Voiceover Conference - Voice 2010 Review
By Todd Schick

The Voice Over International Creative Experience – the first (and worst) annual voiceover conference, following the advent of membership-based (P2P) websites back in 2003.

I personally recorded a lot of material and from a review standpoint, it’s pretty extensive and involved, covering Voice2007, Voice2008 and Voice2010. It’s great to read if you’re planning on attending any voiceover conference; pretty much all the same rules apply.

I think that the only thing uglier than the voiceover conference itself was the logo seen here on the right…..yuck. The big promotional campaign was “Show us your Piggy Bank.”

I’m not kidding 😐

After this voiceover conference, James and Penny Alburger bowed out of doing another voiceover conference, probably because they had made enough money over three events to retire. Or, they sucked every newbie in the industry out of every penny they had to spend on voice coaching.

Or both. Probably both.

I think that I succeeded in getting the message out that, anyone attending any voiceover conference, should really do their homework. No matter how reputable or established they appear to be, those who attend voiceover conference coaching pow-wows “pay to be prey.”

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Voiceover Conference – Introduction

Thanks for taking the time to come and visit! I wasn’t going to bother doing the article this year (I feel like I’m just repeating myself) but, after getting many, many e-mails from folks asking me whether or not I was going to review the voiceover conference this year, I decided to put up the page.

Besides, I’ve been writing this for every voiceover conference thus far, so it makes sense to keep the tradition going……

Beginning of history lesson.

As mentioned, this would be the third review written here on this voiceover conference. As such, we now have a little history on the VOICE event. Here’s the stuff worthy of note:

VOICE2007 – The first effort turned out to be a smoke-filled debacle in a cheap hotel in Las Vegas. In this case, what happened in Vegas REALLY should have stayed in Vegas. Don Lafontaine was the special guest; Voice123, Voices.com and AFTRA were sponsors – a pretty odd combination for a voiceover conference given that Voice123 and Voices are fierce competitors and AFTRA wanted nothing to do with both of them.

Attendance: 200 @ $500.00 a head.

Estimated profit: $90,000

VOICE2008 – James Alburger and Penny Abshire take over and wipe their hands of likes of Voice123 and anything that will remotely affect their bottom line profits. Indeed, James called me up in preparation of the voiceover conference and the first subject on the agenda? MONEY. As in, don’t speak of it regarding this voiceover conference in your article. Hmmmm. I wonder why?

Location changes to Beverly Hills.

Highlights were a 20 minute impromptu speech by James and Penny on how they came up with the idea for their logo. Two folks taking in the speech remark that James and Penny are the “Jim and Tammy-Faye Baker of the VO community….”

Attendance: 459 @ $596.00 a head.

Estimated profit: $250,000

Basking in the glow of the voiceover conference profits their congregation has reaped upon them, Jim and Tammy (sorry) James and Penny decide to take an extended vacation and skip a 2009 edition. Which bring us to VOICE2010.

End of history lesson.

Back to the here and now…..

Call me whacky, crazy…whatever…..but, after you make that kind of coin and then have a year to sit back and ponder your next move…..wouldn’t your next product have some marked improvements? Stuff like a much better website, perhaps a better rate for attendees to attract more people…..maybe a “theme” to change things up a bit…you know, basics from page #1 of Marketing 101……

No.

Website looks homemade and is incomplete. The best they could do for a promotion is “Show us your Piggy Bank.” Good god. “Show us your Piggy Bank.” Really? Oh right…yeah…..I forgot. This voiceover conference is not about money……

The invitation gets sent out early August, with no information on any presenters….but – you can buy your ticket. Selling tickets to a concert….and they haven’t even booked the band. Months later (in Mid-October) they’ve managed to cobble together a schedule, but still much of it is incomplete (many presenters not confirmed, information on those confirmed sparse).

It seems to me that Jim and Tammy (sorry) James and Penny could really care less about improving their product offering. I think their whole approach to this years show is….“uh…..that’s good enough.”

