Sunday, November 30, 2008

Studio Superstitions

In the past two weeks, I've spent the majority of my time building and creating my new studio and office space. It started with the actual recording space, and has moved into the area where I edit, produce, and spend most of my day.

I like to keep the area where I record separate from my computer and production space to cut down on any potential electronic humm. It's just a personal preference as I've been in many studios where the mic and computer are together and they sound great!

First and foremost for me- it was all about function. I wanted to make sure I could move in the space and get to the things I needed easily and efficiently. When I couldn't find a desk that fit the space in the way I wanted, I opted to keep my old corner desk and add a second desk to my left to hold my printer/fax, etc.

Since I'm not completely finished with my office, I'm reserving posting pictures and detailed descriptions until later this week. Therefore, today I'd like to focus on studio superstitions. I figure I can't be the only one who has them!

Many years ago I became fascinated with Feng Shui. I've probably read a couple dozen books about the topic and believe that the spaces we spend our time in can have a major impact on our lives. So, the first thing I did was create a bagua map of my office. (The one I linked to is not the one I use, but it's the closest I could find) I also studied colors to find out which would be the most inspiring for me. I ultimately went with a beautiful green/blue shade, painting one wall slightly darker than the rest. I know, I know- I can hear you saying to yourself, "Studios are for recording- not meditating! Sheesh!" (or something to that effect)

There is so much that goes into the art of Feng Shui that I don't want to bore you with the nitty gritty details. Plus, I'm sure someone would e-mail me explaining that I've done it all wrong and that would just make me sad. So, I'll just say that I am THRILLED with the way things are coming together! My studio is the space where I spend the most time, and it was very important to me that every object be inspiring creatively, emotionally, and spiritually.

As for superstitions- I have a few. Part of me likes being surrounded by my accomplishments (awards, action figures of characters I've voiced, etc) but I'm cautious not to go overboard. I wanted to make sure to leave room for future success, both in my life and on my walls! I also have several pictures and figures of birds and items that represent rising up. In my career I hope to reach for the stars every day and I enjoy being surrounded by symbols of my goals.

Something else kinda corny that I did was upload some of my favorite pictures to a digital frame. It's one that shows a continuous picture slide show. I added a wide variety of pictures from voice actors I know and admire, to photos of my family, to my favorite nature photography. That way I have all the things that matter right in front of me every day.

All that's missing is my new studio rack and my ISDN line...but hopefully those will be here soon!

So, now it's your turn- what superstitious object(s) do you keep, or actions do you take in your studio every day to keep you inspired?

Please feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top 10 List For Relocating a VO Business

I feel beyond guilty about my lengthy absence from this blog, but I am thrilled to announce I finally made it into our new house in Tampa, FL! My studio is up and running, and my ISDN line should be connected in 2-3 weeks. All is finally good at home and at work.

Monday was my first day back after a near 2-month absence from full time VO during our relocation. I completed two voice/production projects, and an audition for a national spot. A good day back I believe. Today was busy as well! Between unpacking boxes and asking my husband, "Do you know where...", I managed to finish a lengthy project for a client.

Since this was my first relocation in which my belongings didn't fit in one car, there were a lot of lessons learned along the way! Many things I did right, many things I did very wrong (but learned something in the process!).

Since this is a VO blog, I thought I would post the top 10 things I now know to do when relocating a voice over business long distance. Some of these I did do, some I plan to do next time :)

1. Communicate with your clients. Don't be afraid to send e-mails explaining that you will be away for 'x' amount of weeks. Let them know how things are progressing so they don't forget about you during your absence.

2. Keep e-mails as brief as possible. I have a bad habit of wanting to explain everything going on in my life in a single e-mail. I have to remind myself that no one cares. Just the facts are needed, no embellishments.

3. Research local studios in the area you are moving to. I had 3 big projects I had to complete in the middle of my move in addition to needing to record 13 episodes of Raggs via ISDN. Since I had called ahead of time, I already had a studio lined up that I could call in a moment's notice. It was a win-win for me- I had a studio to use, and they have since called me in for work here locally!

4. Check the location of your temporary and permanent housing closely on a map. How far away is the airport? What direction do the planes fly? Is there a train that runs by the house, a major highway? Boy, if only I had done this- those 6 weeks in temporary housing would have been much less stressful!

5. When tearing down your studio, take lots of pictures of how the wires were connected. Document the levels on your mic-pre, etc. Doing this made re-connecting everything so much easier for me. It also ensured I had the same consistent sound as my previous studio for projects I had to do pick-ups on.

6. If possible, move your studio equipment yourself. After seeing how many boxes arrived upside down and slightly jostled, I am very thankful I drove my equipment down myself. As I always say, should something happen to my studio, I really need it to be my fault (everyone around me always agrees- hah!). Seriously, I had fantastic movers but it just wasn't worth the risk.

7. One thing I'm thankful I did when I originally purchased my studio equipment is keep all the original boxes and packaging. It made it super easy to pack things up- and I didn't have to worry about anything moving around in transit.

8. If you need ISDN in your studio, start the process well in advance of your move. It is much harder to get ISDN than ever before, so you'll need to find out what the policies are in your new city and state. Who is the carrier, do you need to be incorporated to get it? Ask lots of questions, and make sure you explain exactly what it is you need (Most people will not understand what you are asking for- find someone who does!)

9. Speaking of ISDN, once you know who your carrier is ask if there is someone you can send potential new home addresses to in order to make sure ISDN is available. ISDN is run on copper wires, and many carriers are making Fios the new standard. Fios is run on optical strands, and won't work with our ISDN codecs. I am thankful I double checked each potential home we looked at, as a few were instantly ruled out for this very reason.

10. One thing I wasn't entirely successful at was staying calm. When our temporary housing ended up being next to Tampa International Airport, I freaked. As it turns out- everything was fine. I still got my work done (thanks to that local studio) and it was only 6 weeks out of my life. Moving is stressful, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to take it one day at a time. Make lists, keep things organized, and it will all be just fine.

Of course, if you do find yourself relocating sometime in the future, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail! Having chosen to marry someone in television, I have a feeling I may one day be able to right a book about how to move your voice over business anywhere in the world- hah!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Big Day

I remember so well anxiously awaiting the day I turned 18 so I would be able to vote for the first time. It's an amazing right we have as Americans to choose our leaders, and I always feel that flutter of excitement on Election Day!

So, imagine my horror when my absentee ballot didn't arrive last week! Because my husband and I are in the middle of a relocation, absentee voting was our only option.

A month ago, I proudly sent off our ballot requests, then waited...and waited...and waited. When I knew something was definitely wrong, I called our county office. Sure enough, there was a mix up with our new PO Box, and my ballot had been sent back!

The good news was that my husband's ballot was on the way, but mine would have to be re-sent and there was no guarantee it would arrive in time for me to send it in!

So, every day last week we checked the box with our fingers crossed. Friday morning it arrived! I was able to cast my vote and send it in overnight express!

Sure, it cost me $17 for the postage- but I can think of no better use of $17 than to exercise my right as an American.

This Election Day, I hope you will take the time to exercise your own rights. Judging by the early numbers, it seems many already have- which makes me even more proud to live in this great country!

Happy Election Day to you!