I just returned to Seattle after my first ever voiceover conference, VOAtlanta 2023.
I feel like I just went through a wonderful tornado of information, inspiration, and cool new people
(and I don’t just say “tornado” because on my last night in Atlanta there was a huge thunderstorm and tornadoes closer by than I am used to up to in the Pacific Northwest where we have a total of two small dust-devils a year 😅).
No! I say tornado because WOW was it moving fast and spinning all around me.
I was chatting with new friends left and right, learning something new every hour from some of the best in the biz on video games, animation, commercial, marketing, networking, improv, and filling up with more inspiration than I thought was possible.
And I loved every second of this tornado (to be clear, this is not an invitation for real tornadoes to enter my life. Metaphorical tornadoes only, please).
First off: It is true for ALL people (not just extroverts) that the energy exchange of speaking IN PERSON, IN REAL LIFE to another person does all sorts of yummy things for our brains.
And boy could we use it after 3 years on Zoom (which is like 10 in Zoom years–50 if you’re a dog on Zoom)
And second: There is nothing more buzzy and magical (for me) than when incredibly verbally creative people get together.
I have spent most of my life being told I was talking too much, analyzing too much, being too loud.. the list goes ON. So being with about 1000 people who matched me in this way… I was just flying inside.
They get it. And they get me. I kept having moments of “these are my people. I am in the right place.”
I wish I could bottle that feeling up and save it for those rainy Seattle days where I’m alone in my recording booth trying to overcome the gray.
But that’s what conferences are for. THIS is why all of my mentors have told me voiceover conferences, specifically VOAtlanta, are so special and so important.
I started the first day by myself because I didn’t know anyone and I was completely doubting that I should even be there.
By the end of the conference, I had a handful of buzzy, creative, talkative, intelligent friends from across the country and no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back next year.
PLUS a big reminder, a big FAT reminder, that my brain and my mouth and ME have a place in this world.
And that’s pretty cool.
I’ve had this feeling before, sure, but maybe this one feels bigger and more magical because it just happened last week.
- It happened the first time I tried stand up comedy.
- It happened again, especially, when I found a stand up show that was focused on queer women and subsequently joined the production team on that show.
- It happened when I first got to my college theatre department after attending a high school that did not have a theatre program. (Boy, oh boy, THAT was a big one).
Go find your people. If you are feeling like a weirdo, like a fish out of water, know that your people are OUT THERE.
And once you find them, you get to hold them in your back pocket as you enter the corners of the world where you feel like an outsider.
Go find them on Reddit, Twitter, at a Meetup app event (that’s a really good one for meeting people with similar interests in your area!).
You’ll find them at Emerald City Comicon. You’ll find them at the local renaissance fair. You’ll find them at Fred Meyer (sorry, not that, that’s an old commercial, but hey, maybe your people are at Fred Meyer. You never know!)
Pay attention to which groups fire you up. What do those people have that you recognize in yourself? What do all these groups have in common?
If I have one takeaway from looking at which groups I find myself energized by — I am a performer. From birth. At my center. To my core. I have no choice. I. am. a. performer.
End of story.
That is it!
I don’t have a conclusion to this.
All I know is I am vibrating after VOA and some things are really clicking for me.
I’m just… so grateful and I can’t wait to see these folks next year (or, hey, maybe I’ll hit up Get Your Game On conference 2023 😉)