The glory of fall in the Midwest still feels fairly new to me, which makes it particularly awesome. Since I’m originally from Southern California, where leaves pretty much stay the same color all year round and generally refrain from disembarking their respective limbs, I never really got the full gist of what autumn was all about until I moved to our cozy home in the Southwest corner of Michigan. We really lucked out with a house nestled neatly on 1.5 acres of beautiful wooded terrain.
In a word: Wow.
In three words: It’s absolutely fabulous.
My mouth is still agape, at least figuratively, over the brilliant kaleidoscope of changing colors. Blazing reds mingle with burnished golds and yellows, contrasting keenly with the pert green still peeking from the lawns and evergreens.
It’s the perfect mix of beauty, peace and tranquility… And an excellent environment from which to work as a voice-over actor.
What? There’s a Downside?
And then I discovered the downside. Two downsides, actually. All those deliciously colored leaves don’t stay neatly tucked in their places. They instead flail not-so-neatly across the lawn, roof and gutters.
Thankfully, this voice-over actor doesn’t have to deal with the first downside, which is cleaning up all those leaves. My hard-working husband does that — although every year he swears that next fall he’s going to hire someone else to handle the chore (or move back to California)! No matter how brilliant the colors, collecting and disposing of all those leaves is enough to send a person to the chiropractor, or massage therapist as my husband prefers lately.
But I did have to deal with the second downside. The curse of the constantly droning leaf blowers. While leaf blowers are loud and invasive enough to make anyone a little buggy, they can be the death knell for voice-over actors trying to create pristine recordings in their home studios.
The Sworn Arch Enemy of the Voice-Over Actor
Since many of our neighbors also work at home or are retired, it’s not as if they confine their leaf blowing or other noisy landscaping activities to weekend hours only. Any day, any time is fair game to be accosted by the insidious low rumble of small-engine lawn equipment.
I blogged about this issue three years ago in my article “Voice Acting and the Battle of the Blowers” when avoiding the noise was contingent on being smiled upon by the Leaf Blower Gods, and an occasional personal request of one of my neighbors — “Um, I hate to ask this but could you pretty please hold off on doing this until I finish my ISDN session with my LA voice over client?” I got a lot of blank stares with that approach, but it worked for awhile. What was needed, however, was a much more permanent fix.
This year I’m armed with a fool-proof solution… It’s called Studio B.
This ingenious inspiration began a couple years ago when a little voice inside my head suggested I actually move my recording sessions to a new location in my home during the heavy noise pollution seasons.
Fortunately, I have a fairly spacious house so there were several options to consider. One room in particular was the logical choice. While I still enjoy the same high-tech goodies as Studio A, such as the must-have ISDN phone patch capabilities and excellent acoustical accoutrements, Studio B comes with an additional advantage.
It’s outfitted like Fort Knox (if Fort Knox was meant to protect silence instead of gold). To get to the heart of Studio B, I walk through not one, not two, but FIVE doors, deep into the bowels of a wholly soundproofed haven where not even the rumble of a low-flying small aircraft can penetrate. I know this may date me a little, but I actually feel a bit like Agent 86 on his way to speak with the Chief every time I head in to my own recording booth (watch the clip to see what I mean).
So let the leaf blowers rumble, the snow blowers growl and the Midwest be tidied unto the highest. I shall rest comfortably knowing I now have my serene workspace in the solitude of Studio B.
In a word: Wow! In three words: It’s absolutely fabulous.
Published by Debbie Grattan on 11/22/13.
Debbie Grattan is a Professional Female Voice-Over Actor who has been in the business for more than 20 years, racking up well over 10,000 completed voiceover projects while partnering with hundreds of production companies, marketing and advertising firms, commercial voice-over recording studios and corporate/business clients around the United States and abroad. Check out Debbie’s Voice-Over Actor Demos and request a voice over services quote for an upcoming project.