How To Backup Your Performance Work

Hey, there!

You’ve heard me talk in class and at workshops about the importance of having backups for all of your work, especially long term projects like audiobooks.

There’s nothing quite as depressing as losing a lot of work you’ve done, especially against a deadline.

In the VO2GoGo Managing Clients and Projects class, I describe my admittedly insanely overengineered backup process.

But I think it’s so important, I’ve decided to share it with you here. And for a very special reason.

Because you shouldn’t be backing up for disaster, you should be backing up for quick recovery. Here’s what I mean.

I wrote an ebook over a decade ago called 10 Quick Steps to Perfect Backups. In those days, floppies were still around, but CDs and DVDs were becoming the backup medium of choice – hard drives were still pretty expensive.

And one of the main tenets of that book was to give you the real strategy for backing up: recovery.

Why You Should Do This NOW (and in this way)

Lots of people backup to an external hard drive. And that’s better than nothing.

But that hard drive is sitting right next to their computer, and if a fire breaks out, a flood, structural damage, water damage and so on, if your computer’s in danger, so is that hard drive.

Even a power surge or sag, one of the most destructive things that can happen to electronics, can fry both at the same time, leaving you with nothing.

(Trust me. I know. New Year’s Eve, 2002. I don’t even want to talk about it.)

Even a necessary, innocent system software upgrade can leave you open to potential software or hardware conflicts that you may not even experience immediately, and returning to a previous COMPLETE backup may be the only way out of a jam.

And there are people who will tell you that just backing up your most important files up to the cloud will do are dangerously wrong.

What you need is an up to the moment backup of every drop of data on your computer, that’s in a safe place.

A couple of different safe places, actually.


Not just so you have some sense of comfort that your work is backed up, but that something much more important is possible:

So you can be up and running within a day or so of getting a replacement machine, right where you left off.

It’s so important that you understand this distinction: backups are created so you can easily recover.

And external hard drives are the way to go, with a particular strategy for managing those hard drives.

What You Need

Today, you can get a portable 2 terabyte drive for less than $60. You can get 4 terabyte drives for a little more (and that’s what I currently use). My recommended drive is the Western Digital My Passport Ultra. And I recommend getting AmazonBasics cases ($5) for each.

It’s great to have one of those, and to use it to back up your laptop or desktop’s hard drive.

But you’ll need four My Passports if you want to replicate my system.

Let’s take this step by step, and assume that you’re using Time Machine for your backups, because you have a Macintosh, like I do. (If you have a Windows machine, read the rest of this article for the strategy, then please visit my pal Leo Notenboom’s site, ask-leo.com, and backing up a PC.)

  1. Buy four Western Digital My Passport Ultras and four AmazonBasics cases.
  2. Connect them to your Mac, and format them with Disk Utility.
  3. Name them each something different. I’ve called mine Backup Alpha, Backup Beta, Backup Gamma and Backup Delta.
  4. Attach all four of the My Passports to your Mac (or do the following for each one separately):
  5. From the Time Machine menu bar icon, choose Open Time Machine Preferences…
  6. Scroll down in the disk list to Add or Remove Backup Disk.
  7. Select the first of your backup disks, make sure Encrypt Backups is checked (if someone steals a disk, they’ll have an impossible task trying to decrypt it), then choose Use Disk.
  8. Select a password for your encryption. Use a strong password, with upper and lower case letters, at least one number, and at least one punctuation mark.
  9. Time Machine will then begin to back up to your first disk.
  10. While the first disk is backing up, repeat steps 6 through 9 for the other three disks.
  11. Depending upon how much data you have on your main hard drive, each backup could take from hours to days. Be patient.

What To Do Every Day From Now On

  1. Once the first drive is finished backing up (Open Time Machine Preferences from time to time to see your progress), you can eject it on the desktop and disconnect it.
  2. Immediately take that drive to your car, and put it in the glove box or center console or in the door pocket.
  3. Once the second drive is finished backing up, eject it, and disconnect it.
  4. Immediately take that drive to the safe you might have, or any another room in your home, as far away from where you computer as you can.
  5. Once the third drive is finished backing up, eject it, and disconnect it.
  6. Immediately take that drive to a spot near the front door, conveniently available to be grabbed.
  7. Once the fourth drive is finished backing up, start the following regular behavior: whenever you head to your car to run errands, go to the movies, whatever, grab the drive that’s currently in the near-the-front-door spot.
  8. Take that drive to the car with you and swap it for the drive that’s already been sitting in your car. When you return from your trip, take the drive that was sitting in your car, and bring it into the house, directly to your computer.
  9. Swap the drives, taking care that a backup isn’t running, and that you properly eject the hard drive that’s currently connected to your Mac. Put that drive in its case, and take to the one of the opposite-side-of-the-house spots, replacing the drive that’s there, and moving it to the near-the-front-door spot, ready to be grabbed the next time you head out.
  10. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Do this on a daily basis, or even more often.

Why do this?

Seems like a pretty complicated process. It’s actually more complicated to describe than it is to put into use. And it’s designed to make sure that at least one hard drive is nowhere near the computer when disaster may strike.

And as Time Machine will backup everything on your Mac, should you face a drive crash, when you get your new Mac and you’re first starting it up, one of the options will be Restore from a Time Machine backup – just connect one of your four backup disks, and choose that option. Restoring from Time Machine showing how easy that is.

Pick the drive that’s the most recent backup and is not damaged.

It will take a couple of hours to several days to stream all the backed up data onto your new Mac. But the data will be absolutely perfect, and you’ll have minimal cleanup to do.

That’s peace of mind. Real peace of mind.

Hope this helps.


9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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