mike Aiton: Whether they go, "Oh, gosh she wants to do online?  All right, if we have to." 

Tania Possick: I don't know because this is what I was going to say is that, I'm assuming they save a little money if they hire you to do all the work from home because you don't have to pay-

Mike Aiton: Studio time.

Tania Possick: A studio and then the engineers, so I'm not too sure- I think there are people in casting or directors that want to be in an office just as much as some actors and it's a matter of preference.  When it comes to on-camera stuff, I've had a couple of auditions in personnel and I remember those CDs, saying, "Oh, we can't wait to see you back in the office."  So there's, there's definitely people who have a preference as to what they want.

Mike Aiton: But you don't necessarily think there's a correlation or you've not been able to detect a correlation between your success in picking up roles, whether it's voice or on camera, or dancing, sort of work between in-person and doing it virtually?

Tania Possick: Well, when it comes to on-camera auditions. I love that home self-tape, I know a lot of people don't.  For me, it gives me the ability to really interpret the copy as much as I want to, which is the same with- auditions have been remote for a long time in voiceover, even pre-pandemic.  So I was already sort of used to that.  The one thing that has been hard to get used to has been actually recording at home because I was not prepared for that.  And some people have a little bit more space at home and this has been the interesting thing about the pandemic is seeing people's homes and their setups.  You have to have the money, and some people don't or the space.  But as far as on-camera stuff goes, I was very quick to again, purchase all the things that I needed to purchase and have been loving the self-tape, auditioning from home has been great.  I think there's been some correlation with my booking on-camera stuff, with doing it from home.  Because I'm able to be a little bit more creative whereas sometimes you step into an audition and there's a person with a camera and they go "Okay, slate, okay, do the line."  And maybe you've just gotten the line so you didn't know it beforehand and you don't really know what the spot is about

Mike Aiton: And they're telling you, can you be a bit more Brechtian?   And you're thinking? 

Tania Possick: Right.

Mike Aiton: He was (?busy like Ipsum 33:36) yeah, I think so.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And then sometimes they're like, "Okay, you're driving" and I'm like, you're just- it's a different space and some people really succeed at that.  For me, I prefer to set up my space in the way I want to in the most creative way that I can so that I can deliver it the best I can.  And the same thing with auditions at home, like, I think that's the benefit of having- I've been auditioning from home basically since I started.

Mike Aiton: So in a way, it's not actually new for you?  

Tania Possick: Not the auditioning.  No, I mean, I would rarely go to in-person auditions for voiceover.  There definitely were some, but I'd go to my agency's office, or I would go to some casting place.  Those were not very often, all of my bookings were in a studio.  And I do miss that because when you're home, like, we were talking about, we have the dogs and the kids and the this and that and there's distractions.  And every single time I'm going, "Okay, do I have everything connected into my laptop?  Am I missing something?  Is my iPad charged?"  There's a lot more going on. And I would prefer to just focus on the thing. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah, you're wearing a variety of hats because to a degree you're having to be a sound engineer, you're having to be self-critical and self-directing to a degree and go, is that the best I could have done for myself?  Do I have a better idea?  

Tania Possick: Right.

Mike Aiton: And sometimes a bit self-critique is I think, sometimes harder.  And there's a lovely adage in the world of sound mixers my world where we say, mixes are never ever finished, they're merely abandoned due to transmission.  And the day where you go, "I couldn't have done anything more to that scene" is the day almost you want to hang your hat up and go, "I've lost the plot, I've run out of ideas." 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: And anything, you could always do more, given more time, more money, more budget to make it better.

Tania Possick: Of course, of course.

Mike Aiton: I can have one more crack at it.  

Tania Possick: Well, I think with any art, it doesn't ever have to be finished.  You could work on a piece of art forever and ever and ever and ever and develop, develop, develop.  I mean, there is a point where you just go, "Okay, I think this is finished."  You can always pick it up again and do some more, you know.  

Mike Aiton: I've often wondered if Sting ever sits there and goes, "Yeah, that's quite a good song. I'm done." 

Tania Possick: "I'm done”.

Mike Aiton: "Next.  Yeah, when do we stop?" 

Tania Possick: "When does Sting stop?" 

Mike Aiton: Yeah when he's stung, yes.  That's my new joke for the day not bad for off-the-cuff. 

Tania Possick: I like it, it was quite good. 

Mike Aiton: Well, thank you, man.  Okay, so we've sort of been touching on the pandemic, in a way.  And we've been seeing that it has affected your work in that, your auditioning, for instance, is pretty much all virtual now and most of your actual work is now virtual. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: How do you see working in post-pandemic times?  If indeed there will ever be a post-pandemic?  Is there a brave new world coming, where people are saying, "You know, what, actually, Tania, we don't need you to come into the studio, you can give me a great setup from what you do, that works really well?  We don't have to drive into, we can sit in our suburbs and our swimming pool and direct on the phone or whatever we," that's an awful image, isn't it? 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: Not that I'm cynical.

Tania Possick: You know, I find that to be so such an interesting question.  Because there are people who I think, in this pandemic, are just dying to get back to whatever was before the pandemic, I get it.  But also, we've gone through this pandemic, and we are changed because of it.  And I don't think there is ever a going back.  And there is only the need for what's next.

Mike Aiton: The new forward?

Tania Possick: The new forward which is this for right now.  And I do think that this is going to be a format that stays just because I mean, are you saying we all bought all of this equipment and then we're just going to abandon it?  I don't feel-

Mike Aiton: And go back to the old way, I don't think so either yeah,

Tania Possick: I just don't think that can happen.  Now I think with animation and with group reads, I do think that eventually that will go together back to studios, just because chemistry and it's easier.  But I know tons of people on animated series who are working from home,

Mike Aiton: It's hard to be in a band when you're separated. 

Tania Possick: Right, right. 

