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Business of VO – Conferences

“Yeah, I’ll have a VO ATL with a Voxy on the side, hold the Faffy and can you add a WoVO to that? Oh, and a Diet Coke!”

With so many VO conferences out there it’s hard to know which ones to “order” off the menu. They’re a super fun time and a great way for all us introverts to mingle and get to know each other, but they can also be overwhelming. Anne and Gabby break down what your strategy should be BEFORE buying your tickets, what you should take into account and how to navigate them once you’re there. Anne and Gabby break down what your strategy should be when deciding on which conferences to attend, what you need to calculate BEFORE buying your tickets, and how to navigate everything that’s happening once you’ve arrived!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Voice over conferences are an amazing place to physically meet up with others in what can be a very isolating industry.

  2. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people you want to network with. That’s part of what conferences are for!

  3. Go in to every conference with a plan. Look over the conference agenda beforehand and decide which sessions you want to attend. Planning out your time will make your conference time the most productive.

  4. When planning for a conference, be sure to budget the whole event, not just the conference admission. Remember airfare, food, hotel, and conference extras in your budget planning!

  5. Make sure to plan time for rest and sleep! Conferences can take a lot out of you!

  6. Socializing is an important an amazing part of conferences, but keep in mind that these are not only your friends, but professional contacts as well. Don’t get too intoxicated and make a fool of yourself!

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Join Anne and Gabby at VO Atlanta 2018!

