In the old days of voice overs, all that was required of me was a script, a cup of water, a pencil, and lipstick. That’s it. (True, one does not need lipstick to do a voice over, but I wanted to look all pretty while doing it.) My entire voice over toolbox was very light and simple. Those big-brained, scruffy, hip studio engineers took care of pressing all the right buttons, flipping all the switches and making sure all the pretty lights were flashing correctly in the recording studio. All I had to worry about was making sure my lipstick wasn’t crooked.
“Whoa, I will never grow up to be a rawkin’ voice over lady if I don’t get this on straight!”
When I began doing voice overs full time after leaving my sweet morning gig at a big radio station in Seattle in 2002, I discovered that my glamour status as a “talent only” wasn’t gonna cut it. Not only did I need to be able to perform, I had to whip off my talent hat and slam on my engineer hat to actually complete the job. I had a brand new learning curve ahead of me, and that was learning how to render quality digital audio files on my computer. It really made my head hurt thinking about it.
The one ace I had up my sleeve was that I knew how to get around on the computer. I knew how to manage files, how to send an email with an attachment, what a browser was, and what a wav file was. I even knew who Bill Gates was. And that was a damn good thing, because I would have gone through a whole lot more wine learning digital recording and editing if I had no idea how to use the basic functions of a computer.
Computers weren’t even invented in the 1800’s, yet this woman has already figured out how to cope with it.
I have coached a lot of great voice over talents in the last 5 years, and I cannot tell you how many of them weren’t up to speed with the basics. I can’t tell you, and I won’t. Let me just say, it makes big fat tears stream down my face, because I know that they really really REALLY need these basic computer skills to be able do voice overs from home. The reality is, even if you have all this amazing, glorious, golden voice talent constantly shooting out of your orifices like lightning bolts, you also gotta be able to render and manage the audio files of your genius. If you can’t, you simply won’t have a solid shot at doing jobs in the voice over industry. It’s a new age, and it’s time to saddle up the tech horse, kiddies.
If you don’t have a clue what a browser is, how to create a new folder on your desktop, how to manage and organize files, or how to send an attachment in an email, you need to fix this pronto Tonto. The good news is that it’s pretty easy these days to have someone join you on your computer from a remote location (yep, they don’t even need to come to your house!) and show you the basics. So, put down your microphone and that martini glass and go get some training. And make sure your lipstick is neat.