It takes an enormous amount of commitment and business acumen on all levels to run a voiceover business. It's very easy to think that just doing more work will help your business be better. Using the weekend to take another training class or an evening in the week to participate in a VO workout. But as with any freelance business, activities that help relax your body and reinvigorate your mind are essential to keeping a balance between work and free time.
So what do full-time voice-over artists do in their spare time? Voice Over is a creative endeavor and creatives tend to do more creative activities for hobbies but when I asked, I got some unexpected answers!
Members of the US Based British Voices, USBBV kindly shared the extra-curricular activities they embrace when taking time away from their voice over careers.
We all need an outlet for refueling, and relaxing: I love to immerse myself in nature. The workout from rowing, the calm of the lapping water, and seeing wildlife from this view are really refreshing. Kayaking helps me to pay attention and focus on something other than myself and my goals or the next opportunity.
At the start of covid, I was lucky enough to find a great apartment with a private rooftop atrium. I quickly developed a green-ish thumb and have been growing a variety of tropical fruit like pomegranates and passionfruit. The space has also been the perfect vibrant muse for my other hobby of filmic colour grading.
I love to garden - planting something and watching it grow fascinates me as does the fact that roses can be grown in the Georgia climate. Spending time with my family and friends, as well as traveling are what I like to get up to in my downtime.
I have always loved animals, and I've enjoyed watching our little hobby farm grow over the last few years. But the arrival of COVID really made me appreciate things on a new level. Being able to walk out of my studio, or away from the news, and go and pet a goat - who, after all, has no knowledge of what's going on in the greater world, and just wants to spend some time with his humans - was a real tonic and it brought me even closer to our little menagerie. I think our animals have the power to remind us of those aspects of our humanity that make us human in the first place.
For me, playing music has always been therapeutic and of course, helps with my creative side. I've always wanted to play the drums since I was a kid, but I was playing too many other instruments, so it just never happened. I decided that I would learn to play before I was 50 and luckily found a teacher through a friend. I've now been playing for just under two years. I've also always done some sort of martial arts throughout my life and I'm a brown belt in Karate, so boxing seemed to be something I would enjoy. My hubby was going to sessions, and he dragged me along. It wasn't long before I fell in love with this sport. These are my wonderful ways to relieve stress, stay fit, and take care of myself.
I have become quite the bread baker (Thank you Paul Hollywood) and have also taken my British cooking to another level (there is always a lot of excitement in our house when I make my pork pies). I do local hikes with the family and the dog, write poetry, spoof song lyrics, play video games and occasionally get the chain saw out to tame our garden.
Music has always been important to me. Back in the seventies, being of questionable playing ability, I concentrated on the technical side of things, and being an engineer by trade, my recording skills were always in demand! There's no doubt that my experience helped immensely when I started voiceover. When 2020 gave us isolation and free time, I decided to hone my playing skills. I take great pleasure in picking up a guitar and then suddenly realizing that four hours have passed! It's totally immersive for me. How's it going? Well... I think I can honestly say I've moved from "can't play" to "plays badly" - but that's a win for me!
Back in the Dark Ages, I was an A-level Art and Design student while I was also studying Theatre in the UK. 20 years later I've returned to Sculpture, as another avenue for creativity and expression, more so since Theatre has been stifled by Covid. I used to make huge room installations, one of which was a recreation of Oberon's Throne and a lamp, based on a savoy cabbage- totally nuts but an absolute hoot to create! In recent years, I've revisited my artistic roots more so than ever. I have been working on a piece (for almost 4 years) for my mother's birthday. It is a tribute to Mother Earth and fertility. When she is finished, she will take her place in my mother's wild, overgrown garden by the beach, in my home county of Lincolnshire.
It's important not only for a career in VO but for the soul, to have creative outlets...I find working with my hands, gives my mind a rest, almost like meditation, I can breathe, regroup... I can while away the hours. This translates so well in my voice work. Drawing upon life experiences, my expression through Art, Music, and Theatre have added so many layers to my VO performances.
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