Branching Conversation Systems and the Working Writer -
This is the first part of a 5-part series of blogs that focus on branching conversations in video games.
It gives a really great amount of insight into the way that writers think. As voice actors, this knowledge is, of course, to our advantage come time to step in the booth for an audition of this kind.
Do yourself a favor and read them all over when you have the time, and don’t be slowed down by the jargon…it’ll be easy to understand once you get going.
OK, so this one’s been percolating since the beginning of summer. After a great deal of research, I pulled the trigger on an Audient iD22 as my new interface.
Now, before anyone asks, my choice was based on my own motivations, I had a pretty specific laundry list of needs to be met. I could talk about those at great length, but quite honestly, that’s another show, with apologies to Alton Brown.
So here’s how I made my iD22 into a one-button “phone” patch using Skype:
Shinji Mikami: the godfather of horror games -
With his new title, Evil Within, heading for release, we talk to the creator of the Resident Evil series about terror, technique and the problem with female characters. By Keith Stuart
This relates back to what I talked about at Faffcon. If you get into the creator’s mind space, then you have a great blueprint for the kinds of voices they’re looking for. And the game looks b’dass, too.
(Reader’s note: This was a potential breakout session at Faffcon 7 in Tucson, AZ, but was cut due to time, space, and being stupidly titled)
Have you ever said or heard a fellow talent say this?
"I’m just stupid in tech stuff".
"But you’re smart."
How about this?
"It takes a really smart person to understand that."
Or maybe even…?
"E-learning is boring."
How many of you has ever said anything like that? How many have heard someone say a permutation of any of those?
Probably all of you, right?
Faffcon. Faffcon is what brings us together today.
Faffcon…that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream….
Yeah, I totally went there, fans of must-see movies.
But for sooth, Faffcon is, indeed, what brought us together this past weekend.
When I got home, I was awash in so many emotional memories. So much so, it was difficult to recount what actually happened all weekend. To say it was a blur would be to do it a cliched disservice.
I finally was able to settle down enough to tell my wife about all the wonderful things that I witnessed and in which i participated.
I have never felt more loved than I did Sunday afternoon. I don’t think I’ve cried as much as I did this weekend in a very long time.
(Yes, I’m a sap.)
There comes a time in everyone’s life that they have to cut the strings of the past, and start living in the now. When a person reassesses his or her life and makes a conscious decision not to keep holding on to things. So, I’m reaching one of those milestones today.
I’m, of course, talking about selling a piece of audio gear.
Not exactly Earth-shattering after that buildup, eh?
Well, here’s the deal…I’m getting rid of the first piece of studio rack gear I ever bought. Kinda weird. The end of an era, you might say, but I am doing it nonetheless.
The gear in question is the FMR Audio RNC (Really Nice Compressor) 1773. It’s been a staple of my signal chain for almost ten years, and it was tough coming to the decision to sell it, given how awesome the piece of gear is, and how useful it’s been to me these last *mumblemumble* years.
Now I hear some of you wondering, “if it’s so good, then why get rid of it?” And you, sir or madam, would be perfectly right to ask such a valid question. Here’s the reason why. I’ve joined the fraternity of lunchbox owners.
And no. I don’t mean one of those.
Yeah, yeah…clickbait. So shoot me.
So you might have heard the rumblings about this event called Faff Camp. Words that have been used include “amazing,” “wonderful,” “awesome,” and a bevy (why don’t we use this word anymore?) of superlatives about a group of people from all walks of the VO industry getting together and sharing knowledge in all directions.
Now, you may be confused about the concept of Faff Camp, especially when many industry pros wait with bated breath each spring for the announcement of FaffCON, a similar event with a completely different dynamic. I felt it prudent to sit and write a spell (as they say on the farm) about what Faff Camp means to me, and some cardinal differences in the Camp and the Con.
So what’s the difference? I have gotten that question close to a dozen times in the last week, and honestly, it’s a fair one. Let’s start with a softball.
Name and Event Dynamic
Faffcon is a development event for professionals, complete with vetting process.
Faff Camp is a development event for professionals, even those that are peripherally related to the industry, as well as folks just getting started. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Faffcon is dynamically scheduled. This is the idea of an ‘unconference.’ The fact is, some attendees have topics that they could pull out and talk about extemporaneously (another great word), but with the exception of a few select times, most of the event is scheduled right after opening circle.
