If you’re undecided about attending the 10th edition of Voice Over Atlanta (VOA) this year (March 23 – 26), I’m not going to persuade you to do anything. Only you can convince yourself based on your budget, and on what’s important to you.
For quite a few years I wasn’t sure whether or not I should go to a voice over conference myself. As an introvert, I was intimidated by the thought of having to spend a few days surrounded by too many people I didn’t even know. That would be way out of my comfort zone.
But then I came across a writer who said that the only way to grow in life, is to do things you’re afraid of, and that make you uncomfortable. Remember when you learned how to ride a bike? The first time was probably terrifying, but gradually it became second nature.
The first time I kissed a girl I was trembling like a leaf in the wind. I was so self-conscious and insecure… but the more I did it, the more enjoyable it became. At least for me 😉
Wait… Did I just compare going to a VO conference to kissing someone? Well, that was a bit tongue in cheek, wasn’t it?
I DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT!
Anyway, what pushed me over the edge and made me sign up for the next VO event, was seeing all the pictures and vids of happy colleagues having the time of their life while learning a bit about the biz as well. No one looked petrified or distressed.
I wanted to have what they were having!
As soon as I entered the hotel where my first VO conference was held, I was greeted by enthusiastic peeps, and I knew I was among friends. All my worries and fears melted away like snow on a spring morning. And the next time I looked at conference photos on Facebook, I saw myself smiling from ear to ear.
But, you know… I’m not going to talk you into anything… I’m just a simple voice over.
I would never talk anyone into anything, would I?
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?
If you’ve looked at the program for VOA, you’ve seen an embarrassment of riches. A smorgasbord of tantalizing treats. There’s so much good stuff to choose from…. if you suffer from FOMO, you will have your work cut out for you!
There are basically two approaches when it comes to choosing what to attend: the familiar and the unfamiliar path. People who choose the familiar path select what’s already in their wheelhouse. They pick speakers and sessions to deepen their knowledge of what they already do.
If you’re recording a lot of animation, you’ll sign up for a workshop with one of your heroes such as Bill Farmer or Lori Alan. If you’re into video games, you go to Mara Junot. If audiobooks are your thing, you’ll want to see Johnny Heller or Scott Brick.
When I attend a conference, I tend to take the unfamiliar path because I want to learn more about all the fields I’m not familiar with. I feel like a jazz lover who ventures out to hear a symphony orchestra play, or a hard rock band. As someone who writes about VO, it’s important to me to keep track of what’s happening in the ENTIRE voice over community.
The thing is, this conference is like a buffet on a cruise ship. No matter what you pick, you can’t go wrong. Quite often, the best experiences are unplanned. You run into someone on the elevator. You end up at the same lunch table. Or you spot a guy wearing yellow clogs…
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
About my participation… People have asked me if I’ll be doing a 3-hour X-session this year, and the answer is “no.” I’ll be moderating a panel on VO awards, I’m interviewing Voice123 CEO Rolf Veldman, I am on a panel about online casting, and I’ll do a presentation about my biggest blunders.
Enough of ME already!
Apart from all the amazing conference content, what I look forward to most, is seeing YOU! I have missed seeing you in person so much, so I hope you can make it to Atlanta this year.
It’s going to be EPIC!
PS Here are my appearances at VO Atlanta:
3/24 Grand Salon (main stage)
Moderating the VO Awards Panel, 3:00 – 3:50
3/25 HARDING room
Interviewing Voice 123 CEO Rolf Veldman, 1:00 -1:50
3/25 My presentation: “The biggest blunders of my VO career, and how you can avoid them.” 2:00 – 2:50
3/25 Grand Salon (main stage)
Part of the Online Casting panel, 3:00 – 3:50
Paul Payton says
Have fun, Paul – I’ll be thinking of you, and I’m sure that your “personal appearances” will be appropriately impressive. While I won’t make it to the event, please tell people who you know I know that I said hi.
Joshua Alexander says
Have an enjoyable and successful conference, Paul. I have decided to bow out this year, but I wish you and everyone all the best.