Mike Aiton: But it can be done, it can be done,

Tania Possick: It has been done.  And that's the crazy thing is that over- that's what we've seen over the last year and a half or whatever long it's been now.  We've had to make it work and even though it might not be the easiest, after this is all is said and done, which we don't know when that is, that just might be what people are used to.

Mike Aiton: I suppose there's a parallel here in the same way that, if you think of Andy Serkis’, roles he's had, where he's done a lot of those sort of animatronic type things like Planet of the Apes, where he's had his face mapped with all the little white dots and his body movements. 

Tania Possick: Right.

Mike Aiton: And he's acted in scenes on his own, with all sorts of other things that he just had to imagine. 

Tania Possick: Right.

Mike Aiton: And it's all been put together, and that the strength of his performance is quite sensational when you think it's like singing half of a duet without the other half and he's had to imagine who he's singing harmony with.  And that blows my mind because I'm not a performer but so it's even more incredible.

Tania Possick: It is incredible to think about, it makes acting harder, but maybe not, I don't know.  Maybe being in your own little world where you're imagining everything makes it easier, you don't have to deal with an actual person and who knows?  I mean, mocap 39:36 I think will be in a place forever, like you have to go to the studio for that.  But yeah I think a lot of these things like doing commercials, voiceover commercials from home I think that's going to probably stay. Whether or not I like that, I'm not sure.  I mean, part of me goes, I didn't have Source-Connect, I got it early pandemic?

Mike Aiton: Are you an early adopter?

Tania Possick: Oh, yeah, yeah, like the moment everything was like-

Mike Aiton: We like the cut of your jib. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.  They're like, "Things are going to shut down."  I was like, "You know what I'm going to prepare."  And I really went through this whole ordeal where I prepared as much as possible before anything shut down.  It was one of the smartest things I did just because I know there was a shortage in certain like, microphones, it was really hard to get certain microphones and there was just all sorts of issues but so I was happy to be prepared in that way.  I lost my train of thought but

Mike Aiton: Platform three, yes.

Tania Possick: Like what am I talking about, yeah,

Mike Aiton: You were talking about you being prepared and being a big early adopter of Source-Connect?  

Tania Possick: I wouldn't have been here sitting with you, from my home, like, it's really easy to just pop into my workspace here and just go, "Oh, I'm working remotely with a person in wherever" you know.  And that's pretty freaking awesome.

Mike Aiton: Contrary to popular belief, I am a person, yes.

Tania Possick: Oh yes, yes.

Mike Aiton: I'm not an AI robot asking questions.

Tania Possick: Right, thank goodness, yeah.  And I find that to be fascinating.  And when you think of childhood thoughts going, what does the future look like?  I mean, I'm kind of living that right. 

Mike Aiton: You're living the dream effectively? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, I don't think I-

Mike Aiton:  Or on the journey of the dream?  

Tania Possick: On the journey of the dream and this is what this is currently, and who knows what's going to happen later.  But yeah, this is an interesting way to work.  I find it fascinating, I find it amazing that we can still be creative.  I think that it's amazing that we can still create something despite the hardships that we've been through and how separated we are, it's amazing.

Mike Aiton: At Source Elements, we have a philosophy that when we're apart, making things together, helps us stay connected as human beings and creates a bond.  How do you feel about that as a statement?

Tania Possick: Yeah. 100%.  I think when we talk about not feeling alone, even though we are alone, it's just we know that so many people or we should know that so many people are going through the same things or have gone through the same things that we have.  I think if you have a moment to really think about that, when you're feeling alone, it really makes you feel less alone.  So just making things together, as you said and being connected, like you and I are ponds away and here we are.  

Mike Aiton: Yeah, we're 4000 miles apart, if not five.

Tania Possick: Yeah, having-

Mike Aiton: Yeah, we're joined by 200 milliseconds.

Tania Possick: I mean, we're having a conversation in real-time, I love that I really, truly do.  And I truly think that for artists, at least, it is how to stay connected like even though we are apart, I feel like staying connected is so important.  We were talking about, during this whole pandemic that like, I feel like we were so isolated and yet we were all sharing this thing of not being together and we were able to still make art.  People were still able to work in voiceover, create things and share them on the Internet, whether it's-

Mike Aiton: Like collaborate. 

Tania Possick: Yammer or via text or whatever, and collaborate- and you saw a lot of collaborations.   I saw- I don't know if you saw the ratatouille Tik Tok musical?  

Mike Aiton: No, I missed that.

Tania Possick: I did.

Mike Aiton: That little gem, yeah,

Tania Possick: No, but it was fantastic.  And I actually cried, I think because, in that time, it was just one of these crazy things that would only happen in a pandemic.  I don't know another time when it would have happened like these things will blossom.  And it was a full-on, amazing production via Zoom and it was amazing.  And those are the things that make you feel, oh.  

Mike Aiton: Yes, it's like all the Zoom orchestras and things that have happened.

Tania Possick: Yes.

Mike Aiton: No one would have had the energy or the impetus to have ever done that before yet these connection tools were all available. 

Tania Possick: Yes. 

Mike Aiton: Before the pandemic.

I know.

Mike Aiton: No one had the imagination to step out and go, "I'm going to do that because I can and it's new and it's different." 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: It's like the situation created the art- a new art form which is about exploring what we've been able to do but haven't seen it as a possibility.

Tania Possick: Right.  And that is so interesting, it makes you think, well what other things are we missing out on right now?  Because we're looking for things that are the color red, but there's also other things that are colored yellow around us that we just are not paying attention to.

Mike Aiton: Or pink, pink is the new red. 

Tania Possick: Pink is the new red millennial pink. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And so I do feel like these collaborations do help us.

Mike Aiton: I think in a way it's been the start, not the end of the pandemic.

Tania Possick: That's fantastic. I love that.

Mike Aiton: Boy, I'm trying to get profound on a Friday night. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, you really are very profound.

