Some ways I use to feel better about my recordings, when self-doubt sneaks in, or I discover I’ve plain voiced something very badly:
- I listen to someone miles better than me. For me, this works because my most loved voices are very calming, soothing ones, and really, nothing can be all that wrong in a world with Alan Rickman’s voice in it. (If you’re reading this page, Alan, and finding this hint most unhelpful, may I recommend Juliet Stevenson’s audio recordings?) Plus many many years have been spent honing such voices and technique, and while I’ve done some work, it’s nowhere near that league. Puts things in perspective.
- I listen to someone worse than me. Okay, this is a rather negative method, but let’s be honest, I suspect many listeners have thought, on occasion, “well, at least I don’t sound like THAT”. Listening to that voice also helps me put things in perspective. The world is a big place, and every voice is going to find some fans and some people who hate it (and that latter applies even for famous and respected voices.) There’s honestly room for all sorts of recordings.
- I think about something great I’ve recorded! Note, I don’t actually listen to it – in a mean mood, I’d tear it to bits entirely undeservedly. I just remember that this one *worked*. That I can do good reading. That sometimes the author, microphone manufacturer and audio software developer have conspired to make me sound amazing. I just showed up and showed willing.
- I get a second opinion! For this, I try to pick someone who’s going to be nice but constructively critical. There is definitely a time and a place for being told that something is “just fine, stop fretting about it”. Or for hearing that a pop-shield or volume adjustment would make the world of difference. Or for agreeing that a character voice is too annoying for words and it needs revisiting. I also try to avoid nay-sayers and pessimists like the plague. I’m already my own worst critic, I don’t need to audition anyone else for the role.
What else could I try..?