If you wonder what I'm up to here in the office and studio all day, you're in luck, I'm about to lift the lid!
Being a Voiceover Artist as a full time job is a total joy and privilege but it's also a minefield of avoiding colds and extreme self motivation. Here's a selection of things that make up a typical day (although as you can guess, there's usually no such thing)
Health and fitness
Yes, it's a big thing. If I get a cold or other such nasty, not only does it make me feel rubbish, it means that maybe I can't record the session I was booked to record, I can't audition for stuff for the future as I don't sound like me and I'm probably not feeling like marketing myself. BAD.
So, I go to the gym usually 4 times a week and do an outside run at the weekends. At the gym I'm a mix of cardio and weights and I always grab some steam room time to keep a clear head. Steam is the nectar of a good and healthy voice. I'm also big on eating healthily and avoiding junk. Sure, I love a bit of cake and a glass of wine as a treat but I keep it in check.
I keep well so my clients can use me for their work, so it's part of my customer service!
Auditions come from existing clients who might be after a quick sample line for a new project, online sites where auditions often turn into great working relationships, agents and contacts and notes via my website.
I work out what's needed and record the sample in my own studio and send it to them.
I actually quite like auditioning - it's a chance to shine and maybe push out of the comfort zone of performance to try something new. Hopefully the auditions then turn into jobs!
It's not all showbiz glam you know.. Being a Voiceover means I also send out invoices, marketing emails, keep my social media and online profiles up to date and relevant. I keep an eye on the money side, work on my website, network with my VO friends and potential clients and have strategy meetings on my own with chunky pens and big sheets of paper. I even have a mission statement here you know! I keep my voicereels up to date on my own website and on all the other places online I can be found. I'm fascinated by brands and how they feel and I'm on a constant pursuit of "brand me".
It's not just work on the computer (I love my Mac!), I have to keep a well maintained studio here as well. I make sure my hardware (including microphones and processors) are all up to scratch and make sure it's all sounding excellent. I work on Adobe Audition CS6 on my Mac so need to maintain my computer systems and fix anything odd before it becomes a problem.
Time management is also a tough discipline. Like many VO's, I'm also a Mum so my work needs to fit around school, dinner and bedtime. Most things work brilliantly in the school day and I also work Saturday - Wednesday evenings recording a news bulletin for an Iraqi radio station for them to play the next day! The trickiest bit of my day as far as time goes is remembering to eat lunch. It's currently 1332 here and I am indeed in need of some food.
You NEVER know everything - especially in such a competitive world as this. I have coaching sessions with one of the most respected Voiceover Coaches in the business - LA's Nancy Wolfson. We work on scripts, techniques and developing my work and me "as a brand".
I constantly read and learn about potential new clients and areas of work and agents. I take online courses to keep my work strong and make sure I'm pushing myself in the right directions.
When I do give myself chance to eat it has to be the right thing.. not only to stop my tummy rumbling on mic but also so that my mouth doesn't sound yukky! So, as much as I'd love a dairy produce filled lunch, that isn't an option as it gives you a noisy, clicky sound in the mouth which is just awful on the mic.
Watching telly and listening to the radio
Yep, it's important to know what's "selling" and "on trend" as for as Voiceover goes. No one wants anyone to sound like an announcer on their ads anymore - they want it real and conversational. I over analyse everything I watch and listen to, to work out what's good and how my work is similar, different etc. Also, I often know the voice! This goes way beyond 9-5 you see.
Recording for clients is of course the best thing about the job. The variety of the work, projects, subject matter etc never ceases to surprise and delight me. Just recently I've voiced things including in-store ads for a garden centre, phone systems for an ad agency in Dubai, narrated a ballet for a ballet company in the US and recorded an internal film for Airbus! The sessions are sometimes directed by me, just me and my booth, my voice and my brain and sometimes clients like to dial in and direct using Skype or record down the line on IPDTL or ISDN. I need to be warmed up, ready and totally ON IT.
This is a job
..One of the BEST jobs but it's a constant thing - from the food I eat and don't, the steam rooms, the geekery and biz work, the learning and active listening.
This is why full time VO artists should always be paid at a rate that reflects all of this unseen stuff that means that when you hire us - we're ready and we're on it, all the time - so we can bring your words to life, PERFECTLY, every time.
Voice over talent and broadcaster, speaking out.