Why the One Voice Conference is shaking up the UK voice-over industry
While some events only scratch the surface of issues affecting voice artists, the One Voice Conference provides a dedicated, four-day focus on shaping skills, networking and gaining insights from the world’s best voice-overs
The old adage of “everything is bigger in America” may be used dismissively by many as a criticism of excess, but it also represents a philosophy that people deserve more and should get more for what they put in.
That same schism which separates the scale of UK and US events is especially visceral within the realm of voice-over and the voice acting industry.
When it comes to the US, their answer to a great voice-over conference is simple: more speakers, more social activities, more chances to network and more days to do it in. The average American VO conference is around four days long and is a massive event for attendees. Voice artists use it as a chance to relax, spend some time shaping up their voice-acting skills and re-establishing the direction they want their careers to go in.
UK conferences rarely top more than two days and a dozen sessions in comparison.
The One Voice Conference is importing that American style of conference and fulfilling the proposition that it set out when it was announced back in November 2017. Since then, it’s delivered 30 speakers and more than 35 events, covering talks, panels, workshops and social nights.
Co-founded by Peter Dickson and Hugh Edwards, they have both experienced the VO industry from opposite sides of the mic.
Dickson’s voice will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s ever been within the vicinity of a TV or radio. The iconic booming voice that announces everything from The X Factor entrants, Britain’s Got Talent winners, E4 programmes and new sales on sofas is hardwired into every Briton’s memory.
Edwards may not be as vocal, but his work as an award-winning voice director, having directed games such as Harry Potter for Kinect, gives him a unique insight into the inner workings of voice-over and what great voice work can achieve.
“The voice-over industry is changing, with P2P casting sites and home studios giving more voice-over artists than ever before the chance to have a career that fits their lifestyle. With so much diversity in the way UK voice artists work and live, we created a conference that was equally diverse, to give them a place to learn and network, whether they have been doing voice-over for a few months or a lifetime,” says One Voice co-founder Edwards.
The new approach has captured the imagination of industry giants from both sides of the pond, as professional voice artists and industry heads jump at the chance to be a part of One Voice. Joe Cipriano, best known as the voice of American network television stations including Fox and CBS, is confirmed as the keynote speaker.
Randy Thomas, who can be heard voicing iconic live events like the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Emmys, has taken her place on the ‘Women in Voice-over Panel’, which aims to explore the significant lack of high-profile female voice-overs in the industry.
Alan Dedicoat, known nationwide as the “Voice of the Balls” for his role as the UK National Lottery announcer, will be taking to the stage and revealing how to put the voice of God in live announcements.
Even big name voice-over P2P sites like Bodalgo and Voice123 have snatched up their place at the event at the prospect of a whole new generation of voice-over artists being given a platform to enter the industry.
Dickson has been in the industry for more than 40 years and has a wider picture than many about what voice-over artists need to not only get started in the workforce, but remain employed long enough to build a career.
“Like any industry, there are so many issues and areas to explore, some of which were around when I first entered the industry and still continue to affect how far voice-over artists get in their careers,” he says. “Whether it’s learning how to nail corporate work, understanding how to get into audiobooks or teaching new voice artists how to market themselves in the digital age, all of these things need to be addressed in order to create better voice artists and therefore a better industry for them to be a part of.”
The One Voice Conference is taking place between April 26 to 29 in London, and Early Bird tickets are currently still available. The conference is packing its four-day span with social events, talks, panels, workshops and even a night-time party boat cruise down the Thames for just £249. The newly launched event has found its home at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, overlooking Canary Wharf, and gives visitors a great chance to explore London if they can find the time among the packed schedule.
Edwards wants to make sure the focus of the conference always remains on the voice-over community and the value One Voice has for their careers: “It’s about delivering incredible value for money and allowing voice artists to attend talks and workshops from experts that would usually cost thousands of pounds for an individual. We think that better resources make a better industry, and that’s what One Voice’s entire purpose is, giving the 10,000 active UK voice-overs the resources to have the life they want to live.
“And lunch is included, so who could turn down that?”