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!
Thanks, Heather! I am really glad you you got something out of it and it made you feel good. That’s what it’s all about!
What a great article! Thank you Kelley for putting all of those tips in one place. I am going to bookmark this and reference it whenever I need a reminder on how to bring more warmth & positive feeling into my booth. I can’t wait to try these! I feel happier just reading it 🙂
Very cool info Kelley! I’ve been doing some soul searching this year and it helps to hear from VO female friends who are willing to share advice and inspiration rather than look down at you as just more competition. I love my VO family!
Thanks for reading, Mary. I am really happy that you were inspired by my article. Also, I completely agree about how wonderful our “VO Family” is. It’s such a generous community, full of people that share tips and words of encouragement. I am so pleased to be a part of it and learn from others every day.
Glad I’ve finally found soehimtng I agree with!
Hi Kelly, thanks for the article. It had many and so very true tips and it was a pleasure to read! I will definitely apply most of those tips
Thanks for reading, Paola! I am happy that you got so much out of the article. Let me know what tips you apply and whether or not they improve your work environment!
Congrats on your very first blog post, Kelley. Thank you for adding all those useful links to your article. It’s a great way to have your readers delve deeper.
When I designed my own studio, I made sure that I’d be surrounded by things that would remind me of my purpose, and of the ones I love.
For me, warm, rather than bright light is important. I love the soothing light coming from my Himalayan salt lamp. Some believe those lamps help reduce indoor pollutants and “electro smog” (http://healing.about.com/od/saltrocks/a/salt-lamps.htm).
The other two things in my recording environment that enhance my well-being, are a kneeling chair and a computer arm rest. The chair keeps me in an upright position ideal for voice-over, and the arm rest prevents Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the wrist, arm, shoulder and neck.
I look forward to reading your next blog!
Thanks for reading and offering up other opportunities to make our workspaces feel even better. I definitely need to get a computer arm rest, because I feel my “mouse hand” cramping up from time to time. That’s a great idea, too, about how to get rid of the “electro smog.” I try hard to keep toxins out of my studio, but had never even thought of using a Himalayan salt lamp. Great ideas!
Another hearty congratulatory note on your first blog! I loved that you picked a topic that is seldom written about, and offered some really great tips that I hadn’t thought of.
I do have photos all over my office and house of my family, so they are usually a constant source of inspiration. But I had never thought to use one on my music stand in my booth! Great thinking! Happy blogging. Hope to read more of yours in the near future!
Thanks for reading, Debbie! I am glad you got some ideas from the blog. Also, thank you for the warm welcome for my first blog. I really appreciate it.
Woot Woot! First blog and it already kicks ass. My studio has been a construction zone and a mess for most of 2014. Building a new booth and the project has been on a temporary hold the past few months. And, it’s showing in my reads. Your post has given me motivation to clean up what I can until I can resume construction again! Thanks and keep-a-bloggin!
Thanks for your enthusiasm about my blog, Jordan! I can totally relate to the piece about construction. We remodeled and added on to our house this year ourselves. My new studio will be up and running later this month, but until then, I am doing my best to make the temporary space organized and cheerful. It’s not an easy task, but it does seem to help the reads. Good luck with your studio construction! I hope the dust clears soon.