Time to Pack the Roll-y Bag
After three days in Atlanta I was on the airport shuttle back to the airport. In truth I had never gone very far. I spent the entire time at an airport hotel, for VO Atlanta, one of the biggest voiceover conferences of the year. First, it should be noted that I get terribly car sick and was dreading this shuttle ride. On the shuttle I immediately noticed a gal that looked really familiar but I had not actually gotten to spend time with at the conference. It was the one and only Shelley Avellino. We spent the entire time on the shuttle chatting away. They after clearing security we had lunch before I flew back to NYC and Shelley was off to Vegas. You see, that’s how voiceover is, we treat each other like family. Shelley and I now have weekly chats and I don’t know what I ‘d do without her. That is the magic of these conferences.
One of the biggest reasons that I was confident enough to pursue voiceover years ago was that I did not want to leave my children, Emma and Jack, and commute to New York. I wanted to work from home. So, it seems quite ironic that last year I went away six times to various conferences. Six. S-I-X. I packed my black Tumi bag, and off I went. In truth I feel terrible when my car picks me up for the airport, as if I am leaving my right arm behind. So why do I do it, and so often? Sometimes it’s necessary to leave the foam booth both to meet clients and for professional development opportunities.
As a professional eLearning narrator, I have made some wonderful connections and ultimately gotten great clients from attending conferences including ATD and eLearning Guild conferences. I have had an opportunity to narrate training modules for some of the best known brands, including Ace Hardware, PSE&G, and Walmart to name a few, all based on connections made at conferences. I have met independent instructional designers and large content providers, but I think leaving the comfort of my padded foam booth and making a face to face connection makes all the difference. Whether I am in Orlando or San Diego, the location is irrelevant. I show up at these conferences to listen to what potential clients’ needs are, so that I can better understand what they are looking for in a professional narrator. I also come so that I can introduce myself in person and let them know why I am different than my peers and how my broadcast ready studio sets me apart. The next conference I will attend is Dev Learn in Las Vegas in October, 2018. If you’ll be there let me know!
Radio Imaging is another big piece of my professional voiceover business. I have a passion for it and am the female voice of multiple Top 40/AC, Classic Hits/CHR, and Christian Top 40 (REL) stations. From sweepers to station promos, this is a genre that I love from format to format. When my mentor Randy Thomas suggested that I fly out to Los Angles last May for the World Wide Radio Summit at the W Hotel in Hollywood, I was one of about 50 voiceover actors who was there. Not only did I meet top radio industry professionals and talent agents, I learned so much about the inner workings of radio both from attending the sessions and from talking to other attendees. I was actually amazed by both how many people I met and how much I learned in just a few days. As a professional voiceover actor who does a lot of radio imaging, this conference was well worth the cross country flight.
Professional Voiceover Conferences
I have had the opportunity to attend multiple voiceover conferences. Not only have I learned so much that has helped me stay current in my industry, but I have had the opportunity to connect with folks from around the world that I otherwise only know online. I am going to go point by point about what I love on this, but I could right multiple blogs about each conference below, so this is just a very brief summary:
- WoVo Con: Located in Las Vegas, I attended as a professional talent, but now non pros can attend as well. I loved the seminars that were offered! I did not attend any master classes but the practical skills that I learned I use every day. I also liked the size of the sessions and felt that it was comfortable enough that I could absorb everything.
- VO Revolution: In Kankakee, IL. One piece of advice- fly into Midway!! I loved the small intimate setting. I learned so much about marketing and was very inspired. It was a great setting to share ideas and ask questions. This is a great conference for folks starting out or for folks who need a business jumpstart.
- VO Mastery: In Studio City, CA. This workshops stands out because of the amazing amount of master classes with top industry professionals and the level of access talents have to interact with them throughout the conference. The panels were also outstanding.
- VO Atlanta: In Atlanta, GA. Last, but certainly not least, VO Atlanta is the biggest VO conference of the year. Voiceover professionals come from around the world to attend this conference. I think I enjoy this so much because it is a great opportunity to connect with other talents. So many themes in voiceover are covered that you could focus on what ever topic you are trying to improve on and attend panels and master classes in that field. From voiceover technique to business tools, everything is covered at this conference.
The Other Perks….
So, I love meeting clients in person. I also love meeting other voiceover professionals. But the truth us, I have also gotten to go to some beautiful and fun places when going to these conferences. Last year I was in San Diego for an eLearning conference. If you have never been to San Diego, it is really beautiful. I was also in Las Vegas and had a special evening out with friends from Europe and from the West Coast. We ate at a truly decadent restaurant with an incredible view atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
In April I attended another conference in Orlando. I had lunch with other voiceover talents and stayed at an amazing hotel with a lazy river! While I am highly motivated to grow and maintain client relationships, and stay on the forefront of the voiceover industry, I confess the travel perks ain’t half bad either!