I’ve been noticing a consistent pattern: I perform better when I feel better. On the days that I am just not feeling 100% in the groove, I have to make a conscious effort to shake it off, so I can be present and relaxed in my reads. Shakira sings that her “hips don’t lie.” Well, I’d venture to say that a voiceover artist’s lips don’t lie. The microphone hears every subtle detail that is going on in our lives. If you are feeling confident, relaxed and in good spirits, you bet it’s going to come out in your read. The physical environment that we work in often dictates how we feel and how effectively we are able to get things done. So, why not give ourselves an advantage, by creating a workspace that invites creativity and clarity. Where do we begin? Take a look at the list below. Then, pick one thing that inspires you or seems easy to accomplish and tackle it. Each week, or as time allows, pick another suggestion from the list and put it into action. Before you know it, you will walk into your office and be excited to start your workday!
- Brighten things up – As voiceover artists, we spend a lot of time alone in our vocal booth or in front of our computer. The colors that we choose to surround ourselves with actually make a difference in how effective we are. Blue might be the right color for your workspace if you are hoping to increase productivity. Colors also affect our moods. If you want to create a relaxing environment, consider painting your walls green. To brighten things up and create whimsy in your vocal booth, try hanging colorful felt garlands or buntings. Since they are made of fabric, they do not interfere with sound quality. Etsy is a great resource. To learn more about color psychology, click here.
- Bring the outside inside – It may be hard to believe, but creative performance actually improves simply by having plants and flowers in a workspace. Check out the results from a study on the impact of flowers and plants on workplace productivity that Texas A&M University did by clicking here. Besides generating creative thoughts and greater productivity, plants help us tolerate the cabin fever that comes with being in an office all day. Open the windows when you are editing and feel the fresh breeze! You will be happy you did.
- Surround yourself with personal inspiration – Meaningful quotes can be inspiring, as well as provide
great artwork. Thoreau said to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life
you’ve imagined.” Seeing that quote on my desk each day helps put me into action. Whatever your mantra is, make sure that it’s visible. Pinterest is a great resource for finding quotes in the form of beautiful posters.
- Surround yourself by reminders of people and places you love – Pictures of family, friends, animal companions or fun trips that you have been on, can ground and uplift you. As a voiceover artist, I keep personal pictures on my script stand. They help me connect to the copy, particularly during those “conversational” reads that are so popular. If I have a read that requires some honest emotion, there is nothing like looking at the face of someone I love to put me in the right frame of mind.
- Remind yourself of your successes – As you know, voiceover is a very competitive field. Regardless of your level of success, there will always be a certain amount of rejection involved. Even celebrities don’t get every role they are after. To keep morale up, it’s important to always be mindful of our successes. Find something physical that can be displayed in your workspace that will remind you of your wins. I keep action figurines of the characters that I play on DC Universe Online on top of my monitors. On the days that I feel myself hitting a wall, glancing at them helps motivate me to keep moving forward. You can even do something as simple as taping your SAG-AFTRA card to your computer monitor or framing an email from a happy customer. The important thing is that you have at least one visual reminder of your success right in front of your nose. It’s that important.
- Remind yourself of your hopes and dreams – Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, vision boards can at least serve as an inspirational reminder of your hopes and dreams, propelling you forward to eventually reach them. Here’s a great how-to article to get you started. If creating a vision board isn’t your bag, simply hang a dry erase board on the wall and write out a personal manifesto of goals. Allow yourself to dream big!
I hope my suggestions help you find ways of creating a work space that relaxes, inspires, and focuses you. We all deserve to work in a space that feels good and brings out the best in us as performers and entrepreneurs. I would love to hear if any of my suggestions worked for you, as well as the particular ways in which you get inspired. If you have anything to add to the list, I welcome your insights!