Mike Aiton: I should eat less biscuits.  

Tania Possick: [laughs]

Mike Aiton: So how do you think your clients find working remotely?  We've discussed how you found it and your creative experience and also your emotional connection with being able to create and being able to talk to idiots in London on a podcast, for instance, on a Friday morning for you, Friday night for me.

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: But how do you think your clients have found it?  What's your feedback and experience of that?

Tania Possick: Well, things have all seemed to go well, on the jobs that I've done.  I don't think I've had any big mishaps, thankfully.  I'm sure they have the same concerns that I have, which is "Oh, gosh, I hope our connection is great."  Or, you know, "I hope I'm able to direct them from here."  But I think we're all getting used to it, at least with certain clients.  I've never met them before, I've worked with them for years, some of them and they're all in other cities.  So we've used Source-Connect for a long time when I was in the studio, I just happened to be in a studio- I think it depends on the person again.  Yeah, I've definitely heard some dogs and crying on their end.  The great thing about them on their side is that they might be, "Oh no, like, that seems unprofessional but at least it's not being recorded." 

Mike Aiton: Yes. 

Tania Possick: On my end, it's like, oh, it's unprofessional and also I have to record this.  So really fingers crossed that I don't hear anything or have any distractions.

Mike Aiton: You have a family, I take it?

Tania Possick: Well, I actually live by myself, but I live in a house-

Mike Aiton: You have a dog? 

Tania Possick: I have a dog, I live in a duplex and so there's neighbors upstairs and they have children and dogs.

Mike Aiton: And there's a whole world outside, yeah.

Tania Possick: Yes.  And there's a whole world outside.  And so it can get interesting when you're about to log in and you hear a huge thump or something and you're just going, please,

Mike Aiton: Oh I see now is the time they want to use the pile driver just when I'm doing my whispering love scene.

Tania Possick: Yeah, yeah, I'm like, "What are they doing, bowling upstairs?"  I don't even know it.  But for the most part, it has been great.

Mike Aiton: Have you found clients tolerant of when things haven't been quite perfect on that front?

Tania Possick: Yeah, so usually, I'll take my dog to my mom's house so that I can have like a clear- if I have many bookings or if I have something that's like, I know is going to be quiet or something because you just never know.  And so I'd rather not have my dog here, because I feel like "Oh, there just is that possibility that she could bark and I don't want it".  So I'll take her to my mom's house.  But there have been times where I've had her here and I've just told the clients like, "Hey, I wasn't able to take my dog anywhere so she's here."  And they seem to be understanding because I think they are dealing with the same exact thing on their end. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah.  In the same way, people have learned to not wear pajamas in meetings.

Tania Possick: Right.  At least not up top right? 

Mike Aiton: Yeah, we've all learned to adapt and we've all seen the hilarious videos where wives or husbands or whatever have walked in, in their whatever looking for what, "My trousers? Oh, you're on a Zoom meeting?  Oops."

Tania Possick: Right, yeah. 

Mike Aiton: We've all had those moments.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And I think, again, it is what it is.  We're all human.  I mean, I hope that the clients have been satisfied with the work that I've done, we've always gotten things done.

Mike Aiton: They keep coming back?

Tania Possick: They keep coming back, so that is good. 

Mike Aiton: That's the important thing, yeah,

Tania Possick: Yeah.  But like I said, I mean, even on their end I've heard stuff, you hear sure sirens and honking and dogs and kids and spouses, yeah.  And you know what, I think at this point, I live in Los Angeles, there's a ton of studios that I could go to.  So if they really wanted to, they would book a studio for me, if it really came down to it, I think.

Mike Aiton: Yes, push comes to shove 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: Yeah, it's funny how the people with beer income sometimes have champagne taste. 

Tania Possick: Mm hmm. 

Mike Aiton: Nobody wants to pay for the studio but they expect utter studio quiet.

Tania Possick: Right. 

Mike Aiton: Ironic that.

Tania Possick: It really is.

 

Interview Part 2

 

Mike Aiton: In episode seven, we found out just how saucy was LA actress, voice artist, and choreographer, Tania Possick.  We laughed a lot and debated the relationship between dance and voiceover, the fine line of when to finish an artistic project, and remote working and auditioning in the pandemic.  In this episode number eight, we discuss the market changes in voice style. How to Learn, Tania's tech, the enjoyment of performance, the ginger guy, and our relationship with agents, talent, not secret, 'On the mic', quite frankly, it's rude not to.  What YouTube channels or Instagram accounts, would you recommend either for learners or indeed for experienced people in your field?  Who do you watch?  And who have you learned from that you can recommend to your colleagues?  

Tania Possick: Hi.  Well, mostly to new people, because I think people who do my thing are probably aware, but I remember I would watch Booth junkie on YouTube. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah, I don't think there's anyone who hasn't said Booth Junkie. 

Tania Possick: Exactly. 

Mike Aiton: I must interview him, he seems to be uniquely popular. 

Tania Possick: Well, he just- I think even before the pandemic, he was making stuff.  So it was great because I think the videos were already up there, from who knows when, reviews of microphones and all this stuff.  And so I think it was just easy to hop on, especially for people who just started during the pandemic, like what information is out there.  "Oh, let me just Google or YouTube search," and like, boom, there he is.  I think there's a wealth of knowledge to be learned there.  Well, I run an Instagram account called Women in VO, that's a great source for women in the voiceover world.  I like to follow Disney, all the biggies, Disney, Netflix, just because I think it's important to stay on trend and to hear what's out there.  There's been a huge change-

Mike Aiton: Where are the markets going? 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: I mean, the trend of fashion is quite important.

Tania Possick: I mean, it has changed since I started and it's just so much more- everything is so much more conversational and we don't want a voice actory actor sound.

