Conflicted About Conferences?

snively2-aDon’t worry, that’s an easy conundrum to fall into.  They’re practically coming out of the woodwork this year.

Is it a bad thing?  No, not at all!  I can remember when there were no voice-over conferences.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the first time anyone successfully staged an event of conference magnitude specifically FOR voice actors was here in Las Vegas in 2007.   VOICE.  The Voice Over International Creative Experience.  James Alburger, Penny Abshire and Frank Frederick sponsored that.  James and Penny continue the tradition, and will be holding VOICE2014 this August near Disneyland…the 5th in the  VOICE conference series.

In recent years, other VO conferences have begun to pop up and gain momentum.  But for some reason, it seems to be reaching a crescendo THIS year.  Lord knows why.  They’re expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, and tough to schedule.  Ask any event organizer who’s done one.  Attending VO conferences can be a bit of a challenge, too.  There’s the cost of the the conference itself,  the flight and the hotel…and squeezing it into your schedule AFTER you’ve considered all your priorities.

By May of this year I will have attended 5 conferences or meet-ups  — most of them in Vegas — and this was going to be lean conference year for me!

Marice Tobias came in January, Bill DeWees in February,  something I can’t mention yet in April, and WoVO-Con comes in May. Then I’ll be attending an Audio Publisher’s Association gathering in March in LA.

In other parts of the world, there’s the Midwest VoiceOver Conference in late March, and VO Atlanta 2014 just a few days before THAT.  For AudioBook narrators, there’s APAC at the end of May.  Sometime I’d be surprised if Rudy Gaskins and Joan Baker weren’t planning another That’s Voiceover later in the year.  John Florian is planning a reprise of Voice Over Virtual…and on and on it goes.  If I’ve missed an event, please send me an email, or comment to this blog, and I’ll be sure to add it to the rundown.

THE BIG QUESTION…

….on everyone’s mind, though, is “What about FaffCon?”  There’s a certain affection for FaffCon that seems to transcend all the others.  If you’ve been…you know.  It’s not the biggest, or the fanciest, or maybe not always about the information, but people hold FaffCon close to their heart.

snively-1-a

Braxton, Ebaugh, Snively, Courvoisier

Last night, I had dinner here in Las Vegas with Amy Snively, her husband Paul, Dave Braxton of the Dog & Pony Show studio, and WoVO President Dustin Ebaugh.  I had the chance to hear about Amy’s walk these past few months since the LAST FaffCon in October, 2013.  It’s a compelling story, but not mine to tell.

What I CAN tell you though…straight from Snively herself, is that there WILL be a FaffCon 2014.  Yay!  The contract is close to being signed, and when it’s all set to go, I will have the exclusive details right here on the digital pages of this blog.

Here’s pretty much all I can say for sure, and the rest will follow in a couple of weeks:  FaffCon2014 will be held in the American West.  South of San Francisco and West of the Rockies.  ‘Don’t know about you, but that leads me to only a few options, and I’ll stop there.  Pure conjecture on my part puts it on the calendar for the Fall.

What more do you need?   Bank on it!

In the next two weeks, I’ll be interviewing Ms. Snively for all the details, and I’ll post the video interview here for all to see.  That will be concomitant with all the appropriate announcements on the FaffCon website, of course.

WooHoo!  We’re on our way!

CourVO

For Three Years…

pictures..I’ve sponsored Faffcon’s Karaoke night, but this is the first one I’ve witnessed it in person.  I won’t embarrass anyone with a picture of the hotel lobby where the singing and dancing took place…but I can tell you that my peers have amazing voices.  Wow!

Instead, here are a couple of pics from Friday dinner at the nearby Texas Land and Cattle Restaurant.  Great food, good conversation, and a chance to share what the World-Voices Organization National Trade Association was all about.  You can find out too, at http://www.WorldVO.org.  We had a number of people sign up right then and there.  If you’ve ever been to a FaffCon, then you also meet the criteria to join WoVO…’cause we borrowed FaffCon’s standards.

Thanks everyone!

DSC02853-a

DSC02850-a

CourVO

 

 

Pre-Faff TomFoolery

Let’s not belabor the obvious.

Faffers come to FaffCon to talk.  We talk, and we laugh, and we have fun.   We hear stories and we tell stories.  We enjoy the personal company of those we otherwise see online, and who knows, we might even learn something!

Regardless, there are lots of smiles, and lots of pictures that capture those smiles.  Here are a few from this evening’s impromptu meet-up at a bar/grill about two blocks from the Omni Hotel:

DSC02829-a

DSC02828-a

DSC02825-a

DSC02822-a

Faff-1

Faff-2

Faff-3

Faff-4

Tomorrow, we get serious!  (ahem, yeah…right)

CourVO

You Didn’t Go to FaffCamp (or Voice-World): 5 Ways to Fight Post-Faff Blues

bluesHow cool is it that the burgeoning community of voice actors, coaches, and audio producers… event producers and organizers can mount TWO huge VO conferences in one weekend successfully!

