A Voiceover BBQ? Yeah, You Heard Right!

It’s At Uncle Roys and It’s Fabulous

For a group of people who work at home, alone, in padded foam booths, it’s pretty exciting when we get to leave our studios and mingle with other professional voiceover actors, producers, and agents. It’s even more exciting when it happens to be a glorious fall day in New Jersey. And better yet, add a smokin’ live band and some pot luck food into the mix? Well our beloved Uncle Roy of Antland Productions sure knows how to roll out the red carpet and make everyone feel welcome. Even our voiceover website people fly in for this! It is no wonder why voiceover folks come from as far as Europe and the West coast to attend Uncle Roy’s over 12 hour BBQ extravaganza. And let’s not forget the bagel brunch the next day…

But anyone in voiceover really knows that it is not the burgers and beer that draw the crowd. Uncle Roy is creating the quintessential schmooze fest for all of us to unwind and relax. There is no coaching. No one is trying to sell anything or book any demos. Aside from the occasional mention of an upcoming conference or a mutual client, most actors stop talking shop and just spend time getting to know each other face to face.  This opportunity to leave our booth and connect is something that we clearly all crave and need in order to thrive in the voiceover industry.

The Camaraderie

Unlike many other creative industries, there is a true sense of camaraderie in voiceover. I felt it from the beginning of my time in professional VO, people really want to help each other and lift each other up.  There is a sense that there is enough work out there for everyone and o good days and bad professional voiceover talents are really helpful to one another.

I think I was perhaps most excited about Uncle Roy’s barbecue because other women that I chat with all the time in my accountability group were going to be there. Seeing these women in person, being able to talk face to face in the same actual space, meant so much to me.

It is also exciting that after being in voiceover for a few years, I am really starting to build connections and get to know people. It is so nice to walk in and recognize so many faces and feel so at home. I remember as a newbie how overwhelmed I was and wondering if I would ever fit in. Having these professional relationships that feel like such a deep connection is something that I value greatly.

The Aftermath

Another reason Uncle Roy’s bbq means so much as that I have the joy of having some friends actually stay at my home and get to know my family a little more. I have blogged at length about how my children are the motivation for everything that I do. Having the people that I work with get to know my husband and my kids is also quite gratifying.

It also works the other way. It was a joy to me to come how from the train station, having picked up two dear friends who were in town for the bbq, and see my son Jack making waffles for our friends. Jack made quite a mess and our friends were trying to help. It was so nice to see the kids forming their own bods with these people that I have come to cherish and value. My hope is that it will help my twins to understand this part of my life more thoroughly.

It is so amazing to me that so many people make this great effort to come to Uncle Roy’s bbq. It means to them what it means to me, and we all want to be there and value the connections that we are building and maintaining.

From One BBQ to the Next

So how do we make it from one year to the next?  Well unfortunately we don’t get to see everyone all the time. We don’t even get to see the other voiceover actors who live close by often because well, life gets in the way. But, we all try to get to the big events and the conferences. And Skype and FaceTime sure do make life easier.

When I was young I was in a sorority called AXO. I never intended to join a sorority but boy did I love it. I realize that I am a people person and that building relationships is very important to me. So, when I think about why an event like Uncle Roy’s BBQ matters, I think it is because at this point it gives all of us another opportunity to foster these relationships that are critical to our professional and personal success.