When it comes to their home-studio, many voice over talent don't realize the importance of planning. So they spend more money and time than necessary, and/or find themselves unable to please their clients.
This article aims to prevent these misfortunes.
SAVE MONEY AND TIME
Good planning can multiply your budget by as much as a factor of ten. Two examples: First, for every dollar you spend wisely, you will save ten dollars on studio re-builds and unnecessary equipment. And second, for every minute you spend planning, you will save ten minutes down the road, by avoiding studio re-builds and technical glitches.
To determine what type of home studio is right for your needs, answering the following. This, too, will helping you save money and time.
- What sector of voice over is right for you? This should be based upon a) the sector your voice and delivery are most marketable in (audiobook, documentary, cartoon, corporate, telephony, commercial, promo, etc.), b) the sector you aspire to work in (when you read scripts that you enjoy, you will read better, make more money, and be happier), and c) the type of customers in your marketing area (if cartoons are recorded mostly in NY and LA, perhaps this is not the best sector to pursue if you live in the Central Plains).
- Do the sectors of voice over you plan on pursuing record only in professional studios? If so, you may have no need for a home-studio.
- Will you use your home-studio only to practice and record auditions, or will you record actual voice over jobs ? Lower quality equipment is sufficient for the former, while higher quality equipment is necessary for the latter.
- What is your budget? If you spend your entire budget on your home-studio, you will be left with no money for marketing. This makes your studio investment a waste.
- Is there a chance you will move? If you do, portable sound-booths and equipment will save you lots of money and time.
- Will you rent your studio to other voice-over artists (to use for practice, auditions, recording)? If so, be sure to build a home-studio that caters to many studio scenarios... not just yours.
- Where will your voice over home-studio be located? A noisy location requires higher quality sound-booths (to eliminate undesired sounds from entering). If your studio will be in a quiet location, spending that much money is unnecessary -- in which case, a lower quality sound-booth may suffice. Or you might be able to get away with simply using a closet.
- What type of delivery format will be requested by your customers? MP3, Fed-Ex, ISDN, FTP, etc.? Research the requirements, logistics and technology and/or services you'll need to have and learn. But don't waste time and money on capabilities you're unlikely to need, or (if rarely needed) that you'll be able to work around.
YOUR TECHNICAL OBJECTIVE: PLEASE YOUR CLIENTS
It's always best (and feels great) to be able to tell your client, “Sure, no problem.” If you plan ahead, you can. Unfortunately, many aspiring voice over artists find themselves forced to turn down jobs that they have not planned and prepared for.
So devote a day to planning your studio. Call potential customers -- specifically, the type of customer you aspire to market to. Ask why they hire voice over artists with home-studios, and what they request from them.
Use this information to begin determining your home-studio requirements. Specifically, you'll need to know what type of recordings you will produce, what quality level will be necessary, and how you will deliver your recordings to your customers.
Inappropriate equipment, lack of thought, and anxiousness will not help advance your career. Planning will.
Most new businesses begin with a business plan. You should, too, and this should be written into it. Begin by searching on-line for a sample business plan that you can emulate. It needn't be a voice over business. Many types of sole proprietorships or small service-based businesses are comparable to yours. Your plan does not need to be as complicated as many you will find (for example, a business plan written to attract investors or secure a loan contains detail information you need only summarize). An abridged version should suffice.
Once written, follow through with your business plan, including its timelines, marketing efforts, and income statements.
And finally, whether part-time of full-time, take your voice over career seriously. Put a minute of thought into it...and save ten.