Faff Camp is more structured. The schedule of events is more like a traditional conference. This way, more people can come. There are also some other cool things that only happen at Faff Camp, like Topic Tables and Lightning Talks. At Camp, there’s also two ‘tracks’ so that the attendees can be sure they will be where they need to be. (See what I did there? Faffers get it.)
Faffcon never has more than one hundred attendees, much like there are never more than two Sith at any given time. Why? Well, it’s a solid number, and 42 was already taken.
Faff Camp helps alleviate the extremely long waiting list that invariably follows the closing of Faffcon registration. How does it do that? Well…there’s no limit to the number of attendees at Faff Camp. This year’s waiting list was apparently as long as…well, let’s just say it was long.
I mentioned earlier about writing what Faff Camp means to me. I felt like I could give you a bevy (ah…ahhhh!) of those things here. These are some things that you’ll get from both events:
What Faff Camp means to me
I mentioned just a smattering (there’s another one) of the things above that mean so much to me. The other part about Faff Camp that was so incredible, was the fact that it was kind of my return to visibility at VO events. I had firmly entrenched myself in Dallas, plugging away at what we all do day-to-day, when I started to really feel left out. I needed to share oxygen with my peers. There’s simply no substitute for being in the same room, hell, the same corner of a room, with others.
So I called Amy. I had just booked a big video game gig, and I was seeing some patterns emerge in the way I was coming about this work, and I asked to lead a session at Faff Camp. She was extremely excited about me coming back to a Faff event, as it had been fifteen months since I had been to my last one.
So Amy talked about teaming up to present with someone I had never met before, kind of a he said/she said approach to the session. It sounded great. I made the arrangements, and next thing I know, I was back in the thick of things.
I met several Faffers that were attending their first event, and some that had attended others but I hadn’t had the pleasure, and it was wonderful to meet them and talk about things that were related (and not related) to the industry. Among those people and conversations were Jane Ingalls, and our talk about opera, Martha Mellinger, Linda Joy, Bob and Amie Breedlove, Jay Rickerts (who was formerly a news anchor back in Oklahoma..small world), Jordan Reynolds (manhugs), Jeff Devitt, Bob Merkel, Dustin Ebaugh, Kirissa Shipp, Denny Brownlee, and of course, my session co-leader, Wendy Zier.
It was as if I’d come home. Now I think I understood what the prodigal son must’ve felt. It’s like I went away of my own choice, and I finally made it back.
Sharing air, stories, wisdom, and laughs with people that a great many things in common with me. It was glorious.
Those laughs, stories, and good times will never be lost to me, and it’s all because I wanted to go. I didn’t want to be left out.
I mentioned in a Facebook post about how this is the kind of event that opens your eyes to the countless facets to the diamond that is a career as a disembodied voice. I must have been channeling my inner T.S. Eliot, because it was oddly poetic and true. So was my time at camp.
After that weekend, I swore I would never miss another Faff event. I have not, and God willing, I won’t.
This experience can be yours, as well. Don’t wait. Come to Faff Camp.
See you there.
P.S. $25 off the registration price can be saved with the use of code VT8987775
So yeah. It’s really easy to embed SCN into your website (assuming you have Wordpress). I mean easy peasy, easy.
Rebekah at Source Connect shows us how in this forum post.
1. Download the plug-in here:
2. Install the plug-in using the Wordpress Admin screen
- Click Plugins, Add New and choose ‘Upload’
- Choose ‘source-connect-now.zip’
- Click on Install Now and Activate it
3. Add the shortcode to the page where you want to place Source-Connect Now, replacing ‘MY_USERNAME’ with your own username.
More to come as style and templates are coming, as well. Awesome. One more thing to agonize over on my website. :P
Seriously, just go sign up for it already. It is so much of a no-brainer, you may as well call it zombie fodder.
I’ve been ruminating on this topic this afternoon. Been really trying to figure out a way to say what I have to say without coming off like a complete feminine hygiene product. I think it’s going to be a tough sell. But here goes.
I constantly see (and when I say constantly, I mean on an almost daily basis) people talking about impending job interviews on different social media. Invariably, these people are all so incredibly puckered about it that they take to cyberspace asking…nay, begging for prayers, good thoughts, vibes, etc. for their looming interview.
Now, hold on. Before the mental poo-poos begin, stop right there. This is not a criticism on the power of prayer/positive thinking/vibes/however you choose to frame it. I am a huge believer in the power of prayer and in the power of the mastermind group. So don’t believe for a second that I’m being critical of people for that. No way.
The reaction that I have when I see people do that is simple. It makes me really glad to be an actor.