Often when we start out in a new industry, as excited and enthusiastic as we are, we don’t know if our business will actually take off. When I built my voice over business, it made sense to me to invest money where it mattered, in sound proofing and in gear like microphones, in lieu of spending it on items like desks and fancy chairs. I knew, even at the start, that if I had a hope of growing, my audio quality had to be competitive and my investment had to go there. My initial dest was cute and inexpensive, it was a teal small desk from overstock.com. This is the desk that sat outside my booth. It sufficed. It was never comfortable. It was small and quickly became cluttered. I also have always used a chair I already had in the house. As my business grew, I added a file cabinets. The chair I have always used is a lovely chair that we had. Again, the office space was not my priority.
Well, here I am, years later, an established professional female voice actor and coach, and I wanted to re-create my office space into a place I actually wanted to be. I identified the problems:
- My desk was too small.
- I did not have enough space and had clutter on my desk.
- I did not like being at my desk.
- My desk was not visually appealing.
- I did not like the way the desk faced but could not change that because I have a monitor and gear in the booth the all is hooked up to the computer outside the booth on this desk.
- I actually prefer working on a super comfy chair or sofa to working at a desk.
- I like something soft under my feet.
With all of this in mind, I began researching my office space fix up.
If you are just new to voiceover and putting your space together or if you are fixing up your space, here are some questions to consider:
- Are you paperless or do you have paper?
- Do you like a lot of Gear?
- Do you like Texture/To be Cozy?
- Are you a minimalist or do you like decorative embellishments?
While it was smart that I was budget conscious, I should have invested a little more into my initial space. Think about what you have and where you are going to put it, instead of buying a desk and trying to make it work.
For example, when I built my booth, I placed hooks in spaces where I needed them: on the wall for my cans and under the desk for spare wires. I built an extra ledge so that my preamp is not sitting on the desk. All of this not only customizes the space, but makes it so much more pleasant to spend long hours in.
Another tip is to actually measure. When I bought new furniture this time around, I measured the items I needed to put in a bookshelf to ensure ample space. I measured the wall where the desk is to make sure I have the biggest possible space.
Comfortable Work Space
As professional voice over actors, it is typical that we work long days across multiple time zones, so our work space, both in and out of the booth, needs to be comfortable. I have friends who swear by their standing pads. I myself have layered carpets because I love both the look and the feel. Another tip is that the desk in my booth is at my exact standing height, built for me specifically. I love this. I will say that having had both a small and cramped desk and a large and luxurious desk, it is much better to have the large desk!! I am exceedingly more comfortable.
Booth/Workspace Must Haves
There are certain items I consider non-negotiable. Keep in mind that I do actually use paper:
- great lighting/an awesome dest lamp
- bulletin boards
- an essential oil diffuser
- file cabinets. I happen to love to save scripts. Especially now that I coach, you just never know when you will need them.
- A charging station
- an array of vocal sprays
- cable ties
- A blotter/pencil cup that is in line with your branding
- an “in session” or “do not disturb” sign for when you’re recording
- A music stand and light for scripts
- family pictures so that you remember your why
- lots of outlets
- an exhaust fan
- dog beds for my studio dogs
- a scale for mail/postage
So, What Did I Choose?
In the end, I wanted a place I would be comfortable and organized. I wanted an office space that would both look nice and function well. I ultimately made tweaks to both my booth and my work space. In my booth, I got a new rug and dog bed. In my office space I got a new desk and files, a new book case, and a beautiful new velvet chair and end table. I am elated, is all wonderful. My advice to you is that regardless of your budget, make sure you LOVE everything you pick, because if you have to re-do it it costs more.