Even though it’s a myopic view, the social media streams Derek Chappell and I curated over the weekend (FaffCamp, VoiceWorld) reflect enthusiastic support, breakthrough “aha” moments, and deepening relationships in an intense experience that transcends definition.

In the weeks ahead, you’ll see gushing remembrances, and inspirational posts reflecting aftermath awakenings.  I’m certainly responsible for a few of my own over the years, and so it is I arrive at the weird emotion that follows NOT being able to attend such a seminal gathering.

During and after the event, the non-attendees goes through something akin to  Kübler-Ross’ 5-Stages-of-Grief .  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

Add to that a deep sense of alone-ness, or apart-ness that — though familiar to the freelance actor — becomes more acute in its deficit of relationship (especially if you’ve attended before, and KNOW what goes on there!)

I’ve learned to cope.  If you recognize this sort of empty feeling in your gut after missing a good conference, there IS hope.

FIVE WAYS TO FIGHT THE POST-FAFF BLUES

1)  Take heart that conferences like FaffCamp/FaffCon raise the level of professionalism and competence for the entire industry.  That may seen like an esoteric concept with nothing tangible to hang your hat on.  Maybe it is. But it’s also true that education, awareness, and sharing of industry-wide trends from even 100 voice-actors sends out waves that ripple back and forth across the country affecting thousands of peers, clients, and studios.

2) Take the time to phone or Skype your favorite VO friend who attended, and debrief them.  They’re gonna want to tell you how great it was and what they learned.  This is why you’re calling!….so make time to let them talk.  Don’t expect to learn everything.  You might ask them to email you afterwards with the three top things they learned.

3)  Watch the Social Media Networks for pics and commentsFaffCon Friends is a great group to belong to for this stuff.  People will want to talk about the factoids they picked-up, and it’s all gold.  Watch for Peter O’Connell’s VoxMarketising, or Doug Turkel’s blog, or Marc Scott’s blog for their observations.

4)  Plan now to go to the next conference of your choiceFaffCon6 is in San Antonio, TX in the first week of October, and this is a fine place to start.

5)  Get to work.  It’ll get your mind off the temporary blues, and you’ll find renewed energy for it (see #1) because you are a talented freelancer in an incredible industry, and because voice over people are the most supportive and encouraging peers anyone could ask for.  So, ask!

What did I miss?  See you in San Antonio!

CourVO

The FaffCamp Social Media Stream

faffcampJust because I can’t be in Charlotte, NC this weekend for the first-ever FaffCamp, does NOT mean I’m out of the loop. (sniff)

I’ll be living vicariously through the attendees tweets and FaceBook posts.

In fact, my bestie Derek Chappell and I will be riding herd on all the social media posts we can find online for the next three days…and we’ve got it down!  We’re searching keywords, names, hashtags, networks, and pictures for any and everything FAFFCAMP.

Here’s how it works:

If you’re attending FaffCamp, please use the hashtags #faffcamp or #vo in all your Tweets.  Beyond that, we’re doing the work to find the stuff you post.  So just have fun, share as much as you can, and leave the sleuthwork to us.

If you’re like Derek and me — left watching from afar — please bookmark this URL:  http://storify.com/courvo/official-faffcamp-2013-social-media-stream.

That link will take you to a STORIFY page we’re building every hour with the tweets, FaceBook Posts, and just about every other Social Media stream.  We’re watching all the stuff going on at FaffCamp, and I’m pretty sure, at least Derek knows what he’s doing! ;)

We can’t wait to see what wonderful things will happen at the first FaffCamp!

CourVO

WoVO/FaffCamp Coupon

coupon-2In just a little over a month, FaffCon‘s latest offshot:  FaffCamp will take place in Charlotte, NC.  (see details here).  More like a typical conference (rather than FaffCon’s “un-conference format), FaffCamp will nonetheless have a very faffy feel, and you’ll see a lot of your friends there.

Among the vendors being represented at the Table Top Expo at FaffCamp is voice-acting’s newest Industry Trade Organization:  World-Voices.org (WoVO for short).  Please try to stop by and chat if you’re gonna be there.

The organizers of FaffCon/Faffcamp are embracing the goals of WoVO, and are offering a pretty good deal that is a win-win-win.

  • WoVO gets greater exposure
  • FaffCamp gets more attendees
  • Attendees get a total of $50 break on costs at FaffCamp and WoVO.

