This week I've been an expert. An official expert on a panel. Luckily the expert-ing happened before the wine...
Yes, that's right gang. I'm back on the blog, miss me? I missed you too. I do hope you've found other blogs to fill your minds with in my absence.
It's been quite the year. A full time MA and keeping the VO biz going. Good job I'm an organised bod with a penchant for fourteen hour days and no social life. But it was all for the greater good. Nine months on and a new stage of life begins - me the voice coach. It's been going well so far. As well as work in various Drama Schools (RADA, Arts Ed, East 15) I've been collecting an eclectic bunch of 1-2-1 clients who I help with accents, voice for voiceover and general vocal assistance. Add to this some work with comedians for comedy pilots on TV and Radio, merging my two passions of comedy and voice, I don't think I can ask for much more.
Not one to exaggerate (I literally never do...) the course has been a life changer. Not only for me as a voice practitioner but as a person (#barf) Going back to studying at this age has been really hard and my brain has been put through its paces. But now, having survived, I've rediscovered a love for learning things. Some of which is science?! Whaaat? Yes. I know stuff about anatomy and muscles and acoustic science and things. Turns out learning IS fun if it is something that you're actually interested in. Who knew? And they have apps for literally everything these days. Which is both helpful and entertaining.
The main purpose of this blog is to spread the word about next months exciting project. Myself and fellow voice colleague and pal Laura Hunt are offering Pay-What-You-Can voice coaching to those at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. I'm up at the Fringe with a brilliant show, Welcome to Tiddleminster starring comedian and Twix fan Chris Cantrill, and want to lend a vocal hand to those in need. Be it help with an accent, some warm up ideas, vocal health advice or text work, if you or anyone you know is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, send them our way. (#festvoice) We are happy to help. We are accepting all cash donations and offers of drinks/show tickets as payment. Which isn't too shabby. Prices usually start at £40-50/hour so if you've got the budget for something that would be fabulous. But I will accept part payment in haggis and hog roast.
Anyway, a 12,000 word thesis awaits, which is more than I'm used to these days, damn Twitter and it's 140 character limit, so I shall sign off for now.
Keep an eye on #festvoice and #tiddleminster for all the shenanigans and goings on at the Festival.
Kind regards and thanks for reading.
OK, let's do this. I'm going to be a voice over artist. HERE I AM WORLD! GET READY FOR ME AND MY AWESOME VOICE. *twiddles thumbs...
Like the first guest to a party, who has made way too much effort for the fancy dress theme, you can end up looking around in embarrassed bemusement wondering what to do next when you launch yourself into a new industry. You've joined the forums, the Facebook groups, G+ communities and followed a load of people on Twitter. But they're saying loads of stuff that you don't understand yet, so where the heck do you start? There is so much information to take in, filter and process.
Everyone is blogging (it's happening right now, see?!). Everyone has a 'How To...' article or a '10 Top Tips on...' feature. And everyone seems to know what they are talking about. Like a pro. So how in the name of Neumann (*in joke for all you mic buffs out there...) do you work out which bits of advice are genuinely useful sources and which are the mere ramblings of an over-confident newcomer/embittered old timer/drunken cowboy on their sisters PC?
Well, you know what? It doesn't matter. As my wise Irish father would say, "you've got to plough yer own furrow, pet". Meaning tred yer own path, make yer own choices. Sure, ask advice, listen, observe and learn, but be responsible for your own decisions. Whether it's about what mic to buy, what course to take, which coach to approach, even what P2P sites to take a punt on. I read, watch and listen to as much as I can from various voice over folk. Some of whom I've met in person, which can help in realising the authenticity of their wisdom, others who I've made a great connection with online and feel are trustworthy oracles of knowledge due to their credentials and nifty avatar. But I can still end up with very opposing opinions from numerous strong independent business people, experienced in their field and with legitimate reasoning behind their tips.
Well, an unfortunate piece of truth is that we learn a heck of a lot more from mistakes. I'm a terrible one for getting everyone and their mothers opinion by asking tons of questions in forums and doing obsessive research on things before I make a choice. Don't like being wrong, see? (#typicalwoman) But mistakes still happen and the sooner you get used to it the easier the journey will be. So you bought the wrong editing software? And you got taken for a ride by paying for an LA voice coach who ended up being a bus driver from Slough posing as 'Jim the voice Johnson'*. Who cares. You'll live. And you might not do it again.
This isn't a blog about telling you what you should be doing. It's a reminder that only you are responsible for what you are doing. So, just bloody follow your gut and make a choice. Who knows, it may even be the right one.
(*Any similarities to real people are purely coincidental. I made the name and scenario up. I'm sure there are many honest Jim Johnsons out there. And Slough is lovely this time of year...)
By Nicola Redman