Frequently Asked Questions
Registration, Hotel and Field Trip
Fear not dear Faffer! If your arrival will delay you past the registration window, in most cases you can still meet up with the group for the networking events, with a little pre-planning. Since you will need your name badge with you for all FaffCon events, including the Friday Field Trip & dinner, as well as all sessions and meals, it’s important to get these materials as soon as possible. As soon as you know you will be delayed, contact another Faffer who will be attending (make sure it’s someone not on the Faff Staff). Send them an email giving them authorization to pick up your registration materials (and they will bring that to registration for you), and then plan a place and time for you to meet. Arrive, gather your documents from your fellow Faffer, Faff on!
Yes, it does.
No. You’re on your own for hotel, airfare, some meals, and incidentals.
For each FaffCon, Amy negotiates to get the room rate as low as possible at our host hotel. The discounted rate for the rooms is listed on the “Hotel” webpage located under the “Details” tab.
The objective and guiding principle behind FaffCon is very simple- “Get What You Need, Share What You Can”.
FaffCon is the only conference for working VO professionals whose content is 100% created by and for the participants. A working retreat of sorts in which various VO topics are explored in peer-led groups, an unconference!
The name FaffCon is a compound word. “Faff” meaning to spend time doing a lot of unimportant things, wasting time. and “Con” meaning an argument against. Therefore, “FaffCon” is an argument against spending time doing unimportant time wasters, especially where our VO career is concerned.
Note: No actual facts were used in the forming of this definition.
Our fearless Faffer, Amy, as a former English teacher and insufferable word nerd has come up with the following more enlightening explanation for those of us that didn’t agree that “Faffcon” was indeed a “compound word” (like blackout, football or loudspeaker — made up of two whole independent words).
It turns out that “FaffCon” is actually a “portmanteau word“ (made up of parts of different words). Other portmanteau words are smog (smoke + fog), Jazzercise, affluenza (affluence + influenza), skort, spork, and Faffcon.
The “Faff” comes from the British slang term faffing about – which means spending leisure time. It started as a joke among some voiceover artists discussing what would become FaffCon, and someone described it as sounding like just a bunch of faffing about.
The “Con” is, of course, short for ‘Conference’. We feel the name fits the type of freestyle loose structure format of the voiceover unconference.
While we call it “FaffCon”, and may even do a bit of faffing about while there, the conference is hugely productive, engaging, challenging – and fun – for all the working VO who attend!
Both days begin and end with a group circle for planning and wrapping up. We start with a short orientation on “Participant-driven Agenda Creation” and and introduction to the “Agenda Wall” where instruction on how to post a session will be given.
The Agenda Wall is FaffCon’s hub. It stays up all weekend so you can choose sessions you’d like to attend and add any sessions you’d like to lead. There is also a place to post topic suggestions and “burning questions”.
People who have something to share will announce their session and post it on the wall, or request a topic and post it as well. Then the topic sessions begin in designated spaces with lots of fascinating conversations in between.
FaffCon contributes a portion of each registration to a local Communication-related charity in each of our host cities.
FaffCon is something we create instead of witness. Participants make the sessions happen instead of hoping they will cover material of interest.
If there is something you need to learn, you are invited to ask, and if you have something to share there are others who need what you’re willing to give. It’s peer to peer lead, unscripted, and egos, and sales pitches are set aside in order to share our wealth of knowledge with one another.
Tips for Participants
FaffCon is an event specifically for working voiceover professionals over the age of 21. We use the term “working voiceover professional” to describe someone who’s hired by others to do professional-quality work in the voiceover industry (ex. as a voice talent; audio producer, engineer, or editor; casting director, or talent agent). That is, being paid spendable money, by non-relatives, to work on recorded, spoken word projects.
If you’re an audio engineer, you’re an audio engineer; it’s probably not particularly ambiguous. But we’ve noticed in the voice talent category, that our intent is sometimes missed. We used to think that everyone agreed on what “working” meant. Oops! Not so much…
To keep the content focused and relevant, we think it’s best to be specific. In the context of FaffCon, we make a distinction between voiceover work and voiceover activity. (But we’re not minimizing the value of any of these activities, of course!) For example:
|Voiceover Work:||Voiceover Activity:|
|TV & radio commercials
TV promos & movie trailers
Non-broadcast (Industrial) narrations eLearning
Narration for film and TV
Professional podcast for client
Acting for games, interactive, animation
IVR, MOH, and other telephony work
Attending VO classes, workouts, coaching sessions
Volunteer reading for charity
Auditioning, distributing one’s demos
Creating voicemail messages for friends
“Vanity” internet radio shows
Other things FaffCon does not generally classify as “Voiceover Work” (even though many of us do these things, too):
Radio broadcasting, including commercials recorded by a radio personality
News, weather, sports
FaffCon is an event by and for Working Voiceover Professionals, who each have something to share with their peers. The goal of each FaffCon event is for participants to “get better at this and make more money doing it” by focusing on three key areas:
Business & Marketing
Performance & Improving Your Booking Ratio
Audio Tech Skills
FaffCon defines a Voiceover Professional as someone who does work for hire (full or part time) in the voiceover industry (for example, as a voice talent; audio producer, engineer, or editor; casting director, or talent agent).
