VO Atlanta, Baby!

A Conference To End All Conferences

The VO Atlanta Voiceover Conference | Where the Voiceover Community Meets

 

"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!

CULTURE CLASH: Gerald Griffith of VO Atlanta | Creative Loafing

Gerald Griffith, Founder

 

I have written about my fondness for VO Atlanta before:

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.

I freaking loved it.

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

conference

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:

  1. Find Your Signature Voice & Eliminate Ready Reads Forever with Dave Fennoy, a voice actor whose fantastic dreadlocks you can actually hear in his recordings.
  2. 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.
  3. Primetime Narration: Documentaries with Thom Pinto, who is tremendously talented at pronouncing a silent "h", and is not in fact a bean.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Paul Strikwerda Joshua Alexander Voiceover Voice Talent VO Atlanta

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.

Gerald LOTR2

 

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PPS, I stand with Ukraine.  Do you?

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YouDidIt

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21 thoughts on “VO Atlanta, Baby!”

  1. I am also excited about attending (my very first) VO Atlanta. I appreciate your clarifying for me that the conference is in fact in Atlanta, as I had already mapped out my route to drive to Albuquerque.

    After attending the virtual conference last year, I was impressed with the amount and quality of the information available, some of which has been transformational for me. Although I am anticipating the same this year, I am most looking forward to reconnecting with people I know and making new friends and acquaintances.

    I admit I am really struggling with my nearly overwhelming desire to hug. Under the current rules and the need to respect the health concerns of others, I am anticipating a good deal of frustration in that regard. I am seriously going to need to exercise a great deal of self-control in order to avoid getting tossed out.

    1. Oh Jon, I am SO glad I could help! That would have been a fun road trip with a disappointing ending for you! Whatever I can do. And as far as hugs, I will be the one walking around in the sleeping bag zipped up over my head. hug away!

  2. I SOOOOOO wish I could GOOOOO! Maybe one day. Have fun josh but dont have TOO much fun OK?? This sounds like it wil be a great last hurrah. Safe travels to you! and all!

  3. Raised as the third of six kids I lived on Peanut Butter & Jelly, missed it a lot when I went abroad for 10 weeks. Beyond that, I will look forward to meeting you in Atlanta in just a few days.

    1. Well then I shall be greatly pleased to reward you with a fantastically-tasting tuna fish sandwich upon your arrival at VOA! Sounds like you greatly missed them!

      Wait, I may have read that incorrectly…

      Oh well – see you there!

  4. This is going to be a long comment…

    – This made me laugh out loud, “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.”

    – This reinforced my steely resolve (regarding session 4.), “…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.”

    – I would’ve preferred a link to Don’t Stop Believin’. Why oh why did I have to clink that Peaches & Herb link???

    – And the entire blog made me cry, cry, cry. Now I understand what my husband means when he says, “Why would I want to go to the car show if I can’t afford to leave there with the new Z06?” I’ve been NOT looking forward to this week for the past several months, knowing I couldn’t find a way to go, so now I’ve tortured myself by reading about everyone else being there. For the final time. And I won’t ever have the opportunity. Ever. Thanks Josh!!!!!! And enjoy! Please forward all your notes to me. I believe you have my email. 🙂

    1. I will do that very thing! And now, let me reply with an equally long, uh…reply!

      – It is my goal to steal your auditions away! Thank you for reading AND commenting, allowing me even MORE time to do so! YESSSSS.

      – Right? It’s so unavoidably true. It’s a hard road, and they don’t call it a marathon for nuttin’! It’s a long road. But SO worth it in the end.

      – Link granted! Click away! Attention Barby Molnar, click HERE to, uh, never cease extending your faith!

      – I am sorry! If it helps, I will buy you a Z06 with all the proceeds I make from the breakout session that I am not being paid for?

      1. You did it again! Ugh!!! Tricked me into replying AND now into listening to 4:10 of (much enjoyed) Journey, the sum of which was at least 6:10 of letting you gain the upper hand. You crafty, cunning, devious strategist. Now I see your dastardly motivation for writing your trilogy (or was it a quadrilogy?)!

        By the way, if Scott is in Atlanta, you MUST post a pic of the 2 of you and tell him hi for me. (Although, I’m guessing he’s not.)

        1. I am crafty. And cunning. And only SLIGHTLY devious. It was only a trilogy…that you know of. Allow me to preserve a little devious nebulosity (it’s a word) so that in the future I might spring YET ANOTHER book upon thee, at which point I will swoop in and scoop up ALL of your remaining auditions while you read that! I’ve been working on my Barby Molnar…it’s really quite something impressive.

          Alas, Scott is staying in Seattle. Harrummph.

    1. Oh no! I am sorry my friend. Don’t you live close to me? I suggest printing a cardboard cutout of yourself. We’ll rendesvous, I’ll fold it over in my suitcase and bring you along with me wherever I go. I suggest posing with two thumbs-up and a crap-eating grin.

      Sincerely,
      Joshua Alexander,
      He Who Makes Things Happen

  5. I was secretly hoping one of those blog links would be a “Never Gonna Give You Up” link for a good old fashioned Rick Roll. I didn’t find it there. But I’m convinced that there is one hiding somewhere that I will find… Check in with me in a couple days to make sure I’m actually 1) not still looking for that link and 2) on my way to VO Atlanta.

  6. Wondered what caused the insanity around me! I thought it was the psycho behavior of people acting like the world owes them, but it was me, because no conference! Goodness, making a note! LOL. I kid, BUT, I do think my first conference ever, will be one I will be presenting at, hopefully soon! Was supposed to just before getting siloed and the world starting to owe people! hahaha.

    I’m sorry to hear it’s the last year though… Hope Gerald isn’t stopping because of impending doom. I do know these events can be tiring, especially if it’s not really your passion to event anymore. A passing of the tor- I mean ring, may occur, idk? lol.

    PS, hope you’re sleeping better – haven’t stopped praying for it! 😀

    1. Thank you for your prayers! I AM sleeping better! I deeply appreciate it. Not by much, mind you, and I’m SURE I won’t be sleeping well on Tuesday night since I fly out Wednesday morning for VO Atlanta, but other than that, yes. Again, much appreciated, my friend! And I am not certain what the impetus was for Gerald to step down; hopefully someone will take the reins here for next or the following year. It’s a fantastic event that everyone should be able to experience!

  7. That’s great news! Won’t let up then! 😀
    Sorry you felt so off though,… Glad you had lunch with everyone!
    Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe he’s just a bit burnt out – I don’t think it’s an age thing, lol.

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