Meet Me In Atlanta

https://www.womensmarch.comLast week, thousands of people went to an inauguration, and millions marched for women’s rights.

There is strength in numbers, and power in groups of people. 

Even though I can see the point of bonding together for a common cause, I have an admission to make:

I hate being in the middle of a huge crowd.

Crowds are noisy and smelly. Somehow I always end up next to a loudmouth man-child who hasn’t used deodorant since puberty, or a Southern Belle who just bathed herself in Curve Crush By Liz Claiborne. For the lucky uninitiated: that’s a perfume I utterly detest. 

Crowds infringe upon my sacred personal space, and they test my patience more than I can bear. They move according to the slowest common denominator, and they rarely go to where I want or need to be.  

My nightmare scenario is being stuck indoors when a fire breaks out, and everyone is running for the nearest exit as they’re screaming their heads off. Of course only one exit is open, and the mob trapped inside starts trampling one another to escape the deadly fumes. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous. 


Does all of this mean that I suffer from social anxiety, or that I’m anti-social? I don’t think so. My fear might have to do with a natural need to be safe. I prefer having meaningful conversations in quiet corners, rather than losing my voice yelling over the masses to reach a friend. 

In the past I have described myself as a “reluctant extrovert,” and I still feel that way. I’d rather spend three hours with someone one-on-one, than fifteen minutes in a large group. I feel lost in a crowd, and I don’t want to be lost. 

Why am I even bothering you with this pitiful confession? It’s because I’ve used my unease with crowds as one of the reasons to stay away from voice-over conferences bringing together hundreds of colleagues from different countries and continents. Today I am happy to tell you that this is about to change.


Over the years, literally hundreds of readers have asked the same question: “Where and when can I meet you?”

Those of you attending VO Atlanta from March 9th -12th, will finally have a chance to run into me, as well as over 550 colleagues from 35 states and 15 countries who have come to enjoy over 150+ hours of top-notch programming. It’s the largest annual voice-over event for our community.

This year’s keynote speaker is Bill Farmer, and some of the other speakers are Dave Fennoy, Elaine Clark, Celia Siegel, Joe Cipriano, Johnny Heller, Jonathan Tilley, Lori Alan, Scott Brick, Anne Ganguzza, and David Rosenthal.

There are sessions about audio books, business and marketing, gaming and animation, narration and eLearning, performance and improvisation, and promo & imaging. There are also workshops (labeled as X-sessions), as well as a Spanish, and a youth program. You can see the full program on the conference website.


On Saturday, March 11th at 7:30 pm, I’ll be on a panel led by J. Michael Collins, discussing Ethics for Voice Actors and Demo Producers. Speakers are Rob Sciglimpaglia and Cliff Zellman, and the other panelists are Dave Courvoisier and Bev Standing. If you’re a subscriber to this blog, you know that I have written extensively about some of the moral guidelines voice talent and clients should live by, and I can’t wait to hear what others have to say.

Now, I didn’t want to come to Atlanta just to be on a panel, so you’ll be able to track me down from day one. The welcome reception starts Thursday 3/9 at 5:00 pm, and I really look forward to meeting you in person! I have only one request:

Gentlemen: please use deodorant, and ladies: leave your bottle of Curve Crush at home, and we’ll survive the crowds together. 

See you in Atlanta!

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

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About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of "Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs."

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, International, Promotion

10 Responses to Meet Me In Atlanta

  1. Drita Protopapa Dumont

    So happy to read this and I can totally relate! I love your term “reluctant extrovert” – it describes ME too! I have never been to a VO conference and plan to be in Atlanta. SO looking forward to meeting you and listening in on your panel. Cheers!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Super! “Two reluctant introverts meet at a conference.” Sounds like the start of a joke. All we have to do is think of a punch line.


  2. Kent Ingram

    Love this installment, Paul! I’m okay with sports crowds but, even those can be irritating, at times. I’ve been in crowds, like you, where the armpits and bug-spray-cologne along with somebody’s dragon breath are enough to make you want to flee for your life. Fortunately, I’ve been in enough locker rooms in my life, that it doesn’t smack me upside the head quite so bad.

    I would definitely be honored to meet you in person, but that won’t happen for awhile, unfortunately. However, I’ll keep that as a goal, down the road. And, I’ll make sure not to make you gag! LOL!!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Knowing you, you will reach your goals one step at a time.


  3. Paul Boucher

    Paul – I’ll look forward to meeting you there – and will be speaking to some of your favourite causes while discussing the business of eLearning alongside Christi Bowen and Laurel Thomas as a presenter.


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Save me a seat, s’il vous plaît!


  4. Patricia Corkum

    Love the lead-in to your post, Paul; “pithy” observations, needless to say!
    Wish I could say hi in person at the Atlanta conference; unfortunately I’m still working the ‘day job blues”. Maybe next year, but best of luck!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    It’s smart business not to quit a day job, until your side job allows you to do so. If Atlanta is a success for me, I’ll probably be back next year. Hope to see you in 2018!


  5. Paul Stefano

    Can’t think of a better representative for the Ethics Panel. See you at registration!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    We finally get to meet, and it’s not even in Easton… BTW, we’ll still grab that pint in our neck of the woods!


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