Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting Through the Week...

As a full-time voice actor, we often encounter weeks where several large projects need to be recorded in a short amount of time. For me, last week was one of those weeks.

In one short week I needed to record and produce a multitude of projects, any one of which would have taken several days by themselves. I hadn't planned for all of these projects to coincide, but they did! As voice actors, we need to always be prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. These are a few of the things I did last week that I believe made it possible to complete all of my work on time:

1. Make a schedule. First thing Sunday evening, I sat down and mapped out how long I believed each project would take and the order I felt was best to record them in. I decided to leave the projects that would strain my vocals the most for the end of the week, knocking out the 'straight stuff' first.

2. Get ready to throw out the schedule! First thing Monday morning, a project came up that needed to be recorded right away. Then, a call came that a studio uptown needed me to record a project the following afternoon. Finally, I was asked to record another project outside of my studio later in the week. As new projects presented themselves, I was constantly modifying my plan of attack. Needless to say, I quickly figured out that I needed to...

3. Ignore the phone. Don't get me wrong here, don't ignore your studio phone- always be there when your clients need you! The calls to ignore are the ones from your friends and family that want to chit chat. I sent an e-mail on Monday to my family letting them know I was on a self-imposed phone ban for the week. I remember reading once that you strain your voice more on the phone than in person because you need to project more, therefore the phone was off limits unless absolutely necessary! I also kept conversation in the house to a minimum. Of course, I talked with my husband...but the lengthy conversations with my pets (yes, I'm one of those people) came to a halt.

4. Watch the diet. I was extra careful all week not to eat too much dairy, no coffee, and no wine. I didn't want anything that might get in the way of being able to voice projects for hours at a time. I drank a ton of water (ok, it was more like 'gallons', not 'tons') to stay hydrated, and had a bunch of apples on hand to help kill mouth noise from using my voice so much.

5. Take a break. One of the projects I was voicing really took a lot out of me. It had about 3,000 lines all of which were read with extremely high energy in a challenging voice. About half way through, I was feeling worn down and decided to take a short nap. It was a good decision! Once I woke up, I had renewed energy and knocked out the rest of the project, actually finishing it a day ahead of schedule! Everyone takes breaks, regardless of their profession, and we need to remember to do the same. Get outside, watch a little TV, just let your voice and your mind rest from time to time and you will do better in the long run!

I remember making the comment on Sunday evening that it would be a miracle if I still had my voice come Friday. Well, miracles happen- and I still had my full voice Friday night! I do think that not overdoing it, pacing myself, and taking each project one at a time really helped. I was able to schedule everything so that each project received my full focus and attention, and my work never suffered. Not allowing myself to be distracted by the phone, or by e-mails also helped. Of course, the fact that I adore what I do for a living didn't hurt! :)

2 comments:

Russ Renshaw said...

I bet when you were writing this post you didn't think it would have any direct impact on anyone, but I just wanted to say that I honestly got so much out of this.

Being unorganized may be my downfall. And it's a bad habit that I have because no ones really ever explained how it worked for them. So, thank you for running through your week.

Also, I need to train myself to take more breaks. I blew my voice out for over 4 days a couple weeks back, just due to over exertion and not pacing myself. Something that I can never afford to do again.

Thanks for the great post! And I'm a big proponent of always taking more naps!

~ Russ

Kara Edwards said...

Russ-

Thank you for your comment! I always hope that by sharing my own experiences, I can help someone out in the process. Thank you for letting me know I succeeded at least once! :)

Take care of your voice. I've had to learn the hard way that it is possible to blow your voice out from over use. I'm much more careful now!

Kara