  2. Join THE VO BOSSES at The Voxy Summit!

  3. That’s Voiceover!

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss a VO BOSS Set yourself up with business owner strategies and success. With your host Anne Ganguzza, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS Anne: Welcome everybody to the VO Boss podcast. I’m your Host Anne Ganguzza, along with my lovely co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey girl. Gabby: Yo Anne: Mm hm, Gabby today let’s talk about, cause there’s a ton of them coming up, let’s talk about conferences, voiceover conferences in our industry. Gabby: Right on! Anne: How can we prepare for them? What are they about, are they worth it? Are they not worth it? All sorts of things we can talk about with conferences. Gabby: Yes! Gabby: Things you should bring, things you should do Anne: Right? Gabby: Yeah. Anne: And its conference season right now because its October Gabby: Dude! Anne: And I think I can count– Gabby: No, its always conference season in this industry now, remember? Anne: I guess you’re right. Yeah. Gabby: I mean, come on, we started off where our industry had conference, one. Anne: Yes, and you and I both know that conference, and we met at that conference. Gabby: Well that’s how we met! Yeah, we met at Voices, I think we, you and I met either at 2008 or 2010, one or the other. Anne: It was 2010. Gabby: Okay, and– Anne: That was my first conference. 2010 was my first conference ever. Gabby: That was like my second. Anne: Yeah. And that was James Alburger and Penny Abshire. Gabby: Penny Abshire, mm-hmm. Anne: Who, you know what, kudos to them for coming up with Gabby: Pioneering. Anne: The even and really taking something that really needed to be, really needed. There was definite need in the industry for an event that could bring people together physically because, as we know, it’s so isolating being a voiceover artist these days, and they had the initiative and fortitude to create an event that brought us all together, and you know what, I give props to them for that. Gabby: Love it, it’s still one of my fondest and most favourite events in our industry because it was such the camaraderie and they made it fun. It really was, it was fun, it was well organized, it was beautifully planned, it was always at a great location. So yeah. Anne: And they had it for, they had it every two years, starting, the first one was in 2008, if I’m not mistaken. Gabby: ’06. Anne: Oh okay, ‘6, ’08, ’10, ’12 and ’14. So you know what, they had it for many years, and along the way I will have to say, because they were the pioneers in the industry, other people followed suit afterwards. And while I have to say that they retired the voice conference I think last year, there’s not gonna be anymore. But Gabby, I will never forget, because we met. Gabby: I know! Anne: We met, and so that’s the coolest thing, is that I got to actually meet you in person and we’ve developed such a wonderful relationship, obviously. Gabby: I would say that actually most of my closest voiceover friends, you, Susan Bernard, Rebecca Davis, my gosh, I’m trying to think of some of the guys. 95 00:03:02,100 –> 00:03:05,366 Doug Turkel, who I respect tremendously. These were all folks that I met for the first time, face-to-face, at a conference. 99 00:03:13,866 –> 00:03:16,299 And so I loved that. To me it’s one of the greatest benefits, and greatest aspects of the voice-over conferences as a whole. Anne: Well, absolutely. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: I think they will change your life. They will change your life because of the people that are there. And I think first and foremost, the fact is is that will a conference change your life because you’ve got some educational benefit from it? Or you have a really good class? You know what, I’m gonna say maybe. But– Gabby: It can. Anne: It can, but I think first and foremost, it’s the relationships that you form when you meet up with like-minded people, and as we’ve discussed over, and over and over again, what a wonderful community this is. It’s even better in person, really. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: I cannot recommend enough that if you are, if you’ve never been to conference, that you go to experience that. Gabby: Real quick, I don’t wanna spend a ton of time on this, because God knows we could. But just going through a brief list of some of the conferences that are available right now. So, VO Atlanta, which is a pretty big one. Faff Con, which is slowly coming to a close, it only has maybe one or two more left in its run, or that’s the rumor anyway. There’s Voxy Summit, which is coming up in January, which you and I will be at. And there is– Anne: That’s Voiceover. Gabby: Yeah, That’s Voiceover. And the Mid Atlantlic Voiceover Conference. Anne: Yeah, Mid Atlantic, and– Gabby: Am I missing anybody? Anne: VO Mastery? As well. Gabby: VO Mastery, Yeah, okay. So Anne: Oh gosh. Gabby: There’s a bunch. Anne: There’s a lot. Gabby: And they, the thing you have to realize about them guys, is they vary in size, in price, in duration, so there’s a lot of factors to take into consideration. Anne: Right. Gabby: Especially if you’re budgeting and trying to figure out where to go, and when to go and what to do. Anne: Oh WoVO, that’s another one, the World Voices. Gabby: Oh yeah, WOVO, yeah. Anne: WOVO, of course, yeah. So gosh, which one, Gabby? And how do you pick? And especially I know a lot of people, it’s, we’re in a tough industry, so our budgets can be tight. And so how do you determine what’s best for you? Gabby: I think you have to really, first and foremost, think about what you want to get out of going to a conference. It’s having a gameplan. Is your goal to meet people, and is it to make connections in the industry and also outside of the industry? Meaning clients, agents, potential buyers, that sort of thing. Or is it education? Because that, that really distinction right there is gonna help you to eliminate quite a few candidates, and figure out, narrow it down, basically. Anne: ‘Cause I think that there are some that are truly dedicated to straight education. Gabby: Yes. Anne: Well actually most of them offer some form of education, we should say that. Others will offer the addition of possible networking contacts, casting directors, agents, so I think that is a big factor. 