Last Minute Holiday Gifts For The VO Talent In Your Life (Or You!)

Hey, there!

I’ve gotten a flurry of emails over the last two weeks or so, asking for suggestions on what VO talent (like you!) might like as gifts this holiday season.

Aside from a microphone or recording and editing software (which they/you probably already have), here are some things I use every day in my practice that will come in very handy for that VO talent you know, or maybe as a gift for yourself. You’ve worked hard this year! Here you go…

Some of these are deceptively inexpensive, yet amazingly useful. You’ll find your beloved VO talent raving about your thoughtfulness ingenuity with any of these options.

Evapolar Personal Air Conditioner

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One of the uncomfortable side effects of recording in a soundproof vocal booth (or a closet with the door closed) is that it gets warm in there, real fast. And the thought of running HVAC ductwork into your recording space would frighten anyone into not doing it – and just suffering in the heat.

I’ve been using The Evapolar ever since I backed it on Kickstart a few years back, and I’m constantly amazed at how well it works. It makes noise, so you use it in-between recording your content (like while you’re editing or doing admin work), but once it’s cooled your space off, it stays that way for a chapter or two’s worth of recording.

And the Evapolar doesn’t require any ductwork to cool down your space – it just sits there, about a foot or so square, and keeps you cool.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]Quiet, accurate, precise, light, long battery life, programmable buttons and adjustable scrolling speed: this is my go-to pointing and clicking device.

Like many inexpensive items, I have two – one on my desk, and one in my go-bag, so I don’t have to pack and unpack yet another item when I travel.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Logitech K811 Illuminated Wireless Keyboard

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I love this keyboard. It comes to life (lights up) when you hover your fingers over it, and features USB charging (yay! no batteries to change!).

And…you can instantly switch between typing on your laptop, your tablet, your smartphone and other devices: this is my new keyboard krush. (This is the Mac version – search for the 810 on Amazon for the Windows version)

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Anker 10-port USB-3 Powered Hub

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last][Click image to enlarge] If you go with the MacBook I recommend and use, you’re going to need this device to connect printers, mice, microphones, hard drives and the like that are USB-based.

Like many inexpensive items, I have two – one on my desk, and one in my go-bag, so I don’t have to pack and unpack yet another item when I travel.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

The VO2GoGO Mike Sock Pop Filter

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I finally found a source for the perfect athletic sock. I’ve been using this as a pop filter on my large-diaphragm microphones for years. 100% cashmere, the Mike Sock fits perfectly over the AT-2020 USB Plus. It’s $9 plus shipping. Click here to purchase.

Like many inexpensive items, I have two – one on my desk (on my AT-2020 USB Plus), and one in my go-bag (already fitted on the AT-2020 USB Plus I have packed), so I don’t have to pack and unpack yet another item when I travel.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Apple MacBook

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]The Apple MacBook is the only Macintosh laptop manufactured without a fan – and that means complete silence when recording. Sure, there’s only one port (a USB-C one, requiring the MultiPort Adapter listed below), and it requires a powered hub if you want to plug in all your favorite USB gear, but the size, screen quality, full-size keyboard and, most importantly, absence of fan noise makes this the best choice for performers who are recording audio on a regular basis. (Make sure you pay attention to getting this plain MacBook version, and don’t mistakenly decide to get the Pro or the Air – they have fans.)

Click here to purchase.

CRUCIAL: to make sure your MacBook is completely set up, be sure to at least order these two essential accessories as well:

1. A hub: choose either the Sentey 10-port USB-3 Powered Hub (if available) OR the Anker 10-port USB-3 Powered Hub:
https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-usb3hub OR https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-ankerhub

2. An adapter: Also get the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter:
https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-usbc-multiport-adapter
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Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones

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If earbuds aren’t your thing, and you really want the heft and solid feel of actual headphones, then I recommend these. I used these exact headphones when I worked in radio for over 30 years, and although I don’t use them now (in favor of the earbuds above), these are the best bang for your headphone buck.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

VO2GoGo Pro Complete 2019 Subscription

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]I might be biased just a wee bit, but given the success our students have achieved, the reviews we’ve gotten, the awards we’ve been fortunate to have received, it’s possible this is the best gift you could give a VO talent that’s just getting started, or well on their way, or stuck at a level of achievement and want to move quickly and successfully to a higher level.

