I coach voice over talent in a number of areas, including the traditional performance coaching for VO artists. And I love the transformations that occur during coaching sessions (I call them private workouts).
When I work out with someone, I can either do it live, in-person in my Los Angeles studio, or I can do it live and in-person, but over Skype, the free audio and video messaging system.
And lately, I’ve suggested far more often that my clients and I hold our sessions via Skype, even if they live within driving distance – for one very important reason.
It’s simple: you’ll be working with your equipment, in your space, with your environment around you, and your equipment’s positioning – plus, I’m able to see your body position with regard to the mic, and how you address your mic.
Plus, you can share your computer’s screen with me so I can help you adjust Audacity if need be.
That all means you don’t have to transfer what you’d learn in an in-studio session (my studio, not yours) to try to map it to your studio’s particular set-up. You actually get instant use of what we discover together, and can apply it immediately to your day-to-day working environment.
As I’ve watch engaged, enthusiastic students and clients make great use of their Skype workouts with me, I’ve jotted down some of their best practices. Use these, and you’ll get a lot more out of the time we spend together.
Here’s what you should do to prepare for your Skype workout session with me.
1 Make sure you respond to my request to become one of your Skype contacts. Once we set a date, I’ll ask you for your Skype username so that I can request to become an approved contact for you. Make sure you respond to that so that I can instantly call you on the day of our workout. Here’s what it looks like when I make a request:
You’ll get a message asking you to confirm me – please do so.
2 Adjust your audio settings. Well before our session, open Skype’s preferences and adjust your audio inputs and outputs. If you work with a Macintosh, you’ll find this by going to the Skype menu, choosing Preferences, then clicking on the Audio/Video icon:
If you’re using a Windows computer, go to Tools >> Options in Windows, and click on the Audio Settings button:
Once in your Audio settings, be sure to select your AT-2020 USB Plus for both input and output. Of course, if you use a different mic than that, select whatever mic or USB bridge you use for your voice over work appropriately. The settings will usually be the same settings you choose for input and output in Audacity.
You’ll find your audio settings will be under the Audio/Video icon in Mac:
And you’ll find the same settings under Audio Settings in Windows:
Make sure the checkbox next to Automatically adjust microphone settings is not checked. Skype has a nasty habit of making all of your apps automatically change input levels if you select that. It should look like this:
3 Make sure your studio space is quiet and well lit. Make sure your door is closed and any fans or lights that make noise are off. Do make sure that you are well-lit and easily seen, and that your equipment is also easily seen. You can see this on your video preferences screen: your camera will be turned on and you’ll be able to see yourself:
Adjust your camera so I can see both your head and your microphone.
4 Make sure you have the right camera selected.. In some cases, there will only be one choice:
You may not have a Facetime camera – that’s usually just on Macintosh, but whatever cameras you might have listed, make sure the right one is capturing your lovely image.
5 Have your questions written down. If we dispatch with what you have for your clear goal with me, we can explore the other things you need. One of my favorite questions is “How can I help you?” and “What would you like?” Have your laundry list of questions you’d like answered somewhere in a notebook or a text file, so you can ask those if time allows.
In the comments below, share with all of us your best practices when it comes to Skype. Any tips you want to share?
Oh, and by the way – if you want to schedule some time together, just visit the VO2GoGo Workouts page to get the skinny on how that all works.
Hope this helps.