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The Sweetest Sound

Having a physical and mental back-up for technical failures is imperative in running your own business.

Nothing brings me more joy than hearing my iMac start up!

Okay, I know... a little overly dramatic. Obviously there are far sweeter sounds than a technical device being rebooted. Like ocean waves, a bird singing merrily on a warm Spring day, or rain on the roof after years of drought. And the most obvious ones... the first cry of each of my two children, and my husband-to-be saying "I do".

But I gotta say... after having no Internet, (which means no TV and really poor cell phone service and no 'landline' service) plus having the power out to the back of my house which included my garage door opener, workstation and recording booth, for four days, hearing that usually annoying single-note-blast from my iMac was music to my ears.

A person cups their hand to their ear with an image of a sound wave.

Make sure to have a Plan B.

I know, I'm supposed to have a Plan B for this type of thing. And I do have contingency plans for many different scenarios. It's just that I never even had actually practiced the ones that I can duplicate in one way or another. I guess deep down I never really thought that I'd ever really need to use them. Or something like that.

Or never thought that so many aspects of running my business would be inaccessible to me all at one time. It was very disconcerting to feel like after I have invested so much money (you don't even want to know...) and so much time (I am starting into my eighth year of actively coaching, learning, auditioning and working, in addition to the two years I spent researching voice acting, which doesn't include all of the many years I spent dreaming about it) could go up in smoke in a moments notice.

Were there tears? Yes, there were tears. Was it frustrating that I was not able to pull up even one website, while my husband was happily scrolling and maybe even watching cat videos? (Which I later found out that he was sitting in the one good spot in the house that could pull in a signal while the rest of the house had turned into a I-don't-think-we-need-to-see-anything-on-the-Internet-for-awhile zone.)

Was I totally bored? Yes! Did I use the time constructively by organizing my actual pen-to-paper files that I never seem to have time to do because I'm always on my devices? No. Did I spend time reading books on voice acting that I never have time to read, cuz of that device-time-consuming thing? No. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and trying not to let the frustrations take me to the point of actually quitting VO for good.

Know who to contact when you need solutions.

Because this all started on a Saturday, I had two days to wallow in self-pity and frustration. On Monday I called my Go-To-For-Any-And-Everything-Technical-Like-This guru who helped me to understand a few things. Like I can use a hotspot in my house on my cell phone if I get my husband out of the one chair that is closest to the front window!

Early Tuesday morning the Cable Guy showed up and at least I had access to the Internet without having to drive three houses down the street and sit in my car to send in auditions from my cell phone. By Tuesday afternoon, I had power back on to my entire house.

That's when I let out a huge sigh of relief and sat down to push the power button on my iMac. That sweet sound emanated from the speakers and in an instant, I was back in business.

Stay focused.

But the lesson I learned was clear... not only do I need a back-up for equipment that might fail, I need a mental back-up and maybe even a plan written down so when panic strikes after something happens that I really have no control over on my own, I can find my list of who to call to 'fix' things and I can be reminded that I've gone through this before and will get through it again.

I recently heard that voice acting is about 75% technical and only about 25% actual acting. Which tells me that this type of scenario will probably happen again, in some shape or form.

But the next time I'm pretty sure that I'll be ready for it.

Debra Elaine is a California-based Voice Actor and Medical Narrator delivering professional voice over from her home studio via ipDTL & Source Connect. Learn more >>


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