Prep And The Pro

April 02, 2024 11:50 AM By Paul Boucher

In 2001 when I first sublet space in Sync Spot studios, I was the beneficiary of the knowledge and expertise of some of the most generous peers I’ve ever worked with.

Between studio owner Frank Laratta, engineers Jason Lawrence and Steve Allen (as well as Beau Shiminsky) who went on to found Ear Candy studios, I learned the value of prep – and how it resulted in the superior service and craft those individuals are all renowned for.

Of all the things they taught me, the service that’s evolved into “Right Voice Vault” is the one that stands out for me today.

I remember walking in on numerous sessions where Frank, Steve, Beau or Jason would be unarchiving an old session so the voice actor could match up with the audio recorded weeks, months, or in some cases, years before!

I never questioned it until I walked in on Jason Lawrence handling a binder worthy of weight lifting, full of CD’s (😳) with handwritten labels with a consistent naming protocol noting studio/client/date.

When I asked what that was, he nonchalantly replied something along the lines of “..Oh, that’s the session you originally did two years ago. The client wants to update something, so we’ll haul it into Pro Tools, and you can just voice the change, and we’ll make sure it all matches…”.

Among the other details were the microphone used in the original session (most studios have more than one type), and some processing details. For a voice actor who’d always thought performances were so ephemeral, the notion of preserving them seemed like a minor miracle.

The resulting perception of seamless service to the client over a period of years was priceless in building trust and positive reputations for all of us, AND kept those clients coming back. Eventually CDs gave way to DVDs, then external drive storage, and then redundancy in physical and cloud storage.

The reason I was thinking about this today is the disciplined backup regimen those guys taught me made my transition from a 5 year old computer to a new one a one day process that was easily verified and completed this past weekend.

The new computer’s first test was updating a session recorded in 2019. I pulled in a five-year-old recording from my archive, which I’ve branded as Right Voice Vault, referred to my notes, and perfectly matched audio for Samsung.

All it took was a few minutes, but in keeping with the philosophy I’ve tried to work with in the business regularly, I paused for a moment of gratitude to those patient pros who helped me make my business and service better. So Jason, Frank, Steve, and Beau…thank you! Every session I’ve recorded since 2001 is archived and available for clients should the need arise.

The next time you hire a voice actor, or approach a studio for a project, remember to ask questions that confirm for you not only their craft and passion for it, but how much attention they pay to the meticulous preparation that makes their business a frictionless joy to deal with.