(tl;dr If you're considering FCing in RvB, just do it. They pay you in faction ships FFS! Text wall follows.)
First, a little background. As of today I have about 20 hours of "official" FCing under my belt in RvB according to the RvB Loyalty Portal. Most of my Eve pvp time has been spent in RvB since I started playing in 2010. I've spent about 5 billion losing ships in RvB and participated in the destruction of around 128 billion. I made most of my ISK by participating in 40-man incursion HQ fleets, flying mostly for "The Valhalla Project" (and sometimes ISN) in a Basilisk or Machariel and also spent some time running a 2-man POS in a C3 wormhole. My first real experience in pvp was as a 5m SP student in Noir Academy for two months, and then another 2 months in Noir. proper. (I left on good terms, at my own bidding, because it was clear to me that I needed more experience to roll with those guys.) I joined Red Federation in 2011 and have been bouncing in and out of RvB since then. Almost all of my time in RvB has been spent being just another fleet member. Flying solo and FCing are relatively new activities for me.
One thing I really like about RvB is that I can come and go as I need to. I have found that after flying in RvB for a while I tend to start taking it all too seriously and the little stuff starts to get on my nerves. I'm not quite sure WHY this happens, but taking a little break always puts things back into perspective. So far, I have consistently returned, and have no regrets.
I started FCing out of frustration. Standing fleets are great...to a point. You get warp-ins, comms, etc. But unless someone is calling targets, a good fleet v fleet fight just can't happen. To me, that's the primary benefit (pun intended) of having a FC. The FC's job is to try to keep the fleet from spreading out too much and calling targets. That's really it. As a new FC, I think it's important to keep that in mind. If all you are doing is saying, "Hey, let's camp the Poinen gate in Jos" and saying, "Shoot the Caracal. Now shoot the Thorax" then you have ALL of the requirements for FCing DOWN.
This bears repeating.
The ONLY things a FC needs to do are try to keep the fleet in one spot, and call primaries. THAT'S IT.
A lot of prospective FCs get caught up in all of the detailed advice being offered by experienced FCs and simply throw up their hands in frustration and intimidation. Not that it's not good advice. Is there more you CAN do as a FC? Absolutely. There's a long list of "best practices" you can strive for. But if all you do is try to herd all the cats to be mostly at the same place at the same time and tell them what they should be shooting at, you really, really, REALLY are FCing, and it IS appreciated.
During my years as a simple fleet member RvB "F1 monkey", I had the opportunity to fly under the command of some really great AND some really bad FCs. It may surprise you to read that it was the really BAD FCs that did the most to encourage me to FC. Why? A couple of reasons:
1) No matter how bad the FC was, I, and every other fleet member, still flew with them and did what they said to do because even a fleet with a BAD FC is better than a fleet with NO FC. So really there are only three choices. One, fly with a terribad FC, and get lots of kills, but probably die horribly. Two, fly with no FC and most likely get no kills, and probably die horribly. Fly solo, and probably get blobbed by the enemy fleet.
2) If everyone will still follow a FC that is "this bad" then maybe they will follow ME no matter how bad I am at it. Turns out, this is true. Most people in RvB just want to be with a fleet that's on the same page. Your skill as a FC is the least of their worries. (I can only hope that my bad FCing will encourage others.)
So, after quite a few frustrating episodes in which our FC had to log off, and no one was willing to step up, leading to fleet dissolution or inactivity, leading to everyone sitting around with nothing to do, I decided to try FCing. It was purely selfish. Without a FC, we don't have fights. Without fights, I don't get those delicious KMs. Something had to be done, and wishing really hard that someone else would step up just wasn't working. Soloing is great if you know what you're doing, but FCing is MUCH easier than soloing. (It basically IS soloing, but with a bunch of other ships around to possibly back you up, so your odds of winning go way up.)
WHY I WAITED SO LONG
In short, lack of confidence. Hearing experienced FCs doing it "right" left little doubt that I lacked the skills required as a FC, or so I thought. I thought that if I tried it, despite all of the encouragement offered by the usual FCs, I would fail so hard that everyone would hate me, or worse yet, simply not show up. My first attempts were hilariously fail. I mean really bad. As in, everyone died and we got few to no kills. As in, some people brought shiny stuff and were upset that they lost them due to my poor judgment, and talked shit about how bad I was in a loud and embarrassing manner As in, I was a bad FC and I felt I should feel bad. But then a funny thing happened. People started expecting me to FC, based solely on the fact that I had done it before, regardless of how poorly I (or anyone else) felt I had been at it. (Aside from one or two morons who brought shiny stuff and lost it despite my disclaimer of being a terribad FC with no experience.) The fact of the matter was they didn't care, at all, about my performance. They just wanted someone...ANYONE...to FC because even a bad FC is better than no FC. And they sure as hell didn't want to do it themselves, because they, like me, were intimidated by the idea.
