When you're stressed, your voice automatically jumps to the upper registers, which makes you even more stressed. Whether you are feeling rushed or disorganized, tired or preoccupied, chances are you haven't reorganized your recording studios to make it a "happy place." Many of us doing voice-over jobs part-time squeeze in audition time in the wee hours of the morning, or put in over-time after dinner. While there are no magic time-saving fix-alls, you can make a few modifications to make sure your home studio time is quality studio time!
1. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Let's face it, many of us are over-worked and under
-relaxed ... meaning our minds, bodies and voices aren't getting the love and attention they deserve! This will make #2 a bit easier...
2. Get up 20 minutes earlier. It's not as painful as you think! Plan to dedicate that extra morning time to yourself, whether it's scanning auditions with a cup of tea, sending follow-up emails, or fidgeting with Pro Tools.
3. Wear something comfortable. Comfy clothes puts you at ease, making your home studio a happier place! If you feel relaxed, you will sound relaxed, and you will be able to nail the read more easily. Soft fabrics are also less likely to create annoying background noise that will
be impossible to edit out later.
4. Clean out the clutter! Get in the habit of cleaning up your work space and your computer. Just as, "A clean home is a clean mind," you can say, "An empty desk is an empty mind." Wait...
5. Check your other work at the door. If you are in the habit of bringing work home with you, do not bring it inside your studio! Your mind will focus on your voice-over work if you don't have Friday's office deadline staring you in the face.
6. Plan a schedule, and stick to it! Make a weekly plan of attack, which should include a balanced schedule of networking and making cold calls, auditioning, making follow-up calls, and producing. Even plan time into your schedule to plan next week's schedule. You will learn from experience how much time each task takes you. It varies from person to person, and from what phase or stage of your voice-over business you are in.
7. Be courteous and fair. Mind your P's and Q's with clients and all contacts! First of all, there is an appropriate way to address clients who owe you for past work, and it does not include being rude. Second of all, there is a fine but distinct line between politely (but persistently) pursuing a lead and stalking someone. Know the difference! This is a big industry, but you could still get black-balled if you're just not a nice person to work with.
8. Follow someone else. No -- not stalk them! Follow a fellow voice-over artist you respect and admire on their social media sites. Congratulate each other on work well done, and note how they market themselves successfully. Keeping track of another successful voice-over talent can inspire ideas or directions you may not have thought of. Also, voice-over artists are generally friendly and more than willing to give a tip or two as well!
9. Stock your home recording studio. With water, tissues, green apples, pencils, and a couple mouth sprays to reduce the pops and smacks. Some of our favorites: Entertainer's Secret, Mouth Kote, or Slippery Elm lozenges.
10. Keep things that put a smile on your face! Whatever works -- your favorite comic strip, a funny picture, or some kind of inside joke. Most of the time, a great voice-over starts with a big SMILE! Plus, sometimes you just need something to help you laugh off challenges and set-backs!
By: Catherine Marshall