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  • Writer's pictureTom Dheere

A Voiceover Adventure at VO Atlanta: From Presentations to Treadmills with Maurice LaMarche

A Gathering of Voices in Atlanta

Recently, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of voiceover at VO Atlanta, an annual conference dedicated to the craft that brings together talent from across the globe. Held in the vibrant city of Atlanta, Georgia, it's a place where professionals and enthusiasts alike converge to share knowledge, experiences, and, of course, their voices.

On Stage and On Panels

As a presenter, I was thrilled to deliver a series of presentations and take part in a marketing panel. It's always a joy to engage with an audience eager to learn and exchange ideas. The conference also proved to be a fantastic venue to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, all united by our passion for voiceover.

Keynote Insights from a Legendary Voice

One of the VO Atlanta's traditions is the keynote speech, delivered by a luminary in the voiceover industry. This year, we were honored to hear from Maurice LaMarche, a name that may not instantly be recognized, but a voice that certainly is. From Toucan Sam in Fruit Loops commercials to Brain from Pinky and the Brain, to a plethora of characters on Futurama, Maurice's vocal range is nothing short of legendary.

The Gym Encounter

As someone who believes in maintaining a routine, I made it my mission to visit the gym each morning during the conference for a dose of cardio. One such morning, I encountered Maurice in the elevator—both of us headed to the gym, only to find that some of the treadmills were out of order. This shared minor inconvenience led to a moment of commiseration and, later, a gesture of goodwill as I held the last working treadmill for him.

Treadmill Courtesy and Unexpected Requests

After our workouts, Maurice thanked me for the treadmill courtesy, sparking a conversation that revealed another connection between us—I had voiced Inspector Gadget in a recent video game. Maurice, having voiced Chief Quimby in the original cartoon, humorously remarked that he had now met all the Gadgets. Then, in the sweaty aftermath of our gym session, he requested to hear my Inspector Gadget voice. Despite the pressure of performing in front of a voiceover icon, I managed to deliver, and Maurice, ever the gentleman, offered his approval.

A Voiceover Revelation

We continued to chat, and I shared details about the video game "Mad Time Party," which involved a time-traveling mishap with Inspector Gadget's ancestors. To my surprise, Maurice disclosed that he had voiced all the Gadgets in a particular episode of the cartoon—an impressive feat I had mistakenly attributed to the original voice actor, Don Adams.

A Moment of Fanboy Fantasy

Despite not typically indulging in fanboy moments, I couldn't help but fantasize about sharing the stage with Maurice for a performance. While that dream didn't come true, the encounter itself was a highlight of the conference, a testament to the genuine kindness that exists within the voiceover community.

The Joy of Meeting Your Heroes

My experience at VO Atlanta, particularly the interaction with Maurice LaMarche, was a reminder of the excitement and fulfillment that comes from meeting your heroes—and finding out they're as gracious and personable as you'd hoped. It's encounters like these that make the voiceover industry not just a profession, but a community—a place where voices, characters, and the people behind them truly come to life.

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Tom Dheere is a voice actor with over 25 years of experience narrating just about every type of voiceover you can think of. He also helps other voice talents navigate the voiceover industry as the VO Strategist. When not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.


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