Mike Aiton: Yeah, people are commenting that they're being asked for a lot more conversational style, and a lot less of the, "Hi, welcome to the voiceover", people don't seem to want that kind of overblown style anymore, it goes with the 80s and shoulder pads.

Tania Possick: Right.  No announcers.  I mean, I know celebrities voice a lot of animation, but someone posted something about Kim Kardashian West.  I don't know what it is Paw Patrol, maybe, she was doing a voice, and how interesting, right?  Because we think of her voice and she's so mellow, like, so mellow.  So it's just interesting, I think this is what kids ages two to five are going to be watching.

Mike Aiton: So our kids are going to grow up like stoners, going hey man, you know.

Tania Possick: Well, that I mean, that's what their ears will be attuned to hearing.  It's interesting to start picking up on things like that, and what are kids are used to listening to.  When I was a kid, it was more like, a superhero and even the funnier characters were kind of big and-

Mike Aiton: Larger than life, yeah.

Tania Possick: Larger than life. 

Mike Aiton: When I was a kid the only American stuff we tended to get was sort of Starsky and Hutch or Rockford Files and stuff like that.  Most TV in the UK was UK-based, so it was various sort of, "Hello, welcome to the BBC."  Yeah.  "It's all quite proper, really. And today we're going to entertain you kitty winkies by doing something creative.

Tania Possick: Yeah, that was good.  You should get into voiceover

Mike Aiton: Certainly not I'm way better on this side of the glass, trust me.

Tania Possick: So yeah, I mean, I just think it's interesting to see where that's going.  So anything you can follow online artists, or animation or shows, things that are coming out, projects that people have worked on.  And I always say this to everyone who comes to me, women in VO they're like, I'm just getting started.  I'm like, "Follow all the people that you admire who are doing what you want to do" and I think that's super important.

Mike Aiton: Adapt it and become yourself.  

Tania Possick: To learn from your peers.

Mike Aiton: Yes. 

Tania Possick: Because you don't know what you'll pick up. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah.

Tania Possick: I think other people who are in the business, they go, "Oh, I just took this wonderful class from so and so," and then they tag so and so.  And then you take that class, and it's always great to see what your friends are doing-

Mike Aiton: Wisdoms or experience is sort of spread organically. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.  Because if they loved it then you might too, or maybe you won't, but then there's always something to be learned.

Mike Aiton: I find it quite interesting that you say that, because when I joined the BBC, as a little punk back in back in the late 80s, in the days of valves and quarter-inch tape, I remember sort of thinking, "Wow, there's so many really talented people in the sound department, there's 120 really clever people."  And I took the approach I'm going to find out what the best thing is about each person.  And I'm going to take that one or two things from each person, take their best things, and then I'm going to try and grab them and absorb them and throw them into my ecosystem.  And I can never be as good as them at being them and what they do, but I can take some of their sauce and grab it and someone else's sauce and someone else's sauce, combine it and make my own sauce. 

Tania Possick: I love that.

Mike Aiton: Which may or may not work.

Tania Possick: It may or may not be right.  If it's you and it's authentically you-

Mike Aiton: Here I am Oscar listeners.

Tania Possick: Oh, my gosh.  And interviewing me, oh.   Hey, there's still time.

Mike Aiton: There's not the inclination, trust me.  So there's only so many butts one can give lovey?

Tania Possick: Yeah.  

Mike Aiton: Let's talk through your setup. 

Tania Possick: Okay. 

Mike Aiton: You're a Mac girl.

Tania Possick: Yeah, I have a Mac Book Pro, which like I said, I'm really hoping to upgrade to the new fanless the M1 very soon, just because my laptop is very old and has always done the job.  But I know when I upgrade, I'll have to also upgrade my interface and lots of other goodies, which is fun.  I love tech.  I don't know very much about it but I love it and I love playing around with it.

Mike Aiton: I admire your attitude because you say I don't know much about it but I'm going to give it a go. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: I love that because the sound world is relatively similar where except that people think they know all about their tech.

Tania Possick: No, no.

Mike Aiton: The reality is actually not always true. 

Tania Possick: Right.  I'm smart enough to figure stuff out, it just takes me a little while to get there.  But I definitely have the drive to do so because I do enjoy it.  It's like tinkering with things, I like that.  I think it's the discoveries you make is fun. 

Mike Aiton: Okay.  So you're using predominantly a laptop, then?  Do you keep it outside of your recording space?  Or do you bring it in with you?

Tania Possick: So I bring it in with me. I haven't had a huge problem.  I do put it outside if it's a really long session, but even then I have not had too bad of a problem.  I prefer it being right in front of me.  There's something about having it right here. 

Mike Aiton: Immediacy. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.  Because I do have a monitor and I do have a wireless keyboard and mouse and everything.  But I don't know what it is, I just feel like maybe something could happen outside.  I don't know what it is but I like having it in here.  

Mike Aiton: It makes you comfy. 

Tania Possick: That's what I usually do. 

Mike Aiton: Okay, so what's your audio interface then?

Tania Possick: Okay, so I have an Apogee Duet, which again, I would have to upgrade if I were to get a new computer, so.  But I love it, it's portable, it's great. 

Mike Aiton: It's quiet. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, it is.

Mike Aiton: And they have very low noise preamps from memory. 

Tania Possick: Yes and they're great.  I mean, I actually got this because someone at Outlaw studio, another great studio here in LA recommended it to me.  He was like, this is what I use.  I was like great, sounds great and I've loved it.  

Mike Aiton: What's your digital audio workstation that you use?

Tania Possick: I mostly use Garage Band.  But I have Adobe Audition, which I will use on occasion but I just find Garage Band to be so easy, I don't have to work recording.  I don't do things like narrations.  I don't have these long, long, long sessions. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah. 

Tania Possick: So for me, this is just really easy when I work and I do a lot of commercial work so it's pretty quick.

Mike Aiton: So a lot of commercial work is top and tailing effectively rather than deep detail. 

Tania Possick: Right, right. 