WHY YOU SHOULD FC
There are many reasons why choosing to FC is a good one. What finally made me decide to buckle down and really give it a go was the new FC Loyalty program which awards you with "Purple Points" based on the time you spend as FC. On closer inspection, this program is quite generous. Let's take a quick look:
Generally I FC for a couple of hours at a time, which goes rather quickly. At 1750 PP per hour, that's 3500 PP per session. "30 packs" of frigate hulls are awarded for between 800-900 PP. So for FCing a couple of hours, I effectively get around 120 frigate hulls. (!!!) Or a 5-pack of cruiser hulls. Or three Hookbills. Or a Stabber Fleet Issue. WOW! For a FC, EVERY fight is like a CLT with hull reimbursement....on crack. They literally pay you in faction hulls...or T1 hulls...or straight ISK. If you take the 500m ISK for 29,950 PP option, you're being paid around 30m ISK/hr, which isn't half bad. If you use your points to buy hulls you would buy and use anyway, you're making even more.
Now you might be thinking, "Around 30m/hr? I can make WAY more than that doing X". And you're right. You can make more ISK/hr doing incursions, or wormholes, or exploration, or station trading. But the thing is, those are grinds, NOT PVP. With the Loyalty Program, you are literally being paid to PVP. It's the best of both worlds. If you fly relatively inexpensive hulls (T1 cruisers and down, the usual RvB fare) PVP is transformed from a burdensome expense that requires hours of boring grinds to pay for into an activity that actually makes ISK! Once you add in insurance payouts, occasional loot, scooped drones, etc. you will find yourself flush with enough ISK and points to field faction frigates and even faction cruisers once in a while. In short, RvB FCs fly for FREE.
HOW YOU CAN TRY
So holy shit, there you are. The FC has apologized for having to take off, but real life calls, and he's dropping fleet. He's asking on comms for a volunteer to "take the boss star" just so it doesn't go to an inactive player, in order to keep a standing fleet up. "You don't have to FC" he says, "...just take the star." You're tempted to speak up or x up, but you're not sure... Deathly silence follows. Finally, you put a timid lower-case x in fleet chat, and suddenly find yourself boss of a fleet. (Cue dramatic music.)
As the "boss" of a standing fleet, you only have a couple things to do. The most important is to keep the advertisement up. This allows people to find your fleet in Fleet Finder. Generally, a window will pop up as soon as you are made boss, asking if you want to "make a new advertisement". You can just click Okay. After that, you may be asked to make new squads because more people are trying to join than 10 and you only have one squad open. To make a new squad, just right click the "Wing Commander" position in the fleet window and "Add new squad." If you want to go crazy, you can edit the advertisement by clicking the "three line box" in the upper left corner of your fleet window. There you can change the name of the fleet (maybe from Active Fleet to Standing Fleet) and even specify something in the comments section, such as, "Dessie down" etc.
Now for the big leap: From boss of a standing fleet to FC of an active fleet. (Cue more dramatic music.) Actually, it's amazingly easy. You do not need to announce that you're FC. You do not need to "ask permission" to be FC. All you need to do is start telling people where you would like them to be, and what you would like them to fly. In practical terms, it can be as simple as saying, "Hey guys, I'm going to camp the Otela gate in Jos, anyone who wants to come is welcome to join me." In reply to, "What ships should we bring", often the best starting answer is simply, "Whatever you want." Suddenly, FC! No really, that's it. You're now FCing. This entitles you to go to the RvB Loyalty Portal and click da big start button....and get PAID. If you have someone else take over, or you log off, or go back to a standing fleet, you click da big stop button. That's it.
MORE USELESS ADVICE
1) Don't be afraid to lose. Try your best to not die of course, but die you will, and so will most of those following you...and that's okay! Enemy FC agreed not to shoot you? Pfft, you'll probably still die. Don't let it upset you. If ISK is tight, just fly a Maller with T1 mods, or even a frigate or dessie. Rejoice! This fight means you're getting paid far more than your ship cost along with tons of great killmails!
2) When you die, announce it, and say, "FC is off grid. Someone call targets".
3) If you forget to click da big green start button, no worries, just make note of what time you start and stop, or even just give it a good guess based on KMs. You can still input the session on the website, and still get PAID. Just click on advanced options under the big green button and enter your start and stop times.
4) Don't freeze up when the fight starts. Every new FC finds themselves freezing up once the shooting begins. It will happen to you. Especially when they're shooting your ship, and you're going down. Your thoughts will switch from target calling to attempting to save your ship. Try not to let it happen. Stay focused on calling targets or calling for everyone to bail out if your fleet is overwhelmed. When it does happen, forgive yourself, and try again.
5) Don't shoot the Maller! Call targets based on what is closest to you, sorted on your overview. Try to avoid Mallers as they are generally overtanked monstrosities with small guns doing little to no damage.
6) Make the first person to complain boss. Serves them right. I have never had to do this, but it helps me fight back the dread that people are going to point out what I am doing wrong and give me shit about it. "Think you can do better? Here's the boss star." Watch those little trolls scurry back into the darkness. Muahaha!!!
But above all remember not to sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff. Strive to learn from mistakes, but don't give up because you fail. If you ever see me FCing and want to try it, PLEASE speak up. I will happily hand you the reins and give you any support I can.