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Voice Over Conferences
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Bob Bergen
Flight Attendant


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 809

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

i think bob is a super guy and i were into animation, i would take one of his classes if he came back to st. louis, and if he let me.


Boy, I would like nothing more as St. Louis is my home town. Don't see any weekend workshop travel in my future for a long time. Perhaps when Covid is behind us. Wink
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todd ellis
A Zillion


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 9887
Location: little egypt

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks bob!

OH - and i remembered a great thing - voicecon*/st. paddy's day/my birthday/VO unintentional sleepover at pam's in chicago** - (2012 or 2013) --- bob souer taught me how to make perfect scrambled eggs!***


* not an actual event
** actual event
***making eggs this morning made me think of that.
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Jack Daniel
Cinquecento


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 510
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan-O wrote:
I miss people.


Well, a few of them, anyway. The rest are just traffic. And yes I am kidding, mostly.

Dan-O wrote:
The one work related event every year I truly enjoy is Promax.


The one "VO" event I attend,* and it's not even a VO event. Thanks to Dan-O and Anthony, at my first attendance I met producers and buyer types with whom I work today. As was the case when I was a sales exec, the trick is not to promote yourself, thrust cards at people, or discuss your latest project and how you'd really love to get into [promo/trailer/narration/anythingelse].

*I occasionally go to other events if asked by people who think I know more than I do, owe me money, or both.
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Voice Talent / Man About Town
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Bob Bergen
Flight Attendant


Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 809

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, let me discuss the value I get out of vo conferences. And I have been going off and on since VOICE 2007 in Las Vegas. I don't attend to further my vo career. I get to see how the other half lives. I just didn't know there was another half (or more) until I attended these cons.

I've been teaching out of town weekend workshops since around 2000. My first few were in the major markets of NY and Chicago. Pretty similar caliber of talent I would see in Los Angeles. Union performers seeking to work in animation.

Then as others expressed interest in other markets I booked workshops outside these major vo market: St. Louis, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Columbus, etc. These were my first experiences with actors not interested in working union. Now, my first impression was that these were just isolated groups of 10-15 in each class who just didn't understand/know the benefits of working union. Not their fault. You cannot know what you don't know. So I made a point to spend quality time in each class discussing the benefits of working union.

In 2000 we were still in the age where a single National Class A commercial paid enough to qualify for health benefits for an entire family for a year. As well as a pension credit. Most represented union vo actors had 2-5 national spots under their belts each year. I just could not understand why anyone would not demand every vo gig came with P&H and residuals. Especially since they were studying animation, which was (and still is) 95% union. Plus, they did a lousy job of explaining and (or) justifying their preference of working non union.

Then, I attended VOICE 2007 in Las Vegas. Now, I do not remember much of it as I had double pink eye and bronchitis and was on so many meds much of the trip was a blur. (I performed my one man show one night and have no recollection of doing it) But it was this con where actors from all over the country began to better educate me on their reasons for working non union.

*How out of reach they felt union work was.
*How they don't relate to the business model of working union.
*How the concept of residuals sounds nice, but not something attainable.
*How they rarely see enough union opportunities to even qualify to join. And if they did, they could not abandon a career they have begun to build and grow.

Attending agents from around the country shared with me as they saw union opportunities dwindle, the union ignored their cries for help.

Now, I listened. But I still didn't buy what they were selling. Neither did any of the other professionals from the major markets who were flown out to this first con. I had dinner with Don LaFontaine who was disappointed that this con was attended by so many "amateurs," and how they were encouraged to keep pursuing this non union road.

I believe it was at this con (might have been subsequent years) where I first heard of this forum and the amazing Deebs, whom I still adore more than peanut butter. The value I have in knowing DB makes attending these cons worthwhile.

I was invited to attend more and more cons. And with each one, I was more and more educated on this thriving community of voice actors. And, with more time and more distance from the union it became very clear that the majority pursing vo today do not value what the union has to offer as it is too removed from their day to day. The honest ones still say that they would love for their work to be union as they value the benefits. But the generation gap has gotten too vast, and the union too antiquated.

Attending these cons over the years has allowed me to be a double agent. I have the value of understanding and knowing both sides of the fence. I'm co-Chair of the Hollywood VO Committee, and I am hands on involved in this non union vo community who over a 20 year journey now owns 80% of the vo industry. I have served on the SAG, AFTRA, and SAG-AFTRA boards. I admit, it took me years for this this non union community to sink in. But I get it.