Mike Aiton: Which is why Garage Band is working well for you?

Tania Possick: Exactly.  So for me, this is what's worked, but yeah, I do have Adobe Audition.  I can use it well enough, but I could probably use some classes in DAWS, just different ones.

Mike Aiton: Okay, so what's your microphone poison of choice?  

Tania Possick: Okay, well, I have the Sennheiser 416.  That is my phases, I don't see myself using another mic for a while unless asked to.  I do have a Neuman TLM 103, which I don't use because obviously, the sound in here is- it would pick up a lot of stuff. 

Mike Aiton: A very fine choice. 

Tania Possick: Thank you.

Mike Aiton: And how have you treated your space acoustically?

Tania Possick: Okay, I have I forgot what these are called, but tons of foam.  I do have some clothing in here.  And I do have, what are these called?  I have some very, very heavy sound absorption blankets that I have mounted.

Mike Aiton: Oh the sound blankets? 

Tania Possick: Yes, but they're a specific brand and I cannot for the life of me remember what they're called.  They're quite awesome, they really are, they're very dampening, I love them.

Mike Aiton: Now let's now think about studio chairs.  It's been said that sitting is the new smoking. How do you feel about that statement?  Are you a stander or a sitter?

Tania Possick: I do sit, most of the time I do.  If I were in a studio, I do not sit.  So I think this has to do with the comfort of my own booth.  I can stand and I will for certain things but because I do a lot of commercials and they want really grounded reads and I feel like I tend to do fine while I'm sitting. 

Mike Aiton: Yes. 

Tania Possick: Now I do have an iPad. 

Mike Aiton: Some want to ramble, and they gesticulate more and create lots of movement and noise and wander On and Off mic too much if they're standing, I found.  

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And if I'm standing, it works great when I'll have to be worked up, let's say for like, video game audition or something.  But sometimes I'll just go outside and kind of run around for a second and just kind of get my energy up in different ways rather than trying to do it in here.

Mike Aiton: Take five ecstasy tablets, and then go what's the problem?

Tania Possick: That's exactly what I do, how did you know?  Just kidding, don't?  People are like she's really?

Mike Aiton: She's out there this girl, yeah.

Tania Possick: Yeah she's really doing it.  No, but it's great.  I have an iPad, which is where- I've stopped printing scripts, which is great. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah.

Tania Possick: Saves a lot of paper.

Mike Aiton: Save the whale and the trees.  

Tania Possick: That's right.  I use my iPad, I mark up on my iPad, it's been probably the best investment that I've made with the Apple Pencil.  It's so fantastic.  Sometimes for me to see that it's just easier while I'm sitting because it's mounted- I have a mount on my desk, but I can pull it up.  It's just then my face goes down a little bit I think.  So. I don't know, sitting has definitely been what I do mostly.

Mike Aiton: Do you have an ortho chair sort of thing?  Like Herman Miller or something of that ilk?  Or is it just a standard office chair?

Tania Possick: No, it's just a standard office chair, it works just fine, it's cozy enough for me.

Mike Aiton: I imagine you have to look after your physique as a dancer sort of thing.  So presumably, your level of fitness and stamina and all that jazz is relatively high. 

Tania Possick: Well, listen, I don't perform anymore so I don't have to look any sort of way.  But yeah, I mean, my posture is pretty good.  I definitely can't sit for too long, I don't find it comfortable.  So I do like to walk around.  So if I'm in here for too long, I definitely got to go outside, take a walk, and then I'll come back. 

Mike Aiton: Okay.  What would you say is the recipe for your success?  What are your top ingredients do you think?

Tania Possick: I think being consistent and finding joy in everything and just sort of cutting loose a little bit.  I know for me, that's very difficult for a lot of people it's not very difficult.

Mike Aiton: You sound like quite a relaxed person you certainly have quite a sense of humor.

Tania Possick: You know people say that to me. 

Mike Aiton: Yeah, you come across.

Tania Possick: No, I definitely have a sense of humor, yeah.  I feel like I can be a perfectionist and that's hard because, in the arts, there is no right and wrong.  And the only thing that's right, let's say in dance is okay, doing two pirouettes.  Like you can do two pirouettes and you know you've accomplished it because you've done the two rotations, right.  Whereas in things like voiceover and acting- 

Mike Aiton: Did you achieve sadness? 

Tania Possick: Yeah, there's no right or wrong.  Yeah, there's no, I hit the target.  I mean, the target is accomplishing the job, I think but in the moment, there's endless possibilities.  So I think being okay with that, finding the fun and the joy, and then being consistent because I think you don't have to start being good at this, as long as you really want it.  I think that's what keeps people in the game.

Mike Aiton: Yeah.  What seems to be coming across is your sort of passion and your enjoyment for the craft?

Tania Possick: Yeah.  

Mike Aiton: You enjoy the getting there, it's not actually arriving at the endpoint, it's the journey.  It's the performance and the enjoyment of, "Oh we tried three different things and they were all quite different and they all have merit, but the one the producer wanted, in the end, was number two, okay.  And the same way, a lot of people do auditions, and then they say, can you try this?  Can you try that?  Can you try this?  And then they go back to exactly how it was at the beginning, and they go, can you give me that?  And yeah, okay, so it's the same as the beginning, the first thing I ever thought of, fine, whatever.  It's like, the journey is the important thing and it's the joy of the journey.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And, like I said, it can be hard for a person like me, who's hoping to feel that sense of, I did it well.  But this is good for me like I think this is great for me actually, just having and knowing that things aren't perfect.  And sometimes the one that you didn't even think was going to be the one ends up being the take that they get and you're like, "Oh, that's great, I'm happy we found it," whatever it was.

Mike Aiton: Yes.  It's finding joy in other people's happiness effectively. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton: Ultimately the best happiness doesn't come from yourself, it comes from making someone else happy. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton: I read Facebook, you can tell, said cynically.

