Tag Archive for Recording

Why Outsource?

The first topic I thought I’d cover in this new series of mine is pretty basic. Why hire out in the first place? Many people I’ve talked to enjoy doing editing or proofing work on their own, or don’t feel comfortable sharing their audio mistakes with someone else. (Believe me, you all do the same kind of things, and it’s okay. You’re not alone in swearing when you make a mistake, or whatever you’re worried about!) When it comes to clerical work, they may be unsure of exactly what they need, or once again be not entirely comfortable sharing personal information with someone else. (Very understandable.)

My question to you is, why not outsource? Why should you do everything yourself? Maybe it’s ‘easier’ or more comfortable, but our businesses don’t grow by staying within our comfort zones. It’s a truism of business that you have to spend money in order to make money, and freeing up your time will have dividends, and sooner rather than later. Whether it’s some time to relax and recharge your batteries, time to get behind the mic and onto the next project, or marketing and netting yourself new clients, there will be benefits and dividends to help you grow and improve your business. It’s my hope in the coming weeks to feature some words from folks who have reaped these benefits and can share voice talent perspectives as to why and how it’s benefited them.

Perhaps you feel as though your business has to cross a certain threshold in order to make hiring out truly worth it. I think that’s partially true, but not completely. Even if you only hired someone for an hour’s worth of work a week, you could benefit by having that hour free for something else. Yes, it’s important to find the right person, someone who will take your business as seriously as you do, but I’ll cover that in a later post. Outsourcing is something that you can ramp up over time, but that can benefit you on a personal level and your business as a whole immediately.

The previous post in this series, New Beginnings is here, and the next Who to Outsource to, is here.

Voiceover Vocabulary

Wordle-vocabulary-1p1s4xhWhen I first started to write this article, and I wanted to sit down and come up with some examples of different vocabulary in areas of voice over, one of my problems was that I didn’t know where to begin! Think of things like demo and reel. They mean the same thing, but one is a term that for anyone younger than about 25 would be very confusing.

So many people use so many different words for different things. And even when the language is the same, sometimes the intended meaning is different based on how someone hears something. Voice talent come from all walks of life. Audio is very subjective in some ways. A breath or mouth noise that one person thinks of as ‘horrible’ may be barely audible to another. A ‘short’ pause to one person could mean a quarter second, and to another mean a full second. We all develop different meanings to things based on how and whom we work with, and I’ve found in my work it’s very important to coordinate with the talent I’m working with to make sure that we both mean the same thing in as many details as possible.

Although talent to talent interactions are less common, I’ve seen lots of people doing some casting or referrals, so it’s important to check and make sure everything is the same on those occasions. And it’s also important to check with your clients to make sure that you and they understand everything-particularly in the audiobook world as rights holders can come from very diverse areas indeed.

In summary, it’s important when working in the voiceover world to not assume that the person you’re talking to will be meaning the same things you do, so be sure that everyone’s on the same page!

Blog Rerun: 10 Things you could be doing instead of editing

310115_181777665230709_1636826060_nHey guys! I’m moving in just a couple of weeks and am going to take a short break from new posts. I thought I would rerun some of my most popular past posts, and this week it’s my list of 10 things you could be doing instead of editing. Enjoy!

Everyone’s lives are busy these days, we all have more tasks to accomplish than there are hours in the day. Something important to consider is what is unessential on your to-do list. What could you not be doing to give yourself more flexibility for the ten thousand other things? So today I wrote about the task that nearly every talent has to do, and most of them don’t need to!

1. Having time for yourself: Whether this is watching some TV, or reading a book, or going out to a movie, it’s vitally important that every person, and particularly entrepreneurs to get some time to recharge your personal batteries, and rest your mind. You will find that your work goes better and more efficiently if you aren’t working all the time.

2. Spend time with your loved ones: Of course not everyone has someone living with them  or close by, but there are phonecalls, Skype, and even that ancient art of writing letters or cards. (I find that writing cards or letters to my older relatives is especially rewarding since I know they enjoy them so much.)

3. Voicing the next thing: Most of us have more than one project on the table at the same time, and sending work off to an editor allows you to move from one script to the next without having to stop and clean up your work.

4. Marketing: Finding ways to connect with new customers and to work on building your online presence is in some ways, another full time job. Marketing is changing, and figuring out how to reach people in this new world is something most of us could spend more time, or more effective time (but that’s another post.) doing.

5. Taking care of your equipment: And I’m not talking about your microphone! Your overall body health ties in with your vocal health, which makes you not only sound better, but have less of things like mouth noise. There are a million different things you can do to improve both in staying active and eating better.