And yet….the price goes up every year….

Full price for VOICE2010: $747.00 (after Dec 31st., 2009).

For the benefit of those who don’t know what this voiceover conference is, it’s a gathering of mostly newbies in the VO industry who spend large sums of money to fly to L.A. to rub shoulders with VO coaches – who simply wish to relieve them of yet even more money for VO coaching, marketing, demo production and consulting services.

What’s your category?

Professional: Making a full-time living doing strictly VO. No day job. Professional home studio with a sound booth and proper gear. Extensive client base.

Semi-pro: Day Job is part-time. Getting close to doing VO full-time, but needs a few more clients, a bit more practice and experience. Studio needs a bit of work (no booth yet) as well as their website.

Rookie: Full time Day Job. Average demo. Only website is on Voice123. Desperately wants to make a full-time living at VO and is looking to do just about anything to attain that goal. Has a USB mic set up in their closet.

Wannabe: Tire kicker. Hasn’t a clue where to start or what to do, but is star-struck by the ORG/OTP/VCW who just handed them his business card and said “You’ve got a great voice….”

Here’s what I feel is in store for you at VOICE2010, based on your “category.”

The Professional

As a full-time professional VO talent, I simply can’t justify the $4,000 cost to go watch a bunch of VO coaches talk about techniques I learned 20 years ago. Technology? I can get all I need from the Internet, thank you very much. Marketing? I could certainly teach Jim and Tammy a thing or two. Meet other like-minded folks? There’s a massive community here in Toronto as there is in many other larger centers like New York, Chicago…etc. As well, there’s “mixers” to attend all year that are much more affordable….that is, if I wanted to bother going at all.

The only thing here for the pro….is the “chance” of picking up a tidbit or contact for more work here and there. Otherwise…..the only other thing I can guess that a pro would be looking for is….some socializing and more clients.

Hmmmm….more clients.

A voice coach? Nope. Wannabe? No. Maybe I could meet a couple of agents in the L.A. area……hmmm….wow. They seem to have more talent around here than they know what to do with……that pool looks really deep…..!

The Semi-pro

If you’re a semi-pro, you’re looking at budget. $2,000, $4,000….who cares? ANY expenditure has to be addressed because you want to do VO full-time – not part-time. You’ve likely spent money on coaching already and have experienced its value vs. actually DOING the work day after day.

Your studio might not be completed. You could build a booth, buy some new monitors and a microphone for $2,000. Indeed, you may have attended VOICE in 2008 and still haven’t read all the material sitting in that grab bag collecting dust under your desk for the last 2 years.

Your primary reason for attending? Probably socializing. Considering we’re in a recession, can you justify that expense for a “good feeling?” If so, then you’re probably not feeling the pinch at all and have the cash to throw around at something extravagant.

Rookie

Tons for the rookie! It’s designed to attract the rookie. Did you go in 2008? How much did your skills improve by attending? Get any more clients? Quit your day job yet? How much have you spent on coaching since then?

For that matter….how much have you spent on your studio? Hmmmm……doesn’t look like very much. You’ve been spending all your money on coaching…..too bad. You’ll need to get that studio in order first…unless you went to the Jim and Tammy School of Product Marketing where everything is just……”good enough.”

I’d crunch the numbers if I were you.

The Wannabe

Uh-oh. You’re throwing money (during a recession) at something that may or may not reap benefits in the future. You better read this first:

For those who dare, here’s the truth about learning VO:

Glossary

Please review these category acronyms before continuing:

IP: Industry Professional

BWJ: Band Wagon Jumper

PVT: Pro Voice Talent

PVC: Professional Voice Coach.

VCW: Voice Coach Wannabe

PPB: Potential Poster Boy

PPG: Potential Poster Girl

ORG: Old Radio Guy

OTP: One Trick Pony

OMGWTF: Speaks for itself.

On to the review of presenters…..(in no particular order).