Includes the entire curriculum, 12 months worth of monthly workouts, all bonus content and home equipment.

Click here to register your loved one.[/fivecol_four_last]

Western Digital 4TB My Passport Ultra HD Backup Disks

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last] Nothing says “Happy holidays!” quite like showing you care about your beloved’s data safety. Am I right?

This is the drive that I use for backup (not for external storage – that’s above), and I have four of them, all in different colors. For a full explanation about why you should clone my insanely over-engineered backup system, click here.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Rehearsal® Pro – The App For Actors

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]I created Rehearsal® Pro to help me manage my acting career, and while I was at it, I added the ability to record and email VO auditions in a pinch. It’s become the go-to app for actors, and it’s great for those quick and dirty auditions on the go. $20, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. Not available for Android.

Click here for instant access to Rehearsal® Pro.[/fivecol_four_last]

MileIQ Mileage Tracker App

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]MileIQ is an app that automatically records the mileage for all trips you take, both work and personal. You’d be surprised at how much you might be leaving on the table come tax time, given all the auditions, work, trips to your agent’s office, studios, to get administration done, etc. MileIQ estimates that the average person has $6,900 in mileage/auto deductions each year, and many people let that pass them by. Don’t be that guy (or girl). $6 or less per month, free version available for infrequent drivers.

Click here to download MileIQ.[/fivecol_four_last]

Dashlane Password Protection Service

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]Strong passwords are essential for staying safe in today’s digital world, but it’s clear that a long, strong password is not so easy to remember. Enter Dashlane, the very best password protection available. There are apps for Macintosh, iOS, Windows and Android – and it’s a snap to use. All of your passwords are both randomly generated, and easily pasted into the password text box of all your login forms. Don’t make the mistake of making your password easy to remember – that usually means it’s easy to crack.

Click here to get Dashlane.[/fivecol_four_last]

Telestream Screenflow Video Editing Software

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]Although most Windows users will use Camtasia for screen recording, I absolutely adore Screen from Telestream. This is a company that makes much higher end video editing and broadcast software, and the quality of those products has trickled down to Screenflow, which I use for all of my lessons, presentations and other screen-based production. Here’s the added bonus: the editing features in Screenflow are so easy to use, I haven’t launched Final Cut Pro or iMovie in years. $99.00 with a free trial.

Click here to get Screenflow.[/fivecol_four_last]

Dreamhost Web Hosting

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]If your beloved VO talent has made finally making a website one of their New Years’ resolutions, they’re going to need a place to host it. This is what I use to host this site.

More of a basic service than actual packaged or downloadable software, Dreamhost is where all of my sites, business and personal, are hosted. All services have good and bad streaks of support and up-time, but Dreamhost has been more reliable than most, and at a cost that is incredibly affordable. And I’ve made a special deal with them (that varies) to give my clients, students and visitors a discount on WordPress hosting.

Click here to get Dreamhost hosting at a special discount.[/fivecol_four_last]

VO2GoGo Believe Subscription

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]Along with the art of VO, the commerce of VO and the science of VO (all of which we teach and coach in the VO2GoGo curriculum), there’s one more category of expertise that a VO performer needs to hone and refine: their belief system and mindset.

I took a 21 day live online journey with a select group of VO2GoGo Pros, and helped them replace the most common limiting beliefs that we all have as artists, with enabling beliefs that empower and support our VO practice.

And I recorded each one. They’re now available for your beloved to take the journey with me.

Includes the entire set of 21 hour-long videos, the worksheets, the chat logs and additional bonus material.

