Editor’s Note: I am publishing this post on Friday, March 30th but I have been writing it since I got on the plane home at LAX on Monday, March 26th. I had a lot of thoughts to digest.
Walking into LAX this morning, an American Airlines associate stopped me to make sure I had my boarding pass, which I had on my iPhone. As I reached into my pocket to retrieve the phone, out popped a few gold tokens that I had been given over the weekend. She looked a bit quizzically at me and I told her they were plastic yet more valuable than she could ever imagine.
On to security, and on the other side of the conveyor belt, the TSA agent picked up one of the totes that had gone through the x-ray and looked at something under my sneakers. He pulled out a flat gray rock with some writing on it that showed up on the screen. He looked disinterested, he placed it back in the tote and then I put the rock back in my pocket and went to my gate.
Whether they are called conventions, meetings, conferences or even unconferences, every industry has their meetings, and if they are any good, the participants leave the event energized and reinvigorated to return to their jobs and improve their company’s profitability from the knowledge they gained.
Of all those gatherings, I don’t know how many participants actually leave their event mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally changed. Participants at other conferences may be more educated, but are they more changed? For their sake I hope so.
I am flying home now from my third FaffCon â€“ the Voiceover Unconference. It took place in Ventura Beach, California. And it changed a lot for a lot of people.
It is said of most professional activities, you get out of it what you put into it. So if you join an organization, you should attend its events, mingle and join a committee so that people get to know you, especially if your goal is to create new business opportunities through your membership. Friends do business with friends.
The same holds true for conferences or in FaffCon’s case, unconferences. But with FaffCon, it seems evident to even a first-timer of the most introverted condition: participation really isn’t an option â€“ and they willingly do.
People don’t come to FaffCon eager to learn, they hunger for it. They don’t come expecting to network with fellow professional, they crave it. And I believe everyone leaves satiated yet still wanting moreâ€¦the sign of a good party and a particularly good unconference. And simply put…it’s fun.
To assume that such an event comes off without an awful lot of work would be a mistake. After a successful event like this, the chorus of thank yous are rich in number and sincerity. Were I stupid enough to enumerate them, I’d surely miss someone. But it’s a blog and I can edit it if I want to.
Amy Snively is asleep right now I’m sure so I will quietly thank her and allow her to continue her slumber. There just are no words.
Pam Tierney is amazing in so many ways (smart, charming, swears like a sailor) and I got to work with her directly on this FaffCon â€“ thanks for letting me help out.
Connie Terwilliger as you may have been able to tell from past and present voice demos of mine is one of my favorite female voice talents whom I’ve known for years and who I enjoyed working with when we were on the national board together for MCA-I. When I saw she was going to work with me on sponsorship, I knew everything was going to work out just fine. And it did.
Lauren McCullough may be one of the most patient and kind people I know whose last name isn’t Souer. She was the human form of a golden nugget â€“ someone I knew of and liked before the event but when we worked on F4 she sooo impressed me with her organizational skills, can do attitude and consistently pleasant demeanor. She has probably been the best gift FaffCon even received.
Natalie Stanfield Thomas is imposing because she has three names and is like a crazy talented voice over talent but this one was the one who watched over us all, especially late at night to make sure everybody got home OK. Yet I bet you never felt like you were being protected, did ya? She’s good that way.
CC Heim is another one of those get’er done people. Positive, focused and so much fun to have on the team. She did a lot of stuff but my memory of her from FaffCon is how she did it all with a tremendous smileâ€¦that’s a great non-verbal attitude adjustment for her co-volunteers that kept us all up and positive.
Dan Friedman not only should be in 12 step program for excitable improv actors (get thee to an improve troupe!) but watching him Sunday go Road Runner fast setting up the closing circle PA was to watch a maestro at work. He was wasn’t frustrated, he wasn’t madâ€¦he just quickly and quietly mad it happen, then and ALL weekend long. My friend Dan is a total pro.
Corey Snow is scary smart and brought internet technology to its knees at the feet of FaffCon. What ever IT accomplishment FaffCon enjoyed, Corey was the man who made it happen, simple as that.
Anyone with the last name Souer should be thanked by strangers off the street let alone Faffers. Their commitment and dedication, as strong to FaffCon as it is, is actually more a testament to family than the event. And oh what a marvelous example it is.
So who should who should I have shared MY golden shekels with had I the presence of mind that proper sleep and no time changes offer more thoughtful people? I will speak them now.
Kelley Buttrick â€“ most people know here as a swell person but her professional generosity towards me was â€“ as the kids say â€“ “off da hook”. It was offered, not asked -THAT kind of generosity. No matter how it turns out I shall not forget her graciousness.
JS Gilbert â€“ Who saw me challenged by a script and stepped in to give me someone to play off of – a voiceover lifejacket, if you will. The subsequent so-so performance was all me but the selflessness was all JS. Thanks very much.
Mercedes Rose â€“ Who hosted a session for me and Catherine Campion andâ€¦that’s it. And it was loaded full of facts and while she could have just passed it off or cut the session short, she didn’t, she committed and that was pretty great.
Dean Panaro â€“ Look it’s simple, there is no WAY any LA agent is going to sit through 3 hours in a hotel ballroom listening to the same scripts being read again and again, let alone given specific personalized notes to each performerâ€¦truly listening to their work and letting them try again. Unless, evidently, your name is Dean Panaro. His professionalism and generosity impressed me more than I can express and was one of the top highlights of my FaffCon experience. And no, I’m not angling for anything hereâ€¦if you were there, you couldn’t help but be impressed.
Tanya Buchanan â€“ When I get off a plane from FaffCon and your new agent from TO calls and says “I’ve got an urgent audition, get back to me right away,” there’s no way that doesn’t make a positive impression. I’ve had agents for years and I’ve spoken to them onceâ€¦maybe. This is why, with or without me on the roster, she will be a success.
Bruce Miles â€“ look, I just think we should create a BruceCon and when the weekend is over we all sound like him with almost a third of his acting talent.
Jane Ingalls â€“ who had never done an improv before in her LIFE and took the jump in my session, nailed it and told me she was buzzing with excitement for a half hour afterwards. The thrill was mineâ€¦watching her and EVERYONE in that session.
Bill Mehner â€“ who came into my Conversational Read presentation, read the script like an announcer but finished in an intimate conversation and made that script come alive. I got chills from the transformation of everyone who was able to read with me in there.
Doug Turkel â€“ sense and sensibility.
Martha Mayakis is an interrupter, a shaker-upper and an A-type personality. But she clearly knows voice over. I performed in her Saturday morning session (see JS Gilbert) and while it wasn’t the worst, it was poor in relation to my abilities, in my opinion. But I moved on. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and I do some MC’ing for the FaffCon prizes. Fast forward to the closing session on Sunday when I’m talking with Pam Tierney and up pops Martha who says my light, my performance essence was found within that MC’ing. Within my natural presentation Saturday was my point of difference that I need to harness in my voice work. My ears rang and my brain shook a little (my knees more than that). My FaffCon epiphany. Not a golden nugget- platinum. The very pinnacle of my learning experience at FaffCon 4 and for that, Martha, I thank you so sincerely.
Thank you to everyone I had the great pleasure of encountering during FaffCon â€“ this list is only a small sample of the greatness I enjoyed in Ventura Beach.
FaffCon 5 will be in Charlotte, NC on October 12-15 and I hope you are afforded the opportunity to join us.
FaffCon is voiceover nirvana.