Only those who currently have content on the VOICE2010 website regarding what they’re presenting at the conference are reviewed.

Sadly, at the time of publication, there’s not much. If you’re a presenter and have noticed I haven’t done a review (but you’ve placed content on the VOICE2010 website) feel free to drop me a note and I’ll update.

Please note: All the website links to the VOICE2010 site I reviewed back in 2010 have been re-directed to Jame’s and Penny’s personal website (I’m pretty sure this was a deliberate attempt to promote themselves via this article). Therefore, many of the links have been disabled or I have pointed to their personal site where content in the review here was applicable.

Indeed, many of the comments I made here made a difference; I’ve noticed quite a few people completely re-designed their websites shortly after this article was published.

Thanks! Enjoy….

Tim Underwood

Tim is a great guy. I’ve met him personally and we’ve worked together for many years. Tim, like myself, is a pioneer of the VO business on the internet. He was one of the very first to offer up a professional roster of VO talent via his excellent website thewebvoice.com.

And check out what he’s speaking on! Etiquette. Here’s a guy who has, time and time again, had to deal with professional voice talent who can’t muster up a modicum of common sense (ergo, manners) in a recording session. Bravo! If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen a voice talent put their foot in their mouth during a recording session, I’d have retired ages ago.

The subject is great, yes. But you what’s even better? Tim isn’t “selling” anything. He’s doing this at his own expense, out of the goodness of his heart….in his words “to give back some of the love…ya know?”

James and Penny should consider themselves very lucky that Tim decided to take part. In doing so, Tim is (perhaps unwittingly) lending credibility to an event sorely in need of it. Please allow me to explain.

Almost everyone who presents at this show (this year included) derives income directly from the coaching/marketing/consulting services that are now being offered to that massive database of newbies over there at Voice123 and Voices.com.

If you’ll look at Tim’s website, you’ll see that he only accepts demos from “professional” voice talent. He really wants nothing to do with coaching or selling marketing services to the USB mic-toting rookie/wannabe – he’s only interested in educating voice talent on proper recording etiquette so that they won’t stick their foot in their mouths during a recording session.

James and Penny on the other hand, want to make this voiceover conference “look” like it’s not a bunch a coaches licking their chops at the potential market this conference represents. The problem is……year after year, there’s only 1 maybe 2 people presenting who don’t make a living selling dreams to aspiring voice talent.

Face it, (aside from Tim) if you’re presenting at this voiceover conference, you’re looking to promote yourself and make money. In Tim’s case….he’s simply giving back, nothing more. In fact, Tim is doing what I’ve been avoiding for years – he’s lending his name to something he’s never seen or experienced. Best of luck, Tim. (Have a Stella with Dan Willmott if he makes it out).

See Tim if you are a: Pro, Semi-Pro, Rookie, Wannabe.

Category: IP, PPB (In the nicest possible way, Tim….)

Deb Munro

This is Deb’s second kick at the cat; she presented at VOICE2008. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on one of her classes here in Toronto and have since referred a few people to her.

I like the subject; “Mastering Your Online Career.” However, from looking at her website I’m not sure exactly how qualified Deb is to speak on this subject…..

I know for a fact that her own website is not very old. Indeed, it looks exactly the same as when I reviewed it 2 years ago – kinda messy and all over the place. There seems to be a lot of mistakes and formatting errors on it, teeny-tiny fonts……not to mention you get the “Under Construction” page when you click on the “Studios” link…..and I’m not sure what “Studios” means…..a list of studios…..or Deb’s “Studio…..ss.”

Clearly a home-made effort. Deb…me thinks you should clean up that site….BIG TIME. If you’re going to speak about VO on-line marketing….then it makes sense (to me, anyway) that your “on-line” website better be setting the standard.

