I Pedal, You Pay.
Regular readers of this frankly not-so-regular blog (hello, Mum!) may remember a few months ago, when I wrote a tribute to my college performing arts tutor, Allyson, who died in 2010 after a long battle with MS. All year, her story has preyed on my mind, and since then, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany, I suppose, drawn from a sense of freedom gained from living with a (relatively) fit and able body.
Rather than sit in my padded studio and look out at the world, I decided to get out and enjoy it – because so many people are physically unable to. It seemed daft to use someone else’s disability as inspiration, without putting something back as a way of saying “thank you”. So, I’ve taken up running. Not in a major way, but enough to be seen on a fairly regular basis zipping over the beautiful Lancashire moors in a pair of rather attractive running tights and day-glo jacket (you’ve got to look the part, eh?) In fact, lately I’ve not been available for voice sessions until 10am every other day, because I’ll go for a run straight after I’ve dropped the boys at school – for me, it’s the best time of day to go. Mind you, find me a voiceover artist who works from home and wears anything more than pyjamas before noon…
One of our Dutch voice over counterparts from across the pond, Paul Strikwerda, recently wrote a blog post of his own (www.nethervoice.com/nethervoice/2012/01/26/deadly-words/) describing the challenges faced by his wife, who is an MS sufferer herself. His article is there mainly to discuss customer service issues (with which we agree wholeheartedly, and always apply those rules to our own business practice) but the story he tells about the everyday difficulties faced by MS patients makes for very uncomfortable reading.
So, what can WE do to put something back? Easy (well, sort of.) I’m going to do a 14-mile hilly run around Coniston Water, the London-Paris cycle ride, and the Ripon Spartan Race – an obstacle course with a difference. Not all on the same day, you understand… Phil will help out in his own way by, er, cheering me on with Alex and Ben. I’d really like to raise £2000, and I’m doing really well thanks to the generosity of some great friends. However, if you could chuck in a few quid we’d be very, very grateful. You can go straight to my sponsorship page at www.justgiving.com/elinor-hamilton, or you can text EHMS99 and your amount to 70070 (but please don’t forget to use Gift Aid!)
While this is a pretty huge task, it’s nowhere near as huge as the everyday task of living with a serious neurological condition. If enough research takes place, perhaps we might just see an end to MS altogether. Can you help by throwing some cash towards this small effort? I’m more than happy to do all the hard work – for one reason only. Because I can.
Posted By: Ellie
27 February 2012
One Day To Go
Running 14 miles around a lake should be NO challenge at all for the lady whose six-year-old son likes to chuck himself off mountains... *gulp*
What a ridiculously busy week it's been! I've even had to keep myself away from Facebook and Twitter which has been a bit of a wrench... never felt quite so twitchy ;-) We've recorded audio for use all over the place, on a week when we've been pleased to work from home while the rest of the country queues up for petrol ahead of a (seemingly non-existent) fuel crisis.
So, this is an advance warning that we're finishing at 2pm today, just in case you'd like to panic-buy some audio ;-)
This little break in the Lakes would be much-needed if it weren't for the fact that we're disappearing so I can run 14 miles around a reservoir tomorrow in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. When I'm all done, I'll let you know how it went (if I can move.) It'll be nice to get past the first of my three challenges - it's going to be quite a year for keeping fit.
Many thanks to everyone who's sponsored me so far, but if you haven't (and you're feeling generous) please feel free to chuck in a pound or two by clicking on www.justgiving.com/elinor-hamilton. Please help me to make a difference.
Posted By: Ellie
30 March 2012
Voices of, er, Eggcellence.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your script, once it's been printed out, read out loud into a VERY expensive microphone, polished up into beautiful spoken-word audio, and sent to you in whichever file format you desire? No, of course you haven't.
Even so, I'll tell you (because I'm nice like that.)
Most of the scripts we get are quite short, sent by fax or email, and the best way to get them into the studio and then processed for invoicing is to do a good old "rip and read" - printing off a single piece of paper and reading from that. It's the best way, really, because we can make notes on the script itself, as many scripts are re-written several times by the client during a session!
However, if we're reading a long corporate narration, we've found the iPad to be an essential business tool (as well as great for playing Scrabble on during flights, but that's by the by.) It doesn't have a fan, so it's completely silent (unlike a laptop) and although there are green issues surrounding all electronic gadgets, using it certainly saves an awful lot of paper.
