My eyes open. It’s 6 am. Today’s the day… A surge of adrenaline races through my body. Then a slightly nauseous feeling creeps over me. What if I completely cock this up? What if the client tells everyone in the industry to never use me again? What if I don’t record properly? What if next door decides to extend their kitchen today at 10am when I’m due to start?
OK, OK, OK. I’ve moved into the dark place. Let’s get up now and prepare. Preparation is KEY!
These were the first few thoughts that had entered my mind on the morning of my very first directed session as a Voice Actor four years ago. I had only taken the plunge into the world of voice acting a few months before and had been doing pretty well, but I was yet to have a live directed session, and to say I was totally bricking it would have been an understatement.
To make matters worse this wasn’t just any old client, this was McLaren, McLaren!
The nerves were actually shadowing the delight I should have been revelling in at winning such an awesome gig. Sadly that just wasn’t the case. Just like anything new, it takes a few goes to feel more confident in your ability to deliver, and directed sessions for VO are no different.
So what have I learnt over the past 4 years and over 60 directed sessions?
1. Hydrate. At least 4 hours before. Hydration happens from the inside out, it’s no good glugging 2 litres of water at the beginning of the session.
2. Read through your script, but don’t over rehearse it. You’re looking for tricky pronunciations and/or peculiar punctuation that could inhibit the natural flow. You’re NOT looking to put your stamp on it. Yet…
3. Make sure all the software you need to access is downloaded and ready to use. Different sessions will require different softwares, whether that be Chrome or Google etc. Your client will usually send you a link prior to the session. This link enables them to patch into you allowing for live direction. Depending which platform they choose (there are a variety) you’ll need to make sure you’re set up with this.
4. Hard wire your internet in. Don’t pray to the WIFI God’s and hope they deliver. You can buy a super long ethernet cable from amazon that’ll do the job perfectly. No need to over complicate it.
5. Warm up your body and your voice, pop to the loo, set up and be ready at least 10 minutes prior to your client arriving in the session.
6. PRESS RECORD
7. If the client requires you to send across an audio post session, do it straight after the session has finished and in format they have requested (.WAV/mp3 etc). Don’t leave your client waiting for it. Use we transfer for a quick reliable way to send audio. Be aware We Transfer is not encrypted, so if your audio contains sensitive information you will need to ask your client how they wish to receive the files.
8. HAVE FUN. If you’ve won a gig it’s for a good reason.