Long time voice actor Mark Avery wrote an interesting piece (http://tinyurl.com/py3meef) about Promax and why voice talent should attend. While I appreciate Mark’s point of view, I’m going to lay out several good practices for voice talent attending the event.
On the plus side, Mark makes it clear that the conference can be inspiring as well as educational, and I absolutely agree. The conference also does an excellent job of putting voice-over in perspective as it pertains to the overall process.
Here’s where Promax gets complicated: while there is obviously networking involved, the conference is designed to be mostly an educational celebration of the promotional arts. On top of that, marketers in general do not necessarily like to be sold. They know a pitch and do not appreciate being put in that position.
So while I am not discouraging voice talent from attending Promax, I have some conditions and practices that should help them get the most out of the event.
1) Buy a Badge
I wrote last week that I was one of the first advocates of not buying a pass and just hanging out at the conference. I realized that penny-wise it sounds foolish. Overall, I strongly agree with Mark that the conference puts things in perspective, but I think having the badge shows legitimacy. Attendees are rightfully suspicious of those without a badge.
2) Take a Realistic View of the Cost
If you can’t afford it, save up for the next year. If you think you want to go, buy the early bird pass, get your airplane tickets early, and do your best to stay at the conference hotel.
3) Do Your Homework
There are a bunch of different types of people that attend the conference, and voice talent generally want to speak with the producers and creative directors in charge of producing spots. With that said, there are an enormous amount of attendees who are focused on design and not broadcast. Unless a conversation happens organically, there is little reason to solicit the designers. While they may be polite, there is little a designer can do for you.
4) VPs Can Do Little for You
While there is always a group of VPs who like to micromanage, the majority are where they are because they have a proven ability to delegate. That delegation usually applies to voice-over, so don’t bother hassling them.
5) Have Something to Talk About
The best case is that you have a promo account or past experience you can reference. If you don’t, think of something you can routinely cite, or there will be just too many awkward conversations.
If all of these points are understood, save up for New York, and start looking for flights. If I remember correctly, the early bird rate expires December 31st.