FaffCon: The Unconference

by | Jul 8, 2010 | Conferences, FaffCon, Meet-Ups

Maybe you’ve noticed a fairly-new icon over on the right side of the blog.


‘Old enough to remember the advertising splash 7-Up made with the “Uncola”?  Apparently, when something gets too predictably flavorless, adding an “un” prefix immediately brands the alternative as a welcome rebel.

Hence, the ‘unconference’…the upstart stepchild of mundane meetings.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a conference.  Most of us have likely benefitted in some way from them…but admittedly, the concept is a bit overworked of late.

And it’s more than just the trip to the Vegas convention center for endless walks down the exhibit aisles of NAB or CES or BlogWorld Expo.  There’s the seminars, the teleseminars, and the webinars too.

Sure, we all hanker to rub shoulders with others of our ilk.  After all, virtual liaisons only go so far.  But there MUST be something that moves forward the notion of meet-ups.  ‘Something that’s a bit more organized than a lively conversation over drinks, but a little less stuffy than sitting at a table with a sweaty water pitcher, taking notes on a thin hotel pad.

There is.  THAT’s the unconference.

The Voiceover business has a short history of traditional conferences, but more than holds its own in the area of teleseminars and webinars.  The unconference idea took hold quickly, though, in the backrooms and hallways of VO forum fixture VO-BB.com.

Now it’s grown into a full-bore, headstrong movement with a date, a hotel, a registration, a website, and even a catchy name:  FAFFCON (it has to do with Scotland).

Faffcon, the VO unconference, took on an early character all its own, but has been, is, and will be defining itself right up to and through the event itself.  Voice actor, Comedian, Improv artist, and general gadabout Amy Snively – reflecting the true spiritual essence of an unconference if there ever was one – included all her VO peers from the start in evolving the concept, the website, the tenor, and the parameters of Faffcon.

UnInfo on the UnConference

The official site of Faffcon – http://www.faffcon.com explains much of what this experience will likely be, but as a teaser, here are a few bullet points:

  • Faffcon seeks to provide a free-form, encouraging, enabling environment for established and seasoned voice actors.
  • Early-on, organizers set an attendance limit of 100.
  • The schedule is purposely loosely organized, the topics vaguely categorized, the format arbitrary (remember, it’s an UNconference!)
  • Discussions may pop-up and last long, or play-out and dissolve in a short time.
  • Faffcon is participant-driven, bring questions you have, give answers when you can.

Faffcon is an Open Space concept based on the belief that the sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.”

You won’t find boring speakers, slide shows, official hand-outs, and an expensive registration. There are no heavy expectations of your participation, and there is no rigid schedule of planned presentations. There is not likely to be a big exhibit hall populated with vendors, salespeople, hangers-on, and free, logo’d ballpoint pens. FaffCon is not forced relationships, uncomfortable liaisons, or pricey mandatory banquets.

One of the early commited contributors – Peter O’Connell puts it thusly: “…the conference will only be as strong as the people who attend because it is the attendees who most often are the presenters and each presentation will be very interactive and extremely participatory.

Fun, creative, experienced VO souls, gathering spontaneously in their blue jeans and carrying only expectations of a high-level of interaction with their peers.  It’s a rich atmosphere can only spawn some of the best we all have to offer.

The conference is quite inexpensive: an early-bird rate of $149 is good until the end of July.  Of course, you’ll need to find your way there, and for some that may be a distinct cost, as Faffcon is being held in Portland, Oregon at the beautiful brand-new, all suite, Hyatt Place Portland.

You’d do well to register first at the Yahoo Group set up specifically for those hoping to attend. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/faffcon/).

Registration for the event is on the Faffcon.com website itself:  http://sites.google.com/site/faffconwiki/home/register




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