Working from a home studio has become very, very normal since Covid changed our voiceover worlds, where attaining voiceover success is not as straightforward as it once was.
And it looks set to stay that way in many cases and for many reasons.
We once worried it would mean that sound studios, who have been our partners in voiceover for so long, would lose work.
But the magic of technology, especially Source Connect (SC) (link) has meant we still get to work together collaboratively. We just don’t get that hug, a coffee together, or chew the fat face-to-face.
For me, working from home has become seamless over the past few months.
I just print out my script, open up my computer, plug in my interface and mic, open the SC program, link to the studio and whammo! We’re working.
If you want more information on what I just talked about, here’s a link to my blog on VoiceOver in Covid and setting up a home studio for voiceover.
Best Self-Producing Practice
Now let’s talk about the self-producing thing. I’m going to give you some scenarios and tips for making this process as smooth as possible.
When a job comes through my agent, with an ask to record from home, I get the script sent, suggest a time that works, print out and read the script. Simple!
Yes, it can be. But only if you make sure you know where you’re headed.
And it all starts with that script.
You may look at your script and say, “well that looks easy enough”. Trust me, it won’t be. There’ll be things you won’t have even suspected need clarification. You need to look at that text forensically.
The main reason for being completely across the script before you even boot up the computer is this.
You don’t want to be going back to the job after you’ve sent it off, fixing a word or a phrase here or there.
It’s a total pain…and takes precious time. There will be many questions.
For instance, can I use contractions, such as converting ‘there will’, into there’ll?
You get my meaning. The ‘contraction’ almost always sounds better in spoken word.
You’ll need to understood every single word or phrase and get clear on their meaning.
Understanding the Language
Much of what’s contained in ‘written language’ can have dual meanings when its converted to ‘spoken word’.
Here’s an example. ‘and keep shopping for more suitable courses’. Now does that mean more suitable courses, or more suitable courses. You must ask that question.
What about words that have two pronunciations? Is data pronounced, ‘darta’, or dayta.
Is innovative pronounced, innovative, or inovaytive?
Double check pronunciations of names, even if you think you know.
If you aren’t sure about where emphasis should go, ask for clarification.
Questions, no matter how silly they might seem, are essential to making this a smooth job.
Making it Count
So, once you’ve done the forensics and made your notes, you need to speak to the producer or writer.
Many producers just want the job done and don’t want to be part of the session. This is where you can come unstuck as well.
Say, you ask all the questions and confidently complete the job, only to have the client call and say, “Umm, this line blah blah blah…we were wondering if you could do it a little slower…and while you’re there, the second to last paragraph was too slow. So are you able to speed it up”. Grrrr! So back you go, trying to second guess what they want.
The thing is, most voiceover artists are not engineers. If you’re like me, you’re self-taught and largely improvising your engineering skills. To have to go back is a pain.
So, I always ask if the producer can call me or Zoom into the session; and okay and clarify everything I’m doing.
This last thing has always proven to be the best strategy to get the job done right first and build a relationship with the client.
I know that on some pay-to-plays this is not possible. You’ll be able to ask questions of the script regarding meaning and pronunciation, but the p2p’s don’t want you to build a relationship with the client. It doesn’t suit their model.
In the professional world it’s not only possible, I believe it’s essential.
I hope this has helped you to refine your self-producing experience.
Find Your Voice As a Voice Over Actor And Artist With The Voice Over Coach. For over 30 years I've had a successful voiceover career. I work in mainstream voice over for radio and television, narration for the corporate sector, website content and documentaries, as well as characters for animation, IVR, ADR, on-hold and foreign film dubbing.