I’ve never been one obsessed with meeting celebrities, although I will confess that years ago I was having dinner with my husband at Niko’s on Broadway on the upper West Side and A. Martinez was sitting at the table next to us. I first knew of him from Santa Barbara when I was young and he had played Roy on General Hospital while I was growing up. I’m a pretty chatty girl and I literally could not speak to Harlan the entire meal. Cruz/Roy was next to us for heavens sake!
When I went into voiceover, there were many successful folks that had made good names for themselves that I really admired and I hoped that my career would reach the pinnacle that theirs had. That list could go on and on and would be more of a book than a blog post, from Anne Ganguzza and Kim Handyside, Lisa Biggs and Tracey Lindley, Sophia Cruz, and Cristina Milizia to Marc Scott, J. Michael Collins, and Jody Gottlieb. My list like this could be quite long and it really does go on, these are just a few that come to mind right away. They are regular folks like me who with talent and a lot of hard work have built solid careers. I also love that there are so many women supporting their families and making it work.
Then for some reason in my mind there are some others that I just get super excited to meet. Perhaps in my mind they are booking work that I would love to book, or perhaps it’s because they have been at voiceover consistently for a while. Perhaps it’s their gumption. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it is somewhere in between admiration and the A. Martinez/Oprah reaction in terms of how excited I get just to be in their presence.
One of the first “big names” I got to meet was Dave Fennoy. The BAFTA nominated legend known for his many video games including “The Walking Dead,” happened to be one of the presenters at a marketing conference I attended called Voicover revolution in Chicago last year. Not only did I get to meet Mr. Fennoy, I sat with him at lunch! We talked about printing scripts versus using ipads to read and we talked about travel rigs. We also talked about his SAG centered career. I loved every minute.
Another exciting moment was when I met Randy Thomas this fall in LA. Randy is heard regularly on promos and radio imaging across the country but is probably most known as the announcer for the Oscars and the Grammys. I came to meet her by way of a colleague J. Michael Collins. J. Michael had produced my new radio imaging demo and said that I should give Randy a call if I really wanted to pursue imaging. He sent an email of introduction and next thing I knew I was talking to Randy! She suggested that I come to LA for VO Mastery which was truly an excellent experience. I met this amazing genuine, authentic, kind, and extremely talented women in person and loved her conference.
While at VO Mastery I met Elize Jane Schneider of “South Park” fame!!! I had wanted to meet Eliza since I started my training as Eliza trained my first character coach Fred Frees and did his demo. Eliza is nothing short of brilliant. She is a dialect specialist and seems to have a photographic memory and the best ear of anyone I have every met. She can compare someone in rural Alabama to someone in Australia as she has traveled the world talking to common folks and neurologists alike all in the name of amazing voiceovers. As if that isn’t enough, she also sings. So on a Saturday morning in October, I sat next to her at breakfast and drank coffee. It’s a miracle I didn’t spill it on myself I was so excited.
I also got to meet Bob Bergen this year. The current voice of Porky Pig and a sitting member on the Television Academy’s Board of Governors was presenting the lifetime achievement award to Lily Tomlin at the SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences Awards) at Lincoln Center this year. I knew that he would be there and I was so excited just to be in the same room as Bob. Shock of shocks I would myself face to face with him and we actually had time to chat at length. We had a substantial conversation about rates, giving up work to wait for the right gigs, and going for union bookings. It was far from small talk and I was so thankful to have the thoughts of someone with so much industry experience. Wow. It blew me away. All that and a photo…
My list of industry folks who I have met that I look up to is also quite long, from Debi Derriberry to Joe Cipriano- the existence of these folks is an inspiration to me every single day. They set the bar high and they make our industry community great. When I was a little girl and my mom told me I could be anything I wanted if I just tried really hard, I am pretty sure a career in voiceover never once crossed her mind. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life!