Let me clear up any confusion. Faffcon3, the incredible voiceover unconference brainchild of Amy Snively, was an intriguing event. Advertised as the Hershey Faffcon, the hotel was indeed located in Harrisburg, as evidenced by the capital building two blocks from our Crown Plaza hotel. However, a trip to Hershey was definitely included as a bonus field trip. The soggy trip was worth the fun of the van ride as we embarked on the beginning of our VO adventure. It set the tone for the whole trip. Here we were, visitors from all over, heading to Hershey to not only come together, but to get something sweet from our invested time.
Just as a candy bar has so many ingredients mixed together, so to we mingled our time and talents as we met, listened and participated with other experienced voice actors, audio engineers, and coaches that volunteered to lead groups or brainstorm sessions. I chose to attend a varied range of topics such as the practical and ethical business practices of Bob Souer, to the branding and marketing techniques of Doug Turkel, to an improv acting class led by Peter O’Connell. The tone was one of respectful collegiality. Paul Strikwerda said it best, “No egos, just amigos.”
But it wasn’t just about the many conferences that were jam-packed into our busy schedule, it was about having the chance to be in the same room with so many “virtual” voiceover friends that we’d already met from our online social media accounts. How great it was to see old friends and make new ones. May I say that being with so many amazing talents was far and away more inspirational that just reading their words or seeing a picture that they’d posted over the internet. There was such a positive spirit that radiated about the place!
Downtime was just as much fun as the conference sessions. A highlight for me was realizing that many folks in the VO world are amazing singers and entertainers. Joe Rodriguez with his Elvis rendition of “I Who Have Nothing,” Jody Kringle and the Peggy Lee favorite, “Fever,” Matt Cowrick with the Bobby Darin hit, “Mack the Knife,” and Dan Lenard’s rendition of “Minnie the Moocher,” were so captivating, I know I wasn’t the only person that stayed up way past our bedtimes. Thanks to Dave Couvousier for providing the karaoke on Sat. evening, even though he wasn’t able to make this Faffcon. It was a smashingly fun event!
Speaking of benefactors, there were so many meals and special activities provided to the participants from other generous philanthropic sponsors, such as Bob Souer and his family, Doug Turkel, Edge Studio, Voice Bank, George Washington III, Dan Lenard, GA VoiceOvers, Corey Snow, Dan Friedman, CEntrance MicPort Pro and VoiceOverXtra. During other educational conferences I’ve attended throughout my years as a teacher, never was there so much tasty feasting that was included within the original price!
Another thoughtful and noble insight I learned about was that each Faffcon event donates to a charity afterwards. This time, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank was the recipient of a huge donation of over two thousand dollars. Flooding earlier in the month wiped out freezers and refrigerators of food, not to mention the shocking number of families that increased their pleas for help. More details can be found at their website if you’d care to make your own donation.
With so many fascinating events that were going on simultaneously, it was often a difficult decision to decide which group to attend. Should I chose to listen to Philip Banks or Dan Friedman or David Goldberg or … Because of the choices, all attendees were advised to wander from session to session to absorb the right topic for your own interests.
Probably the most interesting event of all was watching Dan Lenard at Faffcon 3 and George Whittam, remotely in CA, producing their Sunday night podcast of EWABS, live! We were their guest audience as we saw first hand the nuts and bolts of seeing the show come together. Thanks to the volunteers, Peter Katt on the cameras, and Fred Filbritch for mixing the audio. You can watch the final entertaining and informative production for yourself for East West Audio Body Shop. It will give you just a small glimpse of what being at Faffcon was all about.
One of my biggest regrets was that I was so interested in what was happening all around me, that I did not take as many pictures as I thought I would. The time to tap into my own action plan wasn’t realized until I had time to reflect during the long train ride home. Everyone there was encouraged to think about the benefits of our time spent together and apply it to their own careers, beginning this upcoming week. I realized after the fact that I was so busy living in the moment, I wasn’t necessarily recording it. However, here’s a humble slideshow I managed to cull together from the few shots I did take.
Luckily, I saw Connie Terwilliger snapping a ton of pictures. Check them out on the Gallery page on the Faffcon official website. While you’re on the site, why not think about registering for the next session in Ventura Beach,CA in March 2012? Registration will be opening soon, and I have a feeling it will be another sellout crowd! Thanks to all that made this, my first Faffcon, so remarkable. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to attend!