Tania Possick: I want to see how many quotes you have.  

Mike Aiton: What would be the thing you would most like our listeners to be able to take away from this interview?  Apart from "Hi, I'm Tania, my number's this?"

Tania Possick: Yeah.  You know, one thing I like to talk about is that I got here- I don't even know how I got here, no one in my family is an artist.  Not that I didn't have support in my journey. But I definitely didn't have a lot of encouragement, because no one knew what the heck I was doing.

Mike Aiton: You're a bit like the person who first went to college in the family, no one knows what to expect.

Tania Possick: Yes.  And I literally was when I said, "Oh, I'm going to the school," you know, people were like, "What is that?"  You know,  and you're like, "Oh, okay, cool."  What I want to say to people is that, if you want to do this, do it, there's no other time.  I really feel like, the older I get, I'm always like, "Oh, man, I'm getting so old."  Or, "Oh, man, I started acting way later than my friends who started acting when they were like two."  

Mike Aiton: And they're living off their royalties. 

Tania Possick: And they say that.  Yeah, totally, they're like, "Oh, I did commercials at two."  And this is a whole new business for me still, seven years later, eight years later, however long I've been doing it, it still feels new.  And if people can really stop and it doesn't even have to be this industry, but I'm assuming if they're listening to this are somewhat involved in this industry.  But I think if you can really stop and think about the things that you love to do, and try to go for it, because what else are we going to do?

Mike Aiton: That's also actually quite a common theme.  A lot of people that I've asked the question to have said, I wish I'd done this earlier.  And I mean, someone said to me, what was your experience of having children?  I kind of said, I wish I'd done it when I was younger. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, interesting.

Mike Aiton: Simply for the reason that I would have had, I don't know, 15%/ 20% more energy than I do now because I'm 55.

Tania Possick: Exactly.  I think about when I see people, and, they've had great success as actors or whatever.  And I'm just excited to be working with them because some of them, their parents were in the industry.  And so they've known this industry inside and out.  And they have since- it's just all they've known since they were a kid.  And just to be around that is, it's pretty fantastic.  I'm lucky to even just be here because I could have just have been sitting in an office-

Mike Aiton: Become a tax accountant.

Tania Possick: Doing who knows what-  right?  Which is not something that I would have ever done, but I could and I would have been fine at it, would I have been happy?  Probably not.  So I'm excited to just be a part of the arts and in one way or another.

Mike Aiton: Moving on from that how would you like to change the industry if you could?  If you could wave your magic Tania wand?  

Tania Possick: I've seen a lot of change recently at least with, seeing more women in the industry, that's been a big thing.  And people of color in the industry, that's been a huge thing.  Like everything else, for people who don't have money, it always feels like, I didn't grow up with any money.  So it always felt like the arts or the industry, it's something that people who already have connections do.  And you see it still, it's a lot of people whose kids are, Steven Spielberg's kids, are going to be great directors as well.  But it always felt impossible for people like me, who had no ties to the industry.  So I do love and would love to see just continuing more of these- I know Disney was doing like a Latino directing thing, like they're giving away these, mentorships, or whatever.  I just love that, I love to see that because I think these are stories that we need to hear.

Mike Aiton: A friend of mine works for a charity that helps promote low-income people to get into the arts in London, especially into television. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.  Just to change the idea that you can do it, it is a possibility.

Mike Aiton: Yes, you don't need to have a Cambridge degree to get into the BBC, which used to be a little bit the case in the old days.  How do you find and I'm slightly loath to ask the question because I never view people's gender or identity or color, I view feed them as people, talent, and sometimes a cost.  And I have to wrap all those things.  Are they fun to work with?  Can they do the job?  And can I afford them?  It's as simple as that.  And can I afford them is always the last question.  And it's, I never think, "Oh, is it a man or a woman?"  And I never think when I have clients coming into my studio, "Oh, it's a woman, will she mind spending all day sitting in my garden with me?  In my studio?"  Because some husbands might think," Oh, that's not very appropriate."  How do you find being a woman in the industry?  And have you got anything you'd like to share or any particular feelings on this subject? 

Tania Possick: Well, thankfully, I've not had any terrible situations happen.  I do hear from women because I get emails and messages from women all of the time.  And one of them said she was experiencing what she felt was, a lot of sexism from- 

Mike Aiton: Inappropriate.

Tania Possick: Yeah, well, the, just more like, she had a goal to do something.  And then that person was like, "Well, I don't think that's going to work."  It's interesting to still hear that, it's upsetting because more than anything, it's just like, what right does someone have to tell someone else that they can or cannot do something?  Especially when it's not been asked of them?  I understand if you're a mentor, and you're trying to guide someone, and you're helping them find their niche,

Mike Aiton: The difference is the solicited opinion versus the unsolicited?

Tania Possick: Right. 

Mike Aiton: And the unsolicited is often crueler.  

Tania Possick: Right.  And I feel like there's still a little bit of that.  I've seen a change, even in just maybe the change hasn't happened, but just being aware of it, and having these conversations is important.  

Mike Aiton: So you think it's in a way, it's a change that I as an interviewer, and also as a sound mixer. in post-production, I'm asking you the question, how do you feel as a woman, is a positive change?

Tania Possick: Exactly.  Absolutely.  I think you just even mentioning it is something that, it should be discussed.  And I don't have a personal story to tell, or a horror story or anything like that. 

Mike Aiton: I'm glad to hear. 

Tania Possick: Yeah, and I do feel the one thing is like, I think I've only worked with maybe two female engineers before.  One of them recently, just like, for I had a callback for something and when she was like, "Oh, hi, this is so."  And I was like, "Whoa", like, I really was like, "Whoa, this is great, fantastic." 

Mike Aiton: You're a what? Yeah.  

