Conventions and Conferences and Summits, Oh My! With each passing year it seems that there are more and more options for connecting and training through the magic of convention. I’ve compiled a list of several voiceover gatherings in 2016 for your convenience. But first, how do you go about deciding what conference is best for you?
- Topics and Approach: Many conventions offer similar topics of study as well as a unique approach to training. What style of training works best for you? Do you enjoy sitting back and taking notes or are you more of a hands-on learner? Are you just learning the ropes or are you a seasoned voice actor? Do your homework. Each convention has a website with the classes and trainers all mapped out. Take time to read the bios and class descriptions carefully.
- Agenda: What are your main objectives for attending a conference this year? Networking? Training? Coaching? Marketing? Branding? Being seen? Being heard? Handing out 100 business cards? Sharing your brilliance with the world? Being a mentor? No matter what, you’ll need to be sure that the daily agenda at the conference fits into your learning needs. If you are simply attending to hang out with all of your cool voiceover buddies, go to the conference that they are all attending. But if you are truly going to learn and grow, choose a conference that holds the most value to you.
- Cost and Location: This is a big one. The registration cost of a conference can vary considerably. Most cost between $300 – $600 and some offer ‘early bird’ specials. Of course, this is just the beginning of the costs. You’ll also want to consider these additional costs: flights, hotel, ground transportation, meals, training materials, conference ‘extras’, souvenirs, clothing, unplanned items you may want to purchase at the conference, travel insurance and cash for that thing you forget at home. Of course, you’ll also want a little cushion in there for things like tipping and buying those extra drinks for your friends while they sing karaoke!
- Attendees: Some conference websites list the names of the folks attending. If it is important for you to see and mingle with all the right people, this information may be valuable to you. However, you would probably be better off choosing the conference for its training value rather than its friend value.
- Speakers/Presenters: This is one of the most valuable pieces of information you can have about any conference, convention or summit. Of course, there are a few exceptions for voiceover. Some conventions are led by your professional peers which I’ll also address. If you are going to a convention that has a set itinerary it is imperative that you know who is speaking so that you can mold your learning experience to suit what is best for you. If you are seeking all of the marketing and branding information on the planet, do your research and attend that persons course. Ask your peers about their personal experiences with a certain speaker. If you feel the need to be up in front of the class to practice your craft, look for those opportunities. There are typically a lot of “break out sessions” to choose from as well. These sessions are much smaller in size than the general session and typically add a more personal feel. If you leave a convention feeling like you didn’t learn what you needed to learn, perhaps you didn’t do your homework before you left home.
- Sponsors: There are always lots of sponsors at these events. Do you have a favorite? Does it matter to you who sponsors? To me, I appreciate the sponsors and know that they add value to a conference but I don’t base my decisions on which one to attend or not attend simply because of a sponsor.
- What you gain from attending: Everything! No matter how long you have been doing voiceover, you can always learn and grow. Not only can you learn from each other, but you can learn from amazing pros who have been teaching for decades. Topics like these: Marketing and Branding, improv, interpreting copy, demo production, agents, studio builds, technology, microphone techniques, script delivery, coaching, script breakdown, hands-on learning, software courses, legal and tax stuff, website help, social media, the business of business, union information, client management info, cold calling, script writing, genre specific info and so much more. The world of voiceover is an amazing one. My experience has been wonderful at each and every conference I’ve attended. Not only have I furthered my career, but I’ve made some life long friends. Now get out there and sign up for a conference or three!
*Faffcon: This conference is led by your professional peers. The attendees are vetted professionals who volunteer to lead a session. I find this approach to be brilliant and very worthwhile. Although the agenda and training courses are not mapped out prior to the event, you’ll learn from the best in the business. Trust me.
Here is a list of the conferences, conventions and summits that I could find for 2016. Some do NOT have dates listed for their event yet, but know that they are coming:
WoVo Con III – http://www.world-voices.org/
April 15 – 17, 2016
$299 early $349 regular
Las Vegas, NV
VO Atlanta – http://voatlanta.me/
March 3 – 6, 2016
Faffcon – http://faffcon.com/
2016 dates not set – typically happens in October
Location varies each year
Must be a vetted professional to attend
Faffcamp – http://faffcamp.com/
2016 date not set. I’m unsure if this one is happening this year.
Location varies each year
VO Mastery Summit – http://randythomaspresents.com/
November 10-13, 2016
Ft. Myers, FL
$299 early $325 regular
Voxy Lady Summit – http://voxyladies.com/voxy-summit-2016/
January 29 – 31, 2016
$299 early $459 regular
Mid Atlantic Vo – http://www.midatlanticvo.com/
Tentative dates: November 5-6, 2016
Midwest Voice Conference – http://www.midwestvoiceoverconference.com/
May 12-14, 2016
$499 early $549 regular
The Rewards of Risk – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208655730129304&set=a.2548151941739.2147107.1192034090&type=3&theater
January 23-24, 2016
$675 new clients $575 existing clients
March 5-6, 2016
$675 new clients $575 existing clients
The Actors Studio – Las Vegas
That’s Voiceover – http://thatsvoiceover.com/
No date set for 2016, 2015 happened in mid November
West Hollywood, CA
Tickets and membership costs vary
VO Workshop Cruise – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/voiceover-workshop-cruise-2016-tickets-17221385628″>https://www.eventbrite.com/e/voiceover-workshop-cruise-2016-tickets-17221385628
April 10 – 17, 2016
$400 plus cost of cruise ($900 – 1600 double occupancy)
Sails from Houston to Mexico and Belize
VOICE2016 – Not happening this year
APAC – Audio Publishers Association (for audio book folks) – http://www.audiopub.org/events-apac.asp
May 10, 2016
Hear Now Festival – http://www.hearnowfestival.org/
June 9-12, 2016
Kansas City, MO
Happy learning! I’ll see your smiling faces at WoVo Con III. Until then, remember to do your homework and ask your colleagues about their past experiences. But no matter what, try to attend at least one of these conferences this year. There is plenty to choose from.
Your friend in voiceover,