The lady who sits down across the lunch table from me was blond, bubbly, and about my age. We’re both at the catered lunch provided by VO Atlanta on a Saturday.
“I’m Barbara,” she says. “I’ve been working as a nurse most of my life, but I think there’s a future for me doing voiceovers.”
I introduce myself and tell her I’ve been in broadcasting most of my life, and I’ve been trying to reinvent myself as a voice actor too…for about 8 years.
On a whim, I ask her if she’s heard of the Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta. “Yes, I was full-time there, but now I’m more or less PRN (as needed),” Barbara answers.
“Well, do you know Dr. James Kauten?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, “I’ve worked with him in the operating room more times than I can remember.”
“Small world,” I said, “I’m having dinner with him downtown Atlanta tonight.”
Jim Kauten is a friend from my youth. We both graduated from Greenville High School in Illinois. Class of 1970. 186 graduates. Now he’s an open-heart surgeon, and doesn’t need a second career like me and Barbara. That’s him in a pic taken that night.
But Barbara’s story underscores the energy and passion that voice actors bring with them wherever they gather.
Now back home in Las Vegas after 4 wonderful days among my peers, voiceover coaches/agents/directors/producers and general VO illuminati…I’m a special kind of energized-exhausted that is evidenced by my constant smile, and the fact that I’m walking about 2 feet off the ground.
So fun that the “small world” Barbara and I found in each other perfectly describes the community of voice actors when they get together like this. No, I did not get to meet and talk to all of the 400-some attendees. No, I also did not get to attend every single one of the numerous break-out sessions, panels, X-sessions, and impromptu conversations in the hallways.
But I DID soak up the energy. I WAS inspired by the sharing of information. My head IS bursting from ideas.
Is it worth the cost of flights/room/meals/registration/time? When considering the ROI of going to such an event, you gotta remember how much a session with ONE of these coaches/directors/agents would be…then multiply that by the many exposures you get in a weekend, the free access you have to experts, the inspiration you get by osmosis from your peers.
This week on my blog, I’ll share some of the trending topics and ideas shared at VO Atlanta. There’s a lot to chew on, and as usual it reflects a business, a culture, a world that is ever-changing and challenging.
Gerald Griffith’s 4th-annual voice-over event was well-organized, smoothly run, and brought together an excellent mix that reflected today’s VoiceOver world. Thanks!