I am quite literally stunned to realize that in two weeks I will be in Charlotte, NC with 100 fellow voice-over professionals attending FaffCon 5.
Except for the first FaffCon, which I couldn’t attend without upsetting the then pregnant Mrs. audio’connell, I have attended every FaffCon (in Atlanta, Georgia, Hershey, Pennsylvania, Ventura Beach, California and now Charlotte, NC). The people I’ve met and the things I have learned have allowed me to grow my business and advance my way of thinking about voice over. I want to focus on that last part for a second.
The voice-over business is a very solitary business with most folks working in their home studios with occasional breaks to actually talk to clients on the phone (vs. only e-mailing each other, which happens too often for my liking) or the blessed trips to a local studio where somebody else does the work and you can focus on your performance (such bliss!)
But in that kind of insular environment, we as professional voice talents sometimes found ourselves with few peers through which we could share our business, performance or technological ideas. On a lot of our business stuff we were all making it up as we went along.
With the advent of chat rooms or in my case bulletin boards (like the infamous and invaluable VO-BB) new networks of professional voice talents were formed, initial emails were exchanged and in my case, meetings were scheduled between voice-over talents who could share, learn and develop all phases of their businesses together.
The natural evolution from these types of groups was a convention, which was first put together by my friend and fellow voice talent Frank Frederick…it was called VOICE and it took place in a hotel in Las Vegas I think in 2005, maybe 2006. The first (and only) VOICE I attended was in 2010. It was a nice networking event but I didn’t feel my professional education was significantly enhanced by it. I felt a lot of what was taught (with some exceptions) was very rudimentary (and I was one of the presenters so take that into account).
But I remember seeing my friend Amy Snively at that conference as well. This particular time we were on the trade show floor by a microphone display. She shared with me her disappointment about the content of the show as well. I can’t say I knew what she was thinking at the time but sometime after that on the VO-BB a discussion was held about a different kind of conference.
Monday night I had dinner in Toronto with voice talent Jodi Krangle, a FaffCon veteran. Thursday night I had dinner with Kelly Klemolin in Green Bay, who will be attending her first FaffCon in Charlotte.
They will be roommates during FaffCon 5. Knowing both Kelly and Jodi as long as I have, I am certain their professional connection will last a long time and their likely friendship even longer.
And they have two people to thank – D.B. Cooper and her idea for the VO-BB, giving us voice talents a safe place to gather and share ideas; and Amy Snively, who’s idea for FaffCon shared on the VO-BB has built an event unlike any in our industry.
For five, I think “we” are a pretty amazing kid.