As a working mom, there are only so many hours in a day. In order to maximize my time, whether I’m in the studio recording or in my office space doing client out reach and marketing, efficiency matters. Over my years as a voice over professional, I can tell you that these tips have made a difference for me in terms of my work flow. While every voice actor has to find their own flow, my hope is that some of this helps you too:
1. Choose the DAW the Works for You
Depending on which voice actor you ask, you’ll get a different answer to the questions “What’s the best DAW for VO?” I have used Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Twisted Wave. I may be proficient in all of them, but I LOVE Twisted Wave. To be clear this does not mean that other DAWs, from Reeper to Pro Tools don’t have immense value, but for me, I am quick and good on Twisted Wave. It serves my purposes well. And when I have a client who needs total production with music, I hire a professional engineer to mix it down anyway, so I really can do all that I need to do on Twisted Wave. Some of my favorite features are the shortcuts, multiple effects stacks, and ease of file splitting.
2. Put Phone in Airplane Mode
When I am in my booth, I turn my iPhone and Apple Watch to airplane mode. I do this because when I develop a good flow, I do not want the phone ringing to interrupt me. I do offer one word of caution: if you are doing a live session and you coincidentally cannot connect with your client, and have all your devices in airplane mode, it can be quite frustrating if they are unable to reach you. So, while you may not want your phone in the studio for a directed session, perhaps before you silence everything you should make certain that you connect.
3. Do All Recording Then All Editing at Once
This is a wonderful tip that I got from he amazing Kim Handysides. Before I learned this, I used to record an audition, edit an audition, and submit an audition. Upon Kim’s suggestion, I started recording my auditions the same way I record and edit eLearning. I record all of the auditions I’m doing in a given block of time. I drop markers in them, edit them en masse, split the files, and then submit. It really does go much faster this way. If you have shortcuts in your computer for things like your name and your email, then naming your files will go even faster. If you do not know how to use markers and split files, learn today, it will change your life.
4. Plan Your Week With Your Goals in Mind
Like many in voiceover, I am constantly revising my business plan, shifting my focus from commercials to explainers to elearning to targeting specific industries. As I revise my plan, my goals change. While I have a planner or agenda that I love, I find that mapping out my strategy for the week helps me to keep my mind on the big picture. As auditions and work pours in, it’s easy to get caught up in the little things and push off the tasks that we think can wait, but in doing so, in pushing off those marketing emails and that LinkedIn outreach, we are pushing off the pursuit of our longterm goals. It is so important to always have an eye on your “why.” If you lose site of that, and you are just buys submitting audition after audition, you can easily get stuck in a rut.
5. Arrange Your Equipment for Efficiency
- If your fan makes noise, only have a monitor in the booth, and put your computer outside the booth. After years of running to get ice packs, I got out my drill, made a hole in the wall to the desk, and hooked up a monitor. This has saved me so much time over the years.
- You may a need dedicated printer for your booth, so that you are not constantly running to other parts of your house when you need to print work related items.
- I have two pairs of cans, in and out of booth, so that I can edit or direct where I’d like.
- Place hooks in thoughtful places. I have a hook for my cans on the wall which has been the biggest life saver. I also have a hook under my desk for cables. This has been useful as well.
- Shelving can be quite strategic. I built a custom shelf for my preamp. It is perfect.
The point is that my equipment is arranged in a way that supports my work flow. From the angle of the monitor to the placement of the electrical outlets, it has all been done with efficiency in mind. It all matters.
After years in the business, I can say that I am constantly learning from my peers and improving my set up and choices. Be willing to try new things, you might be shocked at how it revolutionizes your work day!