For my fellow audio enthusiasts with home recording studios, whether you are also a voice over artist, musician or content creator, here are my top 6 studio based quarantine activities! In playing our part to quell the spread of coronavirus, more and more of us are self-isolating which offers us all an opportunity to take care of business that may well have been overlooked for a long time. Here are some bits and bobs that I will be doing to entertain, improve and look after myself around the studio and I hope will also serve as ideas for you too!
Get creative with studio upgrades
Partaking in a artsy activity not only improves your mental health (an important factor to think about during periods of self-isolation) since creativity reduces stress, depression and anxiety but it also actively boosts your immune system! Double whammy!
While I enjoy my studio space because of what it represents to me - freedom, the joy of doing something I love and all that - it is a somewhat dull looking space. All charcoal foam panels and thick, sound absorbing curtains. So I will be taking this time to jazz it up a bit! A while ago, I started creating cork sound panels. Cork is a great material for absorbing excess noise and reducing reverb, so I got friends and family to save their wine corks for me. I got as far as making 4 and then got distracted by various things like moving house and holidays and...Netflix.
For me, my first activity will be to get back to cork boarding but for you, it might be creating a collage for the wall, knitting a little blanket to throw over your desk to soundproof it or try your hand at upcycling for a new piece of studio furniture.
Studio spring clean
Something that I have become more aware of in recent weeks is that I do not keep my studio space or equipment as clean as I ought to. I’m not saying that everything is caked in grime or that the place smells like a hampster’s cage... just that there are certain maintenance jobs that it has never occurred to me to do in my own studio!
For example, I recently posted a picture on my Instagram of me cleaning the grill of my microphone head. Perhaps shamefully, I’ve not done that before. The jobs still left on the list are:
Giving my keyboard a good clean (fun fact: you know the old toilet seat that often gets lumbered with being the benchmark for being covered in gross amounts of bacteria? Well, your computer keyboard can harbour up to five times more bacteria than the throne.)
Wiping down all the switches and dials that get fiddled with, from the mic stand to the pre-amp to the lights, with anti-bacterial spray!
Thoroughly dusting all the surfaces and instruments that are in the studio. I will even try to gently clean the inside of some pieces of equipment with compressed air (but only pieces that I know I’m not going to accidentally destroy and find myself in the lurch being left without!)
Face call loved ones near and far
I realise that this one is a bit tenuously linked to the studio! My connection here was that my Skype is usually only set up for clients who call in to direct live voice over sessions! Whereas now, I’ll be using it to talk to friends and family such as those who are already in lock down in Barcelona, my folks at the other end of the country and my pregnant friend who is self-isolating just 15 minutes down the road.
Alright, I was grasping at straws making this one a ‘studio-based activity’ but seriously, self-isolation will affect everyone differently. In these times of social distancing and self isolation, it is more important than ever to make efforts to maintain social interaction and stay connected. Dropping friends and family a message to arrange a Skype or Facetime date will help with the social quarantine, keeping the worst of the loneliness at Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash bay and giving peace of mind that loved ones are coping.
Marketing - research, plan & implement
Social media is part of the marketing admin of being a voice over artist. Despite not really doing enough of it beyond my Instagram, I do quite enjoy working on it! However, with so many different mediums and channels, some research is needed in order to understand how to navigate and utilize them effectively. The next step will be creating decent content for those channels. Did you know that it is estimated that by 2022, a whopping 82% of online content will be videos? I certainly do not record that many videos and in the fast-paced world of social media, being left behind on trends that absolutely dominate the content world would be a mistake. In particular, short, punchy videos might be something to focus on since it is predicted that ephemeral content will keep gaining popularity.
Quarantine time will be a prime time to take note of the social media markets that I am simply not part of at the moment and start generating some video content - no doubt with longer blooper reels than usable material!
Podcast - listen & create
If you are a recording artist, be it a voice over artist or a musician, with a home recording studio and an opinion, a hobby or particular interest in a subject, why not take this time to turn it into a podcast?!
In another annoying episode of “I had this great idea, got started and then got distracted before it was finished”, I have actually already recorded a series of a podcast. 6 episodes fully recorded and just sat waiting for me to edit them. I even recorded some sound effects that I want to feature in the episodes. The amount of effort I went to was not insignificant so it is such a shame that I didn’t maintain momentum to see it out until the end. Until now! Now, I need to:
Edit the audio
Commission someone to create a catchy podcast jingle
Commission an illustrator to create the cover
Research how to actually get a podcast onto all the right platforms!
Excellent bonus here is hiring freelancers. As you have no doubt already seen and heard Photo by Kate Oseen on Unsplash . in the news, businesses and freelance individuals are suffering right now. So being able to commission someone to do what they do best and help keep their enterprise alive feels like a positive thing to do.
If creating your own podcast is not your thing, there are still a ton you could be listening to. Get started on your own ‘must listen to’ list or if you’re looking for recommendations…
My Podcast Recommendations:
Read out loud
Just about everyone I know has unread books on their shelves. I have a bit of a thing about bookshops - antiquarian book shops, well known retailers, charity bookshops - I love going in for a gander! Good practise for voice overs, whether you’re a seasoned pro or an aspiring beginner, is practising reading out loud. It is great for developing your cold reading skills, improving your ability to change your style, tone or accent to indicate different characters speaking, as well as working on your intonation and pacing.
There are also numerous benefits to reading beyond voice over self improvement - simply reading can make you a smarter, kinder, more relaxed individual.
My book recommendations:
This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay
Pond - Claire Louise Bennett
Cathedral Of The Sea - Ildefonso Falcones
Thank you for visiting my site and reading my first column! I hope it was helpful. If you have any comments or suggestions, you are welcome to message me using my contact form or dropping me an email at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can follow me on instagram @voiceoverkatie to be reminded of when the next column is out!