Covid-19 and VO Atlanta

As with most large events happening around the world, VO Atlanta 2020 has been postponed due to Covid-19. This week we welcome special guest Gerald Griffith to discuss all things VO Atlanta and how this pandemic has impacted the conference and our lives. We may not be gathering in Atlanta this month, but we can certainly take advantage of free online learning opportunities while we practice social distancing, including offerings from VO Atlanta presenters. Stay safe and healthy during these tumultuous times and keep on rocking your business like a #VOBOSS.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. VO Atlanta 2020 has been postponed due to Covid-19

  2. New dates have not been set yet. You should cancel your hotel reservations. A new block will be set up when new dates are set

  3. Most airlines are issuing travel credits and waiving change/cancel fees

  4. Covid-19 is a global event, and we all have to work together to stop the spread

  5. Large events around the country and globe are being cancelled and are discouraged, and even prohibited in certain areas

  6. It can take up to a year to plan an event this size. You start planning as soon as the previous conference is over

  7. You have to be flexible in event planning and adapt based on circumstances

  8. What is unique about doing an event in the voiceover industry, is that there are 900 individual business entities with their own challenges and experiences. It’s not one company who is coordinating an event with their employees

  9. It’s hard in this type of situation, because you want to answer everyone’s question individually, but you have to delegate to handle communication effectively.

  10. I have to look at how this event effects 800 to 900 people collectively

  11. If you have questions, visit the VO Atlanta website, and we have a chat box, where we can get back to you, or chat with you live if we’re around!

  12. We have to protect everyone who would have travelled to the event, both domestically, and internationally

  13. There is a penalty (well into six figures) that VO Atlanta is absorbing

  14. VO Atlanta, and other conferences are some people’s entire livelihood

  15. We do have cancellation insurance in place, but it doesn’t cover all contigencies. These policies have a lot of loopholes. This insurance specifically excludes communicable disease.

  16. Transfers are not covered under the insurance. The insurance does not allow for ticket transfers

  17. Your conference experience is about connecting you with the best in the business. We can still deliver these things! It may be different, but it doesn’t have to be less.

  18. VO Atlanta 2019 content is now available online for free, so we can contribute to the VO Community.

  19. This is all about re-envisioning VO Atlanta 2.0. I refuse to let this be the downfall of something, but instead it’s an opportunity to re-envision what it means to have a conference and come together as a community.

  20. A huge shout out to all of those people who have done nothing but show support!

  21. When the next hurdle comes and you have nothing left in the tank, sometimes you just have to laugh!

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Check out Vocal Booth To Go and get 5% off with code: VOTech-Guru-5
Keep up to date on everything VO Atlanta
Recorded on ipDTL
Awesome editing by Carl Bahner


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier business owner strategies and successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS. Now let’s welcome your host Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, and I’m here with my very special guest, founder and executive producer of VO Atlanta, Mr. Gerald Griffith. Hey Gerald! So nice of you –

Gerald: Hey Anne.

Anne: So nice of you to join me this early morning to bring our BOSSes an update on all things VO Atlanta and craziness that goes on in this world today. [laughs]

Gerald: I know, I know.

Anne: So you’ve had, well I think we all have, but you especially have had some incredibly tough decisions to make in the past few weeks regarding the VO Atlanta conference which I know there were so many of us looking forward to. And I wanted to just kind of talk with you a bit, to bring some perspective to our BOSS listeners because I happen to know my husband who works in trade shows and events, just a little bit about just how crazy this world can be. I thought maybe it would help bring some clarity and some peace to people who are really disappointed that they can’t get together at this annual, wonderful conference. So Gerald, tell us a little bit about [laughs] tell us about your journey in the last couple of weeks in regards to the event.

Gerald: Where do you start? It’s been – if you can imagine the emotional swings –

Anne: Oh goodness.

Gerald: – it’s probably there. Ultimately you get to a point with some of these things where laughter is all you’ve got left.

Anne: Isn’t that true?

Gerald: It’s so crazy that you literally just, you know, when the next things comes, you just laugh because it’s like you have no more, you have nothing left in the tank to apply seriousness to. You just have to go okay, whatever.

Anne: We’re in uncharted territory here. I think all of us together, this is a global event, and it’s unprecedented. We really just need to come together and be there for one another.

Gerald: Yeah.

Anne: That includes support for all of our, for everything that’s going on, I mean for frontline responders to, you know, event planners and managers and any place that has gatherings for large groups of people which of course now has been discouraged just about everywhere.

Gerald: I know, right? And I think that’s probably one of the most challenging aspects of this. I tend to be a forward leaning person. When something comes up, I tend to go, “how do I work around it? How do we re-envision it? How do we do those things?” But that’s typically based on the idea that whatever you’r e working around is in an environment where it’s a very clearly defined issue.

Anne: Right.

Gerald: But all of the other things around it are fairly static. So an example might be, let’s say if the hotel, the main hotel contacted me and said, “hey, we had a water main break in the building, and we have to shut everything down and it’s no longer available.” Okay. That would certainly be a major incident. However, it would also say, alright, we can work through this because there are other hotels next-door or down the street, and maybe we can bring in shuttle buses, and we modify things. And we, you know, do things to work around it. In this case it’s everything!

Anne: I don’t think anybody knows what the workaround is quite yet. [laughs]

Gerald: Exactly!

Anne: Except stay away [laughs] or stay home.

Gerald: Right. That’s the part I think that makes this so unusual, and it probably applies at nearly every level. At a certain age, you’ve probably been through certain things where you know, you work around it. Maybe it’s finances. Maybe it’s, you know, kids or family, or whatever the case is. And again you have the issue in front of you, but as long as you find a way to kind of manage that issue, you get to lean back on all of the other known factors. Right? It’s like hey, I’ve got this issue, but over here I can kind of find some peace. But with this one, it hits every single level, whether it’s the kids’ school, the place where my wife works, which is also in the hospitality industry, there’s the hotel, the other vendors that are involved in things, the attendees themselves, travel restrictions, it’s like, okay.

Anne: What I want to point out, just because I know my husband being in the event industry, the amount of work that’s required to plan an event like this, it’s no small feat. Now I know just because I did small events for VO Peeps for, you know, many years, how long it would take me to prepare for an event. But we’re talking about a major event. I think last year, you had, what, 700, 800 people?

Gerald: Eight. 800 something.

Anne: So to put on an event of that size and magnitude, guys, it really, really does take an extensive amount of work and planning, and it’s no small feat. I mean, it can take up to, gosh, you know, a good year, which makes sense. I know my husband, when he made plans for shows for the company he works for, I mean, literally, it starts a year in advance. And the planning and the booth design, and the, you know, just all of the logistics to get things in place. I mean, he’s hired for that particular purpose. I mean, that’s all he does. So I just want people to get a perspective on just how much work it involves to create event in the first place, let alone try to re-adjust the event, based on, you know, based on a crazy virus that happens to just surface.

Gerald: Yeah. There’s one thing I found myself kind of pointing out to the hotels and different people that I deal with, I think it’s very unique when it comes to doing an event in the voiceover industry, is that in a lot of relationships w