Sunday, September 30, 2012

Faffing about at FaffCon 5

What is a FaffCon and why should a voice talent be there?

I've always known the phrase, "Faffing about" as basically goofing off. Doing something just to kill time, basically getting nothing done while on the clock.

So when you hear about a conference called FaffCon, images of a wasted weekend in some dull hotel conference room, come to mind. People milling about talking about things that just don't matter, I.E. Mac vs PC, Ford vs Chevy, political or philosophical blather or the Chicago Cubs. Perhaps even a lot of "I did this." Or "Me, me, me."

Why FaffCon was named what it is escapes me, for those visions of wasted time are the furthest from the truth. 

Plan to be there

My first FaffCon was FaffCon3 in Hershey Pennsylvania. I drove down from upstate NY to meet people I had only texted with on some random forum called the VO-BB, a voice over bullitin board. A place where knowledge of the wild and wooly world of voice work can be openly discussed and information is shared freely. 

I drove to the hotel, checked in, and made my way down to a restaurant to find these "Faffers". I sat at a table with friendly faces and the magic began. I sat with Chuck Davis and his wife and so the introductions began. The large room grew smaller as I began to connect names and faces.  Smiles, handshakes and revelry. And that was just the dinner before the actual conference began.

An Un-Conference

FaffCon is an "un-conference" with all of it's organization, it's planned chaos. There may be one planned event, a guest producer or casting agent, but the rest is up to those who are in the room. Amy Snively (rhymes with Lively!) gathers us into a circle and asks what we want to know and people who do know volunteer to lead a meeting on that subject.  Ego's are left at the door. 

Amy Snively ROCKS!

If you can help someone, you help. If you need to know how to get yourself to the next level, ask and someone helps. It's that easy. The wall fills up with classes that you can jump in on, and if you find out several minutes into the conversation that it's not for you, bug out and 'bee' somewhere else. The time is yours, gather as much as you can from people who know. No faffing about.

Plan to be there: Take Two

FaffCon has happened all over the country so far. I caught my first on in Pennsylvania, then the next in San Diego. This year is in Charlotte North Carolina. Now, it's too late for this year for you to get in unless you were one of the lucky 100 that signed up in the first few hours of availability. Sold out in seven hours, that's how amazing it is. So why am I rubbing this in? I want you at the next one. 

Seriously, if you have been working as a voice talent and want to know more, learn more or help others get to where you're at, you need to start planning now. FaffCon used to be twice a year, a Spring session and then in the Fall. Now we're being weened to once a year. The next conference is next October, I don't know where yet, we'll find out soon, and you may think that you have a year to think about it, but you need to get that goal on the calendar now. 

But why! why! why? for the love of Mike WHY!?

I'm goal driven. Give me a goal or a challenge and it's game on. My goal from FaffCon3 was to get my studio built. No longer would I be standing in the den waiting for the dog to stop chewing on a toy. I would have a professional space. If you read through my blog, you'll see the work and progress of that. At FaffCon4 I shared my experience with others about building their own space, it's not Rocket Surgery, and if you have some skills you can get it done. It's a good goal. Also at FaffCon4 I learned a lot more about marketing, using that knowledge, I've increased my business almost by a factor of 2. The gigs are better paying and more frequent. I learned how at FaffCon.

At FaffCon5 I'm hoping to learn and teach again. It's education with a firehose. Take notes, take names, kick your butt. People come from all over the world to learn and share. People who know the world of V.O. People who are willing to share dark secrets of the art. I can't wait.

Fellow Faffers!

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