I spent some time this week recording lines like WHERE ARE MY PANTS? for a game being released later this year. Fortunately, my booth is sound proofed, so on this occasion, my neighbours didn't hear me shouting potentially embarrassing things.
But it reminded me of when I first started voice work. My "booth" back then was a 1m x 1m space between the dining room and garage, at the end of my office.
At the start of each day I would have to set it up.
In the two main exits I would put "plugs" - DIY wooden frames, stuffed with rockwool and covered in old bed sheets - into the doorways. An acoustic curtain would be hung on a steel bar across the space and old pillows shoved on top of that to seal the gap.
The sound wasn't terrible! I done a lot of jobs in that tiny, hot, dark cubby hole...without a t-shirt on. And actually, one time in the height of summer, without trousers too. DON'T TELL ANYONE.
The point is, it wasn't soundproof. It killed some noise getting in, like from my computer or the fridge doing it's annoying thing, but it didn't stop noise getting out.
I quite often had discussions with myself about what time of day would be best to record. For example, for jobs with blood curdling screams or extreme ugly crying, there really wasn't an ideal option.
I could hear my neighbours in their garage or the garden and people walking past in the street, which meant they could hear me too. I had a genuine fear that after a session I might get a knock on the door from the police. Luckily that didn't ever happen but I'm sure Bill next door looks at me funny now.
This also relates to something I read on LinkedIn the other day, written by somebody I met at a networking event. It's about reflecting. Whether that's on what you've done today, yesterday or a year ago, I find it really helps (especially in any times of self doubt we might have) to look back - so we can see how far we've come.
Wow, that was quite an extensive way of saying "my booth is much better these days".
A huge part of my job is to make people believe. If I had to record an ad for Crocs, I need to sound like I love them, even though I hate them with a passion. (I'm sure my whole family only buy them to annoy me.)
I had a job come in this week that was a bit like that. It was a narration for a video about skydiving equipment. Now, I don't hate skydiving, I've never done it and absolutely never will. The thought of hurling myself out of a plane with nothing beneath me but air petrifies me. But for this script I really had to ramp up the excitement.
I've been asked before how voice-over artists get into the zone for their reads. Some imagine scenarios and place themselves in them and react that way. I like to draw on past experiences.
I have a go to memory that I use for jobs like this. About 10 years ago I was in a band and we had a show in Manchester. For some reason I vividly recall standing next to the stage waiting to go on. When I think about this I can feel the sense of anticipation and exhilaration coming back. I just have to make myself not think of all the duff notes I played, how we were booed off and how my career as a rock star was over way before it even began. I put myself back in those moments and use the emotions to react to the script.
The client was happy so it seems I'm quite good at rose tinting the past.
I've mentioned lots of times before that I always get to learn new things by default. This week I discovered that some restaurants have their own bespoke computer operating systems. I found that script really interesting - it's fascinating finding so many niches in different markets that I never knew existed. That's one of the purposes of this blog series - to try and show how varied voice over work is and where it can be used. Hopefully benefiting both aspiring VOs looking how to get into voice over and businesses who might not know if they'll ever need one.
In last week's blog entry I mentioned that I'd started working on some music for a podcast. Well, I finished it and have permission to show it. "Tired gaming dads" is the target audience. The hosts grew up in the 80s so I wanted to try and capture the games of that time with the sounds I used.
As of now, these are currently sitting at number 45,942,217 in the Tired Gaming Dads Podcast Music Charts.
Something else I started this week (it might have been last week but time is a bit of a blur at the moment - I keep thinking it's Wednesday), I started choosing some poetry for a new reel. (A poetry reel, obviously). I have a Bukowski book that I like to warm up my voice with in the morning, so I'll wrap up with a rather suitable line from one of his works:
16 and one-half inch neck.
Nope, let's try another.
I went in for a fast snort.
Ok, let's just leave it for now. I'll plan better next time.