188 00:06:13,666 –> 00:06:16,366 Also the length and wear ’cause a lot of times it’s like, oh no, I’ve gotta pay for the air fare, I gotta pay for the hotel. And then of course, food, and all that good stuff. Gabby: I mean, for as much as I loved the Voice conference, and again, it will always have that special place in my heart, man, every two years, when that sucker came around, me and my whole staff would groan, because between air fare, hotel, accommodation, ground money, we spent a fortune. 200 00:06:44,600 –> 00:06:46,466 That was as a presenter, which means I didn’t have to pay for my ticket. Anne: Right, exactly. Gabby: So, and it was still a ton of money, so those are things that you have to think about. You can’t just budget the price of the conference, you have to budget the whole event. Anne: The whole enchilada. Gabby: Indeed, and LA, the voice conference was done in Beverly Hills for many years, and ooh, man. Anne: Expensive. Gabby: It was, and it was beautiful, and it was such a cool place for it to be, but boy did it put a dent in people’s wallets. So, you know, yeah. Anne: And location. Getting there too. Gabby: Some will be cheaper than others. Yeah, flights, all of that. Anne: Me actually getting to Atlanta, it’s a connecting flight for me, so it’s an all day affair, coming from the West Coast, going to the East Coast. Same thing is gonna be probably when I go to the Voxy with you in 2018. So if I wanna arrive to the conference, and especially if I’m presenting, I need to be able to be rested. Gabby: You need to be fresh. Anne: You know, I need to be fresh, I can’t be flying in at 6am in the morning, and then presenting at 10, so I’ve gotta, I have to plan on additional night. Gabby, you know, a lot of people, there are tons and tons of Facebook groups that talk about the different conferences and which one is the best, and so that’s always the age-old question. Which is the best? And I don’t think Gabby and I are gonna sit there sit here, and debate about which is the best. It really is what is that you wanna get out of it? I think in any situation, any learning situation, your mindset going into it is super important. The fact is is that you have to be willing to have a plan, have a plan of what it is, planning an idea of what it is that you wanna get out of it. And then execute that plan. While you’re there at the conference. And so some people, you know– Gabby: But also, but also be flexible, because plans do change, especially at conferences. Anne: Sure. Gabby: Things can get derailed but sometimes it’s essential, so you have to have a bit of go-with-the-flow kind of wiggle room. You don’t wanna be that person that plans some overseas, seven day excursion that has every single hour of the clock scheduled and allotted to do something. Give yourself some free time. Anne: Keep in mind that there is the conference educational part, and then there’s always the people part, and the night life, kind of, that part of the conference where sometimes if you’re not careful, those evening activities can end up into the wee hours of the morning, and then impact your following day. So be careful, and understand that it’s a small community that’s there for a few days, and so if you’re going to be going out, causing a ruckus, just be aware that it’s a small community. And it maybe obvious. Gabby: Let’s see, I have heard the horror stories. I have been involved in a few of those horror stories. There was a small event where I almost got forcibly removed from a hotel. But we won’t talk about that today. Anne: Oh yeah, I remember that one. That was a fun one. Gabby: I had a little bit of a party with Miss Susan Bernard that ran a ribe. Anne: You remember that party? Gabby: Uhuh, the party was fabulous. Anne: You know what? It just, it turned, you know what, it’s so hard to have, we’re voice artists, and we love to talk. And so when you’re at an event at night, and we all are trying to talk over each other, we don’t even have to be like consuming alcohol to be loud. And that usually is what gets us into trouble. Gabby: But we’re also a group of people that are so isolated that we’re so happy to be with people– Anne: We can’t stop. Gabby: We’re so happy. Anne: We can’t stop talking. Gabby: That we just, yeah, we’re a little bit obnoxious. I mean, okay, a lot obnoxious. Anne: We’re so obnoxious to other people in the hotel, yeah. So be aware of that. Gabby: So let’s talk about survival guide now. So let’s do the VO Boss survival guide to conferences. I’m gonna give you my top must-have, must-do lists.  