Recently, I attended my first in-person voiceover conference, which was V.O. North in Toronto, Canada, also known as “The Voiceover Conference of the North”. I have attended many virtual voiceover conferences in the past, including the virtual edition of V.O. North, but my experience with this in-person one was completely different. It truly was an extraordinary experience – one that I will never forget.
I wanted to share my personal experience for various reasons, including showing the value of attending such events. From newcomers to the industry, to seasoned veterans, there are numerous reasons why attending a voiceover conference is so worthwhile and appreciated by those of all levels.
Kicked off with a Bang
The first day, I attended an intensive workshop with New York casting director, Alexa Magnoto. Alexa provided us with so many golden nuggets of information, tips and various ways to breakdown and interpret copy. The goal was to improve our own self-direction at home.
It was such a wonderful opportunity to meet and read for a New York casting director in person, and to get such valuable feedback. She was so generous with her time and knowledge, and it really blew us away.
It was also great to be in the room with so many talented colleagues and to see how each one of us interprets copy and gives their own uniqueness to their reads.
There were also other fantastic intensives with industry leaders in audiobooks, video games, animation, movie trailers and TV promo, as well as a workshop for beginners.
The rest of the conference was equally as great!
Educational and Informative
Obviously, the biggest goal of attending the conference was to learn as much as possible, at least for me. And learn we did! I must admit, the choices were a bit overwhelming at times because they were all so interesting. Some examples of sessions included Marketing, Home Studios, Rates, AI, Editing, e-Learning, Vocal Health, ADR & Dubbing, Video Games, Audiobooks and so much more.
While I was technically the understudy, I was super honored and surprised to have been asked to speak on a panel: Representing the Real World: Diversity & Inclusion in Voiceover. I was privileged to have shared the stage with some fantastic BIPOC voiceover talent from both Canada and the US. We talked about our personal experiences as BIPOC voice actors and where we see the industry going.
Attendees were invited to step out of their comfort zones and participate in reading for various panels that consisted of agents, casting directors and other industry professionals. There was also a demo derby where anonymous participants had their demos critiqued. We also had the opportunity to read one-on-one for a particular industry professional, which included casting directors and agents.
And challenge myself I did! I got up in front of a panel and fellow colleagues and read a commercial script. Of course, it was nerve-racking, but I was really happy that I did it. I also participated in the demo derby and received valuable feedback.
I finally got to meet the Canadian members of my accountability group. Yay! Shout out to my accountability buddy Roman Bari, who was on the Find Your Squad: The Powerful and Often Underrated Benefits of Accountability Groups panel. It was equally great to meet our other members Katelyn Dawn, David Gilbert and Richard Crossman.
There was socializing, networking and more socializing. It was wonderful to finally meet so many people in person whom I had only met virtually. As well, it was great and so much fun to meet new VO friends and colleagues.
I also got to socialize with agents and casting directors, who were all just simply lovely people and so down to earth.
There was an industry mixer that was the official evening networking event. We also kept the hotel bar buzzing the whole weekend. And just simply hanging out in the lobby area of the conference floor was a great place to interact with fellow VO colleagues.
The Biggest Takeaway
Do not underestimate the power of human connection – to get to share a meal, a drink, a coffee and some laughs with fellow voiceover artists. We came from near and far, to join together and create bonds. This alone, was worth the ticket price and was my biggest takeaway.
It was such an intense and fantastic weekend, and it was definitely sad to say goodbye to everyone.
Alas, this last V.O. North was the final edition. A million thanks go out to Tanya Buchanan and Dearbhla Trainor, as well as their team, for hosting this amazing event. You ladies rock!!
Oh yes, I do have one regret… I wish that I had taken more photos! Life lessons, right?! So, I’ll know to have my camera out more often for my next voiceover conference, which I have already booked! VO Atlanta, here I come!!