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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews

Jun 18, 2018

Mike Lenz is a full-time professional voice talent and podcast producer. For more than 10 years Mike has worked with clients on eLearning projects, corporate and web-based videos, audiobooks, brand imaging and commercials. Mike is also a Voice Arts Award-nominated podcast producer and creator of Podcast Snap ( – a concierge podcasting service, helping his clients with every step of their podcast creation and production. Mike lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.

Full transcript: 

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals all right well
let's make the transition to now the
creative pharmacist so you went to and I
want to say voiceovers just one job but
you've already said elearning projects
web-based videos audio books brand
imaging and commercials I want to unpack
all of that and better understand what
it is that you do and then are the
things that you do healthcare related so
let's just take those one at a time so
let's start with the e-learning projects
what does an e-learning project look
like you've obviously had tremendous
experience in both business and
what kind of projects do you do and
what's your job with them yeah the
interesting thing about that is the
e-learning can come in so many different
so basically elearning is is a company
trying to provide information to
somebody else whether it's internally or
whether it's externally right so the so
there are literally dozens upon dozens
of e-learning projects in terms of what
I've done where I've had to be something
other than Who I am the the only
elearning work that I've done that's
related to my pharmacy background is I
did have to do a nursing there was a
nursing handbook that required the
voicing of all I think there was about
300 drug names both branded generic so
that was a fun couple of days and and
you know things like things related to
that medical transcription I've worked
in some elearning for medical
transcription I've done some e-learning
work for companies that are launching a
new drug and they want you're basically
reading the almost reading the package
insert talking about all the the pros
and cons of that particular drug but the
e-learning could take all kinds of
manifestations I've been you know a
salon owner I've done oh this is kind of
it's amazing auto mechanic you know
I always tell people look I don't need
to know how to change your oil I only
need to sound like I know how to change
it and that is the key between being a
subject matic matter expert and being a
voice actor because our job is to sound
like we know what we're talking about we
don't necessarily have to know and and I
would read through scripts you know I
did this whole course on on auto
mechanics and and I don't remember any
of it because I'm not really reading for
to remember I'm just reading to make
sure I'm reading it the script properly
so so many different things I can you
know done work for Dell computers for
Windows 10 when Windows 10 launched on
e-learning projects for them Hershey
corporation for internal onboarding
changes that they make they call it
micro learning where they'll have a
particular system that they're rolling
out internally and they need to train
their internal workforce so they'll
create a series of three to five-minute
videos and they would have me voice them
to walk them through that process so
they understand it so so many different
so many different manifestations and the
really interesting thing is because I
have my podcast and I've interviewed
over 80 people on my voiceover podcast I
have this kind of roster of talent that
I have at my disposal so many times
clients will come to me and say I'm
creating this e-learning project on
diversity for example a project that
I've worked on in the past and I'm gonna
be working on next month on their
repackaging it a different way but it's
a it's a project about diversity so
they're looking for diverse accents so I
will cast it for them so in addition to
being one of the voices I will handle
the casting for all of the voices so
we'll have an Irish American accent
we'll have a Spanish accent
I'll have an african-american female
they'll they'll be they may be looking
for you know a European accent of
unknown origin I mean there's it's crazy
what you know they'll come up with and I
will go find them
I'll find the talent they're all friends
of mine their colleagues and I'll be the
conduit for that for for that voice-over
piece for that e-learning project
so till this is something that this
maybe I don't say this generation but
this generation expects but it's really
foreign to many people that giving
things away so a podcast we do our
podcasts we don't get paid for it you
you have a sponsor I think you can
who is your sponsor again the weights
Azam yeah okay yeah but in general the
podcast doesn't make money or the
podcast doesn't make a lot of money tell
me a little bit about the need to give
things away for free and how that really
actually really helps a business because
I feel like that's something that people
would say oh my gosh well if I give it
away then I'll never have customers or
I'll never have money and I actually
find it's the exact opposite you give
then you ask then you receive oh no
question I mean the more you give the
more you receive there's no question
about that especially especially in my
industry and you know when I started the
the vo podcast three years ago I had no
idea how to do a podcast and certainly
had no intention of of charging for it
it was just my way of being able to have
access really to people that I wanted to
learn from and that is literally the
