My voice over colleague Anthony Richardson and I travelled up to the Hinckley Island Hotel for the annual voice over and radio industry event VOX 2010. The Barcelo Hinckley Island Hotel is an impressive place, beautifully designed, which we appeared to be sharing with a murder mystery weekend and a backgammon convention! As soon as we got there, we checked in, registered with sponsors Voiceovers.co.uk and excitedly collected our goodie bags.
After we’d located our accommodation, which was also fab, we headed for the VOX demos desk, where we added our own demos/cards etcetera, whilst greeting voice over colleagues. Voice over work is one of those professions where many of us kind of know each other and may even have worked with them, but not necessarily met in the flesh, so this was a great opportunity! Saw several voice over Twitter colleagues, such as Mike Cooper, Natalie Cooper, Jon Lovell, Posy Brewer, Julie-Ann Dean, Marian Kemmer and others that I’d never met before, which was great.
Before we headed to the bar, we checked out dinner arrangements for the evening, with the table names named after X Factor finalists. Ant and I found ourselves on Rhydian and Shayne Ward respectively, although I secretly wanted to be on Chico’s as I always had a soft spot for him! Was going to be sharing a table with my Twitter buddy Natalie, but also the great Patrick Lunt. The room was already spectacularly laid out, so this was going to be something to look forward to later…but first, we headed for the bar, where an increasing number of voice over and radio industry peeps were arriving in droves waving their £20 notes in the air hot from their latest radio adverts to the befuddled barmen who probably wondered what on earth had hit them – it was only 1:30pm and some were already on their 2nd or 3rd glass of wine by the time we got there! Catching up with colleagues and meeting new ones over a wee drink of a Saturday afternoon and swapping voice over stories is a very pleasant experience! We don’t get let out of our booths very often! Anyone heard the number ‘This is our once a year day’ from The Pajama Game? If you do, then you’ll know what I mean..!
A quick gathering up of our newly re-vamped demo CDs, off we headed at our allotted times to the speed networking event; a quick fire whistle stop meet n greet of major radio producers, all in good spirits (!). Rotating in a clockwise fashion, I was to follow Marian Kemmer – oh how we all laughed as the whistle kept going with seemingly increasing frequency! It was an exhausting whirlwind and, even though we got a short break in the middle during the rotation, a dehydrated colleague hastily opened a bottle of sparkling water, which gave me an unexpected shower and I barely had time to utter the words ‘spray that again would you?’ before the whistle went again for me to meet my next producer, somewhat moist – marvellous!
Back to the bar…oh dear, what a terrible life we voice overs lead…we passed Peter Dickson checking the evening’s table plan on the way and looking bemused to have landed the Jedward table, and then quick change into the frock for the VOX 2010 awards taking place in the marble hallway just prior to dinner. These awards go to those involved in producing the best radio commercials during the past year, from writers, production houses to even us voice over artists. I don’t think I won anything, but it was difficult to tell, as we couldn’t really hear above everyone chattering away excitedly.
Superb dinner was had on Shayne Ward’s table (I hear someone had second helpings of everything from a no-show on their table, not mentioning any names…). Chatted amidst dodging buzzy flying balloons from far flung corners of the room, then we sat back to watch the VOX Factor karaoke event, hosted by Peter Dickson, another ‘ruddy’ voice over off that X Factor thingy… Some gallant participants, Pete Cousins was robbed of the bottle of bubbly star prize.
We strutted our stuff on the disco floor or mingled with colleagues until late before turning in…Oh my word, the bar was open until breakfast for us peeps…not sure if anyone lasted the full course! All good, clean fun..literally..what a relief fizzy water doesn’t stain… Until this time next year, folks!…