Having a good voice and doing some voiceovers from time to time doesn’t make you a successful host!
It was 2006, I had just given up the entrepreneurial experience in a communication agency. I had returned, myself & I, relying on my voice artist skills: I was just an italian voice over artist and advertising voiceover.
Lot of spare time at home, with my children hanging around, and the fateful question that buzzes in my brain from morning to night: now what?
I found myself not having pushed the accelerator enough on the “italian doppiaggio” job and as an italian voice actor for advertising I was already well known. A crucial issue remained to be solved: free time between one job and another. I had no idea how to spend it. Don’t tell me that you never felt a little guilty about having nothing to do for whole days and not being able to precisely plan leisure activities for this state of mind. Add to it that surely, the moment you step foot in an airport for a few days’ getaway, you will receive the call for the “job of your life” that you absolutely cannot miss… and so you stay at home or at the gym waiting for your smartphone to ring … It’s Murphy’s law.
From those years I vividly remember the time spent in front of the computer researching the web, watching video interviews, collecting notes, looking for a good story to tell on the radio. Coming from that world (from the early teens I was a voice of the radio in the 80s and 90s) I had legitimate ambitions to come back to express myself always through a microphone, but this time not as an italian mother-tongue voice talent, but as an author or host, or entertainer. There remained a discomfort from which I freed myself only after a long period of reflection: I was no longer capable or even available for radio entertainment. I thought it was a stage in my life that had already been completed and therefore not very interesting to me. I had commented on everyday life for many years, with inexhaustible enthusiasm, each and every morning from 7.00 to 10.00 on Radio Peter Flowers and Radio Monte Stella, and 101 Network.
I realized it was no more time for Djing after a couple of reharses at R101 who kindly made the studio available to me to do some tests with my friend Roger Mantovani. Pitiful result. So I had to approach the radio in a different way. I had to write for it.
I took it a bit long to justify an approach to writing which, for an italian advertising voice like me, was not at all obvious.
Afternoons spent writing, attempts to collect ideas and transform them into formats in which to tell “my thing”.
Thus was born the passion for writing, and with it the awareness of having to go a long way to write for the radio medium which, in general, forgives you much more than a written text does, or a text written to be printed. That “stuff” remains there, with all its flaws and inaccuracies. A text on the radio goes by and by, and if someone objects to you, you can always rectify, correct, at least apologize …
This is how Destini Incrociati radio show was born, the format that allowed me to change my professional center of gravity and make a qualitative leap in awareness and ability. Because, in addition to the television voice that I had trained over years and years of work, the ability to produce a project and put together the pieces that were needed to broadcast it came into play. Destini was for me a great training ground for experiences, and the verification in the field that writing and interpreting what you write is one of the greatest satisfactions that a communication professional can take away …
The relationship with the microphone remained, the lowest common denominator which me, as an Italian voice actor and advertising voice could never give up.
Everyone can write his own thing. But it’s not worth being called an author…
Many fellow voice actors aspire to the same goal. It is a complicated and tiring path, especially for aesthetes like us, who give our best within the very short range of a performance on the microphone of a few minutes. Writing, on the other hand, is something elaborate, which requires you to do and redo and again modify and again start again, since – at the beginning at least – the certainty that you will achieve something good and above all how to do it, are typical of another state of reality.
Therefore, the gap between praising a performance as an italian television voice and the effort of writing a few words that make sense is so great that it discourages most. I am not here to tell the secrets of the writing magic because I have not yet metabolized how I managed to obtain the great success of the radio show I host. I just want to pay tribute to a profession that requires sensitivity, perseverance, the ability to accept failure and a preparation rarely recognized by the market: the profession of the italian radio author.
In this regard, for this article, I decided to give voice to an author whom I respect very much and whom I would have loved to meet at the time of Destini Incrociati: Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa, with whom I worked for five wonderful years in writing formats, stories, projects for companies in my new capacity as a producer of storytelling projects for businesses.
Author, director, performer: three jobs led one to the other
Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa. Aristocratic family from Catania, a great passion for literature. What led you to make it a profession?
“The fact that you no longer live with titles. I am Joking, I have never considered it completely a traditional profession, perhaps because I have always written since I was a few years old. I never thought of writing as a job, not out of snobbery, but because I suffer from the impostor syndrome and then one ends up feeling guilty about taking money to do something he loves while out the door there are bakers, doctors, workers , accountants and a thousand other professionals who may not require words like “dream” and “passion” but are annihilating, complex. In addition, our country, associates those who do intellectual work of any kind with values such as superficiality and parasitism, aspects that are sometimes true but the reality is that writing is difficult, it needs effort and of sweat, if you want to do it right. Of course it will never be like caving stones, but it’s not always a gala dinner.”
Author, director, performer. Would you like to define the deep connection between these figures and if in your opinion, you can do without one of them?
“Impossible to do without authors and performers; they will always complain of their infinite paucity, to quote Barbara Alberti, but in the end they are the engine of everything. The same is true for directors, both of traditional, image-based products and those of podcasts: a figure not yet properly institutionalized, wrongly. We need an overview, an overall direction, even if the focus is only on what we hear.”
You have decided to make a living from writing, you have left a job as an author in a company that develops content, to embrace important artistic projects. What awareness drives your choice?
“The awareness of doing madness, perhaps. I don’t know yet, I don’t regret it, not right now. I have to admit that any project they ask you to write something about because they like you is artistic and important, as well as
You are a great author of successful podcast formats. You wrote “Scemi da un matrimonio“, “Gli adolesceni si fanno male” and lots of episodes of “Destini Incrociati” and “Demoni Urbani“. What do you want to say to all those who believe, perhaps coming from an actor’s career or from the voice of advertising, to be able to approach the world of writing to make, what do I know, a podcast?
It is the best time, but also the riskiest – I have noticed that many influencers, who come from the digital world, who have worked a lot with video, have now decided to get into podcast production. Because they understood its potential and also a easier production complexity. I have nothing against influencers, on the contrary, but they have conceived a “new” world saturated with images which I look at with skepticism, if applied to the podcast. These people have the opportunity to make big numbers even with audio productions, and to dictate new trends that risk “shadowing” the good things the podcast has done so far, that is, guaranteeing and suggesting stimulating uses in a different way than the ordinary. Anyone who wants to write a podcast, even coming from advertising or an acting academy, can do it; but they must understand that it is a rigorous instrument, with its rules and its liturgies, which must be studied in every detail and which cannot be approached just because “it is fast” and “unexpensive”. The risk of churning out a surplus of products to the detriment of quality that are made for pure egotism is just around the corner and those who have always seriously believed in podcasts could feel the pinch.
GliAscoltabili.it: A great result of so many mistakes…
Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa represents a “post it” attached to my head telling me that being an author is a job that sucks your soul, that requires preparation, that asks lateral thinking but also a strong organization.
With Giuseppe, together with others, we founded GliAscoltabili. An idea that came to me in the aftermath of Destini Incrociati, because a cool story cannot be aired and then disappear from the radar. A cool story is made to stay, to be listened to on demand, in short, is supposed to be a podcast.
GliAscoltabili are the evidence that, after the naïve part, the enthusiasm, the ideas, it takes method, production capabilities, the foresight to look beyond yourself, your microphone and your beautiful voice. Otherwise it’s just an attempt by those who think they could make it but … it’s not worth it.