“Work for hire” in this instance means being paid spendable money, by people who aren’t relatives, to perform work on recorded spoken word projects.
Please note that there’s an important distinction between voiceover work and voiceover activity. Here are some examples to illustrate the difference.
|Voiceover Work||Voiceover Activity|
|TV & Radio Commercials||Workout Groups|
|TV Promos & Movie Trailers||VO Coaching, Classes|
|Narration for film and TV||Auditioning|
|Non-broadcast (Industrial) Narration||Recording and Distributing a VO Demo|
|eLearning||Recording For The Blind & Dyslexic|
|Point of Purchase & In-Store Commercials||Creating Character Voices|
|Direct Response (Infomercials)||Reading Books & Magazines for Charity|
|Audiobook Narration||Self-Produced Podcasts|
|Acting for Games, Interactive, Animation||Self-Produced Videos|
|Professional Podcast Performed for Client|
Other things FaffCon Does Not Generally Classify as Voiceover Work
|Live Announcing||Radio Broadcasting, Including Commercials Recorded by a Radio Personality|
We have no quarrel with you styling yourself as a “professional voice talent,” and we wish you every success in your new VO business. But we encourage you to join us for a future FaffCon, after you’ve been up and running for a couple of years.
FaffCon is specifically and exclusively for working VO pros. And yes, we agree that a big part of our “work” is looking for work! But for the purposes of this event, we mean working for pay–so auditions don’t count,
Certainly, just not at this FaffCon. There are other voiceover conferences as well as seminars throughout the year that can help you initiate your career!
We’re sorry, no. FaffCon is not “voiceover 101″; it’s as much about what you can bring to share with other VO peers as what you will learn. This conference is for individuals who have taken that first step long ago and need to cover more specific industry topics in a more in-depth manner; topics that would likely create more questions than answers for a beginning voice talent.
After you’ve been up and running for a couple of years, we’d love to see you at a future FaffCon!
- A great attitude.
- A couple of changes of clothing; Faffy suggests comfy clothes (no banquets here) and dressing in layers because conference room temperatures can be fickle!
- Emergency contact information.
- Business cards.
- Your thoughts of what works for you and why.
Your questions of what doesn’t work or what you’re unsure of.
Lots of paper and pens for note taking.
Please leave your ego at home.
Come armed with laptops, ideas, cameras, storyboards, questions, opinions, gadgets, and hare-brained schemes — anything that will help you interact, share and inspire!
- An open mind, your experiences, a willingness to share your time and talents and some patience probably wouldn’t hurt either.
Wear whatever makes you comfortable, within reason. Faffy doesn’t suggest Bjork’s Stork dress or SCUBA gear; you’re going to be moving between conference spaces and may or may not need to take a chair with you.
Sometimes there will be groups of Faffers who decide to go exploring during free time, so keep your options open!
Come early/Stay late! It depends on the freedom of your schedule. There are always Faffers who come early to explore the area we’re Faffing around, and sometimes new friendships forged make parting such sweet sorrow…
Far be it from Faffy to limit your traveling companions! However, keep in mind that hotel policies differ on pets, so that will be up to each individual site. You may bring a guest, but all FaffCon sessions are limited to voiceover professionals. Your spouse or guest is welcome to avail themselves of the lovely accommodations & sightsee while you’re filling your noggin and notebook with voiceover nuggets. Occasionally there’ll be room at our off-site dinner/networking mixer for a limited number of non-voiceover industry guests aged 21 or over (like your significant other or maybe your mom) but we rarely know until close to the event, so it’s not something one should count on.”
If all systems are go, we’ll post details (including the price per person and registration instructions) on faffcon.com!
In order to preserve the delicious flavor of FaffCon, we have no special guest speakers because every participant is a potential speaker! We welcome voiceover professionals from all facets of the industry, but ask that during this conference they wear only their voice actor hat when choosing topics that would best serve the participants. This particular area is for voiceover people to share with voiceover people the things that voiceover people share.
