Voiceover is an obstacle course. There are the business obstacles: getting started, growing your business, keeping your clients happy. There are the personal obstacles: working around your family members' schedules and needs. And then there are the physical obstacles: the occasional cold and…
Last spring, I had a script to record, but some neighbors were having a tree taken down. My studio is pretty good at keeping outside sounds out, but there is no competing with chainsaws and a wood chipper going full blast all day. I cursed the voiceover gods as I had to wait until the tree cutting was done for the day to record. It’s an unexpected obstacle, but it comes with the business.
My studio also can’t compete with gas-powered mowers. No one in my neighborhood mows the lawn on a consistent day…except for the retiree across the street who mows his lawn every three days. One day recently, as I was getting set to record, a different neighbor powered up the mower every hour, making me wait until all the lawn mowing in my neighborhood was done for the day. It made me long for the days of push reel mowers.
Now that fall is here, the sound of mowers will stop and give way to…
Fall is my favorite season, but when I have a script and there is a chorus of leaf blowers that are neither in tune, nor in rhythm, I wonder if anyone knows how to use a rake.
The Voiceover Obstacle Course is filled with lawn mowers, road construction vehicles, leaf blowers, croaking frogs, wind chimes, woodpeckers, crying children, footsteps, water heaters, washing machines, airplanes, delivery trucks, etc. These are the sounds that make up our days, which for most people is not really a big deal.
Early in my voiceover career I lived in an apartment that abutted a commuter train track. I would be recording, and would hear the low rumble of the train approaching. This caused endless frustration and a slew of four-letter words that would have to be edited out before sending to the client. It led me to wonder whether compliance training would be better with f-bombs sprinkled throughout.
On the scale of actual problems, the Voiceover Obstacle Course is really quite small. I’m fortunate to have a profession where people pay me to do this work. My voice often helps people when I'm narrating an e-learning course, training or PSA. Voiceover is also flexible enough that I can work around the obstacles. It can be frustrating however to have to rely on external cues to determine when I actually do the work.
Most people can continue to work with the sounds all around. My fellow voiceover talent and I have to wait for the tree work to be done, hope the wind is calm enough that the wind chimes aren’t bleeding into a recording, and that the owls have the courtesy to stay quiet while we’re in session.
Ahhh, the life! I wouldn't trade it for anything!