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63165_300633466720350_97475532_nLast night I had the chance to get out from behind this laptop and go to the NY Voice Over Mixer, hosted every year for the past 5 years by voice talent, Erik Sheppard.

You can read more about it here

As you may know, this was the 5th and final year of the event. No doubt, the logistics for creating such an event must be incredible. I do wish now, that any member of our Voice123 team had gone more often in the past. We last attended in 2008. What I enjoyed about the event served as a reminder for what makes the voice over industry unique and special. I wanted to run down a list of what I was thinking about as I drove home that night. To start…

I have to face facts. I like people. Yes, the voice industry is competitive, but I like it. Often I find I miss going to a studio to record because I miss working with people, and competing. I seriously need to get out more. After years of writing emails, blogs, social posts etc., I finally met several people I had been hoping to meet for a long time. There are way too many to mention. That night, I probably told you anyway. :D  What makes meeting people so special is that for all the decisions websites make, all the ups and downs of working online, the thousands of emails and auditions, the happiness and frustration, the doubt and reassurance…one thing never changes…the personality of the people in the industry. When you get someone in front of you, things start to make sense on a deeper level. You learn so much about yourself. I know from my oddly strong memory of names that I was in a room with some people, who do not like things we have done in the past. I was nervous about it, but when the same people asked how I was doing after the hurricane…a switch flipped. I realized something that I hope all voice talent and voice seekers understand…You are working on a website, yes, but you are still working with people. It must never be forgotten in a scary industry where something written can be taken out of context.

I realized that many voice talent really have no idea how much “people” are involved in the process at Voice123. Some even thought our staff was not real. I had some time to tell voice talent about the staff I work with, who was a voice talent, and what goes on during a day’s work. Face to face, I saw when someone was thinking, “Is he serious?” or “I had no idea!”. I had a chance to tell some crazy stories, too, and get some heart-felt thank you’s. It is one of those special things that comes with actually getting outside to meet the people we talk to all year. It meant a great deal to me.

I also realized that I have been community managing for many years now, and have never really met anyone in person. It has been mostly delegated to emails, webinars, Skype, etc.  The positive is that many said the Internet makes me look taller. The negative is that many found out I am actually quite short. In 2013, I will be getting out more to meet the good people I have written to for years. When I started here in 2007, I was more familiar with working offline than online, and since then have maybe forgotten what it is like. I did get into the voice over industry years ago because I enjoyed working with the people in it, and loved the work. It is a performance atmosphere that requires no special looks.

In addition, I realized that I talk too much. You need to hear from people other than me. In 2013, I will be making more efforts to get article postings from you, the voice talent community. As much as I enjoy writing…this blog should be about you. Don’t get me wrong…I love writing, but this is not about me.

Finally…I hope someone picks up where Erik Sheppard left off. He created something amazing and deserves a thank you, especially from Voice123. The event is very positive, and should be continued. Meeting people in the same industry from all over the world and different walks of life, grows understanding and makes for a stronger voice industry. The fact that so many made such a long trips, just to see people they have spoken with online, means these relationships are human, not technological. In today’s world, we need such reminders. Foursquare check-ins are not enough. Maybe we are not the snarky comedian our Facebook posts make us out to be. Maybe…we actually do care about people and how they think.

I also need to thank voice talent, Jenn Henry, for this quote, “I am amazed by the generosity of voice talent, especially those who have been successful, and still take the time to give so much to others. I never had that in any other industry”.   I also say thanks for the Pez dispenser. It keeps looking at me. :o

pez

Hope to hear and see more from all of you in 2013, and to Erik Sheppard…thank you!