It is now 2011 and I have been living with my voice actor for about a year and a half. During this time, we have moved twice (including a move to Africa), and I feel like I have a much better understanding of what it means to be a supportive partner to a voice actor, who works from a home studio. Here are some of the thing I have learned in the last year:
- Do not go on a trip to Africa and let your voice actor use one of your suitcases for his equipment. You never know if you will leave Africa again, and if you leave all your precious shoes at home so he can fill your bag with equipment, you will certainly be sorry. Put your foot down and spring for the extra baggage allowance; do not sacrifice your shoes.
- Do not attempt to help your voice actor set up his home studio unless he/she asks. Having no comprehension of the mechanics of sound reverberation, it is silly for you to offer advice on how the studio should be configured from an aesthetic point of view. Stand back, watch the transformation of blankets, dresser drawers and pillows be transformed into something hideous, and say nothing. In the end it will sound great and pay for the food on your table.
- Do make sure you find out when your voice actor will be recording in advance so that you know when it is acceptable for you to open/close doors. Otherwise, once the recording has started, you could find yourself either trapped inside or outside for hours, unable to exit/enter for fear of disrupting the recording.
- Do give your honest opinion when your voice actor plays his/her recordings for you. I used to daydream a bit when listening and say that it all sounded great, but then I realized that it is not helpful to stroke a person's ego if it really does not sound good – better to give constructive criticism than have your partner lose out on a job.
- Do not sit in the room while your partner is recording. It means that you have to stop everything you are doing again and again (including breathing), and any slight noise on your part will result in an eye-roll and the need to re-record, which means you have to sit perfectly still and silent again.
- Do try to listen for your partner's voice on local radio and TV. It is fun when I unexpectedly hear my partner selling whiskey or Italian food on the radio while driving to work, and he always appreciates the recognition.
- Do not touch your voice actor's computer or sound equipment. Moving one of the dozens of cords or USB’s could result in a catastrophe of seismic proportions. Forget about dusting the equipment or trying to straighten it up – just leave it be and accept the fact that this one room in your house will always look chaotic.
- Do invest in a good pair of earplugs. Self-explanatory, I think.
- by Dianne Russell
Voice123 thanks for Dianne Russell and Adam Behr for this transparent, intimate look into life with a voice actor. If you have a ‘Do-it-yourself’ story you would like to share with Voice123, we would love to share what the Voice123 Community is doing!