reason that I did it and the reason that
I do it to this day is to is to meet
other voice-over colleagues learn from
them because it's essentially a master
class for me every two weeks warmer I
mean whoever I'm interviewing I learn
from them and then I create a friendship
and a business relationship and when you
refer people certainly in our industry
and its holds true in other industries
is you want to refer your friends right
you want to if somebody's looking for a
male voice actor and they know me
because we've developed a relationship
based on the fact that they were on my
podcast and not that that was my
intention but that is the often the
result of doing this so yeah it
definitely leads to relationships or
leads to business relationships and
friendships that leads to work and just
from a podcasting point of view the the
podcast the fact that I was a voice
actor and did podcasts I got invited to
speak at a learning
conference about the role of the voice
actor in eLearning so this was a few
years ago so I went down and I spoke and
it was a bunch of Fortune 500 companies
they attended and a few months later I
got an email from an executive at Xerox
who wanted to create a podcast had no
experience had didn't know how to create
a podcast and was looking for a co-host
which led me to then produce and now
co-host the learning innovations podcast
with my friend Doug Boucher that led to
Doug and I getting invited down down out
to San Diego a month ago to speak at the
ATD conference which is the largest
learning conference in the world
President Obama spoke we didn't get
nearly as many people attending our
session is why but just it was huge
right and we spoke to a room from about
250 people and I was speaking to them
about the role of podcasting the power
of podcasting and how to use podcasting
in your learning strategy now if you ask
me three years ago when I booked my
first guest on my first episode of my
first podcast that I would be producing
podcasts for clients speaking at the
largest learning conference in the world
about the power of podcasting I would
have said you're crazy but it happened
so the your point is absolutely well
taken by me these things you never know
where it's going to lead you but I
always say this to people anybody
thinking about starting a podcast create
a podcast about something that you love
to talk about about a topic that you
would talk about for free because you're
gonna talk about it for free that's what
you should do do something that you love
I mean that's that's a metaphor for life
but from a podcast perspective if you're
thinking about it pick a topic that you
just love to talk about and and make
that the reason you do it and that's the
reason I started but it's led to a lot
of wonderful a lot of wonderful
opportunities as well okay well you've
talked about e-learning projects that
kind of fits in with the corporate and
web-based videos is there anything else
besides kind of the e-learning that goes
into those type of videos or is that
kind of we kind of covered that yeah
they're all similar there
different variations of the same thing
there's elearning there's corporate
videos which oftentimes are internal and
there's also branding so I've worked
with companies you know in Germany and
Norway that are that are looking for
they need the American version and
they're they're just branding their
company so they create a video that
brands their particular corporate
culture and that's an offshoot of the
e-learning elearning is more I'm gonna
teach you something Tony you and I'm
gonna you're gonna listen to this video
and you're gonna learn something
starting to learn how to foil and but
they the corporate branding is a little
bit more a little bit more focused on
obviously the corporate culture okay
well let's talk a little bit about
audiobooks not necessarily about my book
mine's nonfiction so pharmacology this
podcast as much as I get I get a lot of
flack because there's kind of a
disconnect that you know pharmacology is
kind of its own podcast and I'm actually
interviewing a guy who did a
pharmacology podcast so that's not
really my thing it's really just kind of
elevating people within the profession
talking to interesting people getting
away from some of the isolation that I
have but my favorite audiobooks are
actually in fiction and I think you've
done both so tell me a little bit about
what it's like to be an actor because I
did I did actually take screenwriting at
Scottsdale Community College I was an
artichoke for a year while I was the
pharmacists so but tell me a little bit
about being on the fiction side of
audiobooks those tend to be the ones
that are kind of cool you know you get
to tell a story be another person
besides an auto mechanic or the other
things that you play you know faria yeah
I mean and I didn't do fiction for a
while and I did mostly nonfiction in the
beginning and I've only done a few
fiction books but it was you know when
you do nonfiction you are for all
intents and purposes just being yourself
and you're reading content you're still
need to make it engaging and
entertaining but it's it's nonfiction so
it's it's you would think it's easier in
the sense because hey I just get to be
me I just have to read what you know
what the page in front of me but it
wasn't until I got my first fiction book
that the light bulb went on I was like
whoa I mean I get to be
characters I've I did a series of but
there was I think at least three or
maybe four of the books that I did that
were westerns and and there was Laramie
Davis was the main character so I got to
develop Laramie and create this this
persona for him certainly got that from
reading the book but I had to impart a
voice to him nobody told me what his
voice was gonna sound like I just had to