Also…..do you have a home-based studio Deb? I can’t find that info on your website. Of course, I’m sure you’re well aware that many on-line sites that list VO talent insist that they have a home studio. Because you’re speaking on that very subject. So I’m sure you’ll be talking all about your home studio. Maybe you should put your home studio info and services on your website? Aren’t VO talent who are marketing on-line supposed to do that?

Just a thought.

What interests me the most? How she’s going to dance around the Union issue. I notice on her Voice123 profile (as of 1:05 pm EST, November 1st, 2009) that Deb offers both non-union and Union services. Interesting. I know for a fact that ACTRA really frowns on that sort of stuff. Indeed, I’ve been writing about that very subject for years on this page. It’s OK, Deb…you can use it as part of your research (winks).

See Deb if you are: Semi-pro, Rookie, Wannabe

Category: PVC, PVT, PPG

Marc Cashman

Second-timer at VOICE. Being a local (he’s located about 40 minutes from the hotel), all he’s gotta pay for is gas and parking to show up at this wannabe-fest.

And look at the cost to do a demo with Marc: $2,000.

Let’s see….if Marc picked up, say….10 clients from the 459 that attended VOICE2008….and they all did demos…..hmmm…..$20,000. Yeah…that should cover gas and parking. If I were Marc, I’d be all over VOICE2010 like stink on a monkey.

Like Marc’s VOICE2008 review a couple of years ago, here’s what I still have a hard time getting my head around:

If Marc is an award-winning VO artist in L.A., has a first class production studio, an agent and a huge client list……well……he’s clearly not hurtin’ for money. So tell me…..

Why is he coaching over the telephone for $100 an hour?

There’s a word that I’m trying to remember that will encapsulate what I’m trying to say here…..uh….gimme a second…..oh yeah…..that’s it…

Integrity….!

As I have noted on my site for years now, the “in-the-booth” experience is the only way to coach VO to someone effectively, and Marc – more than anyone – should know this. Half the battle is getting used to hearing your own voice with headphones on, behind a sensitive condenser microphone, in a sound-proof booth, behind the glass in a recording studio.

Tell me, how is Marc going to create that experience…..over the telephone for $100 an hour?

I’m not questioning Marc’s ability to coach VO. I’m sure Marc will be entertaining. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy. I’m sure he has a great deal to offer and will be well worth your while to see him. The bonus is, you getting some free info from the guy (well only if you call your full price admission of $746.00 “free”).

Personally, I wouldn’t give a dime to someone who coaches over the telephone for $100.00. I don’t think it’s effective…..at all.

See Marc if you are: Semi-pro, Rookie, Wannabe

Category: PVC

Erik Sheppard

I haven’t met Erik personally, but have corresponded with him many times via VO forums and the like. I like Erik….at least I get a good feeling when I correspond with him; he seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is a talented VO guy. This is Erik’s first time presenting at VOICE. It should be noted here that Erik is spending a pretty hefty amount of money to speak at this conference (about $3200).

The subject is solid (albeit a touch wordy) “Simple Mistakes Talent Make
Every Day: How to NOT Make Agents and Casting Directors Nuts.”

I don’t doubt that he’ll be very interesting and knowing Erik, he’ll put a lot of work into it. However, I question how useful this information will be to the Rookie and Wannabe in the present. I say this, because I get the feeling most of the content presented on this subject won’t be able to be readily applied by the “inexperienced” talent.

What makes Agents and Casting Directors Nuts?

Rookies and Wannabes (we can all thank the likes of Voice123 for that).

See Erik if you are a: Rookie (you can use the info in a couple of years) Semi-Pro, Pro.

Category: IP, VT, PVC, PPB

George Whittham

Never heard of him. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy writing the review on this voiceover conference – I learn about other folks in the industry.

This is George’s first time at VOICE. He’s speaking on “The Technology of Voiceover” – from looking at the bullet points, it’s all pretty basic stuff from my perspective. Again, the reason why I concluded at the start of the article that there’s not much at this conference for the working full-time professional VO talent…..because we ALL know….(from the bullet points):

“The differences between Source Connect, ISDN, Phone Patch, and when you should use them”

…..it’s when our clients ask for the service. “Will that be Source Connect, ISDN or Phone Patch today….?”

