Monday, October 14, 2013

The Art of Faffing

Faffing : "The excessive use of time for nonsense activities.

Stop faffing around already, and please provide to me my work objectives." ~ Urban dictionary

FaffCon started a couple years ago once Amy Snively (rhymes with Lively!) and some friends realized that it's the conversations in a hallway or after the convention closes that are the real value in attending. Why not create an "un-convention" and create the agenda once people arrive and express what they want to talk about.

My Fourth FaffCon

I’ve been attending FaffCon since FaffCon3. I remember driving to Hershy PA and sitting in this room of strangers wondering if I just stumbled into an Amway meeting or was about to hear about the power of positive thinking.

Well, in some ways, that’s true. FaffCon is a boost to my business every year, it re-enforces the idea, or belief that I’m good at VO work and I can make money and perhaps even eventually do this full time.

Hey, it’s a great goal! I love the work!

So FaffCon6 was in San Antonio Texas this round. I had not been to San Antonio since I left it in the rear view mirror when I left basic training at Lackland AFB back in 1984. I flew via United Airlines, and let me just say, if that seat cushion is meant to be a floatation device... I'm screwed. A two hour flight and my tukus was sorus.

Seeing San Antonio was great though and it was fun to stroll the riverwalk, and dig into some Tex-Mex.

Why go EVERY year?

Why do I go to FaffCon? As I mentioned, it’s my annual trek to refuel, to learn more and add to the knowledge of this work we call Voice Over. People leave their ego at the door and they share, they help, they push. Each person in the room wants to be better and wants you to be better at what you do as well. I mean that part. The people in that room are rooting you on! Ok, they may not give you their client list, but they will guide you in the direction of building your own. 

Faffers have turned into a family for me. People I can call, people I trust and to be honest, people I love. And not in the sappy hallmark card way of saying “I love them” but a real feeling of connection and commitment.

If Amy Snively (rhymes with LIVELY) calls and asks a favor, I’m all in. I'm not just an attendee or even someone who adds to the conversation, I help sponsor this event. Even if I couldn’t make it for whatever reason, I would make sure to toss Amy and crew some extra cash to help out. I would take a bullet for this lady.

FaffCon is so worth it.

Take Sessions - Lead Sessions

First and for most, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Peter O'Connell for helping out in a session that I gave on character voices. Amy had asked in the opening circle for us to do something different, and the past two FaffCon's I spoke about my adventure of building a home studio. This time I would talk about something that I do, and share my technique for developing a character and voice. I was firkin nervous about that! I asked Peter's help and he was able to dive in and bring the conversation into the room vs me just blabbing on for 50 minutes. Peter knows how to work a room, I owe him big time.

FaffCon is an un-conference where you can have a session with only one person attending. It's about sharing ideas and methods to further the career. I'm sure you're getting the point by now if you've stuck through this diatribe this far.

Connections, Connections, Connections

One of the goals for me this year (and last year) was to amp up my marketing, I can guarantee you that I will be sitting down with Celia Siegel and talking about how to get more people to know who I am. I will be calling Cliff Zellman down in Dallas for some guidance on my Automotive demo as well as my commercial demo. I will be going through all my notes and will endeavor to join a stand up group to keep the pressure on.

It's a lot!

There were quite a few new Faffers at FaffCon6, and it felt good to sit and talk with people about the business and ins and outs. It's great being HELPFUL! I learn, and I share. The "Rising tide lifts all boats" mentality.

Only Once a Year

I know I was happy that FaffCon went from twice a year, to once a year... initially. Seeing these people only once a year is not enough. Which is why I pop into NYC as often as I do to see friends. If you get a chance to attend a FaffCamp or FaffCon, do it. Seriously. Sit by your computer on registration day and make it happen. It's education with a firehose, and will take a few weeks to sift through everything that hits you on a weekend, but it is SO WORTH IT! 

Final Thoughts

I can go into detail with what I learned in various sessions, and I'll share some things in following posts to keep you up to date. But here's the skinny.

As a Voice Actor, you're often alone in a booth, alone in a studio, it can be an isolated lifestyle with only a internet connection to people. The great thing about FaffCon is that it is a safe place to be with fellow talent and you can be open and honest about what roadblocks are in front of you. And then, people actually HELP you get over those hurdles. FOR REAL! IN PERSON! THEY UNDERSTAND!

I don't know how I was so lucky to be guided to FaffCon, but wild horses won't keep me away. I'll see you there.


  1. Great recap, Monk! I couldn't agree more!

  2. Wow... I have no idea who "Fran" is. This is Christian Taylor and I posted that last comment too.

  3. Great article Monk, well said!!! It was wonderful meeting you :)

  4. Thank you! FaffCon is an amazing experience.. I'm still going through my notes! :)