Monday, December 5, 2011 7am…I wake to the sound of an alarm in a hotel room in New York City. 13 hours later, I’m anchoring a newscast in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Don’t tell me there’s no such thing as a time machine.
And don’t tell me that voiceover people are anything but the most gregarious, social, fun-loving folks in the world. I have the pictures to prove it, and they’re peppered throughout this blog (and I apologize that I crashed each and every shot!)
I really tried to “work the crowd” in the sense that I wanted to see everybody I wanted to see. Amazingly, some key people managed to escape my grasp…maybe by choice. :) On the other hand, I DID see and talk to many people I admire and respect.
First time encounters included the personable Darren Altman (above), the affable Paul Strikwerda, the witty Billy James, Chuck Davis, and Kurt Kelly.
The doggone laser blue lighting in the place was a camera challenge in some of these pics…but let’s give it up for Erik Sheppard and Lindsay for mounting an incredible event in a wonderful venue. Lord knows the headaches and expenses they’ve lived with for the last few months to make this happen!
A thanks to all for making my wife feel so welcome. I talk and I talk about all these VO people, and it was just time she gets a chance to meet them. She was charmed.
She was also inquisitive.
Sunday, during our ambitious sight-seeing of NYC, she kept asking me great questions about the event.
Why do people come?
What do they hope to accomplish?
Is it a networking venue?…a marketing opportunity?…a place to meet clients?
She wanted to know…and it really got me to thinking. Why do VO’s show up at these things?
I know of at least one respected voice actor who left early, frustrated that a perfectly good possible marketing opportunity was wasted by the music, the blue lights, the crowded floor, and a delayed nametag line.
I don’t think Erik and Lindsay made any promises beyond a chance to gather with others of our kind, maybe enjoy some holiday cheer, some camaraderie, and some face-to-face space-sharing for so many of us who mostly interact online.
In short: a meet-up, not a meet/market.
The intimation was and has always been (in my mind, anyway) that this should be a social event, and if perchance you are able to finesse some networked relationships that eventually lead to jobs…then that’s great…but not the purpose.
The fact that so many came in a relaxed atmosphere free of expectations (i.e. work), I think, proves my point. There was a palpable excitement about rubbing shoulders with so many accomplished professionals.
Do some show up just to “make the scene“?…to hear and be heard?
Sure. I think there’s a little of that. But that’s true of ANY profession. In my way of looking at it, there’s nothing wrong with attending as a commitment to the community. To say: “I want to be a part”. Some may have more stature, and are able to bestow a greater sense of validation upon others. Some come to bask in a little of the aura of
accomplishment. This, too, is an accepted norm of our business culture.
How many times have you told an up-and-comer…or been told yourself, that to be part of a new career path, you have to immerse yourself in the people, places, and culture of the profession?
So, in my mind, this leaves room under a big umbrella. Those who knew each other were able to commiserate. New faces become familiar faces.
Names get associated with persons, relationships grow, and the network becomes more defined. What’s not to like?
Again, my hat goes off to Erik and Lindsay for their commitment to this event. How could they NOT be cheerleaders for it? Erik and Lindsay met at Mixer #1, he proposed at Mixer #2, and now they’re married.
See? Just socializing, not working, can lead to incredibly fruitful relationships.
My thanks to all who shook my hand, and said nice things. I hope I left you with a similar feeling of acceptance. I know I did.