And, attending these cons has granted me the education and ammunition to author a union proposal that would bring in more union vo work with more vo talent joining and pursuing union vo, while still being able to retain their non union career and buyers. (Don't hold your breath! I doubt this will get board approval as leadership is as removed from the non union vo community as they are to union leadership. But I will go to my grave knowing I tried)

Covid aside, my out of town weekend workshops resulted in about 2-5 people a year taking the plunge and moving to LA to train and pursue animation vo. Just a small handful achieved success. But that is relative to the statistics of those who live here and pursue. It is far easier to break into animation today than it was when I did in 1982. But the cream floats to the top. Always has, always will.
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todd ellis
A Zillion


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 9887
Location: little egypt

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

two things, bob ...

thanks for this
Quote:
more vo talent joining and pursuing union vo, while still being able to retain their non union career and buyers.


this is why i have not pursued union work. i cannot afford to take a 6 figure hit for the hope of union glory. it's just not worth it.

and
Quote:
the cream floats to the top. Always has, always will.


some of us out here in flyover country have carved our own little finger holds in the sheer cliff of VO and are dragging ourselves up by force of will and sparkling personalities (not me per se, but some, i'm sure). it's an everyday slog, but it's better than digging a ditch in the rain - the only other thing i am qualified to do. floated to the top? maybe not --- drifted toward the middle, yeah, maybe.

i always appreciate your honesty & attempt to make eye contact with us here in the trenches. i remember sometime in the late 2000's when we were on the same side battling the VO puppy mills cropping up in community colleges across the country --- they were a total rip-off & you called them on it. thanks for stuff like that.

and three (i know, i said 2)

i was at VOICE 2007 where i met DB & frank and lots of others, including you, but you probably don't remember (your autograph is still stuck on my filing cabinet) ... and it was an epiphany. i had toiled away in my little home studio - not knowing about the others toiling away in theirs. it was like being a unicorn and stepping out the door to see another unicorn - except it was stepping into a cruddy las vegas hotel conference room and seeing 200 other unicorns and a cash bar. it was pretty awesome. why have i never gone to another vo conference? i'm not really sure. i'm working, i'm happy ... so i guess that's good. and one day soon i'm pulling my camper to maine to visit db & mandy & moe ...
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Frank F
Fat, Old, and Sassy


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 4371
Location: Park City, Utah

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Bob,

Thanks to both you and Todd for remembering VOICE 2007, it was a "spur of the moment" project which I had felt was needed and desired. You were GREAT!

VOICE 2007 was the start of many things for the VO Community as a whole. I chose NOT to make it a habit and did not wish to have multiple events or a million years.

I had planned on it being an event to bring both seasoned pro's and newbie's together to further our mutual love. It worked and it didn't.

The best thing I got out of the event ---- (wait for it) meeting some fabulous people who are still a BIG part of my world. Yes, you included Bob.

What changed with VO events after this... the focus. Will there ever be another VO event like the first one - NO.

Enough said.

Frank F
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George
Contributor III


Joined: 09 Dec 2019
Posts: 80
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i've been to a variety of conventions large and small - some that started small and eventually became bafflingly huge - and the one trend i have found throughout all of them is that the most value that i garner from them is the time spent with a small circle of friends.

having not yet attended any of the large scale VO conventions and not presently planning on doing so while still knowing people who get a tremendous amount of value from them, i know what works for them and i know better what works for me. camaraderie is a vital part of any event. a strong part of my reluctance to participate in the larger conventions is the lack of personal knowledge of folks who are likely to be there.

when it's safe to be traveling again and lockdowns are lifted and vaccines are flowing like rivers through our veins, while some folks are anxiously awaiting the next VO Atlanta and the like, i'd personally rather just drive to portland and meet some of the locals from here at a bar or restaurant and squat for a few hours. for me personally, better use of time and quite a bit less expensive. (:
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Kim Fuller
Cinquecento


Joined: 29 Jan 2011
Posts: 599
Location: Portlandish, Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Portland is a great target for a post-Covid visit.
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Lee Gordon
A Zillion


Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 6600
Location: West Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

todd ellis wrote:
and one day soon i'm pulling my camper to maine to visit db & mandy & moe ...


When this happens, I hope it's during the months I am in New England (April through October).
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todd ellis
A Zillion


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 9887
Location: little egypt

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

me too.
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melissa eX
MMD


Joined: 20 Oct 2007
Posts: 2658
Location: Lower Manhattan, New Amsterdam, the original NYC

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to come through NY State to get there. If you detour south at Albany for about an hour or so to New Paltz, I can head north 2 hours from the city and Liz can head east for a bit from her place.
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from crime...to the divine(R)
bilingual isdn vo
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todd ellis
A Zillion


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 9887
Location: little egypt

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds like a plan!
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10522

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to this here thread I have found my brand!

YAY GO ME!

https://vimeo.com/481403555
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Karyn OBryant
Backstage Pass


Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 497
Location: Portlandia-adjacent

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Bergen wrote:
A few years ago I was invited to attend WOVO, a con I had heard negative things about for a long time. But, I was asked to take part, as well as some other colleagues whom I have the utmost respect for. I found WOVO to be an utter delight and chock full of value. I sadly had to leave early due to wild fires in LA. But I'm glad I attended! It would have been a crime had I allowed the negatives to keep me away when invited to attend.

I'm so very glad you did attend WoVOCon, Bob, and that you enjoyed it so much. I'm curious to know what kinds of negative things you heard? As one of the organizers (and as one who will be producing a WoVO Mini-Con for pros here in Portlandia as soon as it is feasible), I'd love to get feedback.
Also, I agree that the cream does indeed rise -- and that Deebs is far more delightful than peanut butter (and dare I say more than Fluffernutters).


And I encourage post-Covid visitors to Portland. We shall celebrate in high style!
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