Inside the Studio
Behind the scenes, resources, and thoughts
The invisible work of creatives
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As I walked from my studio space to the couch, my iPad clutched under my armpit and my water bottle’s strap hooked onto my pinky finger, I thought about what this might look like if someone else watched me. “Look, there she goes, going to clock out early and get comfortable on the couch. See, if only all of us were so lucky.” But I realized, in this imaginary situation, this is part of my work.
This moment of pause made me think about all the invisible things I do - and many other creatives do - which are crucial to our work.
To help pull back the curtain, here are a few of my most common invisible tasks
Voice Overs & Narrations:
Prepping a script
I sit and read every script thoroughly, sometimes more than once. Using my iPad to highlight dialogue, color code characters, underline certain words that call for emotion, look up unknown words and phrases, and write down the phonetic spelling of them. The script I’m sitting down to prep now has a lot of French, so that’s fun.
Prepping my voice
Sure, most people’s day does start with a nice shower. Though, for me, it’s part of getting my voice ready for hours of recording. A 20-minute hot shower is perfect for creating a steam room and doing some exercises like vocal trills, breathing techniques, and, my favorite, singing along (softly) to whatever songs match my mood of the day.
Prepping the characters
Some scripts have multiple characters, like truly different characters that need their own personalities and voices. I bet there are amazing voice actors who can pull characters out as needed, but not me. I need to try them on, practice a bit, and make sure I can have consistency throughout the full script. For example, today, while reading the dialogue of a young man from New York, I somehow started talkin’ in a got-damnt couwntray accent! Whoops. To avoid this happening during recording, there is, uhm, just a lot of talking to myself and to my cat.
Creative writing and story building:
This is not actually a list. There’s really one thing I want to shed light on. That is the power of being away, a pause, if you will. Sometimes, I have the opportunity to write anything I want. Sometimes, I have a prompt I need to stick to. But, without a doubt, both require my imagination to be in full swing.
I think I’m not alone in this, but I will take as much time as I have to come up with something. Is the first draft due in two days? Great, I will have something for you. Do I have an entire month? Wow, then it will definitely take three and a half weeks. Imagination is the one thing that is tough to turn on and off. Though, one thing is certain, staring at a blank page will not make you think faster.
The time I spend away from my keyboard is equally, if not more important than the time I spend clicking away. Not to sound too much like “I’m a mad genius,” but there are several occasions where I develop stories as I fall asleep, even waking up at times to write down ideas on my phone. Walks (without ear buds in), folding laundry, moments focussed on other busy work, people watching from my window as I sip on a freshly poured glass of wine - these are the moments that truly are invisible, yet incredibly crucial.
The moral of the story? Creatives sometimes get a reputation that our lives are just easy peasy, flowing with the wind, charging whatever we want to for our work because we, too, like money. But in reality, there’s an incredible amount of invisible, unseen, unsexy work that goes on to enable each of us to keep creating. The list above is not extensive by any means and is only about what happens before the act of creating here at Studio Wednesday. The post-creation workflow is one completely on its own, and perhaps, if you’d like, can be another article we dive into Inside The Studio.
But for now, enjoy the quiet, unseen moments. And always continue pausing in order to create.
That’s all for now. Chat soon.
Caitie from Studio Wednesday