So if you're going to run a business like ours efficiently, but still try to be environmentally aware, what's the best way to make sure you're not wasting mountains and mountains of precious paper?
Easy. Print on both sides (obviously), but then what? Of course, after they've been put through for invoicing, we need to shred the scripts because many are commercially-sensistive, so everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - is shredded for security purposes, so we can't even recycle them as scrap.
So... every couple of days, we trot down to our dear friend and neighbour's house with a few carrier bags full of shredded paper, which becomes lovely nesting material for his chickens. If we're lucky, he'll exchange our offering for half a dozen eggs.
That, as they say, is a win-win situation. Your scripts are recycled, and made into bedding for a collection of very happy hens indeed, who supply us with eggs, which are used to bake cakes for when YOU come to visit.
I'm not sure whether or not there's any such thing as "carbon-neutral voiceovers" but if there is, your scripts are bringing us one step closer :-)
Posted By: Ellie
10 May 2012
Here Endeth The Triple Challenge
What a summer! As usual, it's been fun but exhausting, trying to juggle a busy voice over studio with family life while the boys are off school for the holidays. That's not TOO much of an issue nowadays, since they'd apparently far rather spend their days in the local footy camp with their mates rather than be around their parents. Thank goodness they're normal, then :-)
If you've read any of my other blogs, you'll know that I set myself a huge challenge this year: a half marathon in March, the London to Paris Bike Ride in July, and the Yorkshire Spartan Race in August, all to raise money for the MS Society in honour of my college tutor and another dear friend of mine. So, this summer holiday has pretty much been blog and tweet free, since I've been spending most of my time either pedalling, running, crawling through mud, recovering, and then finally finding the time to squeeze in several voiceovers inamong. I feel exhausted, but very proud to say each challenge was finished without a hitch, or permanent injury.
Thank you SO much to those of you who sponsored or supported in some way. You'll never know how much it means to me. With your help, we've raised £2365.00 + Gift Aid (and counting) which is just awesome.
Here at SayerHamilton, Phil and I are looking forward to a super September with plenty of new work in the pipeline, and I'm going to try to keep up with the running and cycling as much as I can. Believe it or not, getting a lungful of fresh air every morning before work really can improve your vocal performance (but then, in my experience, so can a lie-in and a large mug of coffee. It doesn't seem to have done Phil's career any lasting damage, that's for sure...)
Posted By: Ellie
23 August 2012
The Faces Behind the Voices
Image from buzzfeed.com/scottybryan & commons.wikimedia.org
We love this little article about voice overs which has been posted today on Buzzfeed. It features the two of us, along with some of our other good chums from the voiceover community:
Who Are The People Who Do The Voices You Hear Every Day? - by Scott Bryan
It's always interesting to see the faces behind the voices (note, I've resisted the temptation to say "disappointing,") and we think Scott Bryan has done a great job of compiling a list of some of Britain's faceless bearers of news good and bad.
You might be interested to know that we're also pretty good mates with the lady who brings forth the news about what to put in your bagging area, but alas - if we told you who she was, we'd have to kill you.
Sorry about that.
Follow Scott Bryan on Twitter for more fun 'n' frolics from around the web: @scottygb
Oh, and it would be lovely if you followed US on Twitter too! I can't promise we'll be as frequently fascinating as Scott, but we'll do our best: @sayerhamilton
(We're still not telling you who the unexpected lady in the bagging area is, though.)
Posted By: Ellie
21 October 2013
Actually, licorice can affect your vocal performance.
Posted By: Phil
13 June 2014
Keeping the Cords Alive.
All over Twitter and the internet at large, other voiceovers are sharing their blogs about which foods or drinks help or hinder a vocal performance. Many voice over artists the world over go into great detail giving their own voice over tips to others, which is very helpful to many.
We tend to be pretty busy here most of the time, and haven't usually got a great deal of time left over to write about these things (we sometimes update our own blog as often as annually, if you're lucky,) but it's interesting to dip in and out to see what works for other people, and every voice is different.
Many blogs state that a good tip is to cut down on coffee and wine. This is why we don't like those blogs at all.
However, one tip which we heard the other day (and which was new to us) is to eat licorice before a session. I'm not sure what it's supposed to do, but I tried it on Phil and it's working absolutely brilliantly for me so far. Things have never been so quiet in our office.
I heartily recommend it. See below for the pictorial evidence.
Posted By: Ellie
13 June 2014