Simple tips to make your voiceover sessions at home run smoothly.
We're all doing our best in this brave new world of voice acting and remote workflows. As an engineer often dealing with remote actors, I catch a lot of little mistakes that with just a little bit of thought can radically impact how you work- and how clients perceive you!
Often times it's the simplest things that make a world of difference. Let's take a look at a few.
Tip #1 - Keep your interface close..
You would be surprised by how many actors keep their interface in a different room than where they are recording. I get that there are reasons- perhaps your computer is elsewhere, or you need to keep your computer away for noise reasons. But when an engineer says "Can I get a little more gain", and we then have to wait for you to hop out of the booth, adjust, and come back to ask "is that good?"... only to have us say "I need a little more", followed by more of your hurried footsteps again... it's awkward. The solution? No matter where your computer is located, keep that interface at arms reach for your sessions! That is likely the most important thing you'll be adjusting on a job.
Tip #2 - ... and your microphone closer!
New voice actors seem to learn a simple rule of thumb about mic distance- and treat it as the law of the land. The "hang five" thumb to pinky thing you were taught? It probably doesn't work for you at home! That's because most closet booths- even Studio Bricks booths- are tight spaces and boxy by nature. The further off mic you are, the more your sound will reveal the flaws of the space. When I consult with voice actors in my 15 minute sessions, distance is often the number one killer of their sound. It's an easy fix. Learn in and find the sweet spot!
Tip #3 - Master your Tech.
If you want to thrive as a voice actor, you simply can't afford to be tech-timid. You are now in a world where Zoom, Source Connect, DAWs, interfaces and more are a part of your daily life. Get a handle on your connectivity so that you're not caught off guard when someone like me asks you to be on Zoom and Source Connect at the same time. Don't wait until that big booking- sort it out now! If you need help, feel free to book some time- or wait for my next connectivity class. As I often say: "this is not a time to be tech-timid"
Tip #4 - Be prepared!
I know I've posted a whole piece about this before- but I can't stress it enough. Shit hits the fan when you least expect it. The USB cable for your interface fails. Your mic cable gets all crackly. Your headphones suddenly stop working. Have plan B on the ready. Keep that travel rig handy as a spare. Know where that second set of headphones are sitting. Have that extra mic cable around.
Tip #5 - "But I don't wear headphones when I record"
Guess what? You do now! If you're doing directed sessions with clients coming through your laptop speaker, every sound they make is going to bleed into your mic. Even worse, you won't be able to hear the engineer if something happens and you need to start a take over. In these remote times, those headphones are your friend. Might as well get comfortable.
... and there you have THIS round of tips!
Being able to rapidly adjust your sound, knowing where you need to be to sound best on your mic, and understanding your software are such critical things, and I am constantly surprised by how many people don't have it all together when they sign on for auditions and sessions. If you need help, consider reaching out for help by clicking here. If you're unsure about Source Connect or just need a refresher, I'm offering my class Demystifying Source Connect for Voice Actors again soon- so make sure you're signed up at www.frankverderosa.com. If you're just not sure if your sound is right, get with me for a 15 minute check. I hope this all helps you work like a rockstar.