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watch the opening of the don lafontaine voice-over lab LIVE!

Don LaFontaine Voiceover Lab

Tonight at 7PM PT/10PM ET, co-founder of the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab, George Whittam, has announced they will stream the opening ceremonies. Here are the details from George’s email.

The grand opening of the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab is finally here! After working tirelessly for over 6 months on this incredible project the world will finally get its first glimpse of what George Whittam, Joe Cipriano, Paul Pape, and the SAG Foundation dreamed up to honor the legend of Voice-Over.
So far over 300 people have RSVP’d to attend the big night Friday June 25th. For those of you who are unable to be there in person tune into the Live Stream from the ERS website to keep tabs on the party! Visit this link Friday June 25, 2010 from 7-9pm (PT).

faffcon in portland, oregon – “only experienced voiceover talent need apply”

I am going to introduce you to an entirely new conference (or more properly unconference) for experienced voice over talent.

It’s called Faffcon.

Yes, I am serious, that’s the name and if you want to know all about it in detail, visit here.

I am a contributor to this event – in knowledge only and do not benefit financially at all from it. I am also a full proponent of it and if you can, I think you should attend Faffcon. If you are one of the first 25 to register for the first Faffcon in Portland, Oregon on September 11-12, 2010, you will save $25 on the already amazingly low registration fee.

If I may be so egotistically bombastic (why would today be any different, right?) as to quote myself from the Faffcon FAQ page, I shall describe Faffcon thusly:

What is FaffCon?

FaffCon is an unconference for established voice over talents who encourage each other to actively learn, teach and share performance and business experiences for the benefit of everyone in attendance.

It’s an informal yet informative conclave of some of the brightest minds and talents that voice over has to offer where voice actors learn through conversations with each other.

Topics covered at FaffCon will be decided on by the participants – sometimes there will be discussion leaders who have more experience on a particular subject who help lead a discussion and sometimes there will simply be a best practices discussion where everybody is welcome to chime in. The group will decide. –Peter K. O’Connell

There are some key points of difference for this conference that I think you should know about. Further, you should know that these differences do NOT make Faffcon more or less important (or better or worse) than any other conference. It’s a big world.

First of all, it’s an unconference – which means the structure is looser (but not non-existent) compared to standard conferences.

Because it’s an unconference, it also means that the conference will only be as strong as the people who attend because it is the attendees who most often are the presenters and each presentation will be very interactive and extremely participatory. If you’ve been to one of the more famous unconferences (a bar camp, podcamp or product camp), Faffcon will be ALOT like that.


The second point of difference is that Faffcon is for experienced voice talent only. If not so much explained, this point certainly needs to be discussed so I’ll offer my two cents.

People who are just starting out in voice over begin (as we all did) with little or no knowledge about performance techniques and styles, technology, marketing or business issues that are so critical to a voice over business. My example would be the difference between getting a high school diploma and getting your Masters degree. People in a Masters program don’t belittle or denigrate the learning that goes on in high school – it’s the necessary step everyone has taken. BUT the teaching, conversations and learning at the Masters level would make a high school student’s head spin.

Or to clarify even better, I will turn to the founder of Faffcon who I think clears it up fairly nicely:

“Are you currently getting paid spendable money by real customers for actual voiceover work? (Not podcasting on your webcam mic, not announcing bakery specials at the market, not DJing an internet radio station.) Do you have a professional voiceover demo and a website? Yes? Good. Come on over!” —Amy Snively

This will be the first in what will likely be a series of Faffcons versus it just being a once a year event, I think. If it goes the way I think it will, other cities will create regional Faffcons or maybe event state Faffcons (just for travel sake I’m guessing – but also not to the exclusion of anyone from around the world who might want to come to, say, Faffcon Oshkosh). But that’s getting waaaay ahead of things – let’s get through the first Faffcon.

I hope you will be a part of it.

What are your thoughts about Faffcon?

dim the media spotlight and let the important people heal

Yes, I’m bothered by something and I need to get on my soapbox for a minute…but not for me – for someone else.

As anniversary’s go, it’s a sad day for fans of Michael Jackson.

I imagine it’s almost unbearable for three important people. Still.

I am not a Michael Jackson fan nor am I a hater.

I’m pretty much indifferent…except when it comes to how his children are affected.

None of what continues to be reported in the press needs to be reported in the press. It’s not critical, vital, nor important.

Yet every time it comes up, three important people get exposed to it. Three important people have to read news that viciously reminds them of their father (not icon, not king of pop, not star – father) who they don’t have around them anymore and who they desperately would love to see again.

No. It’s NOT “just the way it is.”

No, that is a lazy-ass excuse for bad behavior (media feeding the mindless public who seem to ingest it all) and I do not accept that behavior.

If the public would stop reading (I have – well, I never started), stop viewing and stop buying vessels carrying Michael Jackson news (that isn’t really news) the media would move on.

That might help three important people to move on as well.

We’re the adults, we’re supposed to look out for children…so pass on it….and pass this message on.

some acting and back story insights from the voice actors of The Lion King

Maybe its just me who finds entertaining these interviews with some of the voice actors from The Lion King.

I especially found interesting Nathan Lane’s interview about the dark parts of this movie which I always found unnecessary to the story (Disney seems transfixed in its movie stories with killing parents ((Bambi, Nemo, Lion King)).

But the acting stories I think are fun.

“i feel the earth move under my feet” – earthquake in buffalo, ny

USGS Earthquake Intensity Map - Ontario-Quebec Border Region

If you ask Connie Terwilliger or Amy Snively or Dave Courvoisier or maybe even Jeffrey Kafer, they’ll likely share more than a couple of stories about being in an earthquake.

I’ve never been in one, until today.

Yes our little hamlet (once a thriving metropolis – but that a story for another blog post) Buffalo, NY had an earthquake today. A real live one.

As you can see from the map, we were not near the epicenter but I very clearly felt it at my desk. As I said on a Facebook post today, it felt like “just a constant rumble of a very large truck on a bumpy road for about 7-10 seconds….long enough to make you think it wasn’t just a very large truck on a bumpy road.”

Here there was no damage here from the quake but a heck of a curiosity factor (and maybe even greater respect for their power). There may have been tremors in the region before (I guess there is a fault line in or around Lake Erie) but I don’t think it was so clearly felt by as many people as this one was.

Blizzards we get, high winds we get, hot we get. Earthquakes…not so much. Here’s hoping it’s not a trend for the future.

Here’s what it looked like live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada during a press conference where video was rolling. A little NSFW language from a newser who was clearly a little shocked by the realization of what’s happening. Sorry about the commercial at the beginning.

james earl jones considers himself a special effect

James Earl Jones didn’t think of himself as a voice actor when he voiced the character of Darth Vadar in the Star Wars movies.

He considered himself special effects…that’s all. Except that because of his voice over performance, Jones WAS Darth Vader in a way now costume or visual effect ever could be.

It seems he made $7,000 for his work on the first movie. Just my opinion but I’m guessing he made ooodles more for the sequels.