Posted on

Meet MAVO – An Interview with Founder Val Kelly

With so many voice over conferences to choose from these days, it can be hard to decide which one(s) to attend. Some are big. Some are small. Some are east coast. Some are left coast. Some are for beginners. Some offer something for everyone, no matter your experience level. All of them bring something unique and valuable to the table.

In November of this year, MAVO 2018 will kick off. That’s the Mid-Atlantic Voiceover Conference in Herndon Virginia. Val Kelly is the mastermind behind this wonderfully unique event that truly does do things different to set itself apart from the rest.

Recently, Val answered a few questions to help you better understand that MAVO has to offer.

Meet MAVO – An Interview with Founder Val Kelly

Marc: You’ve designed (and promoted) MAVO as being kept intentionally small with a limited number of tickets. Talk about that decision.

Val: There are SO many VO conferences out there now. Some of them are as large as 700+ attendees. Those large conferences are amazing in their own right. But when I started Mid-Atlantic Voiceover, LLC, I wanted the events to intentionally be on the smaller side so that there could be more 1 on 1 interactions amongst the attendees and the guest speakers. I want it to be a hands-on… or in this case, “voices-on” experience. The breakout sessions are limited to 12-15 attendees in most cases. This is unique, not only for the size, but for the caliber of guest speakers we have on board for our events. They are TOP VO industry pros. It’s a very unique opportunity to get to work so closely with these great people.

Marc: There are quite a few different VO conferences out there now. It can be hard for people to decide which ones to attend. What are some things that sets MAVO apart from the rest?

Val: What sets MAVO2018 apart from the rest of the conferences out there:

1) The small size… limited to 120

2) The small breakout session with SERIOUSLY AWESOME VO industry pros

3) The price… it’s an amazing value for the chance to work with 14 top notch guest speakers over 2 and ¼ days.

4) The family feel to it. It’s hard to describe in words, but it’s literally like a giant VO Family reunion! We welcome in the people who have never been to a conference or just this one – like they are family. Everyone leaves feeling refreshed, excited about what’s next in their career, their goals etc. Those that have already been to 1 or more MAVO events already know what it’s like and most have been counting down for months for this one! The level of excitement is really high this time!!

Marc: Tell us about some of the coaches, mentors and presenters you’ve got lined up.

Val: Keynote Speaker: Kari Wahlgren – Kari is one of the top booking, industry pros in Hollywood today. She can be heard in cartoons for Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and DreamWorks, just to name a few. She has booked over 450 animation roles and what really makes this even more special is that Kari normally doesn’t teach when she is at conferences. She normally attends events like ComiCon and conventions like that to be on panels and sign autographs for fans. This will be totally different! She will offer the Keynote address, plus be on an animation panel with Sara Jane Sherman, Herb Moore and Sunday Muse. She will also offer a breakout session with Sara Jane Sherman on “Booking the Cartoon VO job”, and another breakout by herself on “Breaking down animation copy”!! So,needless to say, we are super excited about her involvement in this and we are honored to have her as a part of this event!

All of our guest speakers are extraordinarily talented and knowledgeable. Here’s what they’ll be covering – topic wise – in a nutshell!!

Guest Speakers:

Marc Scott – Marketing

Tom Dheere – the business side of VO PLUS e-learning

Johnny Heller – Audiobooks

Rachael Naylor – Videogames, The power of networking

Herb Moore – Animation/Character Development, How the industry has and is changing

Brigid Reale – VO Newcomers roundtable

Hugh Edwards – The State of the Voiceover Industry today

Sunday Muse – How to Create a character from the perspective of a character.

Sara Jane Sherman – Animation, Children’s program

Armin Hierstetter – Marketing and online casting

Celia Siegel – Branding

Gabby Nistico – Commercial VO – the conversational take

Joe Cipriano – Promos

Dan Friedman – Home studio and/or a live feedback session

Nicola Richards and Val Kelly – “Positivity Boards” a hands-on session of goal setting plus social media strategies.

Marc: Can you give us a sneak preview of some of the sessions people should be getting excited about?

Val: Well, I’m excited about all of them actually!! I’m still trying to figure out how to clone myself so that I can be at all of them at once!! But honestly, I’m really excited about the sessions with Kari Wahlgren because I really admire her work. She is very talented and is booking everything. I really strive to be that successful someday!

I am very very excited about the marketing, business and branding sessions with you (Marc Scott), Tom Dheere and Celia Siegel – because those are areas that I think have been lacking from our conference in the past and they are VERY important. People need to know how to run their VO business as a BUSINESS and run it well! Some of the most successful voice actors are great business people FIRST and that’s why they’re extra successful.

Our first ever children’s program with Sara Jane Sherman is going to be amazing as well!! She is such an outstanding coach and I know the children who attend will really benefit from having the chance to learn from her.

Like I said, I’m excited about ALL the sessions! We have Johnny Heller for audiobooks this year! Seriously… he’s fantastic!!

Marc: Other than amazing coaches, educational sessions and networking with our peers, have you got any other plans or surprises lined up for the weekend?

Val: We added a Friday night, November 9th session to our program this year! We have never done that before! From 7-9pm that night, there will be a cash bar and light bar snacks. It will be an opportunity for those who arrive by then to mingle and socialize and network in a more casual atmosphere.

The whole weekend has such a relaxed – but organized atmosphere to it. But the Friday night event will also be a chance for our great Sponsors: “Gravy for the Brain”, “The Voiceover Network” and “Bodalgo”, plus our exhibitors: “My Demo Dude”, VoiceoverXtra’s John Florian, and possibly a few more – to each say something short about their companies so that the rest of the weekend is not a sales pitch.

Then we will offer a Karaoke session from 9-11pm!! It’s a great way for attendees to have some fun and get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere even before the sessions start on Saturday! I’m REALLY excited about the Karaoke part!!

Marc: Where can people register for the conference?

Val: The direct link to buy full weekend and 1 day tickets, PLUS breakout session tickets (which must be purchased via Eventbrite) is: