I hear tell that Hershey PA smells like chocolate. Interesting how some cities have a unique odor that will stay with you forever. My college years were spent in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Cedar Rapids smells like burnt cheese toasties to me because of the Quaker Oats plant. Back when I was in school we also had Wilson’s Meat Packing plant which added a certain undefinable something to the odor of roasting oats – not particularly pleasant actually. But when I go back the CR, I know I am there when I my olfactory glands perk up with that unforgettable smell.
So I am looking forward to the smell of chocolate.
But right now I am finishing up some last minute recording for a couple of regular clients and will head out tomorrow mid-morning to work my way through airport security as I head out to Hershey PA for FaffCon 3 – to smell the chocolate and to find my personal “golden nugget.”
As with the FaffCon 2 experience, the mix of returning attendees with first-timers should provide a slight head start on posting sessions at the beginning of the first day. With FaffCon – an unconference – no big time paid speakers with canned presentations are on the agenda. But this time the Virtual Agenda Wall on the FaffCon website already has a few participant driven sessions scheduled, so we are ahead of the first two conferences.
And a session idea popped up on the VO-BB as a result of a post from a FaffCon attendee. Truly, the Internet has changed our lives and shifted our way of thinking and doing. While creating a topic for discussion at a convention is not really in the same league as using Twitter to spur a revolution for democracy, without the power of the Internet, FaffCon never would have happened.
Picking up some business tips from fellow professionals is the basic premise for the trip to PA. Spending some actual face-to-face time with friends developed through the ethernet is the other tangible bonus of this conference.
I’ll try to post some Tweets as the weekend unfolds, but if you take into consideration my official capacity as FaffCon photographer I may not have time. Additionally we must take into consideration that not only the smell of chocolate will be a factor during the weekend. I know there will be lots of actual chocolate in abundance, so we must factor in a chocolate stupor.
Going to FaffCon in Hershey PA next weekend? Going to be there on Friday, Sept. 23rd?
If so, please stop by the FaffCon To Do list and sign up to help with the Big Board – the Agenda Wall. We need a few more folks to get the tape on the wall. This is a fun, easy and short-term task that will not interfere in any of the other fun that will be happening that weekend.
There are other tasks on the list and I am sure there is something that would be perfect for you!
Have organizational skills when it comes to sorting things? Then we need you to help unpack the boxes.
Like to meet new people and generally be nice? Then we need you at the registration table!
Going to be around Sunday evening? Then we need some help taking down the Agenda Wall and making sure all the session cards are collected and saved for transcription.
You get the idea – little tasks that will get you involved, but won’t suck your time too much. Would dream of doing that!
So, get on over to the FaffCon website and click one or more of the I’ll Do It links!
I sure hope the gas line installation is going along on schedule and that the construction crews will be done soon (relative term). Right now the steady drone of a power generator is preventing any recording from taking place. I was able to sneak in a couple of auditions this morning. And one very short prompt for a regular customer who had forgotten to include it with his usual weekly order. My agent called with a re-work on a project from June that needs to be recorded tomorrow AM, so I am hoping to get a jump on it early and be finished before they even start work.
The good news is that this “down” time is not really down time. Simply an opportunity to do some other things! I do have backup recording plan if I should actually need to record something at the same time the crew is working, but so far, I have been able to schedule sessions around the noise. And they don’t work at night! (Although the day we had the power outage, they stayed until dark because they knew that they would be facing the terrible traffic.)
So, while the concrete cutters and trench diggers do their thing, I will clean out my In Box – making sure my Contacts are up to date. I will contact some past clients to say hello. I will sort through the pile of papers that accumulate on the side of my desk. I will review class assignments and do a little lesson planning. I will pick figs and trim branches. I will cook something interesting. I will take my mom shopping for stylish clothes for her new assisted living community. I will volunteer at the local “soup” kitchen.
The bad news? Well, after the gas company is done, the water department comes through the same alley to replace the sewer pipes.
Yesterday around 3:30, I was finishing a file conversion on two stray files that a client had just sent for an immediate turn. In the middle of the conversion, everything stopped – in sort of a weird slow motion. The screen went dark, the AC wound down growling softly as the fan slowed to a stop. And suddenly everything was quiet. I grabbed the laptop and jumped in the car to the closest wi-fi hot spot to get this project delivered.
During the 3 block drive to the Kensington Cafe, I listened to the radio and heard caller after caller from all parts of the county calling in to say that their power was off too. The dark traffic lights at Adams and Marlborough made it clear that the power was off here too. So I headed back home and used my droid to let the client know that I was not going to be able to deliver those files for a while.
The rest of the evening was wonderful! I checked in with my mom at her assisted living community and she was taking it like a trouper. Driving over would have been a nightmare, so she told me not to worry. So I took a walk and saw people gathering in front yards talking with their neighbors – heard happy chattering on patios – smelled BBQ grills – and ran into people I hadn’t connected with in a very long time. Invited a girlfriend (whose husband was stuck downtown in the crazy traffic) to come over for a cocktail and conversation on the back deck among a sea of lighted candles.
After she left, I contemplated filling some stock pots with water in case the power stayed off for a long time. I also mentally went through the contents of the refrigerator and freezer in a half-hearted attempt at planning what should be cooked first. I didn’t get far in my planning, instead I found a spot in the backyard where I could do some star-gazing and simply relaxed quietly for a while. Sleep came easily because the heat wave had snapped and the night was cool. I awoke when the ceiling fan started whirling around and glanced first at my electric clock – flashing – then at my cell phone to find out what time it was. 12:20.
I went back to sleep knowing that in the morning I would be able to finish and send the files. Although – since the theory at the moment is that an employee tripped a 500-kV transmission line that runs from Arizona to Southern California and then other safeguards failed, I should be a bit more proactive in my emergency planning. With all the strange weather – hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fire, tornadoes, etc. – (not to mention the horrible possibility of terrorists attacking the power grid) – there will probably be more power outages. For most of us these days working without electricity is a real challenge. But surviving without electricity is possible – if you are prepared.
Every once in a while I’ll pop a “p” and have to do some editing to fix it, or even a redo, but plosives have not been a real problem for me. It is the sharp “s” that seems to be my biggest issue.
I have learned to hear the worst of my sibilance issues as they come out of my mouth and do a quick adjustment to my articulators (usually tongue placement more than anything else) and the next pass is usually sans-sibilance.
But the popping “p” doesn’t present itself until I listen to the recording. So preventing them from happening in the first place is the best plan of attack.
Dan Friedman, working voice talent and author of the book “Sound Advice,” is a frequent contributor to Procomm’s Voiceover Industry Articles. This one is all about that popping problem that plagues many voice actors.
Microphone Technique for Voice Over Talent
It includes a few pictures too – to help you find the “sweet spot” on your mic. Here’s one of them.
If you have a popping problem, read this article and experiment with your mic placement.