The Economical Repeatable Process
We all want to know how to earn more as a voice actor.
To some degree voice actors can be in charge of their rate of pay. Let me explain.
If you’ve ever attended any of my live or online workshops on voiceover careers or the technical side of running a home studio, you’ve likely heard me use this phrase before.
As voiceover rates have dropped since I started way back, I’m hyper-aware of potential time-wasting. This means anything that gets in the way of me providing the client with a completed recording quick and easy.
How’s your cold-reading?
I’ve put the hours in over the years to improve my sight-reading (cold-reading). Unless it’s something really complicated, I can generally stagger through the script out loud making very few mistakes. Then I’m ready to hit record.
Years of daily (on the job) sight-reading practice means that I don’t make many mistakes. When I do, or when I realise that I’ve no idea what I’m talking about and it sounds like it, I have a simple clapping/clicking system.
Because I’m recording myself, I could set up my iPad and link it to Logic to give me complete ‘transport’ control and this could help I suppose. I just like to keep it simple so I have a system for of clicking when I’m recording. I don’t do too much stopping and starting. From the moment I get up to the microphone to when I sit back at my desk to edit, I’m focused on just one thing – the performance. I’m working efficiently.
If you don’t already I’d highly recommend creating your own clapping/clicking system. I use a dog training clicker – which you can buy on Amazon for about £3.
Reading the waveform when editing voiceover
Here you can see me using one click (to give a spike on the waveform) for a mistake, and three clicks to signify ‘end of page’. Then I can see on the waveform where I need to make any edits and keep track of where I am. Especially useful for long-form narration. You could set up your own system and if you know that you make lots of mistakes then perhaps if you mess-up the same word or phrase repeatedly then clap or click once for the first time you make the mistake, twice for the second etc. Whatever system you have doesn’t matter – just have a system.
The reason I do this instead of actually editing as I go along is because my editing mindset and my narrating mindset are different. If I stop narrating to worry about technical aspects, this is using a different type of brain power I guess, and in terms of efficiency, focus and flow, I find it better to stay in ‘narrator mindset’ for recording, take a break and then go into edit mode. Again this is all about efficiency – the economical repeatable process.
Voiceover Audition Efficiency
Someone brought to my attention recently a company/coach suggesting you should spend anywhere up to about 2 hours working on a VO audition for p2p. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Yes, through daily practice you should be aiming to give your best ‘in the moment’ performance but let’s be honest and sensible about this.
Who are you or I to judge as to whether the potential client, listening to many auditions, wouldn’t have preferred your first or second take?
As long as it is clean, clear, expressive and hits the brief (if there is one) then just go ahead and submit. Stop striving for perfection and stop faffing. Some systems will be using a time algorithm (meaning that by the time you’ve submitted, 50 other voice actors already have) so that’s another reason to just get it in quick.
Remind yourself, that you are not being paid to audition. This is your time so spend it wisely.
If you have:
- improved your sight-reading through daily practice
- worked on optimising your recording quality
- set-up a template in your software to recall often used settings for recording your voice
- implemented a clapping/clicking system to assist in the editing process
then you should easily be able to submit 10 auditions in one hour a day. That’s 50 a week. That’s around 200 a month. Auditioning for VO is a numbers game. Audition, submit and forget. As you improve every aspect, submitting 200 a month, getting slicker and quicker all the time you’ll only need a couple of bites for that to pay off.
Every time you notice that you are ‘faffing’ or that some aspect of your recording process is not as streamlined as it should just remember: YOU HAVE GIVEN YOURSELF A PAYCUT.
With every improvement, as a business, YOU WILL GET A PAYRISE.