We’re all used to revising mixes and songs, but for voiceover, the revisions can be constant. There can be several select takes of several different lines, scattered throughout your sessions like a pile of needles in a pile of haystacks.
As long as there are clients out there, there will be clients who change their minds. So it’s imperative that we keep our sessions and files in good working order. It’s not uncommon to go back to a project YEARS after the fact, and revise one line. As budgets shrink, this practice becomes more and more common. Paying a talent a revision fee is much easier than writing new copy.
First off, having a date in the session title, and final exported file can save you plenty of headaches. If nothing else, the email your client sent you will be on or around that date…making things way easier to find in the future. Also, have a standard date writing convention.
Everyone knows engineers who have their own way of doing things, like saving sessions to the desktop, spilling apple juice on the keyboard, calling in drunk….but imposing at least a standard date labeling convention is good practice, and one that almost anyone can handle.
Within the session, adding markers is an absolute lifesaver. In Pro Tools this is just the ENTER numeric keypad. I label everything. Take #, revised line, notes to myself later such as “Do Not Use This Talent Again,” “Why Not Have A Cheesesteak For Lunch?” And so on.
Save a new session each time there is a revision and change the date! Again, this may sound like basic knowledge, but I cannot tell you the number of times I open a session labeled with a date from several years ago, yet which was modified this week. It’s a practice we all forget, but it can save tons of time. Nowhere in the rule book does it say that clients are happy with their most recent revision! You’ll dread that moment you hear “Do you have the one we did in March of ’09 instead of the June ’11 script??
These basic practices will save you a years supply of Advil. We all forget to do these simple things, leave yourself some notes around the studio. Make it into a habit, and you’ll avoid shooting yourself in the foot.