My 34 Hour New York City Voiceover Mixer Experience

By Dan Friedman

My journey to the 2011 New York City Voiceover Mixer began at 4:30 AM on Saturday when Orbitz called to tell me my flight leaves in three hours. If I lived in a big city, I would have appreciated that courtesy call, however I live in Asheville, NC (and only seven minutes from our small regional airport) so the call was not necessary.

At 7:30 that morning, I would be flying to New York City (the city that doesn’t sleep) to spend time with my voiceover friends, and make many new ones. This was far too exciting. So although I tried, I was simply too anxious to fall back asleep… and I wouldn’t sleep again until 2:30 PM on Sunday.

Liz DeNesnera, Dan Friedman, Melissa Exelberth at Mustang Harry's - Photo by Fran McClellan

My amazing friend Melissa Exelberth offered to be my “handler” during my time in New York. I could not possibly have been in better hands. She picked me up from the airport and drove us right into the heart of the city. We parked right next to Madison Square Garden and walked a couple blocks to meet up with friends for lunch at Mustang Harry’s. As people continued to join us and others left to get ready for the evening’s main event, one couldn’t help but feel the anticipation building.

Erik and Lindsay Sheppard of Voice Talent Productions definitely know how to throw a party. The atmosphere at Arena was electric (and so was my LED EQ t-shirt). Everyone was looking great, smiling big, sharing stories and exchanging business cards. The legendary Marc Graue shared a story with me about Van Halen coming into his studio many years ago and how that was an instrumental part of his early success. This was very cool since, as anyone from my high school days can tell you, Van Halen was my favorite band for many years. Thank you Marc for sharing that story and for being such a kind and giving person.

Giving away "Sound Advice"- Photo by Kurt Kelly

Speaking of giving, there were a ton of great giveaways including hats, classes, gift certificates and microphones. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give away a couple of copies of Sound Advice – Voiceover From an Audio Engineer’s Perspective at the event. Thank you Erik for that opportunity and for your kind words about the book.

Peter O'Connell, Mara Junot and Dan Friedman - Photo by Linda Ristig

As the official party was shutting down, the after party was just getting started at Rosie O’Grady’s Irish Pub. During the hours spent there, I had the chance to get to know some of my good friends even better and, as I had hoped, made some great new friends as well. It is such an incredible feeling to be joined by people from all over the country and all over the world who all share a common career… and actually love it. This was not your ordinary business or corporate gathering.

For me and about 10 others, the night ended at a little “dive bar” in the East Village called Manitoba’s. It was everything a New York, rock and roll dive bar should be… small and covered in years worth of memorabilia. What a great vibe! By 4AM the place was shutting down and it was time to get everyone back to their hotels or home and for me, the airport. I landed, home in Asheville, at 2PM.

Dan Friedman and Pam Tierney - Photo by Linda Ristig

It was a long 34 hour journey. Was I exhausted? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Would I do it all over again? In a New York minute.

I wish that I could mention everyone that I had a chance to meet or speak with over the weekend. But, there are simply too many and I would feel terrible if I left anyone out. So, If you were one of the voiceover people I spent time with in NYC this past weekend… whether that time was only a minute or several hours… I just want to tell you how much I loved that time. Thank you all so much. I love this business and I love all of you.

14 responses on “My 34 Hour New York City Voiceover Mixer Experience

  1. Nikki Lee Almanza says:

    I’m glad to see you were poured onto your plane in time. Your journey is described beautifully. It’s fun to read and hear about the different adventures experienced this past weekend.
    It was a pleasure meeting you.

  2. Mara Junot says:

    Oh this makes me want to be back there already! So well written. 🙂 Cheers, dear!

  3. Rich Owen says:

    Great article! Makes me really sad that I was not able to attend this year and visit with all my old friends and make some new ones. So I am going to work extra hard in 2012 to save the pennies to make the NYC trip! Take care and have a happy holiday season. Rich

  4. Stan Schrop says:

    Hi Dan – Great blog as usual. I’m with you on Van Halen. One of my favorite bands ever!

  5. Dale Leopold says:

    Sorry I missed it, Dan, but my bachelor party took precedence! See you in Ventura Beach!

  6. Linda Ristig says:

    You certainly made the most of your whirlwind visit to NYC, Dan…so great to see you and help document your adventures with a few of my pics. Always happy to share a photo or two! Take care!

  7. It really is a special business and breeds a special group of people. Or vice versa? Whatever the order, the result is the same. A great time whenever we all get together. So much more than business now – bonded like brothers we are.

  8. Ron Whittemore says:

    Dan…great stuff…so enjoyed following your journey to the Big Apple for, what was, an amazing event!!

  9. Wendy Zier says:

    it sounds like it was amazing! I am now living vicariously through your travels! When are you getting to Raleigh?

  10. […] year, my experience at the New York Voiceover Mixer was quite a journey. A 34 hour experience with no sleep and a whole lot of fun. This year my trip to the New York Voiceover Mixer, hosted by […]

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