Oh yeah…it’s time for a break! You’ve got a long weekend scheduled to go to that great beach town or festival. Maybe you’re visiting some family or friends. It’s gonna be like the good old days! Great food, great drink, good times! The question is do I travel with my recording gear or fully book out with no availability? At this point in my career I’m happy to say that even a couple days away from my studio could cost me a job. That’s great news! But…it can sometimes create challenging situations when you’re on the road.
In answer to the first question…yes…I always happily travel with my recording gear! Is it the best thing to do? Well, I don’t know the answer to that for sure. I’ve always been a firm believer that everybody is entitled to take some time off from work. Truth be told I don’t think I’ve fully stepped away from my work since I took my honeymoon about 8 years ago. When I travel, I always have to keep in mind that a voice over job could come up.
The good news here is that I absolutely love what I do. So working on the road isn’t a drag. It’s amazing that voice actors can work from virtually anywhere. This means that no matter where I go I don’t have to worry about missing that big audition or job. I’ve also learned that you can construct a makeshift studio from almost anywhere. And when a really big job comes up while I’m on the road I usually try to find a good recording studio somewhere nearby where ever I’m staying. I’ve actually met some really cool people and recorded in some awesome studios in many cities throughout the US.
Of course, I’m not gonna lie and say that working on vacation is the easiest thing to do. Inevitably it always seems like when you’ve got something fun planned for the day; a voice over job pops up and you have to rearrange your schedule. This can be a bit of a bummer for both you and the people you’re on vacation with. My advice here would be that if you can…have that session booked in the morning or at the end of the day. This way the session doesn’t impede on things as much. Normally I NEVER ask a client for a specific session time unless it conflicts with another session. But again we all should take some time off, and I don’t think you’re being a difficult person to work with by asking to schedule the session for a certain time because you’re out of town. Just be a little cautious depending on the client. These people still pay your bills, lol.
The bigger challenge is setting up a makeshift studio. I’ve spent a ton of money on my current home studio. As a result, I can record at pretty much any time of the day and get perfect acoustics with almost no outside noise minus the occasional fighter jet flying overhead, haha. But on the road, you face a ton of challenges. I recently bought the vomo vocal booth from vocal booth to go. And it works extremely well. Thing is, it’s hard to take on a plane. By car…it’s great. But if I’m flying somewhere, I may not take it with me depending on where I’m going and for how long.
So when I don’t have my vomo, I have to figure out how to set up a space that’s good enough to get the job done. At this point pillows, blankets, and small closets are your friend! Use them wisely. Your bigger challenge will be the outside noise. When you’re on the road you have a lot less control of this. If you can’t get a pretty quiet recording; you can use something like the waves NS1 noise suppression plugin or some sort of noise suppressor. Keep in mind that even the best de-noiser is gonna to have some sort of negative effect on your recordings by means of slight artifacts or the loss of the bass end in your voice. But used properly and under “ok” conditions it gets the job done.
Beyond that…if the environment is terrible the car is often your best option. Those car commercials that demonstrate how quiet car interiors are these days….there’s a lot of truth to those. So when you’re in a pinch the car is a great option. And of course if you just can’t find a good space to record, the best thing to do is find a nearby studio. I don’t think this is usually necessary for an audition, but for a job I really do encourage you to make sure your environment is suitable for a good recording. And if not spend some money on a studio…last thing you want is the client to say your audio quality isn’t good. That’s a bummer for sure and could result in the loss of a client.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice as far as deciding whether or not you’ll work while on vacation. In all honesty, I’d like to see myself take some vacations in the near future where I just completely unplug. Right now, I don’t see that happening any time soon. But the good news is, I love my work. I love recording. I also find it fun figuring out how to set up a makeshift studio. Hey…It’s all about the adventure….gotta love it! Happy recording on the road!