However, if you feel you have something to contribute as a voice talent, you are welcome to submit your materials for consideration by the FaffCon Organizing Committee. There will be no fees or expenses covered for you by the event if you are invited, and sessions will not be allowed to be used as a method to market any materials or services.
We would LOVE to have you as a paid sponsor! Sponsors make a huge difference and we’d like to thank you by helping spread the word about your company, product, and services, before during and after FaffCon! Please check out our Sponsor link!
Unfortunately no. Because FaffCon is limited to 100 attendees, we would still have to eliminate an entire attendee for the portion you would be attending. Perhaps we can figure out how to do a FaffCon timeshare some day, but as of this date, it’s just not possible.
In certain very rare instances, an otherwise-qualified VO may be ineligible to attend. But this takes something pretty extreme, such as (but not necessarily limited to):
- Behavior that is violent, extremely disrespectful, or disruptive.
- Gross misrepresentation of your professional qualifications.
- Being asked specifically by Amy not to do something, but doing it anyway.
- Running naked down the hotel corridors.
If you’re still an actively-working voiceover professional, you still qualify. However, if you’ve left our ranks to sell smoothies at the mall, that’s different.
Since it’s common in our business for people to drop out and restart, only to get discouraged and drop out again, the Vetting Committee screens every applicant for each event. It’s best not to lock into any travel arrangements until you get an email confirming your spot. (Please see the FAQ entry above re: “Working Voiceover Professional”)
FaffCon isn’t like other conferences you may have been to. There’s a limit to how many people a participant-lead format can accommodate and still retain the characteristics that make it work. We’ve found that keeping it to the lower end of Dunbar’s Number is most effective. Personal interaction in an informal atmosphere makes FaffCon effective. By limiting participants to around 100, we hope to prevent diluting this rich condensation of peer interaction.
FaffCon is a collaborative event, and each participant is encouraged to find a way to pitch in. We do not have a program where people can trade volunteer work for registration fees.
The Unconference Format
Nope! Most of the agenda gets set collaboratively in the first hour on Saturday morning. Between now and then, just jot down Topic Session ideas as they come to you. Decide which one would really be something personal you could speak about in a targeted and specific way to benefit your peers.
The “how to” portion will be covered in the opening circle to insure everyone is on the same page for the weekend. Briefly, though, you would write down a quick title and summary of what you hope to pass along, and present it to the group at Opening Circle before placing it on the Agenda Wall. So you may want to plan beforehand how you could tell someone in :30 or less what you hope to teach!
FaffCon depends on the volunteer spirit of our peer-lead discussions and we are happy that you come with a lot to share! That being said, please come just as willing to learn, because others have much to share with you as well.
Hopefully YOU are! What makes FaffCon successful is the individual elements each participant brings to the table.
Sign up to lead a session? Or sign up to attend a session? To lead one, there is a process that will be explained in Opening Circle. To attend, be where you’re supposed to be. You just need to have your body in a chair at the time the session starts. If the session turns out to not be what you needed, or there is another at the same time in which you’d like to participate as well, feel free to float! No egos here!
Seabiscuit in the third. Seriously, come expecting great things. Faffers who come expecting something great, leave with something great. Be prepared to participate in discussions, and recognize that you have something to give as well as learn!
Please, no canned speeches, presentations, stealth shilling, etc. Just jot down some notes on what you are proud of in your VO career- what areas do you really kick butt in? Are there things others would benefit from seeing first hand? Marketing, tech, client contact juggling, invoicing, voice acting, self motivating, etc. software you could bring, pictures of booth set ups, etc. Think show and tell all grown up.
Yes! Please register online and pay for the weekend (everyone does). Faffy recommends booking your hotel through our website too! Besides being a Block Star, you’ll be guaranteed the conference rate.
NOTE: Do not book your travel until you have been confirmed to be a FaffCon attendee!
Knowing that a session is being recorded is a great way to put the brakes on candid sharing. Therefore, we do not allow audio or video recording at FaffCon.
Yes! Typically, quite a few folks get bumped up from the Standby List. There’s no guarantee of course, but there’s a 100% chance of NOT getting in if you’re not on the list!
Once registration begins, the names of attendees are posted on the website. Make sure you’re signed up on the website to communicate with other Faffers!
We know its tempting if you live nearby, but previous FaffCon participants would definitely encourage you to come stay on site. Think of it like summer camp. Because of the free-form aspect of FaffCon, impromptu, pop-up sessions can happen anywhere, at any time during the weekend. You don’t want to be that day camper that comes back the next morning who finds out something really cool happened while you were away (like maybe FaffCon 3’s after hours Digital Recording How-To with Dan Friedman on the mezzanine) and ends up wishing you’d spent the night, do you?