0027: New Class Coming. I Need Your Questions.

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Hey there, hero!

I’m debuting a new class this Saturday. It’s free, and I’m almost finished with it.

Since the pandemic, I’ve had hundreds of questions I’m going to answer in this class, called Mastering Home-Based Voice Over.

As I put the finishing touches on it, I’d love to know what questions you have about doing VO from home. How can I help you Master Home-Based Voice Over?

Watch the video and you’ll see what I’m looking for in the comments below.

Responses

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  1. I have issues with the audacity software. How to use. I can record..I can playback.. Other than that I am technically challenged.

    Thanks for offering this class..

  2. If you can’t build a complete ground-up framed sound booth, how can you address noise or vibrations coming from below?

    My new “booth” ended up being directly above the inside half of the HVAC system and its vibrations come right up through the boom arm, even with a shock mount.

  3. One problem I solved was noise I (unknowingly) generated that ruined my recording. I had my mic on the desk and every time I moved my hands (on the desk) the vibrations were transmitted through the stand and into my recordings. Partial solution was to put the mic on a floor boom; final solution as to put the boom on a rubber doormat to dampen any vibrations i might make when shifting my feet.

  4. When using Source Connect or other connection to client, how important is it to have direct plug-in internet access vs. wifi access? If not ok to use wifi and not tech savvy, what resource or technician is available to help get the internet access directly to your working space.

  5. Are the best practices for editing and mastering your files any different for audiobooks vs. explainer videos vs. commercials, etc.?

  6. After years of training and prep I’m finally getting my act together and getting some auditions. I’m using Audacity and I’m still at the stage of reviewing my notes. I have conflicting notes from coaches and teachers regarding settings. Some say the Sample Rate should be set at 48000 with the Sample Format at 24 and others that say Sample Rate should be at 44100 and Sample Format 16. I’m not even sure I understand what these settings do, let alone which settings are correct – or if the answer is different for the type of VO job. If helpful, right now I’m looking at commercials and corporate, but hope to add animation in the future. Thank you!

  7. Hey David! So pumped for this! I am still trying to figure out exactly what editing steps I should take prior to submitting an audition. Most clients want RAW audio when it comes to the final product because the producers on their end do their thing. But I want to send my very best with the initial audition! Here’s what I have settled on (for now) 5 sec room tone at the top to then do Noise Reduction, Compressor (Threshold -24db, Noise Floor -60db, Ratio 2:1, Attack Time 0.20 sec, Release Time 1.0 sec), finally Amplify to somewhere between -6db to -3db. I feel like I should Normalize at some point but I don’t know when or really what my settings should be for that. Frankly, I’m probably a little scared of my Normalize. Just so you know: I work on a MacBook Air, us the AT2020USB+ and my DAW is Audacity. My home studio is not totally sound proofed but I can use SourceConnect comfortably with clients so I’d say my overall room tone is decent. Thanks so much!

  8. Hey David!
    This is awesome news that you are doing this course Mastering Home-Based Voice Over! I do have a few questions..

    1) Are there other reputable websites to audition for Voice Over commercial/audiobook work other than Voice123.com and ACX.com? Is Backstage.com a good source for voice over work?

    2) Do I drape blankets and quilts over my stuff in my closet that is hard plastic to help absorb background noise? If I drape a blanket over my clothes that are hanging up will that help dampen the background noise too?

  9. Can’t wait for this class! I stepped away from pursuing VO a year ago to go back to work. I had purchased all the equipment to set up a home recording studio and everything is in the boxes/packaging, having not even being opened, except for my Mac computer and headphones which I had used only a few times for VO webinars. Had to resign from my job due to Covid-19, so basically, I’m starting over. I sincerely appreciate you having this free class, the anticipation I’m feeling right now shows me that NOW is the time to do this. No more paying engineers $$$ for studio time!

  10. Thank you for doing this David.
    I’m more interested in the marketing side.
    How to tactfully approach/connect through email or LinkedIn.

  11. I’m a total newbie at this. I’ve got a small handheld recording device, and editing software on my laptop (both from when I worked as a reporter for an area radio station), but I’ve not yet attempted to do any audio recording. I don’t even have an area of my house set up as a “studio.” Id appreciate any suggestions or direction!

  12. 1. I only have a cell phone. Does this mean I can’t use source connect?

    2. How does e learning differ from other gigs? I am technically challenged. Is setting up different files like chapters in a book? What do I need to know about what I might encounter before I go after this business?

    3. Are their ideal settings that would satisfy the most stringent quality studio requirements far beyond ACX?

    4. When the client requests raw but your mic makes you sound sibilant, what do you do?

    5. What are the best 3rd party software fixes available? (pro studio quality, editing, etc.)

    6. Does your fast editing technique work in DAWs other than Audacity? eg: Studio One

  13. David,

    I feel my greatest challenge is how to sound conversational as opposed to reading the script well. With your help and that of our coaches, I am also learning to climb the technology ladder for which I am thankful.

    Thank you and your coaches for all your help helping to make me a better voice actor.

    Mary

  14. Hi David – what a generous offer – thanks for the upcoming class!
    I’m comfortable recording on my own and sending audio files to clients. But is there a simple, affordable way to let clients listen in, record their feedback for later reference, AND play back takes for them during a session?
    Here’s what I’ve cobbled together: Client listens via speaker on my iPhone (I have a bluetooth but this seems to work better). Mute them while recording, then unmute during their feedback and keep recording so I capture their comments. I plug in headphones and a mono speaker using a split jack on my Focusrite so I can hear myself on the headphones and can also play back over the speaker – allowing client to listen via the speakerphone. Cumbersome, but it works. However, I’m sure there’s a better way! (I don’t have or want a landline so a phone patch doesn’t seem like an option.) Thanks!

