COVID-19 Conundrum for Voice Actors

by | Mar 11, 2020 | VO Business | 4 comments

{NOTE: As of Wednesday evening, 3-11-2020, Voiceover Atlanta organizer Gerald Griffith has agreed to postpone the event planned for later this month until a better time to gather people together after the COVID-19 threat has passed}

People are relational.  They tend to gather in groups, cities, congregations, and conferences.  “There’s strength in numbers,” they say –  and more opportunity in big metro areas.

But there’s also danger where people join in with thousands or millions of others.

Like, uh…Wuhan, China.

Or even Las Vegas, NV. 

Even though Vegas is a polyglot city of more than 2-million souls…only 2% of those actually were born and raised there.  The rest come from all four corners of the world.  And beyond that, 51-million visitors came last year to a never-ending parade of conferences and conventions.  Sin City is #1 for that. 

If you don’t catch a bug at a conference, then you’ll catch it on the way there from any of a laundry list of airports and packed jetliners.  Heck, I went to the movies yesterday, and wondered at each step of the visit to the theatre, how often I should be washing my hands.

Again, people congregate at sporting events, church, while shopping, and any number of other fill-in-the-blank gatherings almost DAILY.  You WILL be exposed unless you turn into a hermit.

But this constant media drum-beat of the number of coronavirus deaths is unprecedented even for the untrustable popular media’s dubious agenda of coverage.  Thankfully people are starting to realize that while it’s one thing to report the spread of a new disease, it’s another to fan the flames of fear unnecessarily.

There’s ample evidence that even if you WERE to catch COVID-19, you either (a) wouldn’t even know it (b) would have mild symptoms or (c) would statistically survive an attack.

Which  brings us to the question of the voiceover community’s most influential and well-attended annual conference:  Voice Over Atlanta (VOA).  The conference had over 650 attendees last year…more this year.  Even WITHOUT COVID-19, the joke is that “conference crud” always seems to result from these things.  Heck, that’s the universal experience of WoVOCOn attendees, and the number at THOSE events is typically under 150.

The founder and CEO of the conference – Gerald Griffith – says he is moving ahead with the event regardless.  Um, lessee….SXSW, professional sporting events, political campaign rallies, NAB conference, NCAA tournament games (no fans), concerts, international flights, and an ever-growing list of global attractions and events are folding, but VOA is continuing.  Wha?

Some voice actors have commented publicly (paraphrased): “I trust Gerald Griffith to do what is right for the VO community”.  Well THAT’S safe. So if he cancels or continues, that statement still stands, right?

Let’s remember that sponsors have considerable non-refundable resources committed to this event, so Gerald is between a rock and a hard place. {note World-Voices Org. ® or WoVO – of which I’m founder and immediate past-president, is also a sponsor of VOA}

Gerald rightly observes that the CDC itself is within the metro Atlanta area.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has failed to call this epidemic a pandemic {edit: as of 3-11-2020 WHO has changed status to a pandemic}.  People ARE being more cognizant of good actions to avoid spreading the virus.  There’s no reason to believe that going to VOA will infect you with COVID-19.

So who to believe?  The news?  Pffft.

The CDC?  The WHO?  Gerald Griffith?  President Trump?  His democratic challengers?

No, you should believe your own conscience.

You should trust your gut.  Bone-up on the latest info, examine your comfort with risk, see how much you have invested in the trip to VOA, search your heart, and make the decision ON YOUR OWN.  Don’t let anyone else make it for you.  This is an individual decision.  And remember literally THOUSANDS of voice actors aren’t going, and could care less what’s happening in Atlanta.

Will some choose not to go?  Yes.

Will they miss out on the advantages of learning more about voiceover?  Yes.

Will they miss out on catching Covid-19?  Yeah, maybe.

Me?  I wasn’t planning to go this year, and increasingly, I’m washing my hands and staying home…but NOT watching popular media.  

CourVO

 

 

 

and….. 

Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. Jackie Bales

    Oh Dave, as a former newscaster myself, I cringe at the breathless reporting of rising numbers without putting them into context, just fanning the flames of hysteria. Here in Broward County Florida, where we have had 8 new cases, people are going about their lives, basically just washing their hands more thoroughly. If you watched the news you’d think we’re cowering under our beds! Thanks for putting your thoughts out there. Much appreciated.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Thanks, Jackie…

      Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Thanks for your comments!

      best,

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  2. Dustin Ebaugh

    Prudent advice, Dave. Especially about NOT watching popular media. Scaring people is not good. We should not be in a panic about this. Vigilant, yes.

    Reply
  3. Bradley Giffen

    So, here’s my two-cents-worth opinion: This is to all those people who want to blame the media (whatever the word ‘media’ means to you) for ‘creating hysteria’. Sure, I’ve participated in enough editorial meetings to know the media know how to harness our predisposition for psychological ‘negative bias’. But are the leaders of multiple levels of national and international governments (such as Italy’s), the NHL, the NBA, and the sober-minded head of the WHO who this week declared coronavirus a ‘global pandemic’ –just reacting to some “self-promoting-panic-loving plan” by the media? Really? Really? Thank the media instead for informing us (whether we heed it or not, and whether you think it’s “too” ubiquitous) of the measures and information released by those multiple levels of national and international govts and medical experts such as the WHO. I get tired of MAGA-like head-in-the-sand- memes-macho-mudsill-defy-science “blame the media” yatter. It’s beneath many of the people I hear repeating it, and It’s not only boring –it’s dangerous.

    Reply

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