By Stephanie Ciccarelli
April 8, 2014
Did the tweets you saw with the hashtag #voatlanta2014 make you want to attend VO Atlanta 2015?
From Animation to Audiobooks, from Business to Products and Technology, VO Atlanta treated its attendees to an action-packed conference where learning abounded in abundance.
Wish you were there?
Check out some of the highlights in today's VOX Daily!
VO Atlanta took place a few weeks ago on March 20th through March 23rd at the Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel.
If there was a theme to VO Atlanta 2014, I think it was solidified during the kickoff event featuring Emmy-winning News Reporter, Lauren Hudson, who pumped up our confidence, courage and commitment to walking the road ahead.
Lauren literally had everyone on their feet, even those of us who profess to have no rhythm whatsoever, dancing to Pharell Williams' song "Happy."
Later that evening, Anne Ganguzza talked up the conference with a long list of industry luminaries which was live streamed to VO Peeps both near and far. Click through this link to watch the 1-hour and 22-minute VO Atlanta 2014 video.
In this video, you'll meet Gerald Griffith, organizer of VO Atlanta along with Elaine Clark, Mary Lynn Wissner, Celia Siegel, Rodney Saulsberry, Bob Bergen, Dave Fennoy, Joe Loesch, Randy Thomas, Joe Cipriano, David Goldberg, Gabrielle Nistico, Katie Leigh (pictured below), yours truly (Stephanie Ciccarelli) and more.
The atmosphere over the next several days was indeed one of excitement, camaraderie and learning. The Southern hospitality, opportunities to connect and I must add the availability of both sweet and hot tea was nothing short of amazing.
Bob Bergen was the conference keynote, speaking on "What are you doing/aren't you doing to advance your VO Career." His story was inspiring and took us back to the golden days of animation, referencing greats such as Mel Blanc, Daws Butler and others. What I enjoyed in particular were the mini lessons along the way that Bob taught including how to bark like a dog, how to sound like a parrot and of course, the moment where we heard a parrot with slight vocal modification, turn into a pterodactyl! Now, that was indeed something.
With a full slate of presentations and activities, it will be hard to properly cover everything in one post, but I'll do my best!
Rodney Saulsberry gave attendees a Commercial Primer while Elaine Clark spoke to what it means for voice artists to be a Well Rounded Talent. Following lunch, there were a few panels including an Animation Panel (Bob Bergen, Sunday Muse, Dave Fennoy), an Audiobook Panel (Joe Loesch, Andi Arndt, Jason Ojalvo) and a Commercial VO Panel (Celia Siegel, Elaine Clark, Mary Lynn Wissner, Rodney Saulsberry).
One of the conference's most looked forward to events was the VO Atlanta Voiceover Contest.
Modelled closely after The Voice, a number of contestants read for a panel of judges. After their first read, the judges discussed the performance and provided new direction for the talent to incorporate into their read. After the second read, judges wrote down the scores for the first read, the second read and an overall score out of 10. The judging panel included Dave Fennoy, Celia Siegel, yours truly, David Goldberg and the exceptionally talented, Katie Leigh.
The winner of that contest, which was very close I might add, was Eric Singer. Part of Eric's prize was a 1-year Premium membership to Voices.com!
Later in the evening, there were a number of additional workshops that attendees could opt to participate in. I happened to pop in to Sunday Muse's "Animation and Character Development" workshop. It's always a treat to see Sunday and watch her inspire others while drawing their creativity out.
Here's one of her students, Michael Johnston improvising a rap after being given a handful of words to blend together.
Mary Lynn Wissner presented a workshop called "Book it! What You Need to Know to Book." Celia Siegel presented "Marketing for VO Success," while Dave Fennoy presented "Committed to the Process." With so many wonderful presenters, it was difficult to choose!
These sessions were over and above the conference itself so if someone wanted to attend, they needed to register in advance. Classes were limited to 12 people per session.
If anyone was brave enough (or awake enough) to show up for some intense cardio at 7am, Zurek led an hour long "PhyZically FIT Workout" sure to get you going. The group was small but mighty. Offered on the Sunday morning as well, those in attendance were indeed pumped up and happy to pose for a photo. Maybe next year, maybe next year!
At 9am, attendees got to choose between a number of interesting offerings including "Breaking into the World of Voice Overs" with Casting Director Mary Lynn Wissner, "Demo Deconstruction" with Dan Friedman, a few additional workshops with Rodney Saulsberry, Elaine Clark and Bob Bergen as well as a cool track setup just for child attendees.
For many people, the industry panel entitled, "A Look at the Modern Voice Over Industry" was a popular draw. Speakers included local Atlanta talent agent, Jeffrey Umberger of the Umberger Agency, Casting Director Mary Lynn Wissner of Voices Voicecasting, professional voice talent Randy Thomas, David Goldberg of Edge Studio and Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com. The goal of the panel was to introduce conference attendees to the various facets of the VO ecosystem and how they work together. It was a productive discussion that could have gone on for hours, and indeed, did go over its allotted duration. The conversation will no doubt pick up again next year during VO Atlanta 2015.
Following the panel, there was an All Hands on Deck Sponsor Showcase featuring VoiceoverCity, LLC, Sennheiser USA (Christopher Currier), Edge Studio, Source-Elements, Voices.com, ACX, and Studiobricks.
Stevie Vallance taught the children's track all afternoon. Other presenters that day for the children's track included Noelle Romano and Joe Loesch.
ACX - Audiobook Creation Exchange gave a presentation while David Goldberg of Edge Studio presented on "Creating an Edge." In an adjacent room, Dave Fennoy taught people how to develop characters for videogames (and scream really loud!) while George Whittam and Christopher Currier got their attendees "Plugged into Success."
Celia Siegel taught an additional session, "Branded For Success," while local talent agent, Jeffrey Umberger, led the Atlanta Panel in the Grand Ballroom.
After dinner, many people found themselves, "Living on Air" with Joe Cipriano and having a great time at "Club Cip" as sponsored by Source-Elements, creator of Source-Connect.
Those who were still awake found themselves at a 3-hour long Copy Workout hosted by David Goldberg of Edge Studio. There had to be 50 people or so lined up to read. Each person chose a script from Edge Studio's collection and received direction on the spot following their initial reads. Scripts ranged from Television Commercials to Video Narration to Interactive Guided College Tours. The workout went from 9pm to just shy of midnight, and at that point, not everyone who had lined up got to read. The demand was certainly there! Talking went on outside of the room until roughly 12:30am as people processed the awesomeness that was Day 2.
Up and at'em! Zurek and his band of the PhyZically FIT trained in advance of a catered breakfast where awards were given and memories were reviewed. Joe Loesch tied the conference together nicely and also played a song. Rodney Saulsberry sang too!
Of course, all of this was made possible through the generosity of VO Atlanta 2014's sponsors! Conference sponsors include, VoiceoverCity, LLC, Edge Studio, Sennheiser USA, Voices.com, ACX, Studiobricks, Kaotica Eyeball and Source-Elements.
To see more of what you missed, be sure to glean some insight via Twitter by viewing tweets marked with the conference hashtag, #voatlanta2014. You can also check out photos taken by Voices.com in our VO Atlanta 2014 set on Flickr.
You can also watch this great VO Atlanta 2014 wrap up video by Dane Reid.
VO Atlanta 2015 is set to take place on March 19th through March 22nd, 2015. You can learn more at VOAtlanta.me
I'll be covering more stories from this conference throughout the week. Be sure to tune in and share your thoughts!