One morning in October, as the leaves were falling off the trees, I checked my phone. Messages were pouring in. What on earth was going on? “Well done” and “Amazing news” were just some of the comments. What had happened? I had been nominated for a Society of Voice Arts and Science award. I sat there stunned. What an honour to be recognised by the great and the good in the voice world. When I read the nominees list, I saw some fellow Brit VOs nominated, others said they were coming along. We fast became a force to contend with: we talked about what to do, who to meet, where to stay and – of course – what to wear. LA was calling….
The City Of Angels
“You have now arrived in LA” What a city! Firstly, it was hot: hide-in-the-shadows hot. Secondly, it was a technicolour smorgasbord of glamour. In some places, gorgeous-looking people sashayed about in fancy restaurants. The warmness of the weather and of the welcome from our American guests was well received by us “Brits”, which included Rachael Naylor, Dian Perry, Lisa Rost-Welling, Katie Flammen, Anna Parker-Naples, Tim Bruce, Ana Clements, Emily Steele, Toni Frutin, Tim Bruce and Natalie Beran (from New Zealand). That night, we got our glad rags on for cocktails with our VO cousins at VO Mastery. We had a fun filled Friday evening with likeminded voices.
Saturday morning, we were up early and we wanted an All-American pancake style breakfast. However, after wolfing down pancakes, we lost the car! Thankfully we found it and three minutes later we arrived at Gate 3, Warner Bros. Studio. The access-all-areas bracelets were handed to us and we were shuttled through the studios, past “The Big Bang Theory” lot and past the 1960s “Batman” TV series steps…to the Warner Bros. theatre. It was a high-spec theatre with deep plush seats. The lights were dimmed and a familiar voice announced the sessions: Rachael Naylor. We watched a live radio drama; saw a panel talk led by ACX with narrators and producers; we witnessed a live audition for a contract with an agent; and heard million-dollar voices talk about work.
Not only was it a full day event but a few of us had the chance to meet casting directors, agents and managers in a speed dating session. Before we took our seats in the outdoor street café, we checked our technology and gave each other pep talks: queuing was nerve-wracking. With such a huge opportunity to play our reels to people with over 300 years of cumulative experience, the last thing we wanted was for our tech to go down. At 4pm we began and what followed were almost two hours of reel critiquing and advice. We scribbled notes, shook hands and swapped business cards.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
Finally the big day arrived: the Voice Arts Awards gala ceremony! We woke up late but the party preparations soon began. In amongst some of us doing auditions and emailing clients, our hotel room was a whirlwind of hair and make-up. Dressed up to the nines, we hit the lot. Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins were our hosts and – wow – they host in high octane style. It was a glitzy affair and lights flashed on and off as we walked the red carpet. At the bar, Puss in Boots – yes Antonio has a voice double – and Porky Pig were having a drink. Further down the Brownstone Street lot, casting directors mingled with advertisers and voices. The conversation and the drinks flowed, new friendships were formed and old ones rekindled.
We then settled down, ready to watch the show. What a spectacle! The awards categories came and went, a flurry of everyone cheering on their favoured nominee. Acceptance speeches were humble and of course…conversational. My highlights included an academy award winner on stage, famous voices being honoured and Erin Brockovich making an impassioned speech. More drinks followed the ceremony out in the warmth of the November evening. Laughter drifted high above the trees and over the studios. When the time came to leave, we left the lot and were treated to an impromptu late night studio tour. The party then carried on back at the hotel, pizzas and champagne were dived upon and the evening ended in the early hours of the morning…..
Though none of us won, sitting in that huge auditorium, holding each other’s hands when our names were read out, we still felt like winners. The love for the art of voice over was a wonderful thing to experience. Hanging out in LA was pretty cool, but hanging out with a group of talented voices and friends, well, that was priceless.
Lorraine Ansell is a bilingual voice over artist showcasing British RP and Spanish (Latin American) voices in warm, natural and commercial tones.
With over 15 years’ experience especially in corporate narration Lorraine has worked with clients spanning many industries from fashion/beauty to human rights. She focuses on bringing scripts to life to engage the target audience, delivering a professional sound.