Below is the coupon offer. It’s getting down to the wire for FaffCamp planners, which is why the deadline is short.  But, honestly, there’s still plenty of time to make your plans, and get in your registration…and now there’s even more incentive.

coupon

Can’t make it to FaffCamp, but still want to support World-Voices?  Peachy!  Just go to http://worldvo.org to sign-up online.  We’ve recently revamped our application procedure, combining the $25 one-time-only application fee, with the $49 annual membership fee for a total of $74 dollars initially… then $49 each year thereafter.

WoVO organizers have been meeting feverishly lately, and hammering out a lot of details that will make this an organization you’ll want to be part of, support, and help build.  Every profession that comes of age eventually launches an offshoot business trade group that helps represent the concerns of its members.  Go to http://worldvo.org for more explainers, and become part of our new free online social media site:  http://worldvo.com.  “”Our mission is to strengthen, improve and promote the artistic, professional and economic success of freelance professional voice actors world wide.”

CourVO

Get Campy

FaffcampIn the interest of absolute fairness, It behooves me to underscore the opportunities available at the OTHER major Voice Over Conference taking place during the first weekend of May  (I’ve already blogged about Voice World Toronto, organized by the fine folks at Voices.com).

What’s cool is that the universe of possible voice over people who would benefit from EITHER event is big enough that they will both be a success.

So, today, let’s talk about FAFFCAMP!!

As we all know, FaffCon is the bestest, most uniquest of all voice over UNconferences.  With five blockbuster events under their belt, the staff at FaffCon (led by the indefatigable Amy Snively), thought it might be a worthy idea to (1) open up the field of potential attendees, and (2) give FaffCamp a more organized structure, like you might find at most traditional conferences.

[FaffCon is limited to 100 attendees who are proven voice over pros, and the event has a delightful free-form attendee-centric design to it.]

Scheduled main stage speakers at FaffCamp are Bob Souer, Dan Friedman, Doug Turkel, and Rowell Gormon; all are FaffCon alumni stalwarts, and experts in their speaking role.  Of course, there are many other elements to the event, including the Table Top Expo, and breakout sessions.  Charlotte is a great place to visit, and FaffCamp is modestly priced.

FaffCamp returns to the scene of FaffCon5 at the Omni in Charlotte, NC, and is more of a weekend experience…so come early and stay late!  It’s probably best to head on over to the FaffCamp website, and get your registration done ASAP, as an early head-count helps in the organization of the event.

As luck would have it, I was able to spend some time on a Skype call yesterday with FaffCon founder Amy Snively, and her right-hand: Lauren McCullough.  The interview is below, and includes some info you have not yet heard concerning this May event, so take a listen!  Thanks Amy and Lauren!

FaffCamp Interview from Dave Courvoisier on Vimeo.

CourVO

Camp Faff for 2013

CampFaffWhen something’s that good, word gets around.  Faffcon is that good.

Having attended 3 of the 5 FaffCon Unconferences, and having sponsored all of them, I think I know of what I speak.

FaffCon was not only a novel idea for a conference, but a game-changer for voice acting in general.  Kudos to Amy Snively for conceiving and masterfully enabling FaffCon. People get it.  They want to be there.

But its very design keeps FaffCon from being an all-out affair.  100 attendees allowed, and you must show your mettle as a voice actor to be there.

Voice actors aren’t elitists, though, and neither is Amy.  She’s been looking for a way to be egalitarian and enabling of more Faffers, and the results of all that cogitation are now being announced.

The first Faff Camp will be held in Charlotte…the same site of the last FaffCon.  The hotel liked us, and vice-versa.  It’s coming up in May of 2013, and the barriers to entry are….none.  Well, you will have to find your way there, and there is an registration fee… but that’s about it.

This is good news for all of us in voice acting.  As FaffCon’s Peter O’Connell writes:  “…Faff Camp is a peer-to-peer professional development conference for working voiceover pros (not just voice talents, voice actors, and narrators, but ALL PROS who do work related to voice overs). It’s participant driven and highly interactive, just like its sister event FaffCon. But unlike FaffCon, most of the Faff Camp agenda is set in advance, which makes it possible for Faff Camp to welcome a larger group…”

O’Connell’s got the early word on Faff Camp, and I suggest you click on the link below to his site, and read more of what this event holds for you.  Although I plan to be in San Antonio in October of 2013, I must admit, Charlotte in May is likely a travel weekend for me!

Peter O’Connell’s VoxMarketising Blog on Faff Camp.

CourVO

voxmarketising – the audio’connell Voice Over Talent blog and podcast

Five Ways FaffCon Helps Us All

Almost exactly two years ago the first Faffcon was born.  I shared that experience with about 35 other believers.

Now the 5th Faffcon is about to launch with a purposely limited list of just over 100 attendees, and the roster filled up within hours.  I won’t be there, but I’m a guaranteed beneficiary of the event.

