This is a story that started way back in 2012. It all started at the then VOICE conference in Anaheim that was hosted by Penny Abshire and James Alburger.
For those who don’t know, the voice conference happened every other year in Anaheim at the Disneyland Hotel and was a culmination of voice talent, teachers and mentors. This particular year was my second time attending when I was still very young in voiceover and it was absolutely amazing the depth of knowledge that I took from it (I still listen to the recordings of the teachings).
At that particular conference there was one session that stood out. It was led by the incredibly talented and gifted Tom Dheere. If you’re not familiar with Tom I highly suggest you going to check him out; TomDheere.com.
Anyway, the topic of his particular session with accountability in voiceover. Sometimes we get so stuck in our vocal booths and isolated from humanity that we become islands unto ourselves. Tom talked about building community another voice talent. In particular he talked about having accountabilibuddys. A phrase that I believe I first heard on South Park. Basically someone to help keep you accountable and on track to your goals. He talked about local meetup groups with fellow voice talent in your area. Which at the time in Nashville we did not have. Enter Christi Bowen.
Christi is another mega talented voice artist based here in Nashville, that ironically I had to travel all the way to Anaheim to meet, who was part of this same session. Talking afterwards we decided that we needed to get together to form a voiceover group for Nashville. So a few of weeks later we met at Fido Coffee shop in Hillsboro Village to lay the groundwork for what would eventually become T-VOE, The Tennessee Voiceover Exchange.
At first we kinda winged it but we knew that we wanted the meetings to be resource for voice talent in Tennessee and could learn from each other and grow in their careers. Each meeting would feature a difference theme/track that is essential to being a successful voice talent; Performance, Business/Marketing and Technical. That was why we called it an Exchange. Because we wanted members to know that everyone brought value and ideas to the table. That’s also why many meetings have featured T-VOE’s own members as the primary speaker for the evening.
In that time there has been some amazing growth. Not only to the group itself but too the members as well, both personally and within their VO careers. I absolute attribute 150% of the group’s growth to Christi. For personal reasons, there was a period of time that I had to step down from the group and Christi took up the mantel by herself and ran with it like the true champion she is.
Our first meeting was Sept 17, 2013. In that time we’ve had dozens of guest speakers, given away a bunch of door prizes, had three meeting spaces and have eaten a bunch of Blue Coast Burrito (not that it is ever a bad thing). And we’ve grown from a dozen+ curious people to over 90 active member and almost 900 on our Facebook page.