Click here to register your loved one.[/fivecol_four_last]

Elgato Video Capture Cable

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Whenever I perform in a network show, or a studio film, or anything that airs on television, I grab a pristine copy of it using this cable set. Elgato Video Capture can connect and capture video to your Mac or PC from any device that has composite ‘RCA’ or S-Video outputs. It also comes with a SCART adapter, and the files it outputs are in DV format, so they can be imported into and edited with any video editing software. This is how I capture content for and update my on-camera demos.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Flash Furniture Red Metal Indoor-Outdoor Chair

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]I know that a chair might seem like a cold, unfeeling holiday gift, but bear with me – for a VO talent, it’s one of those awesome things you hardly ever think about.

I’ve called this “the best upgrade I’ve performed all year.” I used to own a great, comfortable chair – an articulated, fully adjustable, gorgeously designed Aeron-lookalike. $1700. But…it was noisy as hell: every joint, every lever, the wheels, the armrests, the back, the seat…everything about it eventually squeaked and clicked and knocked. Then I got this one-piece, welded, all metal chair, and a cushion from the supermarket, and I’ve never looked back. It’s simple. It’s foolproof. It’s absolutely silent. (It even comes in VO2GoGo Pro red.) And it was 1/30th the cost of my old chair.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Spring-Loaded Drinklip Table Edge Cup/Drink Holder

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]I’m always vigilant about liquids in the studio – one spill can really ruin your day. Or week. But I still want to have my water and Starbucks DoubleShots within reach – just not within damaging distance of my equipment.

Enter this little beauty – it’s a spring loaded clip that fits over the edge of any desktop surface, and keeps your drinks separate from the desktop itself. It’s also more of a cup holder, rather than a simple surface, so drinks are unlikely to spill at all (and if they do, they spill on the floor).

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

MOO.com Business Cards

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]I love these cards, and the contacts I give them to love them as well. Although MOO has standard size business cards (which I use for the instruction inserts when I send out The Mike Sock), my classic MOO cards, pictured below, are half the height of a typical business card. You can create 100-card sets of them that are identical (like the VO2GoGO and Rehearsal® Pro cards), or with each individual piece sporting a different image on one side of the card (notice my acting cards in the front row of the stand):

Note: stand not included – you can pick that up at Staples or Office Depot.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Secrets of Screen Acting (by Patrick Tucker)

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]The book that taught me everything I know about the technical side of on-camera acting, and opened my eyes wide to the ways to control vocal levels and quality. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Brief (by Joseph McCormack)

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]When I started listening to this book, I immediately made plans to re-design all my classes, so that students and clients would get the information they needed faster and easier than before. If you present information, this book is a must-read/listen.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

Essentialism (by Greg McKeown)

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]Greg McKeown could narrate audiobooks if he wanted to, but he’s got an even more important calling in life: helping us all strip out the things we’re doing that are unnecessary, unimportant, and non-essential. His take on life, the focus he has on the things that matter, and the practical methods he outlines to achieve this state are phenomenal.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

10% Happier (by Dan Harris)

[fivecol_one][/fivecol_one][fivecol_four_last]ABC’s Nightline and Good Morning America Weekend anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. And as I listened to the changes he made, I could instantly identify with all the doubt he was feeling – the woo woo he was being asked to accept. This book helped me tremendously.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

The Neti Pot Nasal Irrigator

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I know. I know. Sounds gross – sticking the spout of this very basic pottery in one nostril, and letting warm, salty water flow out the other nostril, cleansing your nasal passages as it does (and then there was that woman that died from some organism she got by using her Neti pot incorrectly). But you would not believe the difference it makes (just use distilled water like it says, OK?). An ancient Ayurvedic treatment and preparation, it works like a charm to fight congestion and stuffiness, despite its image. And, it’s cheap.

Click here to purchase.[/fivecol_four_last]

And what about you?

Have you found any really great gadgets, software or other items that you thought really hit the spot as a gift? Something you want for yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. Remember to buy everyone in your family a set of wireless headphones so that they can watch TV or play their games and keep the world quiet so that you can record

  2. It’s very dry here in Colorado, so I have a little essential oil diffuser I keep in my studio to keep the air from drying me out. It plugs into my USB hub and makes virtually no noise. If I’m fighting a little congestion, I put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in it to keep things clear. Prices vary on these from $10-$100 … mine is about 6″ and has snowflakes on it. One of my VO treasures.