See George if you are a: Rookie, Wannabe. (Semi-pros should know all this stuff, if you don’t….you’re not a “Semi-pro”)

Category: IP, potential BWJ

Steve Savanyu

Never heard of him. This is Steve’s first time presenting at VOICE. Steve is speaking on “Choosing the Right Equipment.”

Steve. Buddy. That mic you’re holding there? Yeah. That’s the….wrong equipment. And what’s with that sound booth your standing in there? Steve…yer killin’ me here.

Basic, basic, basic. Nothing here for the pro or semi-pro, because we (should) know all this stuff.

See Steve if you: Want to use the wrong equipment (sorry, Steve, I couldn’t resist) or are a Rookie/Wannabe.

Category: IP, BWJ.

John Florian

Love the thumb on the chin pose. John’s a virgin……this is the first time he’s presented at VOICE.

I know of John’s website(s); he’s been around for a while. He writes and distributes some pretty good stuff, though most of it (I find, anyway) is targeted to the Rookie/Wannabe. Actually, I offered to write an article for VoiceoverXtra. I never heard back. Oh well. I guess he’s got enough content….

Interestingly, John is doing a survey and discussion on “How Voice actors use the Internet.” Hey John…..be sure to check the results on how many folks actually answer an e-mail when they get one.

See John if you: Feel that taking part in the survey will serve a useful purpose.

Category: IP, (potential) BWJ

Gabrielle Nistico

She’s a two timer! This is the second time Gabrielle has appeared at VOICE.

Gabrielle’s title is “Look as Good as You Sound.”

People hire me for my voice, not my attire. However, the “concept” (which you really have to dig for to understand) is basically, what is the visual perception people get when they hear your voice?

It’s a titillating subject to say the least. I for one, have always gone by the rule that voice talent should never, ever post a picture of themselves on their website or any other marketing material for that matter.

Why?

Simple. People DO get a visual perception of what you might look like when they hear your demo. If you put up your picture….well…..you’re just ruining all that visual fun, not to mention the fact that if your picture doesn’t “match” the face they see in their head…..you’re toast. You want people to listen to your demo – not look at your picture with the thumb-under-your-chin pose.

Indeed, I question Gabrielle’s use of her own picture, given the subject matter she’s speaking on – it’s kinda counter-productive, wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t a pic of a silhouette be more effective?

Maybe it’s just me….

Regardless, this should be an interesting subject that will bring about lots of discussion at the bar later on. Good beer-drinking fodder.

See Gabrielle if you are a: Rookie, Wannabe, Semi-pro, Pro. (so many professionals still make the mistake of posting their picture on their website).

Tina D’Marco

See what I mean about using the picture? And she’s even winking! C’mon people…..

I digress.

Where are all the Spanish VO jobs going? I don’t know, but they’re making pretty good bucks up here in Canada. I know of quite a few Spanish talents that are doing well…and there’s quite a few agencies in Toronto alone that represent ethnic VO talent. But, that’s probably because we have 149 distinct ethnic communities here in our fine city…..and an advertising community to support those people.

Good, worthy subject. I hope Tina gets a good crowd….and good for her to take up the cause.

See Tina if you: Can speak Spanish and/or would like to support her cause.

Category: VT, PPG

Robert Sciglimpaglia

C’mon. You did know this was bound to happen at one point, right? It’s been three years now. The lawyers are eventually going to figure out that there’s money to be made from this industry……some…..how. Some….where. Some….way.

He brings some relevant stuff to the table, yes. Making up a simple contract and negotiation skills. But…keep this in mind:

This is advertising!

In the non-union world of advertising, being “fairly compensated” for your work normally comes down to “This is the budget…take it or leave it.” The problem with voice talent today is that most of them don’t have the balls to walk away from a low-paying gig and in doing so, turn themselves into bottom-feeders.

