It seems like there are a lot of Voiceover Conferences out there. Some are real conferences and some seem more like getherings. But VO Atlanta was a conference gathering. Let me explain. My definition of a gathering would be a small group of people with an intimate flare that allows talent to really get personal attention from experienced talent. But my idea of a conference is a big production with a large crowd that attracts lots of top talent. VO Atlanta 2014 somehow managed to do both.
The conference which was organized by Gerald Griffith of Voiceover City, brought out the superstars of voiceover. Bob Bergen who is the voice of Warner Brother’s Porky Pig was the key note speaker. Bob gave a detailed roadmap to voiceover success while also detailing his ascent to voiceover royalty in a two hour address to the “tooned in” in audience.
But Bob wasn’t the only one sharing. Joe Cipriano, Rodney Saulsberry, Dave Fennoy, Randy Thomas (Emmy Announcer) Elaine Clarke, Edge Studio’s David Goldberg, Mary Lynn Wissner, Celia Siegel, George Whittam, Dan Friedman, Sunday Muse, Stevie Vallance, Noelle Romano, Jeff Umberger and Joe Loesch all contributed their perspectives on the craft.
With all this talent at one conference it would have been easy to be star struck but the best talent proved to be the best personalities too. These were real people who you could touch and talk to and really get to know on a personal level. And they stayed at the conference all four days and had breakfast, lunch and dinner with new and old talent. This personal touch provided something extra to VO Atlanta 2014.
VO Atlanta brought some really great ideas to the table. There was the usual exhibit hall with things that you have seen before but then there were fresh new things like Kaotica Eyeball, Studio Bricks and Ip DTL which lots of people were excited about playing with. But the conference itself had something new and cool. There was the voiceover competition where contestants read scripts in front of a panel of judges for a chance to win $2000 in voice over prizes. In addition The conference featured a workout session with voiceover founder and personal trainer Zurek.
The conference also had the usual panel discussions. But I caught a part on video of the discussion of the year. The panel, moderated by Gerald, debated the merits of the union vs online casting in what turned passionate in front of an audience of about 100 people. Randy Thomas represented the union perspective while Stephanie Ciccarelli represented Voices.com for the online casting perspective. Mary Lynn Wissner and Jeff Umberger represented the agents side while David Goldberg from Edge Studio provided a very neutral point of view. Unfortunately I didn’t film the entire thing but some highlights are available in the video above.
The Wrap Up
On Sunday VO Atlanta 2014 concluded with a very entertaining wrap up by Joe Loesch. Just took us through the highlights and higherlights of the conference. Rodney Saulsberry provided a touching tribute to the collective experience that I think noone will soon forget. Check out this and more in the video recap.