How?

FaffCon is a culture-shift.  Faffcon is a watershed Voice Acting phenomenon whose hydra-like tentacles will touch most aspects of this business.  Those who attend are the best of the best of the best.  They’re passionate, committed, curious, magnanimous, savvy, and willing to share.  The 2-and-a-half-day encounter will raise awareness among our kind, and raise the bar in your mind.

If you’re not already on the list, you will not be going to Charlotte two weeks from now…but here are 5 ways you’ll benefit:

1)  You’ll hear about if from someone who attends, and they will infectiously share a nugget of information that you need.
2)  You’ll see it on Twitter, FaceBook, Storify, Blogs, and Newsletters (including pictures of smiling friends), and you’ll get several nuggets of useful information you can use.
3)  The weeks ahead will see new ideas, motivations, thought processes, and paradigms that were spawned by Faffcon.
4)  Your name will be mentioned by someone there to someone else who’s there, and you become included in the FaffCon family of inside information.
5)  The knowledge shared will raise VO standards everywhere for rates, technology, VO business models, demos, client relations and more.  You can’t NOT notice the effect

Honorable mention:  You won’t be able to STAND not being at another one, and you’ll end up going to FaffCon6 and be forever changed.

Mark my words, in some grand or perhaps subtle way in the months ahead, your VO business will see a benefit from FaffCon.  It’s that big.

Attendees:  take copious notes on a free CourVO spiral notebook, and let us know what you learned.

The rest of us:  Plan on being the grateful beneficiaries of our friends’ largesse!

CourVO

(see Faffcon Fact Sheet Below)

FAFFCON 5 ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY

Voiceover Unconference Welcomes Professional Voice Talent Beginning October 12

CHARLOTTE, NC – September 26, 2012 – The eyes of the voiceover world will be on Charlotte, NC October 12-14, 2012 as FaffCon 5 (www.faffcon.com), presented by Voicebank.net, takes place inside the Omni Charlotte Hotel. This event continues to be produced by professional voiceover talents for professional voiceover talents.

Voice talent from around the world (Australia, Great Britain, Canada, United States) have come to FaffCon since it began in 2010.  The objective for participants and guiding principle behind FaffCon is very simple- “Get What You Need, Share What You Can”.  FaffCon continues to provide a very educational, interactive and fun environment that encourages peer-to-peer professional development for all unconference contributors (who are nicknamed “Faffers”).

Since the success of peer-to-peer learning depends on all participants being peers, FaffCon is unable to open registration to individuals who are not already working pros.  The event was the brainchild of Los Angeles, CA voiceover talent Amy Snively who, with her team of volunteers from the voiceover community, has produced every FaffCon since its inception.

Other fast FaffCon facts:

The FaffCon 5 schedule can be accessed here: http://faffcon.com/schedule/

FaffCon 5 sold out in under 7 hours (a new FaffCon record)

FaffCon 6 will be held in October 2013 marking a shift to an now annual event

The location for FaffCon 6 will be announced to Faffers on Sunday, October 14th during the
Sunday luncheon

The name FaffCon is a compound word.  “Faff” meaning to spend time doing a lot of unimportant
things, wasting time. and “Con” meaning an argument against. Therefore, “FaffCon” is an argument against spending time doing unimportant time wasters, especially where our VO career is concerned.

Registration to FaffCon is limited to 100 professional voiceover talents who are vetted by a
committee to ensure their level of experience matches that of the other attendees

Previous FaffCons have taken place in Portland Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia, Hershey, Pennsylvania
and Ventura Beach, California

Voicebank.net (www.voicebank.net) is the presenting sponsor of FaffCon 5

 

FaffCon5!

Never doubt that our business has come of age in the new millenia.

BIG TIME.

So much is available in terms of networking, relationship-building, and learning/coaching.

VOICE2012 is barely over, and FaffCon5 is launching it’s enrollment Saturday.  This 5th iteration of the fabulous VO confab, and will take place in Charlotte, NC, Oct 12-14, 2012.

The ONLY Voice Over UNconference is an event not to be missed.  Founder and chief Faffer Amy Snively sees to it that your experience there will be nothing less than a revelation and a cornucopia of knowledge nuggets, friendships, and poignant memories.  Go to the website now and look around.  Time to plan your Autumn UNconference!

While I’m at it, let me just mention that other presentations abound right now, Tom Dheere, Dan Lenard, Rudy Gaskins, Deb Munro, Pat Fraley, Bettye Zoller, and others are offering events, webinars, weekends, coaching sessions, and more.  None are quite as strong in community-building as FaffCon, but there’s no shortage of possibilities.

Waytago Amy!  I know this will be another memorable event!

CourVO