Thursday, October 20, 2011

Working on the Road: Tips to remember when recording away from home.

With holidays approaching in the next few months, I'm sure many of you have prepared to take time off to spend with family in various locations away from home. As you book your flights, make your packing checklist (or is that just me?!) and figure out who's going to take care of your cat while you're away, you also need to decide if this will be a true VACATION or a working one. Yes, it's nice to get away from the mic for a while, but it's also nice to know that you can spend a couple hours during your trip and earn back what you spent to get there! A few of you probably don't put much thought into any potential voiceover jobs that may come in while you're away. To some people, a vacation means NO work whatsoever, others may want to make sure they're available to their clients in case of a last minute job or pickup that's needed and then there are others who choose not to miss out on any VO opportunities and therefore always bring their studios with them, even while on vacation. Below are our tips for making the most of your "time off":

1) Remind your agents and clients of your planned trip. You should notify them about a week in advance and then remind them again the day before you leave, letting them know if they need anything else before you go, to please send it over at that time. You can let them know how you plan to handle jobs while you are away, whether that be that you're completely unavailable, available for emergencies only or available as you always are for any VO job that comes in. Most agents and clients will respect your time off, but you always have to make sure that they know! Then when you return, send them another email to let them know that you're back (even if you already gave them a return date). Some agents/clients will mark you unavailable until they receive that confirmation that you're back and ready to work again. For all of your agents/clients that require you to travel to them for auditions and bookings, even if you plan on taking your studio with you, notifying them in advance of your absence is extremely important.

2) Make sure you're on the same page with your family members and travel companions. After all, this is your vacation. You want to make sure you get ample R&R time, so it's important that everyone is on the same page as to whether you'll be working while away or not. That may mean agreeing that you'll only check correspondence once daily, or only during certain hours of the day, or that you'll still be glued to your smartphone, even while sitting poolside. 

3) Make a separate checklist for your recording equipment. You don't want to arrive at your destination just to realize you've forgotten an integral part of your traveling recording equipment. Simple things like headphones, cables and a light (so you can read scripts in hotel closets if need be) are very easy to forget when you have a whole slew of other things to worry about packing. When preparing for your trip, try to keep in mind what, if any, equipment you will be checking for a flight, versus carry-on, or how much room it might take up in the car if you're taking a road trip. Also keep in mind that if you are flying, any equipment that is carry-on you should be prepared to remove from your bags at the security checkpoint, since a microphone and long XLR cable can be confusing to a TSA agent!

4) Keep your environment in mind. Sometimes you won't be able to handle work efficiently while you're on vacation simply because of your environment. Will you have internet access? Will you have an adequate power source? Will you have sufficient space to record where there isn't any room noise? These are all things to keep in mind when planning your travel and how you're going to handle any jobs while you are away. If you have a portable recording booth, that will certainly help with acoustics in your hotel room, or car (yes, cars are great for recording in!), a closet, or anywhere else you can squeeze yourself into. If you don't have a travel setup, you can certainly create a make-shift studio with hotel pillows, couches, mattresses, curtains, you name it!

5) Take any work in progress with you. You may have to do pick-ups on a job you've already begun working, so make sure you bring anything you're currently working on with you. Also keep in mind that recording in a different space will change the sound and if your home studio mic and travel mic are not the same, it'll obviously affect the sound as well, so you'll have to work around that.

Hopefully these few tips will make it a lot easier for you to record when you're away from home. After all, the happiest clients are the best clients to have and when they're happier, it's much easier to relax and actually ENJOY your vacation!

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

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