My Thoughts on the LAST VONorth Conference 😭


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I was so excited to go to the VONorth Conference – the ONLY voiceover conference in Canada. I’m glad I caught the last one. It was a very cathartic trip to visit Toronto again.

Why the VONorth Conference Meant So Much To Me

I lived in Toronto from 2008 – 2012 so I hadn’t been back in 10 years!

Leaving was hard, I had a dog-walking business and a life established there. I knew I needed to move back home because I missed my family! And damn it was so lonely out there all by myself. So I was curious what being in Toronto would be like again.

Well, VONorth was amazing! 

Tanya and Dervla are AMAZING and I wanted to say a huge thank you to both of them for putting on such an amazing conference. 

I had a great intensive on breaking down a script with Alexa Magnotta, a casting director in NY.

There were so many great panels about:

  • Auditioning from home, 
  • Voiceover rates and how to charge fair rates (please see the GVAA Rate Guide here.)
  • Agents and submitting to agents, 
  • How to make sense of specs when they are contradictory, 
  • I read for a panel of casting directors and agents (so nerve-wracking)  
  • I had my commercial demo listened to and critiqued. 
  • International marketing how-tos.
  • Niche work in radio imaging and eLearning… 

I was able to meet people in person I know online, like Larry Hudson from my VO Heaven Workouts, my Voice Over Accountability Buds group peeps – Roman Bari, Theresa Ho, Richard Crossman, and David Gilbert.

I met my agent Tanya Buchanan from Ta-Da! Voiceworks. 

I had a fabulous time at the industry party. May have had a few gin-based bevvy’s… but here is the secret – the REAL secret… don’t mix your liquor friends. Stick to one beverage, and no matter what – DRINK WATER in between. You’ll have just the right amount of fun.

But you know what? My top takeaway was basically, we have the BEST industry in the world. And I felt so encouraged and loved, and at home with these people. 

It’s been a really amazing year for me. I’ve booked my first national commercial for CereVe in the spring and then just a lot of McDonald’s commercials. I feel like I could pinch myself because of my background in music and how hard that was on me. I never thought a career in the recording world would happen.

This was a real full-circle moment for me. I was able to look around me at all the wonderful people in this room DOING IT. It was so encouraging to me. 

So I think above all when I go to industry events like this and conferences, the best takeaway I have is a confirmation that I’m on the right track and I’m doing the right things. It is also great to make connections with fellow voice actors, casting directors, and agents.

My Quick Takeaways from the VONorth Conference:

Some practical pointers I took away that I found very useful are: 

  • Always connect emotionally to the copy. And know who I am in this scenario. 
  • Think about the end listener when you’re talking to them. Bring your empathy and talk to them. 
  • If there are a couple of paragraphs of specs, and they contradict each other – that is usually because there are multiple people in the room giving their 2 cents on what the specs should be. Usually, if you go with the first 2-3 adjectives or directives you are safe. And you can use the other specs as ideas for an alternate take. 
  • When you give 2 takes, in the first take honor the punctuation. Honor the line breaks, and honor the specs. In the second take – you don’t have to. 
  • Keep your commercial demo to 60 seconds THAT IS IT. and have your 2 best spots in the first 15 seconds. Your first one should finish up, and the second one should start before 15 seconds.

Thanks so much for checking out this blog about VONorth!

See you next time!


Katelyn Dawn Voiceover Headshot