Most of the attendees at the conference are non-union. Union talent have agents who handle the negotiating and contracts.

My advice to you is…if it sounds like common sense, then it probably is common sense….and you don’t need to pay a lawyer to tell you that. Also….be careful when using some “legal” negotiating tactics – in the world of non-union advertising, the mere mention of a contract could cost you a client.

See Robert if you: Are non-union and think this legal stuff is important.

Category: IP, VT, (potential) BWJ, PPB.

Amy Taylor

More Spanish. Again. Not that it’s a bad thing…..it’s an “again” thing.

Amy seems to be speaking on just about everything and that always makes me wary….er….weary…..er….worried. OK…all three.

I can’t say anything else. Read up for yourself, cause I’m running out of gas here….

See Amy if you: Speak Spanish….and want to hear about everything.

Category: VT, PPG

Peter Rofe

Well…here’s a guy in a proper booth in front of the proper equipment…..good for you Peter! This is the first time he’s presented at VOICE…..always nice to get some new blood.

He falls into the same category as Marc Cashman (see above), though he doesn’t coach over the phone for $100 an hour (kudos on the integrity there, Peter)….and he’s got a book to sell where Marc does not. Otherwise, the two of them are full-on VO coaches with established businesses offering a variety of services to talent.

Again, we are posed with the conundrum of a HUGELY successful voice talent who decided to forego a “lucrative” career in VO and dedicate the last 15 years of his life to coaching others.

It’s like Donald Trump handing over his fortune to sweep floors at McDonalds. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a very successful voice talent….but, I don’t have the time to coach others! I can’t do both. There’s not enough time in the day. But that’s just me. Don’t listen to me…I’m rambling. I’m an idiot. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Since Peter has been doing this for 15 years….I’m sure he’ll be very interesting, eloquent, intelligent and very skilled at coaching. Probably the best VO coach presenting of the bunch. I say this…because the guy appears to have some integrity….and I’ve heard about his classes through the grapevine.

Keep in mind, he has many, many services for sale to voice talent and is therefore likely appearing at VOICE to market himself accordingly. I’ll predict here that Peter will become a regular, providing he enjoys a healthy ROI post-voiceover conference.

See Peter if you: Are a HUGELY successful VO talent and want to learn how to leave the lucrative world of VO to coach others for far less money, a Semi-pro, Rookie or Wannabe.

Category: IP, VT, PVC, PPB, BWJ

Tim Keenan

(Editor’s note: This was written on Oct 31st, 2009 at 4:48 pm).

Tim is a first-timer at VOICE and he’s speaking on “Making the Most of Corporate Narration.”

This is…..very interesting. Very interesting indeed. I’ve got a lot to say about this guy….but I just don’t know where to start. The positive, or the negative?

I’ll flip a coin. Tails. Negative. OK.

Well, the first thing I want to do, is listen to this guy’s Corporate demo. So, I go to his website and click on the Voice Demos link. What do I see? Sorry….what do I NOT see?

That would be a Corporate demo.

So, let me get this straight. Buddy here is going to be speaking at a voiceover conference on the proper type of content and how you should market a Corporate narration demo, but doesn’t even have his own Corporate demo on his own website.

And you would be qualified…..how?

People, people, people. If you’re going to drop your pants, at least do us all the courtesy of wearing a clean pair of underwear. You know what I’m saying?

On the other hand, here’s a guy who’s been doing VO for 30 years. And do you want to know something? He coaches….but only twice a year. You know why? Because Tim is a successful VO talent who CAN make a living at doing VO therefore he DOES make a living at doing VO….and only coaches a couple of times a year (for a reasonable price), likely because he finds it rewarding.

This, is the same reason I do critiques.

Further, his subject is fantastic (providing he actually DOES Corporate narration, because I don’t see the demo). Everything he says in the information provided is true, I know this, because 60% of my annual business is Corporate narration – has…and always will be. Far…FAR more lucrative than voice coaching – believe me.

