So I've really been considering voice acting as a serious career change for the past year. I've studied the various content produced on voice acting via YouTube videos, Reddit feeds, and blog articles from accredited sites such as Such A Voice and Voices Carey (a local training center).
I don't have fears about voice recording itself. I feel like I'm comfortable in what to do although I'm humble enough to know I probably still need the basic coaching to fine-tune how to do it better. Some voice lessons could really help show me what I can already do and give me a better foundation of what is required and expected in the industry. Because of my demanding work schedule, I just hadn't found out how to logistically plan for regular attendance. And then COVID happened. No non-essential travel for me.
What I do have in my favor is ownership of my own home. No noisy apartment neighbors above or below or on the otherwise of a thin wall. I have a decent size walk-in closet that has already been prepped for proper soundproofing and resonation.
I even invested in a recording bundle from Scarlet Studios. A little more than $200 bought me a nice compressed microphone, a pop filter, table with an articulating/folding arm, and a USB friendly interface. Along with the laptop I already own, I am ready to record semi-professional
audio from the comfort of my home. So what's the problem?
I hadn't thought of myself as a perfectionist much before, but I may be ready to admit to it now. Even though my home environment is quiet enough, and I feel that the soundproofing is adequate in my closet/studio I just feel things aren't professional enough.
After playing around with Audible's narrator site ACX, I found several unnarrated books that piqued my interest. I auditioned for four of them: two children's books(my child's/character voices are on point if I do say so myself), a sci-fi genre book(my favorite book and movie type), and a romantic, dare I say erotic drama novel by an up and coming black author. From the Zane books I've come across, I felt confident enough to perform this type of title without issues.
I was denied for all but one-the romantic novel. Ironically enough, the lead character was a male. Even though I'm a woman, I can produce a pretty decent male affect. The author heard my 5-minute auction and seemed to approve. But I eventually turned it down, claiming technical issues with my recording software. This wasn't completely untrue.
I recorded each audition through my laptop using Abelton Live Lite, which was the software that came with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio bundle. I'm sure this is an awesome package for the musician skilled in audio technology, but for me it was too much to handle.
Figuring out how to do a basic one track recording was simple enough. I also discovered how to do basic track edits. As a video creator for YouTube, I am familiar with the basics of editing tools through both my phone and computer software, but even this experience didn't help me understand the nuances of this multi-track, plug-in laden system. It just wasn't very intuitive.
And then there was the breathing noise. My pop filter did its job of canceling out the sibilance and plosives of the S's and P's. What bothered me was that I could still hear the breaths that I took before sentences and mid-sentences. Even after fine-tuning the software as much as I could, they were still audible to me and I feared this would ruin the overall recording. There was no way I was going to send in a less than professional recording for a book.
There is something called a sound gate which by use of plug-ins is supposed to automatically detect and cut off the breathing noises (as well as other minor disturbances in the audio) but I just couldn't get it to work for me. I watch several YouTube videos to educate myself on the topic as well as the video tutorials that came with the Ableton software. If only they could dumb it down for me just a little more.
For a professional recording program, I understand that the information is geared towards professionals. But what about the beginner? And what about the niche market which is the VoiceOver community? All the extra options found in typical music recording software are overkill. It seems to me there should be software developed specifically for single track voice recording with gates, equalizing, and other features built-in for narrators and voice-overs alike.
As an alternative, people have been recommending me to try Garage Band or Audacity since they are easier to use. I will look into and other options. Because I do want to use my charisma and voice for the purposes of changing my career and ultimately my destiny, and while there are many options to do this, fear is not one of them.