Voice Over Education Blog

When are you done with a home-studio recording session? Part 2 of 2.


NOTE: This is the second post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 1!

Last week we reviewed what to do after the rare session at a client’s studio. Now let’s look at what you should do after a session at your home studio – 99% of most talent situations. Maybe the client is on the phone or another connection. Maybe there is a remote director. Or maybe your client is just listening-in as an observer or sounding board.

Even if (especially if) you’re working alone and largely self-directing, what all should you do at the end?

If you’re being remotely directed in your home studio, it’s the same situation as when working away: When the client is satisfied, the session is over.

But what you do next is somewhat different.

After a remote session, anyone can disconnect through a simple click, with little or no notice, and there may have no chance (or even desire) to schmooze. It’s not the same as when, in person, you must at least hang around long enough to grab your bag and put on your coat.

So get the “paperwork” executed before you record. If the hiring process proceeded too quickly for a formal contract, and especially if the client balks at signing a contract, you should have obtained an email from the client’s business email address that stipulates the details of the job, including your policy regarding revisions, script changes, etc.

Obviously, you can’t exchange physical business cards, so also get names and contact info before the session, preferably in an email from the client or producer. Otherwise, consider recording their contact details (including spellings) while you’re recording; it’s faster than writing.

When is your session at the client’s studio really done? Part 1 of 2.


NOTE: This is the first post in a 2-part article. Click here to read part 2!

Sessions at a client’s studio (rather than your own home studio) are increasingly rare, but maybe that’s even more reason to review how to wrap one up. In an “away” situation, it may be your last chance to do everything right. Unless, of course, you DO everything right ... which will increase your odds of having more chances to come!

So, what should you do when your away-session is done?

The answer to this question depends partly on whether you’re being directed, even if the director is also the engineer or your client.

If the client is present (and/or client’s ad agency, etc.), that’s good. Even if the client is just tagging along, it’s good to have their immediate feedback, because they’re there to approve it. If they have any script changes, the voice actor can make them.

If the client wants to participate more actively, let them. (If the client is inexperienced at audio recording sessions, you might have to be a bit more diplomatic than if working with an experienced Director, but take them seriously. If you try to change them, they might hire another voice actor who is more welcoming of their input.)

Also, working with the client makes it a more personal relationship, which in turn increases the likelihood of having the client come back to you for future work.

On Excellence in voice-over. Do you dare to push yourself?


These days, it seems everyone is a social media journalist, and there are more in the way of impressive wits, commentators and analysts than you may have thought existed. The same with photography – many of our non-professional photographer friends have an excellent photographic “eye.” In fact, there is a lot of excellent work to be found in many endeavors that today’s technology has opened to wide participation.

So it is, too, with voice-over. The technology is widely available, and quality voice artists abound. That’s good, because it strengthens clients’ understanding and appreciation of our work. But there is also an abundance of marginally adequate talent, because our industry requires more than talent and a bit of technology. It requires the ability to apply one’s aptitude, and that requires voice-over education and experience.

Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

What constitutes “excellence” in the voice-over business, anyway? Surprise! It does not mean “perfection.”

In some fields (brain surgery and astronautics come to mind), perfection must be the norm. But who can say absolutely what constitutes a “perfect” vocal performance? Virtually any script is open to interpretation, invention and creative choices. Excellence may therefore be defined as whatever pleases both the client and the listener.

Unfortunately, some clients are too easily pleased. This might be because, in some genres, more time, money or effort put into a production might not yield a comparable increase in sales or results. Or sometimes the client is not a professional producer or judge of talent. Or they’re the boss of an enterprise, focused on other aspects of their business, and don’t give audio scripting and production the respect it deserves.

On Excellence in voice-over. Do you dare to push yourself?


These days, it seems everyone is a social media journalist, and there are more in the way of impressive wits, commentators and analysts than you may have thought existed. The same with photography – many of our non-professional photographer friends have an excellent photographic “eye.” In fact, there is a lot of excellent work to be found in many endeavors that today’s technology has opened to wide participation.

So it is, too, with voice-over. The technology is widely available, and quality voice artists abound. That’s good, because it strengthens clients’ understanding and appreciation of our work. But there is also an abundance of marginally adequate talent, because our industry requires more than talent and a bit of technology. It requires the ability to apply one’s aptitude, and that requires voice-over education and experience.

Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

What constitutes “excellence” in the voice-over business, anyway? Surprise! It does not mean “perfection.”

In some fields (brain surgery and astronautics come to mind), perfection must be the norm. But who can say absolutely what constitutes a “perfect” vocal performance? Virtually any script is open to interpretation, invention and creative choices. Excellence may therefore be defined as whatever pleases both the client and the listener.

Unfortunately, some clients are too easily pleased. This might be because, in some genres, more time, money or effort put into a production might not yield a comparable increase in sales or results. Or sometimes the client is not a professional producer or judge of talent. Or they’re the boss of an enterprise, focused on other aspects of their business, and don’t give audio scripting and production the respect it deserves.

Decades a lurker, radio drama comes back as a podcast.


To adapt a famous radio program intro, “Who knows what imagination lurks in the minds of humankind?” Without a shadow of a doubt, the listeners of radio dramas knew. And now, so do podcast listeners. The heyday of radio drama gave way to television drama, but the genre never entirely died. It survived here and there -- on radio, records, on-stage and the Internet – till now it has been coming back, in a big way.

Well, bigger. And it’s growing. It’s GROWING! We mean, it’s (SFX: EXPLOSION)...

In the 1960’s there was radio’s Firesign Theater, a comedy troupe delivering sophisticated absurdity on Los Angles radio stations, in an improvisational style but very carefully scripted. By the mid-’70s, Firesign’s four original performers had gone their own ways, but they also stuck together, performing on records and on stage now and then, in various formats, as recently as 2011.

In the early 1980’s, National Public Radio serially broadcast at least two of the first Star Wars stories, with their scripts greatly expanded to suit the extra available time, and in many ways even more vividly imagined. (For example, there was more character development and backstory, while the torture and garbage bin scenes were as gruesome as the listener’s imagination will allow.)

At the same time, Bob and Ray were on the radio, with their own brand of radio “drama” in the form of short skits about the loony family of “Mary Backstage, Noble Wife.” (The title itself was a play on an old radio program about marriage amid the footlights, called “Mary Noble, Backstage Wife.”)

Also about that time, Garrison Keillor was introducing America to Lake Woebegone and other dramatic characters residing on The Prairie Home Companion. Keillor has retired, but the program continues to feature radio dramas, complete with live sound effects, using techniques still very much alive in the film industry’s Foley studios.

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