Man cave. Quiet place. Secret hideaway. Whatever you call your personal retreat, get thee to it and away from whatever's stressing you.
I call it my home voiceover studio.
When I need some time to myself - away from husband, kids, that neighbor down the street (we don't need to name names, do we?), I have my own little retreat.
In there, I can scream, shout, curse, pray, or meditate. All at once or one at a time. But usually only when the script calls for it. No reason to get totally carried away.
We all need alone time, either as a refuge from frustration or as our fortress of solitude to think, plan, or create.
A little peace and quiet can birth great creative noise.
Your escape from demands, quarrels, and plain old boring routine
Fortunately, with a home studio, I don't have far to go. My voiceover studio is MY place to create. I do my best to keep it an intruder-free sanctuary, but certain people (read: husband) like to barge in anyways. So much for the bright electric "Voiceover Recording" sign that signals that there's work being done. Maybe I need to hire a body double that he can glimpse walking out the front door so he doesn't realize I'm home and available for disturbing.
My home studio's not a big place, but it is a creative space. The microphone is always there, a willing collaborator that encourages the characters inside of me to come out and play. The mic is just waiting for those corporate narration scripts to transform into stories told aloud. Commercials become short entertainments, complete with a call to action.
My VO booth is also a respite from the routine of everyday life. The day becomes more interesting when you mix creativity with the mundane. Need a break from marketing or the demands of a household? Just slip into the booth for a bit and throw out a good excuse for doing so. "You need me to go over those tax returns with you? Sure, sounds like fun, but gee, I've got to get these auditions out, that corporate job finished. See ya in an hour or so, ho ...." Give me a little time to myself and I'll be more refreshed to handle everything else.
Creativity unleashed in the privacy of your booth
Yes, the VO booth is a perfect place to recharge the old emotional batteries by creating, playing, and channeling frustrations into vocal art forms. Especially therapeutic to voice villains, complete with an evil laugh, or any other wild creature for a video game or animated project. Shut out the world for a wee bit and artistically go to town.
On the flip side, the VO booth is also the place to go to be of service to others. There are projects needing voice actors that support fundraisers or give to charities. For example, last summer, I was asked to narrate a chapter of an audiobook, the proceeds of which would raise money and awareness for medical research. (Each chapter was narrated by a different voice actor to showcase the many stories of those affected by this disease.) More recently, I voiced animated characters for a locally-produced student film. Today's talented student filmmakers are tomorrow's producers and directors, and they have to start somewhere. When time allows, I enjoy helping them out with their projects, provided they're also well-organized, are sufficiently trained to know what they're doing, and have interesting or entertaining stories to tell.
Playtime, where much creativity originates. Thought, experimentation, and a willingness to try new things.
Artistic accomplishment: something creative to show for your efforts
The best thing to come out of the VO booth, besides peace of mind, is a sense of accomplishment. Hey, you just created something in there! That's a pretty good feeling, crafting a character or piece of work that carries meaning. Your work could very well entertain, educate, or inspire someone down the road to think, do, or just smile.
So you were recording and submitting auditions? Then you probably created some pretty good competitive choices for the client or casting director to consider. Working on a client project? Who knows, your work might be heard by an audience of thousands, perhaps millions.
The bottom line is: YOU created something that not just anyone can do. Or do well. And THAT'S something!
Laura's Quick Tips
Your voice over studio is YOURS - a place to create, if not also a place to retreat for a little peace and quiet!
Your booth is where your creativity has free reign to come out and play
You never leave empty-handed - you leave your studio having made something that hadn't existed before
Every artist needs a special place to think, plan, and create. How nice that today's voice actor has a home studio - even if it's in a closet sharing space with your wardrobe! - to go to just for this kind of work. Or should I say play? Because that's where most creativity comes from. Playtime: thought, experimentation, and a willingness to try new things.
We don't always have or need a special place to be creative. But it sure is nice!