Also printed in the July World Voices Newsletter
The voiceover community has become stronger and better informed over the past decade. Facebook has been an integral factor. Forums, groups, meet-ups, and more have brought us closer. Many collective workshops, conferences, and such have become the norm. Our trade organization, World Voices, has brought so many together and helped represent us within the community with a common purpose to raise awareness and help in setting standards. With that being said, a voice talent today can attend VO Atlanta, Voice2014, regional mixers, the Midwest Voice Over Conference, the Mid-Atlantic Voiceover Conference, and others.
However, the one many would call the first, was organized by Amy Snively and took place in Portland, Oregon, in September 2010, with the assistance of a group of other fellow VO’s to make it a collaborative effort. FaffCon 1 was born. But why has FaffCon become so popular?
The “Con” is short for ‘Conference’. The “Faff” comes from the British slang term, as in “faffing about” – which basically means goofing off or clowning around. It started as a joke among some VO artists when they were discussing what would eventually become FaffCon, and someone said, “Hey, we should stop faffing about and get it started already!” Instead of coming together with a rigid agenda, attendees post items that are of interest to them individually and/or topics they would like to learn more about. At the same time, many will post what they can bring to the group and teach. The topics receiving the most interest are then organized into sessions, and the structure is formed by what everyone collectively wants to learn. It’s give and take … and many times both!
Topics range from: How do I improve my studio? What are the best foods to avoid in order to vocalize most efficiently? What are the secrets and/or shortcuts behind Pro Tools, TwistedWave, Audacity, and others? What’s the best mic for MY voice? How can I organize myself in order to deal with accounting, invoicing, engineering, building a booth, finding an agent, etc.? Do I need an agent? International clients, marketing … the list goes on and on. It’s another reason why the Faffcon experience continues each year.
But to those who have never attended a FaffCon – WHY has it become so popular? The answer is simple. The philosophy of the structure of FaffCon begins with“Leave your egos at the door.” In other words, he or she who is a part-time VO and making $10-25K outside of their day job, can hang with those that are perhaps full-time, making upwards of $75K to $150K to $400K. No question is too dumb. We all share, learn, help, and do so without judging who is asking or telling. “A rising tide lifts all boats” has been noted as the mantra of FaffCon. Meals together, breaks, free evenings — all contribute to the unique bonding that happens and builds our “Faff-ily.”
Since the first FaffCon, others have been held in Atlanta, GA (Feb. 2011), Hershey, PA (Sept. 2011), Ventura, CA (March 2012), Charlotte, NC (Oct. 2012), San Antonio, TX (Oct. 2013), and Tucson, AZ (Sept. 2014). The fall of 2015 did not see a FaffCon due to some scheduling conflicts that fell through. However, FaffCon 8 is coming in late August 2016 in Minneapolis, MN. This long-anticipated weekend was sold out in less than 5 minutes. Once registration is opened at a predetermined time, only 100 vetted professional VOs make it in before the standby list starts. FaffCon is purposely limited to 100, in order to keep it intimate and to allow everyone to meet and bond with a reasonable number of focused VOs. No one wanted to miss this one after a year without “Faffing.” The staff and sponsors have remained strong over the last 6 years due to the conference’s popularity. The support staff is fantastic — and it couldn’t happen without great sponsor support, too.
Due to the fact that Amy and staff have dedicated these last years to making this possible (and she would like to have a life outside of it too), there will only be two more FaffCons after this year. FaffCon 9 will be the last regular event, since it is rumored that FaffCon 10 will be a blowout. Time will tell what that means …
Johnny George, WoVO Professional Member