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Voice Studio

Studio 69 on the New Cross strip

You know they say, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? Like, about men and friends and curly hair? I always wanted rid of my curls, now it's pixy short and I've got afro-envy...I mean it was never an epic 'fro, but with some clever back coming and a few minutes of hairspray I could do a pretty good 80s power ballad diva silhouette of a Saturday evening.

Well, having been a drifter for the past two years I'd been spending the in between times at my parents glorious place in the Northumbrian countryside. It's a B&B, Bush Nook. Come visit. (see Dad, all over this 'networking' malarky....)

Whilst there I needed somewhere to set up my studio. And, after much deliberation it was decided that in the attic under the eaves, off the tiny last resort spare bedroom, there was a storage cupboard currently housing Christmas decorations which would suffice. So up we went, me and the Da. We (he) rehoused the decs and hoovered, we (he) hammered and drilled and laid extension cables and what not until it was sound treated and resembled a kind of studio but for a very small person. So I, with much tutting and puffing, crawled through the hobbit-esque door each day and sat on a cushion or my knees or stood slightly hunkered over, to record all sorts of things for clients. TV commercials, IVR systems, corporate narrations and character pieces for my sketch group Jolly Mixtures

While I was crawling in and out, choosing the moments wisely between the odd low flying aircraft from our local RAF base and lambing season (#countrylife) I often thought  'bloody heck, this is just NO good. I NEED  more room. I CAN NOT WORK LIKE THIS'.  

As I sit now, in my studio corner of a triangle shaped bedroom in London, in a basement flat just off busy New Cross road above a train station with a window the size of a Cadbury's chocolate finger... I think, 'you bloody idiot. You had it so good up there, and you didn't even realise. In a space dedicated only to recording. With a lot of silence and privacy. A delightful view. And a man with a drill to help!'  (#thanksdad) 

Things are set up great now. I'm recording daily with ease, keeping clients happy and learning how to time with the odd rumble of a train. But it took quite a few set up attempts (not much short of 69 I imagine) to get things right. Variations of treating the walls, finding the sweet spot for my mic. I mean at one point I was using a vintage parasol (I kid you not...) to reduce overhead reflections. Not the most practical of solutions but I did get to feel like I was in Downtown Abbey. Which is odd when you're recording an advert for medicine that relieves constipation in children. It's all glamour.

The moral of this tale? The grass is always greener at your parents house. Or something like that. 

What's your studio story? Let me know. 

#ADR in the WB Studio. Across from a strip joint #glam

October for me has been about investing in more training! I mean, who needs to spend money on food really... Got to speculate to accumulate in business, that's what they say. "Who's they, Nic?" Dunno, Bob, but they also say 'you live and learn' and 'you can't teach an old dog to tap dance', or something, so they know their stuff. 

So, having done the Game Voices course at High Score Productions earlier in the month and had a bloody good time (read all about it here...)  I went to Warner Bros De Lane Lea Studios to attend Louis Elman ADR Academy. I'd been introduced to ADR a few months ago by a VO friend, and thought it was worth investigating. Well, what another fun day! ADR voicing, or Automated Dialogue Replacement, is when you create all the vocals for the supporting characters and cast (and sometimes principles if it turns out they can act but can't do an Egyptian accent, but that's not for now...) in a TV or movie production. So any noisy crowds or one liners you can hear off screen in movies, the voices are generated by ADR actors, which is what this course prepares you for. 

View from the studio. Didn't get to do any of their voices. Maybe next time.

It's definitely a skill alright. One minute you're part of a cheering crowd, the next you're part of an angry mob, then you're drowning at sea, then you're the breaths for a victim in a thriller. And that was just me on that particular day. Thanks to David John who ran the course and Abigail Barbier from Louis Elman. Much fun was had. 

So that's another skill in the bag. This bloody bag is getting pretty heavy with #skillz now; game voicing, ADR, corporate narration, commercials, radio promo... I'm going to have to remove my sandwich if I'm not careful.  

Anywho, I very much recommend the course. Get stuck in. You might learn something. About Soho if nothing else. Quite the varied landscape. #studio #pret #strippers #obvs