Burning That Midnight Oil
Hello there, friends! How you doing this fine Monday?
Over the past few months, I realize that my blog has grown and morphed into something a bit more than a simple documentation of my personal voiceover journey. While I often try to tie in some VO-related content to what I’m writing about and reflecting on, this simply is no longer a strictly VO-centric blog. That really didn’t last long, huh?
Well, sorry not sorry. Being able to write about whatever is percolating in the ‘ol noggin on a given week—regardless of its pertinence to VO—is just so freeing. VO is a big part of my life, but it’s not my whole life. I’m grateful to friends like Josh Alexander and Michael Apollo Lira (among many, many others) who have shown me that it’s ok to be a blogging voice talent whose content is diverse and may or may not have VO applications.
All that said, I do still want to provide updates on how my VO adventure is progressing for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
I am grateful that I was able to kick off 2022 by completing an audiobook project that I’d been working on throughout the holiday season. It ended up taking longer than I anticipated due to the aforementioned holiday season and some other travels. It feels great to have another completed project under my belt and the credit it brings to my name. Each completed job is a little victory that helps convince me I’m an actual, real, live voiceover artist!
The close of one project hopefully leads to the beginning of a new one—or, even better, multiple new ones. For that to happen, though, one must network and audition with diligence, tenacity, and perseverance. So, that’s what I’m trying to do. While my focus for the beginning of this year is still on re-designing my brand and building up my business acumen, I don’t want to neglect auditioning and putting myself out there altogether.
A great personal joy in this process (yes, you did hear some sarcasm there) is navigating the challenges of producing quality audio. I’ve had multiple VO colleagues and coaches assure me that the sound quality of what I produce is excellent—which is so encouraging—but my means of doing so aren’t the most convenient or practical.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve come across for new voice talent is that a properly treated recording space is more important that having the best recording equipment. You can have the best mic on the market, but if your space sucks, your audio will likewise suck. Given that I currently live in Lesotho, in which most every building is constructed of hollow cinder blocks with zero insulation, I’m not starting in a particularly audio-production-friendly environment. What’s more, we have an international move looming in the near-ish future (hopefully!), so my willingness to invest in improving my space at this point only goes so far. My custom-built PVC pipe and moving blanket recording booth does wonders, but it’s not a soundproof space by any means.
So, in addition to treating my space as much as I’m willing to at the moment, I’m also pretty much locked in to holding my recording sessions at night. I still have to deal with the occasional car driving by, dog barking, and those insufferable crickets in the summer, but recording at night at least knocks out the majority of noise from traffic, birds, and children at the schools on either side of my house. Honestly, I sometimes think these kids are just being taught how to be loud! I do also employ a few editing tools to help mitigate unwanted sound in my audio, but that only goes so far before it begins to distort and deteriorate your audio quality.
Working the nightshift is not my ideal situation—nor is it my wife’s or daughter’s when hubby/papa is a little on the crabby side due to lack of sleep—but I look at it as “paying my dues” so to speak as I make my way into this amazing industry that is VO. I don’t have the training or experience to warrant investing in a proper recording booth at present, not to mention a certain lack of funds to afford one—man, those puppies are pricey!
Me after a late-night recording session
Despite all of that, I’m recording, submitting auditions, getting jobs, and working as a voice talent. There’s so much room for growth and improvement, but I’m doing it! I’m pursuing something that brings me utter joy. As I put in the long nights, submitting auditions or working on a project, I remind myself that this is just the beginning. I’m building foundations, gaining experience, and making connections. Over time, this will all pay off and I’ll be working as a full-time voice talent—during the day and in an adequately sound-treated space! For now, though, I’m learning to enjoy my current process and discover what works best for me and my family in this season of life.
A lot of late nights are still undoubtedly ahead of me. I guess I’d better grab some more candles…
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories!
Voiceover Artist | Storyteller