Saturday, September 27, 2014

10 Things I Learned at Faffcon 7*

* Disclaimer: No trade secrets will be shared here and no golden nuggets given away without consent. This is an opinion blog and as such these are MY opinions skewed by age and experience.

For those reading about Faffcon for the first time let me explain what it is. It's an un-conference, a meeting concept re-developed and improved upon by Amy Snively for the voiceover industry. Up to 100 working voice actor/artists gather at one geographical location with the hope of learning, sharing and futher developing their already successful careers. It's a concept that seems foreign to some but once experienced becomes quite habit forming.

Ten things I learned at Faffcon:

1. The global voiceover talent base, while extremely competitive, is a giving and sharing community.
(Just ask the Words on Wings program of The Child Language Center in Tucson, AZ.)
2. My issues and problems growing my business are not unique and are experienced by many others.

3. To get the best out of the event you need to learn how to stay up late, as some of the best sessions are not planned activities and occur after hours.

4. While its demise has been widely predicted, ISDN is here for the long haul or at least till that last pair of copper wires are snipped and yanked out of the wall.

5. While being a voice talent requires a “jack of all trades” approach, sometimes for productivity sake you need to be willing to “farm out” some of the work.
Wise Owl keeping watch at Faffcon7

6. It's OK to hate cold calling. A lot of people do. But, don't suggest that you hire someone to do it for you because it's a concept that won't get a warm reception in the voiceover world.

7. While some working in voiceover have a fan base, it's much more advantageous to have many advocates.

8. Voice talents, for the most part, have a split personality. There's the creative self and the marketing self. The former is very confident and the latter is quite insecure.

9. It's OK to have a voiceover niche and everyone should find theirs. Because we can't be all things to all people.

10. Repeat #1.

Note:  I also learned that Tucson is a great place for a nature photographer to spend the weekend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why is it labeled “work” if it's so much fun?

I can think of only one job I've ever had or been given that I really hated. I may have disliked certain features or activities associated with the job, but never the job itself. I think that's because of my philosophy of work and why I always worked, in addition to the financial reasons. The one I hated was the ditch my father made me dig, as a 16 year-old, in our back yard when we had problems with out septic system. I hated it and could not think of one thing about it that I liked.
But all of my jobs, as an adult, I liked. Oh sure there were people I didn't like working for and aspects of the jobs that I didn't really care for. But, the jobs themselves were either rewarding experiences or activities that I enjoyed doing. I even sold paint at Sears when I was in college. Helping people find the right color and all the accessories they would need was kinda fun.

I loved broadcasting and loved being an entertainer on the radio. I found marketing and public relations to be challenging and the rewards of seeing the results of my efforts always made the jobs quite enjoyable despite difficult bosses, or clueless clients. I always tried to keep focused and forge forth with a positive attitude, because I loved the work.
Now I've moved on and am focusing on my voiceover business full time. It's one more job that I absolutely love doing. Again, those long days in the studio when I seldom come up for air and unreasonable deadlines that often loom can make things challenging. I still love it, though. It's still fun. When the project is finished, the editing is done and I review the audio, I have a sense of pride in that work. The icing on the cake is when the client sends me a check.
I guess I have been fortunate to have always had jobs I liked. As a matter of fact they have all had a “fun” side. That's because I always made sure they did. It's all in the attitude. If you look at the job at hand as difficult, too time consuming, too menial, too messy, or too much work, well, you're looking at it all wrong.