They say you have to spend money to make money. I would agree with that. Unless you dig clay from the earth, use your hands to form a pot, grind rocks to make paint, gather wood to build the fire to bake the pot and then stand by the side of the road to sell the pot, you probably have to spend at least a little money to be in business.
I had a chance to meet Esteban Valdez at his family compound just outside San Miguel de Allende Mexico a few years ago. He does just that. At his age though, other people are helping him gather the materials, so he probably has to pay out a bit in payroll these days in order to make his pots.
I’ve been doing voiceovers now for quite a while and I have spent a lot of money on my business. Training, equipment, marketing, software, telephone, etc. And I will admit that training has not been a huge part of the expense. The few classes and workshops I have paid to attend have been valuable, but I have found that the lone class I teach at San Diego City College – an introduction to voice acting – is like taking a 5 hour per week class in the Spring and Fall. Not only do I learn more about myself and my craft, but I get to perform before a live “studio” audience. And for those of us who spend a lot of time locked in our own little vacuum, interacting and getting that instant feedback is a wonderful thing.
Over the past two years, I have found a “training” expense that seems to offer the right amount of bank for the buck. A conference focused on the professional working voice actor. It is called FaffCon. The next one coming up March 23-25, 2012 in Ventura Beach CA is number 4 and as of right now there may still be a few places left. Attendance is capped at 100 and as of my last peek at the website, there were 92 people listed as coming.
The list of attendees is impressive and the information we will be sharing will no doubt be as valuable as were the first 3 FaffCons. What we will actually do there is always a mystery and is at the whim of the participants. But with a list of seasoned pros and enough repeat Faffers who know the drill, the results of FaffCon 4 will be stimulating, motivating, inspiring and just plain fun.
But even more so, I will have a change to renew personal friendships that began at previous FaffCons, finally meet some virtual friends face-to-face and get to see people who I have gotten to know over the years at other conferences, workshops and gatherings.
So, if you are a working pro – and want a huge jump start to the 2nd Quarter of 2012, get over to FaffCon.com and get yourself registered!
It is part of the cost of doing business.
Just about 2-weeks now before FaffCon 2 – this time tagged with Electric Boogaloo – so I am trying to find appropriate clothes and platform boots. I do have a pair of macrame earrings from the 70′s so those are going into the suitcase.
The trip to Atlanta will be a double treat because prior to the weekend conference, I will be able to spend some time with a friend who moved there several years ago. Hope that it warms up a bit there over the next week or so!
No doubt, FaffCon 2 will have a completly different vibe* than the groundbreaking first unconference for working voiceover pros, but I am sure that information exchanged will be equally valuable – perhaps even greater in value because of the lessons learned. Prior attendees may be more prepared to lead and/or contribute to the posted sessions – and will be able to jump right into posting session topics and encouraging new attendees to do the same.
If you are on your way, be sure to pack those business cards, comfy clothes and an open mind. Stop by the FaffCon 2 website to check out the session ideas that have been posted so far – and add one or two of you own on topics you want to know more about. Or perhaps you have some special area of expertise you want to share. In that case, be prepared to lead a session! You actually don’t have to know a lot about something to lead – you can just start the conversation and moderate.
It really is free form chaos that somehow seems to work really well.
Safe travels all and see you on the 25th in Hot-lanta!
* Clarifying what I meant by “completely different vibe” - since there will be a different mix of people with different backgrounds and experiences and in a different place, the way everyone works together will simply be different. Perhaps the adverb “completely” is too strong a word. Yeah – too strong – let’s just go with different – but just as fun, just as informative, just as much of a bonding, growing experience as the first FaffCon.
This isn’t new, but I ran across the clip on the Working Voice Actor group on LinkedIn this morning.
Blair Hardman explains everthing you need to know about voiceover – and one thing you don’t – in 5 minutes. It’s accurate and funny.
I have time this month to work on my end of the month paperwork – making sure that I have converted open sales orders to invoices – sending the invoices – checking on overdue invoices – making sure my bank statements balance with my ledgers.
Having the time to actually do all this in one concerted effort, means that work slowed down a little bit for me this week. How convenient that it would be at a time when I actually could use the time.
Of course, I am working on other things as well, and I have noticed other voice talent doing the same thing. A lot more podcasts being produced, live video chats and classes being introduced around the country. Ed Victor’s come out with several video podcasts and he’s working on a new reality show for about the voiceover biz. People are training and marketing and bookkeeping and organizing – and some are going to the beach! It is summer after all…
It’s all part of doing business when business is slow(er than usual).