Yep, 10 hours.
It was an ISDN session where I was in a studio in NJ and the client was at a studio in San Diego, CA.
I have to say that while it was the longest session I have ever had, it was also one of the most fun, rewarding and personally enriching experiences I’ve ever had. Because I now know that when it comes to long sessions…I can pretty much handle anything!
I thought I’d share a few tips I think might help you prepare for some of those long narration sessions you may have:
– Make a habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of room temperature water or herbal tea everyday. I am SURE that my voice would never have held up if my vocal chords/folds were not well pre-hydrated prior to the session. Remember: it takes at least 2 hours after you start drinking for that hydration to start having an affect. I drink tea throughout the day everyday.
– If you get the script ahead of time: READ IT! The worst thing you could do is walk into the session saying…”I have a few questions…..” when you’ve had the script for several days. Yes…this prep work IS part of the gig. Ask as many questions as you can before the actual session, as this will help keep the session moving once you’re in the studio. Nothing slows down a session like asking a question that needs a phone call to an outside person before being able to continue recording. Get those questions answered beforehand. Of course…if you don’t get the script…well then, prepare for a longer session! 😉
– Supplies to bring to the session:
o At least TWO PENCILS with an ERASER. I say a pencil because every once in a while the client will say “cut this part out” and then change their minds. You want to be able to erase the line through the copy you just made! And two, because one pencil point might break!
o Room temperature water
o Herbal tea bags – one of my favorites: Twinings “Herbal Unwind”
o “Throat Coat” Tea bags – MY lifesaver!
o Bagels & Peanut Butter – Carbs & Protein!
o Granola Bars – My favorite? Nature Valley Crunchy Oats & Honey
Yes, it may seem strange to walk into a session with a bag full of this stuff, but believe me, they come in handy!….You don’t want your stomach growling during a session, do you?
– Wear comfortable clothes
o Skintight jeans are not what you want to wear to a long session!
o A cotton shirt – remember polyester makes noise!
– Get friendly with the engineer so that they can help keep you in cups of tea throughout the session! 🙂
– Keep a positive attitude! Long sessions are taxing on all concerned, but lets’ face it, would you rather spend ten hours in front of a mic or digging a ditch?
– Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks. If the session goes longer than two hours. Ask for a break at a point in the script that makes sense.
– If you “hit a wall” and start feeling tired, ask for a break, go to the restroom & do some jumping jacks, quick arm punches, anything that will get your body moving. It’ll get the blood flowing and re-energize you. Throw some cool water on your face…and then look in the mirror, smile and think about what an amazing gig this is! Walk back into the booth smiling!
– Remember, your job is to make the client’s job easier. If they want something said 3 different ways, then record it 3 different ways. The easier you are to work with, the better the chance you’ll have to get re-hired. No one likes to work with a prima donna!
– Have Fun! This is a great gig!
I have to say that I walked out my 10-hour VO session feeling amazing. I know that the client who was on a super-short deadline was happy to have gotten everything recorded, and I was thrilled to know that I could get this done. I felt like the Energizer Bunny® that kept voicing, and voicing, and voicing!
Yes, it was a long day, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else! I was in front of a mic, living my voiceover dream! I LOVE my job!