Monday, September 26, 2016

An Interview with VO Mastery Founder Randy Thomas

For the last two years, voiceover legend Randy Thomas has hosted the VO Mastery Event, (randythomaspresents.com,) originally in Fort Myers, Florida. This year the event moves to Los Angeles.     

I had the pleasure of presenting in 2015, and will be back in 2016 to talk about the business of voiceover, and how to build a career through whatever path is right for you.

Recently, I chatted with Randy about what makes the VO Mastery Event such a unique and valuable entry on the conference calendar. 

JMC: What inspired you to create the VO Mastery Event?

Randy: Truthfully, I am a teacher at heart. That is why I wrote Voice For Hire. I feel there is so much to share with others who are in pursuit of their dreams, especially when my dreams align with theirs. To that end living in Ft. Myers, Florida for the past 14 years, I got lonely for my LA and NYC VO Pros. So I created an event to bring them together to help aspiring voice actors reach their goals and the defy the odds to put a little town like Fort Myers on the national map of conferences, and it did.

JMC: For two years the event was in Fort Myers, Florida. Why have you brought it to LA this year?

Randy: This past August, my husband of 32 years and I sold our Florida home and have moved back to Los Angeles. The 3rd Annual VO Mastery Event follows in tow and is an opportunity for me to tap the shoulders of my superstar Animation heroes and ask them to come spend a day in Studio City, to generously share how they do what they do.

JMC: There are more and more VO conferences these days. What makes VO Mastery unique?

Randy: I am so blessed to have had the career that I do. After 24 years as a Voice Over Actor and Announcer I have experienced the extreme highs of working at the very top of the industry, as have many of my friends who participate in this event that always has limited seating. At VOMastery our goal is not to be the biggest event where we run the risk of losing personal touch. Every VOMastery event offers a boutique, intimate and welcoming atmosphere which absolutely sets us apart from other voiceover events. Even our venue selection is part of our one-of-a-kind formula that makes our event different. Were in the business of telling stories and, we seek to gather in a places that offer a unique story and history.

JMC: Tell us about this year's venue.

Randy: The Sportsmens Lodge is a famous and premier landmark in Los Angeles. More than just any other hotel in Studio City, its doors have been no stranger to Hollywoods Classic and most iconic stars like Katherine Hepburn and Clark Gable. When my husband and I first moved to LA, and becoming regular visitors thereafter we relocated to FL, we would always stay at this family oriented hotel. The BEST perk to me is without Valet, self-parking is free. In LA, being able to park at a hotel ALL-DAY for free is unheard of. For the main event we are using both of the their hotel meeting rooms and providing breakfast, lunch and a ticket to the rocked out networking cocktail party from 6-9PM. Melissa Disney is singing a few songs, and we are putting together a House Band for the party that begins in the Zen Garden which is beautiful and an incredible way to end the day.

 JMC: For those who have attended VO Mastery before, what will be the same this year, and what will change?

Randy: Every year is different, but the thread that runs through every VO Mastery event is that you will come out of this experience inspired, informed, educated and  enlightened by the fact that we are a community coming together to raise the standards and stakes to ultimately become better, more successful and influential within the world of voice over.

 JMC: Can you share any stories with us of how VO Mastery has impacted an attendee's life or career?

Randy: First of all, it has impacted my career because I feel so much more connected to the work and the folks who do the work. For those who come with their hearts open and their dreams of success we do not disappoint. I have seen voice actors from small towns across America who arrive as I just described but leave with the very clear message that they can succeed in this amazing and fun business. I have honestly lost count keeping track of the lives I have witnessed changed. The most recent is an attendee whos name I will keep private, was homeless. After dedicating many coaching hours  to this individual, years later it was a priceless overwhelming feeling to hug this person and to hear their life turn around because of the opportunity I was fortunate enough to give. Paying it forward through education is the greatest reward of what I love to do.

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