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A Conference To End All Conferences
"VO Atlanta, Baby!" Exactly like "Vegas, Baby!" It's the same! Just no gambling. And cleaner. And without the porn peddlers on the street. And about Voiceovers. And in Atlanta. THE SAME!
Gerald Griffith, Founder
I have written about my fondness for VO Atlanta before:
- I have shared how VO Atlanta 2019 was a game changer and an incredibly positive experience, unless of course you are Oscar the Grouch
- I have shared how VO Atlanta 2020 was cancelled and the masses were saddened
- I have shared how Virtual VO Atlanta 2021 just was not the same
- I have shared about someone’s ass showing
That last one is because Google likes it when I employ lists containing at least four bullet points.
In case you are unfamiliar with such matters, the time has come for me to illuminate you. What I am about to share with you is even cooler than the fact that it only costs you $41 to become a Scottish Lord. #ifonlymorepeopleknew
VO Atlanta is an annual conference run once a year (see: annual) by the indomitable Gerald Griffith of VoiceoverCity, LLC. This year will see the 9th and final VO Atlanta conference taking place in (wait for it) Atlanta. I am told they thought about naming it VO Truth or Consequences, but then it would not make sense to hold it in Georgia, and also because New Mexico had recently moved to the west side of the country to get away from telling the truth. That is, as far as I know, the truth, and the consequences are that it is to be held in Atlanta, and that is that. Are there any questions.
I had considered going to VO Atlanta for many years, but circumstances just did not allow for it, and each time there unfortunately happened to simultaneously be a Scrubs marathon on TV. This is a show where young doctors fumble their way through hospitals, patients die, and we laugh, because people dying is just good comedy. But I was finally ready to stop laughing, and "just go" in 2019.
The sad truth, however, is that this year will be the final VO Atlanta conference, because Gerald’s mission here is done, and the ship will soon return to take him home. At least, that is the conjecture on the part of all the attendees, as we were only mailed a flyer that said something about needing whiskey and good luck to us all.
In reality, Gerald is a good man: he will be hosting the final VO Atlanta from March 31st – April 3rd, 2022, and after that, we wish him well. I cannot possibly imagine the logistics he had to face annually (see: once a year) in doing the following:
- coordinating so many key industry players
- setting up bulk room reservations
- arranging food & catering
- coordinating travel
- arranging for Covid-screening
- planning and hosting evening get-togethers
- A/V equipment setup
- not to mention game nights, and becoming Arbiter Supreme of game night entries such as Cards Against Humanity, Apples To Apples, Trivial Pursuit, Uno, Balderdash, and of course the long running tradition of all voice talent getting drunk and seeing if they can fit themselves inside a Sennheiser MKH416 microphone. Indeed, last time we did that we started with 958 attendees and ended with 439. God rest their merry voices.
Man, I wish I had lost weight - there is nothing like really being inside your microphone.
Reunited, And It Feels So Good
VO Atlanta 2019
We are all looking forward to finally getting together again after two years of pandemic, doling out big bear hugs, and singing this song from Peaches & Herb:
We will be reunited again. That is for sure. What comes after that, your guess is as good as mine. I’ll bet it has something to do with whiskey and someone’s ass showing.
This year, I am pleased to present a Breakout Session on Blogging, entitled “A Breakout Session on Blogging.” I am kidding. It will be entitled “Voiceovers & Blogging: They Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly.” I am handing out free tuna fish sandwiches to all attendees so as to maximize confusion.
I am a blogger at heart. I love blogging so much that I love posting links to my own blog from within my own blog. Those of you whose inboxes ding each Monday with yet another blog by Yours Truly (me) will attest to the fact that here I come again with another read that will steal 10 minutes of your life away and hopefully provide you with enough fire to light the necessary cigarette you will need after reading. I maintain a uniquely satirical blogging style that seeks to provide you a break from the monotony and rigor of continuous voiceover marketing and auditioning. That is my goal. Oh! Also to keep you busy while I steal the auditions you cannot do because you are far too busy reading and trying to decipher the cleverness of my humor. Sinister? Perhaps. Effective? If memory serves, I was cast, and you were not. My thanks to you. *tips hat*
In my Breakout Session On Blogging That Is Not Called A Breakout Session On Blogging, I will be privileged to share about how and why I blog. I am excited about this. After that, Saturday night I am privileged to share in the Online Casting Panel with the likes of J Michael Collins, Carin Gilfry, Robert Sciglimpaglia, and others who I am sure you have probably never heard of. I am also excited about this.
