A week ago I posted some thoughts following the first day of Faff Camp and I had intended to post follow-up reports each of the next couple of days. However, the experience proved to be so powerful and so exhausting at the same time that I simply couldn’t push myself to do those reports.
Now, a week has passed and I have both recovered from the exhaustion and have gained a bit of distance on the event. I hope my thoughts here will help you understand some of what it was like if you weren’t there and help you process what you expereinced if you were.
I begin with some thoughts not directly related to the Faff Camp experience itself. I have to admit I am truly puzzled about why attendance wasn’t higher than it was. Yes, there were other things happening in that part of the USA in the weeks before Faff Camp. Yes, there was another voiceover event going on in Canada that same weekend. But, the number of people who expressed frustration at not being able to attend Faffcon would have seemed to indicate the level of interest was high enough for a larger attendance at Faff Camp.
Maybe it was because it wasn’t Faffcon, but something else? I truly don’t know; but I can say that having now attended all 6 Faff events that while Faff Camp is different from Faffcon, the similarities are greater than the differences. At least in terms of the opportunities to learn and connect and grow.
However, I don’t intend this post to be some sort of scolding of those who didn’t come to Faff Camp. If you were not there, I respect your decision and your reasons. So, on with my thoughts and observations.
The first full day of Faff Camp began with an opening circle meeting to provide some background and set the state for what would happen over the next two days. Aside from the fact that the topics and topic discussion leaders were picked in advance, it was very similar to the start of a Faffcon. Next came a truly excellent presentation and discussion led by the wonderful Dan Friedman on Audio Quality and Auditions. Dan presented a bunch of helpful and insightful observations from casting directors, talent agents and production houses on what sort of difference it makes when an audition arrives with excellent audio quality versus one that arrives with marginal or poor quality. No surprise, the better audio quality books pretty much every time even if the peformance of the poorer quality audio is somewhat better.
Bottom line: even if your performance is top notch marginal or poor audio quality will mask your terrific performance.
The second main presentation on Saturday was a brilliant presentation on the creation and use of character voices by Rowell Gormon. I have been friends with Rowell for a number of years, so my views about his presentation are no doubt colored to some extent by that friendship; but it really was an eye-opening riff on ways to create characters to use in audiobooks, commercials and any where else we need to present a sound other than our “normal” voice.
Bottom line: even “bad” character voices can be useful … if we will simply use them when appropriate.
Then we had a hour of table top mentoring in which a number of us facilitated conversations about numerous topics. I led discussions about doing audiobooks at my table. There were loads of other conversations going on all around the room. I enjoyed this idea a great deal and thought the discussions provided a good exchange of insights from those doing the various kinds of work being discussed (in my case, narrating audiobooks) with those interested in pursuing that kind of work.
This was followed by an hour for lunch and then an afternoon of break-out sessions on again a wide variety of topics; the most memorable of which was a discussion on union, non-union and financial core that was led by Melissa Exelberth. All in all, a wonderful day.
I’ll write more tomorrow, with observations about the final day of Faff Camp.