Self Direction – Part 1

Home recording studios no longer represent the rich man’s toy. Nor are they just products of the Los Angeles marketplace. The home recording studio has arrived, and continues to grow. Shrinking hardware and software prices have made the home studio economically within reach of the journeyman voice over talent.

Today, more and more voice over actors have home recording studios. For many, what used to be a small clothes closet has become their personal professional studio.

I call these actors “The Pajama Performers.” They don’t have to dress for work. They don’t worry about deodorant, if they need to put gas in the car, or how long it will take them to drive across town to an agent’s office for the audition. All they need concern themselves with is reading the script, analyzing its content and self directing.

The process has built-in pluses and minuses. The pluses are obvious. Saving gasoline dollars by itself is probably a good enough reason to build your own studio. And for those who relish staying at home and mysteriously putting on some extra pounds, that too may be the necessary grist for a self-confined existence.

The problem for many of us is the very distinct inability to self-direct. Some actors absolutely love the sound of their voice. For them, the audition can become an adventure in self-aggrandizement, brought on and stimulated by the sheer love of anything they do.

On the other hand, there are a very large group of people like me, who always feel they can do better. The thought of self-direction actually makes me uncomfortable, especially the prospect of listening back to my own voice and making an honest appraisal. Frankly, I hate doing it. Perhaps I’m overpowered by the genuine importance of each audition.

Without exception, professional journeyman actors who can honestly say they earn a living doing voice over will agree with the importance of being given the opportunity to audition for a job. Never ever use the word “just,” when describing the content of your audition. Only the inexperienced loser may refer to their pending audition as “just another audition.” The word “just” must never creep into your voice over vernacular if you have any intention of sustaining yourself within our trade.

The highest percentage of what you will be attempting in your home recording studio will be the audition.

In my not so humble opinion, beginners shouldn’t contemplate building a home studio unless they are being counseled by an experienced and trustworthy industry professional. Never shop the yellow pages when searching for what could be one of the most important adventures of your life. Word of mouth is the only acceptable input. Anyone can have his or her claims printed. Word of mouth substantiates an individual’s, or a company’s expertise, and reliability.

When it involves your future and your family’s welfare, be with those people who are recommended by the working professionals you might wish to emulate. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Agents and journeymen actors are the very best source for recommendations.

But if you must self direct, here’s a tip from da harv:

To be continued next edition…


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