Tim. Corporate demo. Where is it? Get on it buddy.

See Tim if you are: Not doing any Corporate VO work but would like to, a Pro, Semi-pro, Rookie, Wannabe.

Category: VT, PVC, IP

Karly Rothenberg

Karly spoke at VOICE2008. I tried as hard as I could to answer “No” to all the questions she posted, but….I just couldn’t. I mean, they were all so….so…well crafted to provoke a “Yes” answer…..well…..I just couldn’t control myself….yes, yes….YES! I answered yes to everything, Karly!

Did I win?

I digress. Karly should be really interesting. I mean c’mon….everyone knows Avery Schreiber’s methodologies and the legendary Viola Spolin….don’t they? Hmmmmm….come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of them. Oh well. I think that it’ll be…..different…..to meet someone who has selflessly committed themselves to teaching someone elses methodology “as per his wishes…”

I studied acting. Well….not “study” like in a class, but rather I memorized a part, got up on a stage and performed it. That’s acting, isn’t it? Well, that’s theater acting…. in TV and Film the “actor” has like, a hundred chances to get it right – that’s why they’re always so….so….perfect. “Take 56!” Eventually they get it right.

Anyway, one thing I learned about thespians? Yeah….they’re an odd bunch. Quirky. Off-beat. Sometimes downright pyscho….but mostly harmless.

Oh goodness! I’ve gone off-topic. Sorry about that….who was I talking about? Oh right! Karly.

Karly’s a pretty darn good VO talent/actress and I expect that she’ll be a highlight, given the fact that she’s bringing more to the table than almost anyone else – from a performance and experience perspective, that is.

She teaches at the AMDA, which means she’s probably not going to be handing out her business card to low-life, bottom-feeding, non-union scum, the latter of which is the scourge of her (Union) performing arts industry. Which begs the question, why would Karly, a stalwart card-carrying member of the Union, want to speak at a function that promotes the success of so many non-union talent?

Hmmmm…..weird. Maybe she gets free parking or something…..or maybe clients for her workshops?

See Karley if you are a: Pro, Semi-pro, Rookie, Wannabe.

Category: IP, PPG

Dan Lenard

Whoa! Love the lightning bolt coming off the microphone and the epic audio intro – awesome dude! Ha! Whoa.

Dan’s a first-timer at voice….apparently an “expert” on home recording studios.

Weird. I can’t seem to find any information on Dan’s home studio….anywhere. That’s strange. Wouldn’t a guy speaking on home recording studios have info on his own home studio….somewhere? Maybe it’s just whacky ‘ol me expecting folks to have some basic information to back up their claim of being an “expert” in something.

You know what…? I can’t say anything more about this guy, cause after reading about his experience as a life insurance salesman and Social Studies teacher…..it’s just gonna get nasty…..

See Dan if you: Think he’s an expert….on anything.

Category: OMGWTF.

Keith Carson

This is Keith’s first time at VOICE. Keith’s presentation is entitled “Your VO Demo.”

Ah….the ubiquitous ORG/OTP. I still marvel at the fact that still to this day, people get the false impression that if someone has worked in radio at some point in their lives, they’re somehow qualified to be an “expert” on VO.

Rest assured we can take Keith here as perfect example of an ORG who’s decided that because he’s voiced commercials for the radio stations he’s worked for, he is now qualified to stand up in front of a group of people (let’s hope that it’s a small group) and tell them how to make a “professional” VO demo. Let this be a lesson to you: People who have worked in Radio are normally not qualified to consult anyone regarding a freelance VO business.

Go ahead. I dare you. Go and listen to Keith’s demo….and tell me that this is a good example of how a “professional” VO demo should sound like. For the record, I’ve listened to hundreds of demos over the last 25 years and provide a demo critique service (yes, Keith, someone who actually knows what a professional demo should sound like has, in fact, listened to yours).

