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The Benefits of International Conferences for Voiceover Artists

The first ever international conference for voiceover artists ended recently. It was an information-packed event spanning 4 days and took place in Las Vegas. Among the guest speakers were Pat Fraley, Bob Bergen and a surprise appearance by Don LaFontaine. Topics discussed ranged from demos to marketing and everything in between. Those in attendance report that they each took something (in some cases, many somethings) home with them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them for reasons that had nothing to do with the conference.

However, some who were not in attendance now seem to resist the idea of regular conferences presented by this same team. Some indicate that the cost is prohibitive while others have issues with travel costs.

Here’s the rub: the operators of this conference have given the impression that this “series” of seminars is the be-all, end-all of voiceover gatherings. My take is you must promote an event such as this aggressively and deliver what you promise… every time!

I had every intention of attending this conference until some personal health issues got in my way. I’m also obliged to tell you that if these issues had not been a factor, I would have been there with bells on.

My belief remains that events such as these geared specifically to voiceover artists are necessary and are way past due. Not only will they provide an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas, they will enhance networking, skills and knowledge. What’s wrong with that?

Do I understand the concerns of those who tend to stifle progress? Of course. It’s a “to each their own” proposition.

Some become voiceover artists because they prefer the solitude and control. Some become voiceover artists because it’s simply the greatest job on earth.

Still others become voiceover artists because they think they’re good enough to make a buck doing this. IMHO, THESE are the wannabes to watch. These are the folks struggling along (not that we don’t all struggle from time to time), putting out sub-standard product, either due to poor equipment or poor talent. Enter: the VOICE FARMS. These are the sites (businesses) that put voiceover artists in their database for potential advertisers, et al, to peruse. Many of these jobs pay less than what it costs to power up and use the equipment necessary to complete the job. Still – many take these gigs. Oh, sure… the experience is invaluable, it gives you tracks for your demo. It also drives down acceptable rates for the rest of our industry. Hey – there are exceptions to every rule and I understand that. The internet has opened up our industry to the world. That’s such a good thing. Plenty of work for everyone. But, let’s make absolutely certain that we don’t whore our wares the way terrestrial radio did. The money went away and so did the talent. This really upsets me.

Be aware of what it is you’re accepting and how it will affect your future!

We, as professionals, set the standard. And, I’m thoroughly convinced that smart advertisers know the value of what we do. Nor, do I blame the “VOICE FARMS”. They do not set the rates. They merely provide a centralized database for artists and advertisers. They saw the market and found the niche. I have no problem with that.

Here’s the real question… will YOU be attending V.O.I.C.E. 2008?