Tania Possick:  And then, and then one other woman that I worked with a long, long time ago in Santa Monica and that's it and I know that there's other women engineers out there, I just haven't worked with them personally.  And talking about collaboration, the change, those opinions, and hearing what the perspective of a woman might be, not because it's better, but because it's equally as important.  

Mike Aiton:  And because maybe it's different and sometimes-

Tania Possick: It's different. 

Mike Aiton:  And different, I think different should be embraced.

Tania Possick: Absolutely.  And I've definitely worked with more female directors and producers, so that's been really great.  And writers actually so it's nice to talk to them and see what their opinions are.  And it's always a little bit different working with women, rather than men.  And I think, to give them the opportunity, as we were just saying, with the person that you were talking to saying, "Oh, well, you're the wrong sex and you went to the wrong school."  Like, that's BS. 

Mike Aiton: How dare you is how I feel.

Tania Possick: How dare you?  Yeah.  

Mike Aiton:  I mean, even though it was 30 years ago but I still think How dare you?  How dare I've worked for a company that did that- that behavior was perpetuated in?  

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And I still think that that happens, it's just now we are more vocal about it rather than, taking a backseat and going, "Okay, well, that wasn't great."

Mike Aiton:  That's Weinstein, okay, yes, 

Tania Possick: Yeah , it does feel at least like something has been shifting and I'm hoping it's more positive.  I do find that we're hearing from people that we maybe normally wouldn't have heard from, like you said, though, because, maybe before they didn't go to the right school, or?  

Mike Aiton: Yes, maybe there's becoming a little bit more of a meritocracy rather than an autocracy by certain routes, that's family or nepotism sort of related acts. 

Tania Possick: Right. 

Mike Aiton:  Now, there's, I suppose it's like the parallel of the music industry

Tania Possick: Yes.

Mike Aiton:  Where the great thing is that there are no record companies anymore, so they don't control who we listen to.  So theoretically, anyone can break it, anyone can be a Billy Eyelash or, as I call her.  Or who's the ginger guy?  What's his name?  

Tania Possick: Ed Sheeran.

Mike Aiton:  Ed Sheeran, thank you. I'm sure he loves me referring to him as the ginger guy.  You should hear what he says about me. 

Tania Possick: Oh, boy.

Mike Aiton:  Yeah, these people are self pen, self-released to a degree. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  And talent can rise.  But then the downside of there being no music companies is there's no music companies anymore so now artists are having trouble selling their music.  And you've got streaming services that want to give them one 1/5 of a cent–

Tania Possick: Yeah pennies.

Mike Aiton:  Per 200 trillion plays. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  And that doesn't feel right, either.  So artists are having to sell T-shirts and mugs and coffee cups to-

Tania Possick: Merch.

Mike Aiton: Merch rather than music.  But that's maybe the nature of the changing world that we do have to learn, we do have to adapt. 

Tania Possick: And hopefully, I mean, someone stands up to that and says, "Hey, this is not working, this is a broken system."  There's a lot of that, yeah.

Mike Aiton:  Well, that leads me to my next question, which is about Unions versus non-unions really, because, in America, I think there's about to be a ballot of the creative industries as to whether they should strike or not.  Some of it, which is about their gripe with the Spotify and the Apples and the iTunes of the world who are claiming that they can pay less money for all their royalties and things for streaming because it's an unknown vehicle and unknown market and all this sort of thing, it has less value.  Well look at the award ceremonies who won the most awards, these people are winning awards, the Apples and the Netflix's of the world, they are the predominant platforms now.  So actually, I think they have a moral obligation to start paying more.

Tania Possick: Absolutely.  I mean, I will say this on the topic, it just, it feels like it's been years in the making.  And again, I feel the same way with insurance here in the States.  Why are we all contributing to the system when we know it's broken?  It doesn't feel right.  And I feel for these people.

Mike Aiton:  Are you talking about medical insurance?

Tania Possick: Yes, medical insurance, yes. 

Mike Aiton:  Yeah, sorry.  When you say insurance in England, because we don't have medical insurance, we think of, "Oh, why are you bitching about your car insurance or your house insurance?" 

Tania Possick: Well that's what it means, right?  That's why I bring it up too.  It's like here, it feels like we're constantly bitching about something and then also still doing it because we have to do it.  And I'm happy that these strikes are happening with the union because it just- it's pretty awful, the things that some people put up with.  It's insane to me, there's this big wave on the internet, of course, that's been happening, there's a lot of people telling their stories and you're going "What?  Like, this is unbelievable.  How is this happening and the unions are supposed to protect you?" 

Mike Aiton:  You shouldn't be working seven days in a row, yes.

Tania Possick: Right, exactly.

Mike Aiton:  Or if you have to you should be compensated for it.

Tania Possick: It's terrible that we've gotten to the point where we feel if we don't do that, then we're just going to be chastised for it by never working again.  Which is what it feels like it, it's like, "Well, okay, well, if you don't do this, then there's someone right around the corner who's going to just take your job then and then we'll never hire you for this job again."  I think that is shameful, so I'm, happy that something big is going to happen.

Mike Aiton:  To a degree, I think you have to vote with your feet on that front that I've long maintained in sound, especially in post-production.  People don't buy on price. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  People actually buy on trust, will you deliver my project on time?  On budget to the standard I want?  Yes or no.  And that's what it's about.  And actually, often people think, if I bid lower, I'll get the job.  No, you'll get the job because of your experience and you're known to be able to deliver the product. 

Tania Possick: Yeah.

Mike Aiton:  So it's rarely about price.  But people use price as a vehicle to bid your rates down.  So I've been personally, quite a kind of advocate of "No, sorry.  Do you ask your bank manager to mix sound?"  And they always go, "No."  "So don't ask me to do loans, you've got to pay your invoice within 30 days, or you will see a solicitor's letter.  Let's be firm about that." 

Tania Possick: Yes.  So I hope that there is-

Mike Aiton:  So I don't do banking.

