What non-DAW software do you use? And should you?


In a recent episode of Edge Studio's TalkTime! telephone call-in discussion, we focused on "Non-DAW" software (Digital Audio Workstation). In other words, apart from recording software, what programs do some voice-over professionals use, why do they use them, and how do they like them? During that hour of chat, our callers covered a lot of ground. In fact, it was surprising to see how many options they came up with. Here's some of what was covered.

The full hour discussion can be heard in TalkTime! archives at EdgeStudio.com:
Go to edgestudio.com/talktime/archives and scroll to March 18, 2018.

We can't possibly review all these programs, and we DO want to stress that almost none of them are required to be a voice actor or run your voice-over business. In many cases, if you don't already know a program or have a good use for it, it might be a waste of time. Often it's more productive to do what you do best, and hire an accountant, or a web designer, or a graphic artist for special skills.

But, if only to expand your awareness and a place to start, here are various types of non-DAW software you might consider. We've included some notes based in part on the comments, but this list is not at all complete, and neither are our comments.

Website building and management

  • Wix Web design. Customizable, but if you later want your site to be hosted elsewhere, you'll have to buy it from Wix.
  • GoDaddy. Easy, but template based and not so flexible. May or may not be transportable if hosted elsewhere. If you want GoDaddy to do it, there are various development options.
  • Weebley Website Builder. Like the above, this service also hosts your site.
  • Fat Cow Web Hosting.
  • Adobe DreamWeaver. An old standard among web design programs, but of professional complexity. For a simple site of a few pages, it might be overkill and more than you want to learn.
  • Adobe Muse. This is easier than Dreamweaver, more like using an online builder program.

Content Management Systems (CMS, a subset of website development). An advantage of a CMS-based website is that you can revise or add content essentially by "filling in a form," without needing to trouble (or pay more to) your developer or learn technical stuff yourself. However, to you create the site yourself, there is a learning curve to setting up the site and customizing it.

  • WordPress. The major player in the CMS sphere. Many major developers use it as their foundation. Easy to set up a blog, but recent versions are tending to look more like a website builder than being focused on blogging. Many hosting services offer a WordPress option.
  • Joomla
  • Drupal

Client and Prospects management (Customer Relationship Management)

This category of software keeps track of emails, provides reminders, handles scheduling, includes a customer database.

  • Salesforce – very deep and very custimizable, integrates with Outlook. There is a cloudbased verson, which might be more affordable.
  • Zoho. A cloud software suite of productivity tools.
  • Aptivo – integrates with Gmail.

Financial

  • Quickbooks. For bookkeeping.
  • Turbotax. Ties in to Quickbooks.

Script management

  • Microsoft Word
  • Kindle
  • Adobe Reader or Acrobat (PDF)

There is also annotation software. It wasn't mentioned during the TalkTime! conversation, but it's a category we use every day in Edge Studio faciities. Some programs are free programs, some have a low cost. We recommend a text-based tool, to allow for script revisions and visual clarity. Note that "markup" and "annotation" don't necessarily mean the same thing. Markup is what you need in the booth. Ease of use for markup purposes may depend on whether you have a touchscreen or not.)

  • iAnnotate for Apple products
  • Windows Snipping Tool (rudimentary image-based markup).

Image Editing and Creation

  • Mac Photos app
  • Light Room
  • Google Photos (used to be Picasa)
  • GIMP ("GNU Image Manipulation Program"). Free, open-source.
  • Affinity Photo (Used to be Serif)
  • Microsoft Paint or Microsoft Photos (the latter is more capable)
  • Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. For most people, full-blown Photoshop is extreme overkill. ("Like using Pro Tools to record make a single-track recording.")

Utilities

  • VM Ware – enables Windows to on Mac and vice versa. Also lets Linux run on either.

Audio/Video

  • Firefox Video Download Helper. A plug-in to rip videos and sound files.
  • Soundcloud.
  • VoiceZam. A subscription website add-in enabling vistor to assemble your demo segments to focus on their interest.

Suites

  • Ubuntu – A suite of programs for Linux operating system
    Do you have a comment or suggestion? Please send to Marketing@EdgeStudio.com.

Voiceoverview.com

I’m just starting to use voiceoverview.com, which is a web-based program to manage a voiceover business. It includes a simple CRM to track clients, jobs, expenses, etc. It is in active development so expect more features soon. The developer is a VO and very responsive. I like it so far.

A word about WordPress

There is WordPress.com and then there is WordPress.org. WordPress.com doesn't allow installing plug-ins [Very Key] unless you buy their largest package ($300/Yr - $25/Mo). WordPress.org allows you to download WordPress CMS free and use plug-ins freely. Then the only expenses are cheaper things like domain name and hosting. While installing the WordPress.Org CMS may be daunting if you're not a geek, I discovered a couple other really cool things.

I bought my domains from namecheap. They offer an already integrated WordPress hosting package called easyWP (just like using WordPress itself) with great tech support (Yes, I had to use their real-time chat help). easyWP hosting only cost me $9 total for the 1st year and $49/Yr after that (only $4/mo) to do way more than WordPress.com allows.

(Second, there is a plug-in called Elementor (search YouTube for this thing!) Elementor allows you to customize any WordPress or any other template - visually - and very fast. Just click and drag sections, widgets, and blocks around. No CCS or HTML knowledge required ... but you can if you know how ... that's the beauty. Amazing! You can also build your own template, website or blog from scratch just as quick from within Elementor.

Lastly, another plug-in called Fullwidth Page Templates does just that. you can make any template display a full-width page. This means big, broad images across the entire page.

Name changing app

I use NameChanger sometimes to manage file names.

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