You may have heard Pocholo Gonzales's voice in a multitude of dubbed cartoons and soap operas, or in dozens of radio and TV spots. Today, however, the Creativoices Productions founder and CEO also speaks in the flesh as an inspirational speaker.
Mr. Gonzales has been invited to take the podium at over 100 schools and universities. Whether he's tackling guerilla marketing, personal branding, or youth advocacy, all of his talks tie into his own core philosophy, which he's dubbed "Pochology."
"Inspiration and motivation [have] expiration," said Mr. Gonzales, who regards public speaking not solely as a career but as a calling. "Your message will expire immediately unless you touch [the listeners'] lives."
As a public speaker, he's best known for his informal approach and accompanying multimedia-rich presentations — his entrances are always preceded by his own introductory audio-video presentation. "I let the video speak for itself, but it's very dangerous, because it creates very big expectations among the audience," he said. "So, you have to establish that and sustain it. If you don't get them in the first minute, you're dead."
Mr. Gonzales's style is fashioned after Schramm's Interactive Model, a theory by communication studies pioneer William Schramm. The speaker also borrows references from personal heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal. However, Mr. Gonzales generally keeps the topics close to home.
"I'm a passionate motivator, but I don't talk about other people's business or other people's lives," he said. Instead, he draws from his own life to establish a connection with the crowd.
Knowing one's audience is the cardinal rule of public speaking, but he added, "You should also know yourself, [because] at the end of the day, you're there because of what you know."
Mr. Gonzales showed a knack for performing at an early age, when he'd mimic voices he heard on the radio. "We didn't have a TV," he recalled. "[That was] my only means of entertainment."
Little did he know that his childhood pastime would lead to a successful career in voice acting, with dubbed parts in top-rated shows such as "Meteor Garden" and "Chabelita," as well as directing stints for local channels like Hero and Cinema One. In 2003, his spot-on impersonation of broadcaster Mike Enriquez for the "Wikang Bansa" radio ad earned him the Best Voice Actor award at the annual Philippine Advertising Congress.
With Rex Bookstore, Mr. Gonzales was involved in the production of the first audio books of Filipino classics such as Dr. Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo; Francisco Baltazar's Florante at Laura; and the epic Ibong Adarna. More recently, Mr. Gonzales voiced an in-development Facebook application. He will also be the only Asian panelist among other industry pros for this year's Voice Over International Creative Experience (VOICE), set to take place in Anaheim, California this June.
"For me, voice acting is the most magical thing in the world," he said. "Anything you say can create something out of this world."
Apart from acting, speaking, and running Creativoices, Mr. Gonzales has also founded the Speech Work Training Center and the Philippine Center for Voice Acting. The latter has already seen over 500 graduates.
"I want to promote voice acting not just as a career or... something that can be your bread and butter, but [also] as an art form," he said.
Four times a year, Creativoices holds Voiceworx, a two-month workshop for aspiring voice actors. In July, Mr. Gonzales plans to launch a mobile counterpart, the Voice Acting School Caravan.- Victoria T. Vizcarra
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