That's right, not my job, I'm not doing it.  That's another interesting thing about working from home, it's like we were talking about putting on all these hats.  To what avail?  Like, at what point does it stop?  Will we continue to do all the work ourselves?  And what other things are we going to be expected to do?  That's the one thing that's concerning with, this does become the normal, people now editing their own things and the standard is to have a professional microphone and a professional booth.  And even with on-camera well, you have to have a good camera with a nice clean background, and then this and that.  And it's a lot to ask, I mean.

Mike Aiton:  Then you need lighting.

Tania Possick: And lighting, and make sure that- and the way that they speak to you sometimes.  I know, I've been in auditions with people even on Zoom, where they're clearly not prepared and they don't know how to use their devices still after years.  But some of these people are older.

Mike Aiton:  Or they're not wearing headphones when they're remote working.

Tania Possick: Yeah.  And I get it like people are like, "Okay, we've been doing this for a while, why haven't you gotten it?"  But I don't know, I don't know what to say to that because I don't know those people's circumstances.  

Mike Aiton: No.

Tania Possick: We all like to think like, well, I got my stuff together, why don't you?  But like, we don't know, we don't know.  

Mike Aiton:  Well not everyone does their research.  A very wealthy person once told me that reconnaissance is never wasted. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  So do your research, do your homework, learn the brief, interpret the brief.  And someone I was interviewing recently was saying that they're shocked continually by the amount of people who haven't actually read the brief. 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  And give the wrong performance because of it and just shot yourself in the foot?  Why would you do that?  Make life easy for yourself, not hard.

Tania Possick: Absolutely. I feel you on that and I see that too.  I mean, obviously, I don't see everyone's auditions or hear them but I do hear that from people in casting and directors.  And it's a way of weeding out people who are auditioning with you, I guess.  

Mike Aiton:  There's a story I can share with you where, my first job when I left, the BBC was with Britain's largest independent production company as a junior sound mixer with them.  The person who was in charge of collecting all the CVs and all that sort of thing was actually a personal friend of mine, who I went to university with, we did chemistry together at university.  And he showed me he said these the people you're up against, and he showed me some of their CVs and I went, "Oh my god, I'm against the guy who did James Bond and Star Wars" and I'm like, "I'm never going to get this job, I've only been six years in the BBC, how am I going to get- I've never done these big things."  And then I looked a bit more closely at all these sorts of people's things and they said, "And I was on the production of," and you think, "Yeah, you made tea."  Okay, next.  

Tania Possick: But they were there. 

Mike Aiton: But yeah, yeah, quite how many people amongst that batch of people had all done Star Wars?  Or all done Jaws?  Or all done Great expectation or something?  And you kind of think, "Of course you have."  And they didn't get the job because they couldn't deliver the goods.

Tania Possick: Yeah, I hope and I just go "Okay, I'm taking care of myself, I'm making sure I'm doing the best I can do.  I'm sure some days I don't have good days, and some days I have great days, but I can't be in charge of what other people are doing and if they're not prepared, then great for me, because that makes me look good. 

Mike Aiton:  Yeah.  Do you think the rates for voiceover work have been currently going up or down?

Tania Possick: You know, in the commercial world, it feels like we're doing more for either the same rate or less is what it feels like.  But I think there's the standard, the union standards remained, so it's interesting.  I mostly get jobs through my agents and so they're really good at sending down breakdowns and whether or not they think is worth it.  Even if upfront the pay looks good, they will say we think that this is too low for what this company should be offering.  And I just don't do those jobs.

Mike Aiton:  Yeah, considering the usage, they're underbidding?  

Tania Possick: Exactly.  And so I just kind of take my agency's word for it and really look at the breakdown. 

Mike Aiton:  Yeah.  So you have a very close relationship with your agent.  Do they happily sort of disclose what that percentage take of- because someone I was interviewing recently was telling me that some agencies don't disclose their rates ever? 

Tania Possick: No they take a percentage. 

Mike Aiton:  Yes.  But they never show the top dollar, the top drawer or whatever it's called, value of the job, sort of thing.   

Tania Possick:  Oh I see, I see, that's sketchy. 

Mike Aiton:  You’ll get $1,000 for doing this job.  And they go, "Oh, that doesn't sound very much for a nationwide commercial or around the world Wimbledon Superbowl spot." 

Tania Possick: Yeah. 

Mike Aiton:  And what you realize is they're taking 95 million pounds, and you're only getting one pound.  

Tania Possick: Right.  No, I have not gotten the sense that my agents do that.  They do send down the rates and the breakdowns with the audition.  So it's up to you if you want to do it or not.  So no, I haven't run into that.

Mike Aiton:  Sounds like you have a great agent then. 

Tania Possick: I do have a great agent.

Mike Aiton:  And a good relationship with them as well.

Tania Possick: Yes.  They are fantastic they really are.  So I feel like I'm in good hands in that aspect.  Yeah.  

Mike Aiton:  For our last question.  It's a slightly tough one but what would you like as your audio epitaph?

Tania Possick: Maybe something like she spoke, she conquered.

Mike Aiton: And she got the job, yeah.

Tania Possick: Yeah, dot dot dot, and she got the job.

Mike Aiton:  I like that. 

Tania Possick: Oh, good. 

Mike Aiton:  Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us.  It's been really, really interesting and I've really enjoyed getting to know you and finding out all about your world, and how you've got on in your voiceover career.  It's been fascinating thank you very much.

Thank you so much for having me.  I love talking to you and I love talking to people in the industry, I think they're some of the best people in the whole world, truly. 

Mike Aiton:  Okay, see you again soon. 

Tania Possick: All right, 

Mike Aiton:  Take care bye-bye.

Tania Possick: Bye.

 

 

 

Tania Possick

https://www.taniapossick.com

https://www.womeninvo.net

https://voice123.com/voice-actor/taniapossick

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