Part 2 - Online Voice over Conferences
Following on from Part 1, Which looked at In-Person Conferences, let's now look at what's happening in the virtual world. The pivot from in-person to virtual conferences, driven by the pandemic, has widened this element of the VO industry. Now people from all over the world can access the conference experience from the comfort of their own homes.
One Voice 2020 and VOAtlanta 2021 were fully virtual and whilst this meant we lost that personal ‘hug’ moment of meeting old friends and making new ones, I’ve been amazed at the ingenuity that the organizers of these events have brought to the table. Breakout rooms and social networking online have retained an element of ‘fun’ in the digital world. Regular social meetups have been arranged for members of organizations like the Voiceover Network and the GVAA. Events like the One Voice Awards and the SOVAS Awards 2020 also went online and were carried off with aplomb.
Over the last 18 months, we’ve all become more familiar with doing business and networking online via digital or virtual medium platforms (Vmp/Vmtg) such as zoom, skype, google hangouts, etc. And we’ve all become more sanguine about circumstances when kids or our pets have inadvertently become the stars of the show. And although keeping the disruptions at bay so as not to interfere with things is usually top of the list, there are many other things to consider with on-camera conferencing!
So, what should we take account of when attending voiceover related online events?
Perhaps top of the list for voice-over artists attending online meetings, workshops, webinars, and the like is to make sure you not only present yourself visually in a business casual manner but that you absolutely sound like a voice-over pro. Always do a mic test and a speaker test before you join a meetup to check that you sound clear. This is the business we are in and even if it is an informal event, it is ever so important that the sound quality is premium. You never know who will be listening in or taking part.
Think about your camera position and whether your background is appropriate (Learn how to add a virtual background that can add some gentle branding or hide that messy pile of papers). If you are a speaker, some events may provide branded backdrops, so there is visual continuity onscreen. A plain or event screen is usually the most appealing way to go. An exception to this might be an online social event where everything is more relaxed and a glass of wine or beer is also acceptable, but as with office parties, best not to overdo things.
According to Backstage, there are 9 online voice-over etiquette tips to consider. Things as simple as introducing yourself and being conscious of the visual image presented onscreen are highlighted in this informative article.
Preparation is important in all areas of our business lives, so read over the meeting agenda, workshop summary, or event guidelines in advance. See if you will be able to access it again online or whether you should be taking notes or be recording it (if allowed to do so). Also, think of some potential questions ahead of time for the session you are attending. The speaker will be grateful that there is interest and curiosity about their subject. On the flip side. even if you are bursting with 100 questions, try and respect both the speaker and other attendees. If you have more than a couple of questions, email the presenter afterwards.
Lastly, thanking the host or meeting provider is always a nice touch and gives you the chance to ask further questions or comments you might have. After the event, if you have enjoyed or learned from it, social media it on all platforms. Double bonus for yourself and the event provider, especially if the event can still be purchased post-conference, which is often the case.
As the world opens back up, it looks like the virtual and the in-person conferences will continue to live side by side. One Voice UK (Aug 19-22, 2021) and One Voice USA (Aug 26-29, 2021) will be hybrid events allowing people to travel and be there in person or to be a virtual attendee. What an amazing online experience to go from London to the USA, all with the touch of a few buttons.