Hello again! It’s… been a while. Last year was a nightmare, this year has been a mix of good and bad, but it’s not over yet.
I’ve stayed busy in voice over with some new clients and last month I attended my first voice over convention in 3 years. It’s called the One Voice Conference. The program started in the UK but has become international with a convention in Dallas, Texas, USA! Having attended many voice over conventions like Faffcon and VO Atlanta, I came to see quite a few colleagues who also attended in person. Not only that, I met connections I only knew on Facebook or LinkedIn as well as introduces myself to talent I’d never met. I’d forgotten how joyous it was to meet fellow VO people face to face. Being on the autism spectrum I’ll admit my social skills aren’t great. Nonetheless, no one complained!
One Voice offered lectures, free workshops, and paid workshops as well as the opportunity for those staying home to attend everything virtually.
A slight downside for me was that I already knew the vast majority of what was being taught in the workshops and lectures. However, as my good friend Roy Yokelson (Or “Uncle Roy” as many VO colleagues call him) pointed out, attending VO conventions is also a great way to “brush up on your skills” whether they be in performance, technology or marketing.
Voice over is constantly changing and only talent who are serious about the profession will take time to learn and adapt to those changes. There’s also networking which I can never stress enough how important it is. Also, something unique I had never seen at a voice over convention was the inclusion of a conference for Latin American VO talent with a specially created agenda in Spanish.
I sadly didn’t get to attend all the panels and lessons I wanted since I had a recording session that took up my Friday morning and a yoga class to teach Saturday morning. But a benefit to signing up for One Voice is having access to all recorded sessions (except workshops). You might feel overwhelmed but at the same time, you can never learn too much.
Conventions are a fantastic way for new talent to get their feet wet and read for casting directors, agents, producers, and top coaches. It’s not about being able to impress them, it’s about learning. Here’s an example: I attended a promo/narration workshop with one of the top VO agents in Los Angeles. Of the 15 people in the room, I was the only one with a young-sounding voice. So, the agent gave me promo copy from Spongebob Squarepants while others got copy from Divorce Court, Real Wives of Beverly Hills, CNN, or ESPN. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE promos for cartoons and totally want to read and record them. But what more can I do besides cartoons and kid shows? The agent said I had potential in narration, especially when it came to sci-fi, or horror shows. He demonstrated this by having me read a narration from the show Spirit Hunters in my natural young voice. Taking his advice, I crept closer to the microphone, and without adjusting my voice, I read the copy as it was. The agent complimented me and barely have any further direction. So now I’ve learned that despite sounding young, there’s a place for my voice in various shows with themes of sci-fi, horror, and a little drama!
After meeting one of the top website designers and SEO specialists in voice over, she encouraged me to start blogging again even though I expressed concerns that my blogging about voice over didn’t stand out amongst those who’ve been in the business for decades whereas it’s my 13th year. Nonetheless, she told me to try again and that’s what I’m doing.
Another great workshop was with Shelley Avellino who is not only a fabulous talent but an expert at international marketing. For an hour she talked about ways to not only look for potential clients but also methods of contacting them such as how to engage in a conversation with them before discussing the possibility of collaborations. Such information is not easy to come by, so I highly recommend learning from her.
My overall thoughts on One Voice are a tad mixed, but quite positive. As mentioned above, it’s perfect for talent starting out in voice over yet also nice for professional talent to brush up on skills if not learning anything new.
If the conference stays in Dallas, Texas I’ll likely attend each year that I can, especially if I can sell or cater the even with my macarons!