Okay, or list. So item number one: look at the presenters, look at the speakers, look at the people that are going to be the main part of the event, and make an educated decision about how much money it would cost you to work with all of those individuals, to get training from all of them, individually, and that’s one of the things that’s gonna help you to determine if that conference really has the value that you’re looking for, because they’re giving you an opportunity to be in close proximity and in a classroom basically with those folks, at a very reduced rate. Anne: Excellent point. Gabby: Second thing. For the love of God, people, make a decent business card. I can not tell you Anne: And make enough of them. Gabby: Right, I can not tell you the amount of conferences, the number of these events we go to, where people don’t have a basic business card. Come on! Anne: If you’re one of those people that are struggling with, oh my God, my logo and my brand and that sort of thing, please just stop already. And create something that you can hand it out at the conference. Gabby: Well call me. Anne: Yeah, exactly. Gabby: That’s what you need to do. You need to get me on the phone and we’ll fix that. Anne: The worse case scenario is that well I didn’t have my logo done, so I really, you know what? You need to make something, even if it’s a white business card with your name, phone number and email address, and that’s it, you know what I mean? You need to have that handy at the ready, and you need to have enough. Gabby: Number three, plan accordingly so that, especially if it’s a multiple day event, you are not trying to be dressed to the nines and probably remarkably uncomfortable the entire time. We see this a lot at these conferences, folks who pack their best clothes, their finest shoes, they’re trying to be completely on point each and every day of the show. You’re going to be miserable. You’re gonna be uncomfortable, your feet are gonna be killing you. You’ve gotta have some sloppy downtime, because here’s the reality, guys, we’re a sloppy industry that works from home. So that’s your norm, that’s kind of what you’re used to. So if you think you’re gonna go from that to wearing a suit and tie for four days straight, you’re very mistaken. So make sure you pack things that are gonna be comfortable and give you, just yeah, some comfort, some breathing room. And then I would say, this is my last item, and I think it’s a really important one. Don’t be afraid to leave the campus. I see this all the time with the really big events, where people get very leery of leaving the conference to go to a satellite event or an offsite thing because they feel like they’re gonna miss something critical at the conference. Anne: FOMO. Gabby: That, yeah that off-site item is probably going to be 1000 times more valuable and more career-altering than the thing going on in the room, trust me. Anne: I like that point, excellent point. All right, Gabby, how about mine? I don’t– Gabby: Go for it. Anne: Nah, I’m just, I’m winging this here. So Gabby: I’m excited. Anne: The first and foremost thing I am going to say it is important, please, make a schedule. There is a schedule that most events, most conferences will have a schedule, speakers and things that are happening, there might be multiple events happening at the same time. You’re gonna try to figure out what you’re doing on the day that you’re doing it. Because really, then you’re gonna probably not take advantage of the best of the conference, for you. Gabby: Of course. Anne: So whatever is good for you, find the schedule, usually there’s something online. But before you get to the conference, because here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna get to the conference. And you’re gonna see all your friends and you’re just gonna be like, completely like, squirrel! About your schedule after the fact, so before you go or on the plane, take a half an hour and make yourself a schedule, so that you can get the utmost out of the conference that you’re going to. Gabby: Very smart. Anne: Yeah, and if you’re going to miss things that you want to attend, because sometimes there’ll be conflicting, maybe not conflicting events but two events that you wanna go to that happen at the same time. You can always maybe partner up with somebody, and have one of you go to one thing, and the other go to the other, and take notes, record. If you can, on your phone. Whatever it is, important things, and then exchange that at a later date, or there might be an offering that you can download material, or content after that. Or you can meet up with the presenter. You know, afterwards, if somebody has a session that you wanted to attend, but you just couldn’t because you had another one, make a point, this is gonna be my number two. Make a point to go and meet the people that you are there that could help you. With your education and that could help you with your career. So if somebody is speaking and you always wanted to do that genre of voiceover and always learned, yet you couldn’t get to the, you couldn’t get to the session for whatever reason, make a point to seek them out, have a business card, shake their hand, introduce yourself, and just talk to them. See if you can, if you can spend a little bit of time with them, because that’s gonna be, don’t be shy. The conference is not the place to be shy. And there’s my third point. And I think there’s too many of us that are shy, but I know that some people will actually be afraid to come up and say hi, or there might be a line of people waiting to speak to somebody. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to make the contacts that you’re going to make. And I’m gonna say that it’s not the be-all, end-all if you don’t make the contact. But because you might be able to hook up afterwards. Like, Gabby, I loved your idea to find out what it would take to coach with these people one on one. There’s always that option. I don’t think I know anybody that is going to turn that down. If you’re interested in getting to know them and find out more. But definitely have that schedule, don’t be shy, seek out people that you want to meet, and go up there, make sure you have your business cards. And I’m gonna warn you again, like I did in the beginning of this. Be careful when you go out at night. Just be careful. And understand that it’s a small community, and there are, I talk a lot about your online reputation on social media. This is also going to affect you at a conference, and it doesn’t even have to be a voiceover conference. You could then, I was in the corporate world, and you had to be careful when we went out afterwards after work. Because people talk. Gabby: I tell people a lot when it comes to the conferences. You’re gonna find the movers and the shakers, and the people with the most to offer at the bar. Anne: Yeah. Gabby: Go. Anne: Oh, so true. Gabby: Go meet them. But refrain from drinking yourself.  Anne: Well yeah you don’t have to drink your face off. Gabby: No, I almost never drink at the Voiceover conferences. Anne: Me either, Gabby. Gabby: It’s almost never. Anne: I don’t either. Gabby: Because of just that reason. I don’t want to get myself into a situation I can’t easily get out of. ‘Cause in my case, it’ll be my mouth that lands me there, so and the other thing, and this goes to what you were saying, Anne, about people being shy in this industry. We kind of are though. We’re introverts, a lot of us are introverts in this business. Anne: Introverted extroverts. There’s a term for it. Gabby: Please know that you’re not alone. And so many of us are like that, so sometimes it really is nice to find the quieter groups, the smaller groups, and just sit down and talk with people. One of the easiest ways that we’ve all managed to break this ice at most of the conferences is just sit down and eat together. Anne: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I don’t think you’re gonna find, when you go to a conference, anybody that’s gonna shut you out. If you want to hang out with somebody, there’s nothing wrong with asking them. Gabby: My husband, who you know, a lot of people know. He comes with me to a lot of conferences. He just, he’s come to a point where he’s made so many voice actor friends, they’re like family to him too. Anne: Exactly. Gabby: And I will never forget one of the VO Atlantas. My husband sneaks outside for a cigarette, he was a smoker at the time. And he comes back in, and he goes, hey, do you know a guy named Pat Fraley? And it was hysterical. He had like a 20 or 30 minute conversation with Pat. I barely knew Pat at the time, and what was really amusing was that the whole rest of the conference, every time Pat saw my husband, he’d go, James, how’s it going, man? How you doing? And they were like old buddies. And other voice actors were then coming up to my husband and saying, hey, can you introduce me to Pat Fraley? Anne: That’s fantastic. Gabby: But that’s how awesome everybody in this business is. Anne: Don’t be afraid to go up and extend your hand out and meet somebody that you’ve always wanted to meet. I have never had anybody push me away, ever. I’m gonna give you one last point, and I’m gonna agree about the shoes, because Gabby, I am known to dress up, and in my younger years, I would have heels. Gabby: Oh yeah. Anne: Yeah, I always carry a pair of flats in my purse, so always carry a pair of flats in your purse. Gabby: Yeah. Anne: I think that’s kind of a cool thing to do. So, oh, and wait, and if you’re sick, then it’s probably not a good idea to hang out with a bunch of people, while you’re sick, because you’ll be known as the Typhoid Mary at the conference. Gabby: Yeah. There is a thing called conference crud, where all, we’ve all caught it, we’ve all been around it. Anne: Yeah, we all get it. Gabby: Faff Con was here in Charlotte last week, I had probably 20 to 25 different people I was supposed to meet with, including Kevin for my ipDTL, I had to bow out gracefully because I was way too sick, and I was like, guys, I’m not gonna be the one to bring the plague upon you. Anne: And that was so considerate. Gabby: That’s what you gotta do. Speaking of ipDTL, our fabulous sponsor, bringing us another amazing episode. Just go to, you can find out more about their awesome technology. And of course, speaking of conferences, we will see all of you at Voxy Summit in January. Anne: Woohoo. Gabby: We’re very excited about that. Anne and I are gonna be keynoting, and a doing and a speaking and supplying the boss manicures. Anne: We’ll be negotiating. We’ll be lady boss negotiating, guys. So get ready, Gabby and I are coming to town. Gabby: I know! I’m so excited, I’m already in town, but you guys are coming here. Anne: I know. Gabby: So yay. Thanks for listening, guys. Anne: Yes. You guys have kick butt week, stay focused and rock your business like a boss. Gabby: Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and of course, Stitcher and iTunes.  Anne: And you can visit on for our exclusive content and offers, and don’t forget to check us out, the VOBoss University, we got lots of great things coming. Which we’ll be talking about soon.

VO: Join us next week for another edition of VO Boss, with your host Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to Coast connectivity via ipDTL.