Since making the jump to become a full time voiceover talent, the last few weeks have all been about finding the best way to utilise my time now I haven't the excuse of a day job to blame everything on. Like most forms of self-employment, the importance of imposing a structure, however fluid, has become my main priority in the subsequent days. Below is a rough example of a 'typical' day, where I'll aim to put in 7-8 hours of VO work of various forms, including some quick explanations of my reasoning in an attempt to demystify!
9 - 9.15am: Set up my home studio. I currently record in a shared bedroom, and consider it best practise to ensure that all of my equipment and set-up are tidied away when the flat isn't doubling as my office. Though it only takes me 5 minutes to physically set up, by the time I've plugged everything in, loaded up the software I'm using, brought up by email browser (only for work!), checked levels and armed myself with a cup of warm water, it's about 9.15am. This is also deliberate because attempting to record anything earlier is pointless, as neighbouring parents are doing their school run until then. You just can't record efficiently while a child's school-fearing screams are still ringing in your ears, I've found.
9.15 - 9.20am: Vocal warm up. Some tongue twisters, a few breathing exercises to make sure I'm working from my belly and not my chest, a quick few run-throughs of my first script of the day. Could/should be more but at the moment, I just make sure I do something little and often rather than not at all.
9.20 - 10.20am: Recording. Who knew!. Usually in order of upcoming deadline (even if it's not due that day). This is of course a huge approximation because some days there will be vast amounts to get through and other days (gulp) nothing at all, but I tend to have at least an hour's worth to keep me busy. If not, then I'll be recording more pay-to-play auditions that day to make up for the absence of actual work. I definitely make sure not to record more than about an hour straight through as the voice starts to get tired.
10.20 - 10.30am: Break. Usually green tea. Try to avoid diary stuff until I know most of my recording is locked in for the day.
10.30am-12 noon: Editing/mixing. Either the jobs that I've recorded or the P2P auditions that I completed in their absence. I tend to make a rough cut of each script while recording so I know everything I have is usable, so this is more about compressing, EQ, synching text to video or music if required, reducing breaths and removing clicks... the glamorous part of the job!
12 - 12.15pm: Social Media. THIS IS NOT A BREAK. If I have anything to post (such as this blog), then this is the time I get on and do it as it is apparently a good time to!
12.15 - 12.30pm: Social Media. THIS IS DEFINITELY A BREAK. Usually a cat video. Or checking whether Manchester United have bought Paul Pogba yet. After all that hard work misspelling crucial business-orientated hashtags, how could I not?
12.30 - 1.15pm: Have lunch. Importantly, NOT in front of a computer - to spare both eyes and sanity.
1.15pm - 2pm: Technical skills. I've recently changed DAW (digital audio workstation) and also treated myself to a copy of the much vaunted RX5 audio editor. For 45 minutes I try and teach myself a new aspect of the software, even if it's just a few keyboard shortcuts, so that my speed at editing/mixing continues to improve and I can learn how to apply new effects (or learnt ones more efficiently).
2-2.45pm: Marketing database. This is time spent researching and adding potential clients (or leads to clients) to one big Numbers spreadsheet.
2.45pm-3pm: Very strong coffee.
3pm - 3.30pm: Marketing calls. Initially the most scary part of the day, but it's getting easier. I make three phone calls taken from the aforesaid spreadsheet, and once I've found the right person, ask them if they would like me to send them my demo. It's actually usually straight-forward as I'm not trying to make a full-on sales pitch, just get my material out there, but it's moderately more frightening than being onstage.
3:30pm - 4.30pm: Emails. Obviously we're all chained to our emails throughout the day now, but this is an opportunity to make sure I'm on top of everything, have deleted all the marketing ones, and is also my chance to write to one director/casting director/theatre company in my other capacity as an actor (switches hat).
4.30pm - 6pm. Gym. Unless I've gone super early, this tends to be the time I leave the house proper and do some exercise. And I'm not talking about a Pokemon gym, though apparently there is one very close. Very important to me for general well-being, and a great opportunity to work off any frustrations or anxieties.
At some point in the evening, I'll doubtless watch a few youtube video's by some home studio VO's I respect that post often, and include a little bit of day-dreaming/lateral thinking about marketing stuff (whether that's a publicity image, website update, or this blog). As long as I make a few notes, then I count this as part of my working day whenever it happens and try to have the rest of it 'off'. The caveat to that is that a client could get in touch requesting a fast response (or even recording) at short notice, so work emails are still diligently checked. But otherwise I try to ensure that evenings are non-work time.
Well that's the sort of schedule I attempt to maintain at the moment. Obviously there are days where this goers completely out of the window for one reason or another, but having an outline like this gives me a sense of shape to a working week I might otherwise drown in. If anybody has any observations or would like to share an insight into their own, then please do so in the comments section below!