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Voice Acting While Away from the Studio

Most voice actors will inevitably spend moments away from home under a cover, trying to perform brilliantly, in less-than-ideal circumstances.

We are small business owners and it's uber hard to switch off but we know we need to take breaks to recharge. It’s a dilemma I’ve been wrangling back and forth with for a few years: whether to take a travel kit or not. I even did a blog several years ago where I swore off using one.

As entrepreneurs we struggle to let go but as voice actors taking a travel kit alleviates the anguish of not being able to audition. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noted a couple of posts recently thanking studios in London for being great hosts and helping me out with projects I’ve booked and needed to record, whilst away from my studio.

Have Gear Will Travel

Winding back to early in my career. I was vacationing with my family and had dutifully taken my laptop, interface, mic, and headphones with me. It was hot and my family had gone down to the pool to cool off. I was upstairs in the room blankets and pillows surrounding me recording an audition I felt I couldn’t ignore (Massive FOMO rules in my head at this time). Ironically, it’s the screams of joy and laughter from my kids that meant it all takes longer than it should and by the time I was done, I was far from that holiday feeling. This experience set off a train of thought of "I’m definitely not taking a travel kit next trip as family holidays need to be pretty much just that". If a client needs me, we will try and work out a studio hire for an hour". This mindset worked well for our next holiday, and I booked something while away and the clients hired a studio near St Augustine, for me to record in.

Fear of Missing Out

Roll forward to a trip to Wales during Covid times, where quarantines were 2 weeks long. I didn't bring my kit per my own rules. So as it happens, I got a call from an agent that I booked a gig ( after 2 or 3 rounds of pre-holiday auditions) and they want to record that week. Can they wait until Monday? Unfortunately, not and ethically I can’t bring myself to break quarantine therefore losing the booking. It felt like a significant blow, as it was a national TV campaign. So my mindset changes again. Maybe I do need a travel kit but I need to only use it for emergencies, agent auditions or pickups. It was time to find a happy medium.

Finding a Happy Medium

I am now in a place where my travel kit is with me again and this seems to be working well. If a client books me, I’ve hired (or they have) a studio to record the booking. This has had the knock on effect of making some great studio connections both in the UK and the USA. Of the agent auditions I have booked, there have been enough to make all the extra time it takes to get through security with all the gear worthwhile, while even offsetting some costs of the trip. Most importantly, I have managed to park my FOMO at the door.

So strangely enough it appears, I have come full circle with the whole "Do I take the travel gear or not?" dilemma. I am further along in my career and I am traveling more for work than previously. I will do travel auditions but a pillow fort is not a stationary fixture. I am now a voice actor who travels, and my travails are a thing of the past. My family is eternally grateful and I am able to turn the volume down, at least for a little while.

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Ian Russell

Ian Russell is a British Voiceover Artist specializing in commercial voice over, narration, video game, character voices, animation and more. He is a frequent guest speaker on conference panels and podcasts, sharing knowledge about voice over. Read More >>


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