  15. A complete, up-to-date Source Connect for VO Dummies class would be awesome! Thanks!

  16. Hey David.
    I had a front tooth implant right before lockdown and it’s a dud that I’ll need to deal with once this pandemic is over. Here’s my question. The implant is causing noticeable sibilance. and I have no idea how to reduce or illuminate it either during recording or in editing. I’ve heard there are plug ins for this but I haven’t a clue how to use them. I was actually going to e-mail you about this. Also I was interested in voicing a work that’s in public demand and if I wanted to offer it through Audible, it appears that I’d have to first self publish a significantly differentiated version through Kindle, with their approval, word processed and formatted in their proprietary software to their exact specifications. Is there any other option?
    Thanks for offering this much needed class!
    Ginny

    1. Ginny,
      My verrrrry successful VO friend had problems as a result of dental work, too. Unfortunately he goes along merrily whistling sentences between his teeth instead of heading back to the dentist. Unthinkable! So in his case whistling behind the front teeth, not sibilance, but the fix is the same: orthodontic wax! It’s used when braces are tightened and teeth hurt. One can get anything on line. You can even try it with chewing gum before you look for the wax. Gum doesn’t stay put as much, but you’ll get a feel for if this will truly work.
      Find the place where the air is passing differently than before. My guess is you need a little wad behind that front tooth. Press it in. See if it’s better. Move the wax (or gum) until you find the right spot.
      Hope that helps!
      M

  17. How bout some thoughts on effective self-direction? Creative or fun tricks to come up with solid options when they ask for more than one take, without getting all OCD and doing 400 takes? Or tricks to get you out of your head when you’re getting all cerebral?

  18. I’ve heard there certain circumstances when there is a minimal amount to no editing involved in a gig, where the talent simply sends in the dry read and it’s more or less cleaned up at the other end. On the other hand there some where the talent has to do all of the editing before submitting. It appears there may be a spectrum here. Can you expound on this, and maybe describe the spectrum I’m eluding to, if there in fact is one?

  19. Here is a tip for installing acoustic foam over drywall, don’t use an adhesive, use T-PINS. The only damage you’ll have when it comes time to remove the panels are pin holes that can easily be covered. It doesn’t take much to hold foam panels since they are so light. Get T-Pins at your local Office Depot or Staples. But buy a bunch. If you bend one during installation throw it out because it will continue to bend. When you hit a dense spot in the drywall you may have to tap the T-Pin with a hammer, otherwise if you have relatively strong thumbs you can just press most of them in. When the day comes for the major upgrade to the space, you can easily remove the foam and possibly reuse it all you have to do is grab a a pair of pliers and pull out the T-Pins. The only damage to the drywall will be a bunch of pin holes instead of globs of old foam and glue.

  20. Here’s another sound taming tip. If your space used to be a bed room with those big hard surface double doors, go to your local BIG LOTS or you local discount store and get a queen size fleece type comforter. Then go to the local drapery department and get an appropriate size current rod for width, go heavy duty as the comforter is heavier than most drapes, and get clip on current rings. Install and hang over the doors. No more sound reflection and you can still use the closet space.

    1. Hi Michelle. If you don’t mind my offering some tips that have worked for me, in addition to what David may offer, I’d like to see if perhaps my experience can pro you a bit.
      1. Try to record during similar hours of the day. Our voices generally become higher pitched as the stresses of the day build. I like 10am-noon. I’d had my tea, cleared my head, I’m ready to be productive and I’m generally not hungry until at least noon. Perhaps you can figure out what time works for you personally. Doing this helps provide the same room tone, too.
      2. I do about 5 minutes of ujjayi pranayama, before I begin any recording whatsoever. Doing so calms the nervous system and therefore the voice. Then my voice more easily matches the previous sessions.
      3. I listen to the last paragraph I recorded, both reading and speaking along those same words again without re-recording them. Then I recall the tone and mood. At the end of the paragraph, I simply hit record and continue speaking. Doing so, I find the new recording dovetails in seamlessly.
      4. I put a little oil on my lips every time I record, so the sibilance and lack of plosives is identical.
      5. Another very successful narrator taught that whether she thinks she needs a break or not, she always takes one at about 45-50 mins of recording. She noticed that if she did not, she very often began transposing words on the page, creating the need for pickups later.
      I hope that info supports your VO work! I’d love to hear other’s tips for consistency, too!
      Cheers,
      Marlon

  21. HI David,
    What is 2nd best to a full walk-in closet or telephone booth style sound booth, in which to record VO?
    I no longer have the ability to have either of those at home. Perhaps there is a desktop way to get some “booth sound”. I’d crawl in my frig. if I could, but there’s that loud fan. Ha! Seriously, any ideas on a booth that’s not a booth at all? I can certainly pad the walls and put some other sound absorbing fabric around me and record in more quiet hours of the evening. Is it futile? Any pro tips, if you please?
    Boothless in Weho,
    Marlon

  22. Hi David! There are some great comments in here, I’m going to see if I can add a few that may not have been covered.
    1) Do I need Source Connect?
    2) Okay, but do I really need Source Connect *Pro* before I can get work?
    3) How do I find work outside of the P2P sites?
    4) How do I handle people asking me technical details about my studio or my software?
    5) A client told me my noise floor was wrong and mentioned my RMS. What is that and how do I make it right?
    6) Do I need demos for everything before I can audition? Can I turn auditions into demos and make my own?

    Hope these help. 🙂

  23. I will take any class you’re teaching! I need to book more! Lots of auditions but only a couple of bookings.