A Grown Man Goes to Camp…and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

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.

Schedule

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.)

Attendance Limitation

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. 

Similarities

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:

  • The guy or gal that is leading a discussion in one session will be asking questions in the next one.
  • Getting to know people that you only knew by way of their online avatar and witty banter.
  • Making lifelong friendships.
  • Playing the official game of Faff events, Cards Against Humanity.
  • Seeing the different shades of red people turn while playing said game.
  • Bob Souer.
  • Peter O’Connell
  • Amy Snively.
  • Learning about parts of the industry in which you didn’t think you belonged.
  • Learning what the hell ‘faffing’ even is, and no, it’s not the same as ‘fapping.’
  • That the sharing of knowledge is the only thing that makes it truly knowledge.
  • That some people can really hold their alcohol.
  • That despite the shysters, has-beens, and never was-es that exist on the internet, this industry is full of giving, wonderful people. A great many of them come to Faff events.
  • And, of course, a rising tide lifts all boats.

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.

BV

P.S. $25 off the registration price can be saved with the use of code VT8987775

My audition for The Price is Right announcer…

…not really. More like “faux-dition.” But I am in the running for a free trip to Faffcon (the voiceover unconference) for my efforts. Be sure and go vote!

Here’s all you have to do:

You have to rank your top three choices in the comments of the blog post linked below. Polls close at 5 PM this Sunday, January 23rd! 

http://blog.audioconnell.com/2011/01/19/voting-is-under-way-for-the-2011-unofficial-casting-call/