Aside from that, I will be attending five of the numerous incredible X-Sessions, which I am told are highly concentrated forms of teaching designed to harness your mutant powers and prepare you for your introductory meeting with The Professor, before they measure you for your superhero spandex suit. My X-Sessions include:
- Find Your Signature Voice & Eliminate Ready Reads Forever with Dave Fennoy, a voice actor whose fantastic dreadlocks you can actually hear in his recordings.
- The Anatomy of a Voice Over Gig From Casting to Session with Robert Sciglimpaglia, a talented voiceover artist whose name no one knows how to pronounce, and is also adequately prepared to sue the pants off of you.
- Primetime Narration: Documentaries with Thom Pinto, who is tremendously talented at pronouncing a silent "h", and is not in fact a bean.
- Optimize Your Online Casting (Pay To Play) Experience with Carin Gilfry, mastermind of the "State of Voiceover" Survey in 2021 which is a collaborative report intended to depress nearly every aspiring voice talent out there by revealing the enormous difficulty faced by nearly every aspiring voice talent out there.
- Making Cash In The Middle-Class with Kevin Kilpatrick & Bobbi Maxwell, two people who will be teaching us how to make our own cash in the class that is not the first one and not the last one but the one in the middle. There will be a quiz later following our arrests by the Secret Service.
Overall, I am a sponge. I want to soak up all the information I can get, and to learn. A rolling stone gathers no moss, they say, and I am round. Do not judge me. Let’s Roll.
In the evenings, there will be drinking and partying. And drinking. And karaoke, which is an activity where normal human beings willingly become lighting rods of ridicule and scorn as they incorrectly assume that because they talk into a microphone for their career, that they should also sing into one. Viral videos will be made, and lawsuits will happen as a result, which refers me back to my earlier point about Robert Sciglimpaglia, who will be waiting in the wings with blank summons he can fill out at every drunken rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'".
In all of these breakout sessions and X-Sessions and keynotes and hangouts and parties, one thing is clear: voiceover artists, en masse, rock. We are a rare breed, us microphone eaters, and we have not seen each other in two years. There will be hugging. There will be mirth. There will be much voicing of happiness.
I am seriously looking forward to all of it, and it cannot get here fast enough. And hey! At the Unicorn award ceremony, there won't even be any suckerpunching!
Home Is Not Always Where The Heart Is
One man who will not be in attendance and who I will greatly miss: Paul Strikwerda
I am, by nature, a family-man, and a homebody. I love being home with my family and the two small boys my wife tells me are my descendants and who constantly need money. Everything I need is right here.
But is it, really?
Why steal away during the tail end of a pandemic, during a time of international war and tension? Why spend the money on a voiceover conference when I could save for the future? Why leave my family at home while I go off gallivanting with my cool voiceover peeps?
I do believe I just answered my own question.
Social distancers are we. Quarantiners are we. Pandemic-friendly souls, bound forever to the box from which we bring forth our goodness, siloed in creativity and cut off from human presence. A conference like this, the last of its kind, is exactly what I – nay, we – need. We were not created to live in a box or to be siloed. One of our main purposes as carbon-based lifeforms is to connect...to touch...to hold. We were designed for fellowship. There are even case studies and statistics showing the effect of loneliness on early mortality. Our lives are not our own; they are a gift to be given, natch. We have a chance to do exactly that at VO Atlanta.
I am SO looking forward to gathering with my colleagues. This conference has been very precious to me, as I am sure it has been for others. And there are other conferences as well: WOVOCon, OneVoice, MAVO, The JMC Euro Retreat, and more. Whatever floats your boat, and whatever conference seems most attainable to you – even a local monthly voiceover Meetup, look for them in your area! – gathering together with fellow 3-dimensional VO lifeforms is critical to staying sane.
I hear they even serve whiskey.
To all those attending VO Atlanta 2022: see you soon! Don’t forget to attend my Breakout Session on blogging at 11:15am on Saturday April 2nd, as well as the Online Casting Panel at 6pm. See you there!
After that, we will all accompany Gerald to The Grey Havens so that he can sail away with Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel and Bilbo, and we will listen to Annie Lennox softly whisk him away over the seas, where I am sure he will hold the very best voiceover conference for Elves there ever was.
Farewell, Gerald. Farewell. Thank you for destroying the confer- ...uh... ring.
PPS, I stand with Ukraine. Do you?
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
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- Check out my whole UNIVERSE of blogs right HERE!
- This is a fourth bullet point.
AND HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire