It happens every few months: a voice acting student I know is morphing before my eyes into a working voice actor, having been at it for six, nine, or twelve months. They come to me all excited. “I booked my first gig!” (Usually when I hear about that it also includes, “my first audiobook!”)
Oh, great, I say. Are you ready technically? Got your studio together, have your process in place?
I’m greeted then with either a blank look or a confident-sounding, “Oh, I’m setting up my studio this week.”
My reaction (that I keep to myself) is, “How did you do a decent audition without a place set up to record? And why would you accept a job without a place to record it?”
But then the panic sets in as the student realizes that his perfect closet actually faces a busy street, or the audio she records has a hiss in it that sounds like distant waterfall.
So, word to the wise: make sure your recording space is solidly set up before you audition so that your auditions sound like what you can reliably produce for a client. Remember: sending out bad audio for auditions can damage your reputation before you really get started.
Also, don’t set up a space on your own without getting professional feedback. Audio engineers here at TVAS can listen to audio produced in your space and let you know whether it’s OK or not. That is money well-spent. Make sure your space really is as quiet as you think it is by letting professionally-trained ears listen to what you record there.
Later on in your journey, if you’re a member of the World Voices Organization (WoVO) check out their studio approval program. You submit audio and take an online, open book test. Once you pass, you get a logo to display, certifying the quality of the sound produced in your studio.
As for audiobooks, recording is the least time-consuming part of that process. When you start out, doing it all yourself, you’re looking at 6-8 hours of time to produce each finished hour of a book. There’s a whole lot of audio to edit, process, and proof, and you’d better have a systematic, organized, efficient set of steps to follow or you could be lost in the weeds for a long time!
When you’re new, eager, and excited, it’s so easy not to realize you’ve got the cart in front of the horse until you’re headed down the road. (And then you get to have a small rodeo straightening things out!)
Check in with any of us at TVAS as you take your first steps. And get the horse on right side of that cart before you launch.