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!


Jorge Velasco - Spanish VO Talent said...

I'm about to move to a new house Kara, so this is a very helpful list.

Thanks and enjoy your new home!

Spanish VO Talent

Kara Edwards said...


I'm glad this list helped! If there is anything I can do, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail!

Good luck with the move!

--Lee said...

Wow, that's all excellent advice. I'll have to refer to this if I ever get out of this heckhole.

Kara Edwards said...


I hear ya! I know you will find the right place at the right time :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

AVATC said...

Hi, Kara! I'm glad your move went well and that you are now in your new home. Most of your tips also apply even when relocating your studio inside your house. I used to record in a walk-in closet. When we decided to build the soundproof room for my studio in 2005, I did many of the things in your list.

The most important thing throughout any studio move is communication -- communication with your clients, communication with vendors, communication with family members who are involved in the project. Even when things don't go as planned and fall off schedule, communication will make it better!

Best wishes for your continued success in your new location!

Karen Commins

Kara Edwards said...

Hi Karen!

Wonderful point about communication! The most important thing to me during this relocations was finding ways to make sure my client's projects continued to be completed on time. Another thing I could add to the list: be ready to accept the expense of using an outside studio.

I didn't want my clients to incur the cost of this move, so I paid for the studio time myself. That way things remained the same as they were when I was originally hired. I was careful to communicate exactly how things would work, and when they could expect project completion.

In the end, it was a great experience, and I learned many new things for the next move!

Bob Souer said...


Thank you for the very helpful information. It's just like you to take some of your pain and turn it into something valuable. Good for you!

Be well,

Kara Edwards said...


Thank you :)


Mandy Nelson said...


I'm thrilled to read this. I owe you a huge thank you in advance for your wisdom on this matter.

Here's to continued success. Sounds like you are doing it all just right!


Kimberly said...


This is good stuff! Thank you! While we military folks are professional movers by proxy, I'll be moving with a home studio for the first time, this year. Such a GREAT idea to take photos of settings/connections.

Thank you,

Kim White

Greg Houser said...


some good comments here, but having recently been traveling to/from a multitude of spots around the country I've found to be most useful.

A studio log/journal. Just like those of us who are licensed to fly, it's important to know what you've been doing during sessions with your settings. I've come up with several unique sounds to my chain by modifying some of the settings. Any time I go into the studio, I keep a log of what I'm doing, on what equipment, and what those settings are. It's a habit one needs to learn if you've not been doing it already, but ask almost any good studio engineer and they'll tell you about their logs.

Good comment about taking a picture of how your wiring is, but I prefer to use labels. digital pictures might be lost or corrupted, but it's pretty hard to screw up a label that's been affixed directly to a cable. Label makers with this ability are pretty cheap, and you'll find the convenience of having a relatively idiot proof means of knowing which plug goes where (I have several channels of preamps and processing gear in my project room alone... all XLR, and they all look the same to me; having a label saves me time in figuring out how to run them all). It's something that I don't see done too often in studios, but we swear by the method in the IT world.

Congrats on the move!

-Greg Houser


Footsteps said...

Great break-down on the essentials... Thanks!

Kara Edwards said...


I'm glad you found tips that are useful! Thank you for stopping by!


Believe me- I may be calling YOU for tips before my next move! It was harder than I ever expected! Thank you for commenting!


Kara Edwards said...


A log is a great idea, especially if you make changes for different clients. I like the idea of labels too! Thanks for adding to the discussion!!


Kara Edwards said...


I appreciate your comments! Thank you!


Greg Houser said...

Hey Kara,

sorry for not adding this (I've been running around, as you probably noticed from my lack of posting on boards and being a general PITA).

If you need a recommendation for good labelmakers, check out the RhinoPro series. I use these in my own place, and got a few studios I work with to use them as well. For what we do, they're pretty much useful anywhere (patch panels, boxes, and the flexible labels are great for XLR cables, snakes, etc.).