For those who are interested in pursuing Voice Over work it’s important to understand that a collection of well performed demos and the ability to submit a clean audition are the keystone to finding work in the industry. So, it’s important to have ONE thing in place before you can even begin looking for jobs and clients.
Job ONE is to find the quietest place possible to record. I can’t stress this enough. If you have access to a studio then that’s fantastic, but the vast majority do not. So, you need to do everything you can to not only have a quiet place to record but also to reduce the ambient noises in your environment. Walk-in closets are great, but if you’re like me your closets are Stuffed and you can’t use them. So, you have to use the most Un-used room in your house.
Then you need to construct a small padded space to contain your recording equipment. Portable recording studios are available, but start around $7,000, so room dividers, blankets, pillows, egg crate foam, etc. are the next best thing to surround your microphone. I’ve seen products that surround the microphone itself also. I’ve heard various pro and cons about their efficiency so it’s best to keep it simple really.
Make certain your microphone and recording equipment aren’t on placed on an unsecure base either. I’ve seen pictures of microphones placed on glass desks and, I’m sorry, it’s nice to look at but will NOT work for your recording. Glass vibrates when sound is projected at it and that will contaminate your audio.
Next, find the times when the activity in your house is at it’s most minimal. For most people that’s at night, but not always. Other than my dogs occasionally barking or clicking their paws on my hardwood floors when they walk around my house is generally very quiet.
You CANNOT rely on Noise Reduction software. That was originally designed to clean up audio for news correspondents in the field and is not applicable to voice over work. Using it to generally reduce a selection of silence can possibly work, but you run the risk of leaving digital artifacts in your recording which renders it useless to the client as well as making you sound like your talking from the bottom of a well.
All of this at the outset is critical because your clients will not buy audio that is not clean even if they have a sound engineer on their end – most don’t. Clients only want to hear your voice and their script. Period. Anything else and they’ll pass you by ten seconds into your audition. That said some clients do have sound engineers and will want your raw audio only, but that doesn’t mean they want a noisy recording to clean up.
Ok, so once you’ve got all that under control then you can focus creating clean audio samples to highlight your vocal style or styles and submit clean, noise-free auditions. Every voice over job is different and requires you to find the meaning in their script, the emotions you’ll have to convey to their selected audience. The client wants to be able to hear that from you without having to sift through the sounds of your refrigerator or fish aquariums running in the background right?
Until next time, be well!