Jan. 29 brought a gathering of past and present members of the New York Promo Announcers community to the local office. The feelings of camaraderie and genuine affection were unmistakable, sentiments blunted by the migration to home studios for both voiceover work and auditions. A member once said of auditions, where we would also visit and share our family news, “We were best friends — 15 minutes at a time.” That delicious feeling was rekindled for a brief few hours on this special evening. Old friends and new enjoyed a renewed sense of allegiance to their union and affection for their colleagues. For many, it was the first time they’d been “in the house” at 1900 Broadway.
A highlight of the evening was a gathering of attendees in the boardroom to celebrate the 79th birthday of promo and voiceover icon Robb Webb. Webb’s legendary tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek read has been emblematic for innumerable commercial campaigns like Avis, GEICO and Direct TV. His vocal gravitas has branded news and entertainment promos for the likes of the NFL and The CBS Evening News, and for decades his singular read has been the vocal signature of 60 Minutes, which he still voices at 79! Webb was also the first member of the group of voiceover actors engaged by Late Night with David Letterman. His straight-laced read stood as counterpoint to the comedic content and earned him a “Letterman Jacket” from the host. It was delightful to see the look of recognition on the faces of younger members who knew the voice, and now the face.
We had a surprise guest, President Gabrielle Carteris, whose presence and warmth was greatly appreciated by the members. The evening was coordinated by the New York Local Promo/Trailer Caucus Steering Committee: Me, Holter Graham, Mason Pettit, Jeff Wilburn, Chris Cook, Gabe Doran, Elena Hurst, Lannon Killea, Henry Leyva, Kobie Powell, Mhari Sandoval and Tom Spackman. It was enabled by Director, Television and New Media Entertainment Contracts Steve Meicke; Director, National Voiceover Department Treslyn Williams; and Director, New York Special Projects and Events Maura Walker. Our thanks to the staff who made us all feel welcome and valued, and we left with a warm sense of our promo family.
Success is often measured in the desire of an audience for more. Members attending kept asking to “please be included the next time” we have such a gathering. If that was the measure, this event was a hit!
Anne Gartlan is a SAG-AFTRA National and New York Local Board member and chair of the New York Promo/Trailer Steering Committee.
Photo: President Gabrielle Carteris, EVP Rebecca Damon, National Board Member Holter Graham, National Board Member Anne Gartlan and guest of honor Robb Webb.
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