make his voice sound the way I thought
it should sound and then there were
characters throughout each of the books
and as you what what I find fascinating
is an actor the opportunity to actually
be a voice actor was was revelational
for me I was like man this I want to do
more of this because you get so engaged
in the creation of the character there
was one scene when I hadn't read ahead
I'd only read enough to to find out all
what the characters that I had to voice
were and figure out what their accents
were gonna be and how I was gonna voice
them but at some point this secondary
character in one of the books gets
killed and I was actually bummed out
about it because I kind of know this
person because I created this
personality I created this persona by
giving these words on a page a voice so
they become a person for the person
who's listening to the to the actual
audiobook and when he died I was kind of
bummed out that that he died and so that
was really exciting for me and that the
fiction really does give you an
opportunity to be creative again which I
love to do and actually use your voice
to act because you know we voice actors
don't have the luxury of having people
be able to see us because so much of
acting on stage and in film and on TV is
certainly the visual component to it but
we have to create and paint the picture
without being able to move our arms
around and even though we do you just
can't see them you can't see my face you
can't see my facial expression so we
joke in the voice-acting industry that
it's much harder to be a voice actor
than it is to be a regular old actor
because they get to use all the senses
people can just see and hear and smell
sometimes in the if it's out of stage
but we just have to use our voice for
everything so it's a big challenge but
it's a lot of fun oh
well let's talk a little bit about brand
imaging I because I have so much
pharmacy YouTube content I always get
these pharmacy school like ads you know
just like you know join this pharmacy
school join that and they've got I'll
just leave it at interesting I always
stay with the positive so they've got
interesting messages but but how would
you brand pharmacy if you were you know
pharmacy school comes up to you and says
hey you know we we understand your
pharmacist you understand brand imaging
you got this voice and all these things
how would you brand pharmacy to the
future pharmacist somebody who's
thinking about the profession well you
know I always fall back on podcasting
because I really think and you know this
as well as I do Tony that the the future
of podcasting we are in the golden age
of podcasting so when when my daughter
who's 19 my son who's 17 and even now
even is going down to my 13 and 88 year
old when they want content you know the
days of sitting at wake everybody
gathering around the TV on Thursday
night to watch the next episode of
Seinfeld or over we are in the Netflix
generation where they listen and watch
what they want when they want to right
so so the content the the the one of the
things every organization and certain if
it was a pharmacy college that needed a
brand themselves is you got to figure
out what it is your target market
listens to and your target millennial
target market is definitely listening to
podcasts it's growing but they're
definitely listening through their
earbuds so I would always advocate using
podcasts as a component of your learning
and/or marketing strategy because you
got to get into people's ears and that's
the way people are absorbing content the
the majority of the time when they're
running on the treadmill or walking the
dog they've got their earbuds in and
they're listening so that's important
but it's also important to make sure
that you understand what your target
market is interested in and I think
again what you're doing with your
podcast is is filling that gap I think
that as a rule you know pharmacists
don't always just think about pharmacy
all the time right you and I are living
proof that we don't think about that all
the time
so what is it that your what what is it
that they're thinking about what is it
that they're interested in is an
maybe there's a segment of the
pharmacists that are interested in
entrepreneurship so your podcast talks
to other entrepreneurs and that's that's
important because you don't necessarily
just want to talk about your own entity
so for example zip recruiter sponsors a
podcast by Daymond John from shark tank
called rise and grind and they don't
talk about zip recruiter they talk about
entrepreneurship but zip recruiters kind
of in their ear and some some some built
in advertising but they're appealing to
the entrepreneur who's going to use it
recruiter but it's not a podcast that
bounces up recruiter so an important
part of branding is making sure that
you're appealing to your target market
and I'm not a marketing expert by any
means but appealing to your target
market but not necessarily just about
what your you're selling but about what
they're interested in and I think in
most cases people that are you know
Pharma pharmacists or people that are in
that degree track most likely have some
entrepreneurial mindset to them and
would be interested in something like
that and certainly you know the whole we
don't need to get into for the whole
piece about making sure that your
branding is effective across all mediums
across social media mediums and that
you're effectively utilizing social
media to communicate with your target
market people that may hire you or
people you may want to hire is is
critically important as well I think you
just gave me a couple grand worth of
consulting for free but I appreciate
that the very last one which is
commercials have you done any cool
