I used to think I didn’t need to learn anything.
That because I was booking work, I didn’t need to develop existing relationships and start potential ones with others. That I didn’t need to market myself as hard as others or create opportunities. As far as I was concerned, if I rested on my laurels and let my agents do the work, as long as they got their 10%, that was the extent of our relationship. Nothing else was required of me.
While there is no requirement or recipe for success as a voice talent, that limiting philosophy couldn’t be any further from my current belief system. Without a doubt, a lot has changed in our little niche VO community. It’s not just an elite group of individuals any more. I mean, in some places it can be. But on the whole, that's even changing too. It’s expanded almost to the point of over-saturation. Competition is fiercer than ever before. If you’re ahead of the curve and succeeding, great. But that doesn’t mean you’re impervious to learning or growing. In fact, getting to know other voice talent can do wonders for the creative and business hemispheres of your brain. You can't help but run into people that might teach you something about yourself you didn't already know. Maybe an observation from someone else. Others will keep you open to change, make suggestions, and give you that much needed nudge or kick in the ass! These people can be wonderful friends. Keep your enemies close but your friends closer.
Almost about a month ago I attended an extraordinarily proactive and intoxicating weekend in San Antonio, TX at the voiceover conference, Faffcamp. Having been to Faffcon 4 in Ventura CA back in 2012 I was familiar with the crowd, the theme and the vibe. With the same organizers as Faffcon, Faffcamp is a little different in terms of structure. It’s open to voice over professionals of all levels- aspiring talents, beginners, working pros and veterans. And the types of workshops range from topic forums, lightening talks (the coolest thing ever), action planning and goals as well as other quite useful and fun activities. Faffcon is more of an improvised conference- also an amazing experience and still geared more towards the working pro with a vetting process in place. To attend you must have a minimum of voiceover experience. And as always, in true Faff Fashion, it’s cultish… in a good way, of course. One thing is clear: not enough working professionals attend these conferences and more should.
As was the case with Faffcon 4, I walked away having gleaned a boatload of invaluable insight and “nuggets” of wisdom from other like-minded professionals. As you may know, the voice over community is filled with some of the most loving, generous, and supportive individuals I have ever met. After the conference, I arrived home in NYC with a brand new blueprint, a clearer marketing plan, goals for the next several months and the rest of the year, as well as a brand new attitude. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me. Faffcamp is a true one of a kind experience. And it forces you to really come clean with yourself. It challenges you. It pushes you. You walk away inspired and more ambitious.
Let’s just hope I can stay consistent, be a more active learner and not skip out on a marketing opportunity to go watch trains instead…
Until next time,