This much I will say….(it’s important to note here that this is strictly my opinion) it’s about as average as a VO demo can get, features probably some of the lamest production I’ve ever heard…..and all of it sounds like it was produced at a small market radio station.

We have a (self-produced) Home Depot clip at the front to give us the illusion that Home Depot has in fact, given up on the likes of Gene Hackman to voice their ads in favor of Keith. Then we follow that up with a series of poorly produced, small market radio ads with very average production, SFX and music beds. And the level of the audio…….? Yeah, -21 db. Great mastering, there Keith.

This guy…..is going to speak to you about “Your VO demo.”

Is it just me…..or is this whole article going downhill really fast…?

See Keith if you: Want to produce a really average demo with bad SFX and terrible recording levels (strictly my opinion).

Category: ORG, OTP, OMGWTF

Summary

That’s enough. I’ve reviewed about half of the presenters – and I think that’s as far as I’m gonna take this……

OK. Let’s see…..of those reviewed here, we have a gal who is speaking about on-line marketing that has a train-wreck of a website. There’s a guy speaking on Corporate Narration who doesn’t seem to have a Corporate demo. Then, a guy talking about how to produce VO demos whose own demo is maybe worthy of small market radio (my opinion). Over here…..buddy is speaking on home studios that has no info, pics or even a mention of his own studio on his own website………and the whole thing is put together by someone who came up with the “Show Us Your Piggy Bank” promotion.

What’s to summarize, really…?

OK. I’ll try…..

Of the 35 presenters speaking, about 30% are returning. This means little or no value to those who have been to the conference in the past. 90% of all these people (again, my opinion) have highly questionable credentials and are therefore probably not qualified to speak to a class of 10 much less 100 people at a voiceover conference. Even if they are somewhat qualified, who knows how well they can speak or impart their knowledge in an effective manner?

That leaves roughly 10% of the presenters who may (or may not) bring something useful to the table, like Tim Underwood, Peter Rofe or Karly Rothenberg. And yet, they keep saying that by merely attending you can “take your VO career to the next level.”

Trust me, the only thing going to “the next level” by attending this voiceover conference is your credit card statement.

Yes…the cost. Admittance goes up $100 a year ($150 this year) every time the voiceover conference is put on….not to mention costing for airfare, hotel, food and drink. As mentioned earlier, those coming from NYC are dropping about $4,000 to attend this voiceover conference.

And let’s not forget the profits we’re talking about here. These people are looking at pulling down a sweet quarter-million (estimated profits from 2008)…..and they can’t pony up a lousy free drink for attendees at the Red Carpet Reception…..yep……cash bar. Go figure.

Take all that into consideration and the fact that almost all the people presenting are trying to turn a dollar from the very people who are paying to attend this voiceover conference….and you have one very, very questionable business expense. No ROI, huge outlay of cash for a highly questionable product…during a recession. Yeah. That’s a no-brainer for me.

However, you may get “energized” from being there, like to meet people and have some fun….which is all well and good. But seriously, can you justify the thousands you’ll spend for that “good feeling?”

I love what I do for a living, VO is a fantastic trade. But, it’s a job. It’s work. Personally, it makes far more sense to me to spend the money on a vacation away from work. If I want to invest in my business, I would do so by marketing to my existing client base or equipment upgrades…..neither of which I can do by attending VOICE2010.

I can find far better ways to spend money on my business….for that matter…on myself. I personally wouldn’t give these people a dime.

Why? Well, as a reader commented in an e-mail to me recently:

“It’s sad when newbies unknowingly pay to be prey…..”

Thanks for reading.

Kind Regards,

Todd Schick

***Please note. Everything in this article is strictly my opinion and in no way, shape or form represents the views of anyone other than myself, Todd Schick***

And that concludes this voiceover conference review. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to drop me a line.

voiceover conference 2010 and perhaps the ugliest logo I have ever seen

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