It’s been a few days since VO Atlanta 2022 wrapped and social media has been alive with photo dumps, comments, and my fellow bloggers doing their thing. Maybe you’re done with it. It’s a SUMO moment (Shut Up Move On) or maybe, just maybe, there is still something worth reflecting on.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve been able to experience several conferences both as an attendee and as a speaker and my answer to my own question is a loud and clear NO – They are not all the same. There are similarities in structure – shorter workshop sessions included in the price and longer specialist sessions booked separately. Panels of industry leaders and keynote speakers.
But what makes each, and every conference different is the people that attend. The friends you reconnect with. The strangers you meet. The extraordinary shoulders of giants that boost you up.
This was my third VO Atlanta. The first, I knew no one and spent my time running from one workshop to the next. As a new talent, I learned an enormous amount and one session, in particular, changed the course of my career (JMC – No surprise there!), the second one was virtual-only and my first as a speaker. This time in 2022... It was astonishing … I spent more time than ever before just chatting. I can hardly believe all the quality time spent with so many voiceover industry movers and shakers, in only 4 days!
I had a wonderful group of attendees (both in-person and virtually) for my session (The Great VO Experiment) and I’ve been so encouraged by the positive feedback. I was also invited to be a panel member discussing the growth of AI voices and how we can react to them. I joked beforehand about being pelted with rotten tomatoes and cabbage which would help people find me the following day but as so often with this great industry, the attendees listened with grace and responded with insightful questions.
At previous conferences, I’ve gone with a plan of who I want to see and what I want to learn but when I was asked what my plan was for this conference, I realized I didn’t really have one. I just wanted to experience it. The 4 days flew past. I learned, I connected and this week I find myself following up with people I met.
The big reveal on Sunday (Anna and J. Michael Collins taking the reins of the conference) felt like a circle being drawn for me personally. VO Atlanta 2022 was outstanding! Thank you, Gerald, as it seemed to run so smoothly, it met expectations, and perhaps most crucially, for me anyway, it was just that little bit different. Looking forward to what next year holds for VOAtlanta 2023.