6.  Innovating-Routine: Is there a routine that you could improve? A to-do list you should check some things off of? Find new ways to tackle your tasks and to overcome your obstacles. We all have things that we could do better or more effectively, and it’s easy to lose track of the need to change when you have project after project to work on.

7. Innovating-Business Plan: It never hurts to take a second look at how you are running the machine that keeps you fed, clothed, and housed. You may see a loose end that could be changed or another detail that could improve your reach and/or client base.

8. Goal Setting: Where do you want to be in a year? Five years? What is the big picture for your life? Do you want to get healthier? Buy a house? Move somewhere? What do you really want out of life? Life is short. Plan so you can use it well.

9. Plan a getaway: Anyone who is ‘plugged in’ these days, and freelancers in particular find it ferociously difficult to get away from the computer, the email, and the constant stream of work. (Or at least that’s the goal, right?) It’s important to take a step away from your usual location and a day or two to dust off the cobwebs and give yourself a real chance to refresh. This is separate from #1, as it entails going somewhere, even just overnight. I refer to this as ‘hitting the reset button in my brain’, and the busier I get, the more necessary to my continued productivity it is.

10.  Say thank you: We all have problems, frustrations, or difficulties that challenge us every day. But we’re doing something that not everyone gets to, working in an industry where your colleagues are friendly and generous, the work is many things but generally not boring, and there is something different every day. Thank your spouse, your friends, thank your clients, thank God or the Flying Spagetti Monster. Show the people around you that you’re grateful for their presence in your life, and you will reap far more benefits than you sow.

Your Client’s Ears

earYou’re probably wondering why I’m writing about something like a part of your client’s anatomy. But your client’s ears are something important for you to keep in mind, and one that I’ve found recently my clients tend to misunderstand or not take into account all too often.

Most voice talent I know are perfectionists of one kind or another. They want everything to be ‘just so’ and are particular about how things get to be that way. I can understand this as I am the same way in many areas, but it’s also important to learn how to let go. It’s very easy to get caught up in the picky details of our work and to waste time and energy that could be more productively spent elsewhere worrying about things.

This particularly applies to editing work. I’ve heard moaned from many a talent, some new, some old in the game, that they obsess over every mouth click, every sibilant, every plosive, and want the audio to be at it’s best, shiniest, and cleanest before they send it on to their client. They spend hours slaving over a few minutes of waveform and give themselves both headaches and a case of being heartily sick of the sound of their own voice. This phenomena can be particularly deadly with long form narration.

But I have news for you. Remember that in order to do what you do, you’ve had to develop a set of professional equipment. Your recording space, your microphone, your software, website, and your voice training are all part of this. There’s a part of you you’re forgetting when you run through this list in your head, however.

Your ears.

Whether it’s conscious or not, you’ve trained your ears to a certain extent. You hear everything about your voice, the defects both perceived and actual, the noise, the fact that you shouldn’t have had that soda or latte before you turned on the mic, everything. Here’s the important thing to remember, though.

Most of the time, your client hears none of this.

There are exceptions, there are people who notice and want that sort of thing cleaned up, and if there’s something particularly noisy, of course it should be cleaned up. But the soft sounds, the little things, the medium sounds? You really can let them go by. Remember your client’s ears. Remember that they’re lacking that crucial piece of professional equipment before you spend more time worrying over the fact that you forgot your green apples this morning.

Your Coach Didn’t Tell You This

I wanted to share the single biggest thing that I see lacking in discussions of “what do I need to get into voiceover?”. It’s also lacking when I read the advertisements of coaches and workshops. I’m not saying that no one discusses this, but the information is not discussed as often as it should be.

What is this I’m referring to? Very simple: Learn how to record quality audio. You may have a voice more resonant and commanding than James Earl Jones, or as smoky and versatile as Melissa Disney, but you’re not going to get hired repeatedly if your audio is bad. Learn what your voice does. Do you have a mouth click? Figure out how to minimize or eliminate it. Is your mouth dry? Stop drinking coffee and start drinking water. Is your heat or air on in the background? Turn it off before you record! If you’re not that familiar with the ins and outs of your equipment, get to know someone who is. Dan Friedman , Dan Lenard, or George Whittiam are all guys who really know tons about recording equipment. They know what can go wrong with it, and things you can do to make yourself sound better.

Don’t let lack of knowledge stop you. Educate yourself, and most importantly, listen to yourself. Learn how to identify the ins and outs of your voice. Voiceover is much more than a great coach, a microphone, and your computer. Don’t let these little things cost you your next paying gig or repeat client!

Selling, selling, selling a bit too much is the topic for next week’s blog!

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