commercials that we can just look up or
what are the kind of commercials that
you you tend to do because like every
once in a while like somebody will get
like a really good course oh my gosh
that's the person that did that you know
yeah yeah I don't have any of those yet
but I'll tell you a funny story the
interesting thing and the nice thing is
I have I have a couple of agents that
are national agents so that means that I
get access to auditions so an audition
that I was just finishing up before you
and I started recording was one for I
think Charles Schwab so you know there's
our national companies that are looking
for voice actors so because I have an
agent that allows me to have access to
auditions that I otherwise wouldn't have
access to so I'm still working on
becoming the voice of home depot or
lowes which is my goal but somebody's
got a lock on that right now and I'm
really upset about it there might be you
there might be a week or two or they
lose their voice and they call it they
call in the second string quarterback
the funny story is that I a month after
I got my new demo I created a new
commercial demo but about I think about
a year ago now and I after I got that I
started reaching out to agents and I got
assigned by a couple of agencies and
about a month after that I get a I see
an audition come through that I hadn't
auditioned for no I'm sorry the agency
had was it was a second round of
auditions because they had been through
one round hadn't used my agency and
hadn't found who they're looking for
but the specs were for a mild Asian
accent and I was joking with my wife
saying yeah I just got this audition for
a mild Asian X and it's the second round
issues well you should audition for that
you know you like to you can do
different accents and I'm like I'm not
doing that she's like why not what do
you have to lose I'm like okay so I went
down to my studio I'd read I just
rattled off one audition just did one
I set it off and two days later I get an
email from my agent going you booked the
the golden island jerky spot work
tomorrow afternoon and and 24 hours
later I was in studio recording pickups
and and full-on scripts for golden
island jerky which you can go to my
LinkedIn page and also to my website and
you can
here the video see the video for golden
island jerky with my mild asian accent
so a white guy from upstate New York
very first commercial gig that I ever
get for my ulti Haitian accent for a job
that I wasn't even going to audition for
so I don't know how that happened I I
think the the lesson and then that's a
guy that's close to you eyes is to
listen to your wife Stephen King had you
know threw away Carrie or the the
beginning of the book Carrie and his
wife picked it up out of the trash said
no no you can do this you can write a
teenage girl going through this tough
you can do that and and so listening to
our wives I think is the more of the
story okay well I've asked you a ton of
questions I appreciate you being on for
so long and tell me is there anything
that you want to say that maybe I
haven't asked you about no I don't think
so I mean I'm excited about podcasts nap
you would mention that earlier in in the
intro and I created podcasts nap it's a
podcast nap calm because primarily
because I was getting people asking me
for advice on how to start their podcast
and I'm passionate about podcasting
obviously I produce them and I'm an avid
listener of them so I've gone down the
rabbit hole of podcasting and I'm a
believer and I think everybody should
have one but I found that in order for
me to systematize it because once I had
to do that the learning innovations
podcast for my friend Doug from Xerox
that really forced me out of the the
mode of I'm doing this for myself
creating my own podcast to how do I do
this for somebody else on a client-based
system I needed you talked about systems
earlier I needed creative I needed to
create a system that worked for somebody
else who was my client so having been
through that process I'm like hmm I may
be able to do this for other people so
that's why I created a virtual team and
launched podcast snaps so I'm excited
about that that just launched about two
months ago and and we're promoting it
now and excited to be able to see where
that goes because I think the podcasting
industry as I said is exploding
I think there were like 47 million
people listen to podcast weekly this
past year which was up 6 million from
the year before and I think by
comparison just a frame of reference
it's about 20 million people watch
Sunday night football which is
historically the highest-rated show when
it's on TV so twice more than twice as
many people are listening to podcasts on
a weekly basis so it's huge and it is
the golden age of podcasting so I'm
excited to see where podcasts nap
takes us awesome well thanks so much for
being on the pharmacy leaders podcast
thank you hi this is Mike lens and I'm a
pharmacist and voice actor who was the
voice of memorizing pharmacology
mnemonics flashcards and fillings for
the future nurse doctor physician
assistant and pharmacists now that
you've listened to this podcast episode
I want you to come visit my podcast at
my cleanse voice comm where I interview
entrepreneurs who use their voice to
build a side or full-time income that's
mi ke le and z-boys comm thank you for
listening to the pharmacy leaders
podcast with your host Tony Guerra be
sure to share the show with the hash tag
hash pharmacy leaders support for this
episode comes from the audio book
memorizing pharmacology a relaxed
approach with over 9,000 sales in the
United States United Kingdom and
Australia it's the go-to resource to
ease the pharmacology challenge
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