Many folks in our industry feel that the Voice Arts Awards is just a way for a select group of top shelf voice actors to get together and pat each other on the back, and offers nothing of substance. The competition is stiff and cutthroat. It requires you to spend lots of money that you could be spending on coaching, training, or books. As someone who went through the process last year, I have a different perspective.
I don't consider the Voice Arts Awards as a competition. It may have that image because it is an awards program and somebody wins and somebody loses, but my experience at the 2016 awards show proved otherwise. The people that were in attendance were all very nice, very supportive of each other, and never hesitated to applaud the competition when names were announced. I felt a strong bond in the room between a group of people that share special talents and a love for what they do. Speaking to many attendees, I didn't get a sense of fake good wishes. There was no whispering voices or gossip about why “so and so”shouldn't win. No negative vibes at all. It was all good. “Competitive” was the last word on my list of words that could describe the night.
Some say that the only opinion that matters on your work or worth is the client's. I say, to be judged by people who have had great success in our industry and have stature, is worth much more. In an industry that is all about subjectivity, the Voice Arts Awards throws all that out the window, and judges you based on a set of technical and creative criteria. Being nominated tells you you're on the right track. That you can hang with the best. When I saw my name alongside the four other nominees, I was overwhelmed. These were big names. My first reaction was that I had no business being on that list. Just to be on that list was award enough. That nomination gave me so much confidence. It told me I was doing the right things. It allowed me to see my future differently.
I won three new clients based on the nomination alone. I also took on a new casting client who specifically mentioned the award for Best Movie Trailer Voice Over, a category I submitted a very talented voice actor for, who was just minding her own business in her own little corner of the World when I asked her to audition for me. Now, after winning, she is more determined to step up her game and move on to the next level. That is why the Voice Arts Awards works.
You can spend thousands of dollars on a coach, on training seminars, and voice over books. But to spend $125 to be judged by respected industry peers in this type of setting is the ultimate form of positive feedback. If you are not nominated, that's OK. Consider it an audition. The next time, you'll have a threshold to work with. To be nominated only serves to give you that much needed confidence boost that allows you to push harder to get to the next level in your career. In addition, the experience of it all is something you will treasure for the rest of your life. So go ahead and submit yourself or have your agent submit for you. For me, it was one of the best things I have done for my business and my career.