Today, (May 11, 2023), I’ll be one of the speakers at the One Voice Conference, UK edition.
While this is an honor for me, this did not happen by accident. I’ve spoken at VO Atlanta several times, I presented at one of the Faffcons, and this is my third year speaking at One Voice. You may wonder:
“Why did they ask Paul and not me?
How do you get to be a speaker at one of the many voice over conferences? Is it all about who you know, and how famous you are?”
Well, if fame would be a factor, very few voice overs would make the cut. The charm of our job is that we’re mostly invisible. We remain a mystery to many, and I kind of like that.
Personally, I never want to be famous because I’d hate to lose my privacy. Fame does this nasty thing to people, making them feel more important than the rest of us.
Anyway, fame only factors in if you want to be the keynote speaker at a voice over conference. But that’s a huge responsibility resting on your shoulders.
THE JMC FACTOR
It does help to know a few key people in the business, mainly J. Michael Collins who’s got his guiding hand in many events. And if you’ve been to events that had the JMC stamp, you know that Michael and his wife Anna stand for quality content, meticulous organization, and camaraderie. You will always get more than what you paid for.
But you’ll be surprised how easy it is to speak at most conferences. In many cases, all you have to do is hand in a solid proposal and you’ll be considered. That’s how I first got into Voice Over Atlanta. And if your actual presentation gets favorable reviews, you’ll be asked back.
Many conferences don’t like to feature the same few speakers every year. They’re always looking for new faces and voices, also to make sure every aspect of the business is represented, including minorities. I hate the word minority, by the way, because most of my colleagues are majorly talented and deserve to present based on merit and merit only.
WILL YOU MAKE ANY MONEY
Before I give you the last two factors that may play a part in you speaking at a conference, let’s talk dollars and cents.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most VO conferences pay zero dollars to the presenters. The best deal you’ll often get is a free hotel room and access to the entire event. You pay for all your travel expenses, meals, and drinks, and those things always add up. Please understand that the conference organizers will do everything to keep the cost of a ticket as low as possible. They will often frame your presentation as “giving back to the community,” and “being a speaker is good for your professional reputation.”
The conferences I’m familiar with will not allow you to promote or sell your services and/or products to the attendees. Of course you’ll be listed in the flyers, on the website, and in the program. That’s free advertising and it may help you in the long run. Essentially, speaking at a conference is a labor of love, and if you’re in it for the money you better stay home and record some voice overs.
What also helps, if you’re hoping to be a presenter, is to have a following on social media. Conference organizers want to sell tickets. These events cost a lot of money, so if you invite speakers with many fans and followers, you know many of them will show up. Since my blog alone has over 40 thousand subscribers, that’s a big help.
Plus, I always make sure to blog about the conference I’m speaking at, and that free publicity is always appreciated.
A last way to be a speaker, is to receive a personal invitation from the conference organizer. That usually means you have a reputation in the business, and some have told me that this applies to me.
Dare I ask: What did I ever do to deserve that?
You tell me!