When I first started voice over I was living in New York City, the big ole’ apple. This was before the “remote age” in voice over (or at least how we experience it today) where I would go into a physical office and audition for a voice over job. I would get the appointment from my agent, and show up at a specific time having not seen the script ahead of time. I would always get there a little early to go over it and make some creative choices or work out words that didn’t flow easily.
Now, this was back in 2010, and there were many voice actors, unbeknownst to me, operating from home studios across the country getting work through direct marketing, without an agent. There were also voice actors sending out demos to potential clients, going to events and shaking hands with potential clients in their local communities, and going into studios to record. Both ways of getting and completing work still exist today, but the use of home studios has grown immensely, especially due to that little worldwide eventish thing called you know what.
What’s also changed is the idea that you have to have an agent to work as a voice actor. Sure, it may lead to jobs that are harder to get without an agent, and agents are still wonderful things to have, but they are not the whole enchilada. In fact, agents want to work with voice actors who are pro active in getting their own work.
What does all this have to do with home studio? Well, in my limited agent/ New York City bubble, it wasn’t until later that I discovered voice actors from all over the country were securing their own work via online casting sites. My mind was blown. Where had I been: apparently sleeping under a commercial voice over rock, snoozing while my peers were voicing e-learning, IVR, medical, documentaries (the list goes on!)
So, I joined the sites, and there was work! Lots of work. Were there some fresh irritants wedged in my eye? Yep? Was it intimidating? Sure was. Was it exciting? Absotootly (new word, spread it around please.) Did I need to acquire a new skill set? Indeed. Enter the “home studio.” To work on these sites, I needed to have high quality sound, but also experience using recording software and learning editing skills. Was it easy? Nope. Was it worth it? Absotootly.
To be totally honest, when I first took on a home studio, I was….kinda angry. I had developed all these skills as a voice actor and now I needed to shift gears and do the job that a studio engineer had always done. I wasn’t happy about it. Plus, what about all the expensive equipment?! Luckily, I discovered there is a wide range of affordable home studio gear and that I didn’t have to break the bank. And soon after I started booking jobs through online casting sites or other client communications and direct marketing, I started feeling pretty pumped. It opened up my world to what was possible in voice over work. My worried mind was eased by the vast universe of free home studio education and support online via sites like youtube. I also invested in a consultation with a home studio expert to start. Well worth it.
Once I accepted having a home studio was like any other worthwhile undertaking, that I was capable of it as long as I was open, patient, and willing to learn step by step, having a home studio became just another part of my life. A good part, that increased my earning potential as a full-service provider and took me from nervous and angry to excited and empowered.
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This post was written by Simone Stevens