People think I'm really busy all the time, and I guess that's true to some extent. It takes a lot of work and focus to run your own business, although there are days where I pretty much don't do anything. Or at least, it feels like that, but I almost always get all of these things done, even when I "don't do anything". Drink coffee, read comic books, play video games, and screw about on the Internet.
I'll put this one first as I almost never miss it. I got big into The Binding of Isaac when it came out, and for whatever reason, that's become my go-to zone out activity. I must zone out a lot, because I've logged well over 100 hours into it. I also have my weekly pull list of comics that I have to get through, and there's always that handful of websites that I mindlessly check throughout the day. I'm not much of a morning person, so whenever I drag myself out of bed, I usually start my day with this sort of stuff while having my coffee (yeah, yeah, caffeine dries you out. Whatever, drink more water, it's fine) and breakfast. Some days, this goes on way too long. I try to maintain some level of productivity by listening to podcasts on VO and marketing, reading comics aloud in the characters' voices, or burning through my regimen of warm-ups (listed below).
This stuff is crucial to my daily routine. I have depression and a short temper that often gets in the way of my productivity. I've found mindfulness meditation is a great way to force myself to focus on what's going on in my brain, engage my breath, and work through it. I can't stress enough how helpful guided meditation can be when you need to put your bullshit to rest so you can get to work.
Get some sort of exercise.
Don't worry about getting super ripped if you start lifting weights. It won't happen. I primarily just run and do yoga, which serves basically to get me out of the house for a little while and wake my whole body up, respectively. Sometimes I just take a long walk through Baltimore to heal my soul and remind myself that I live in a rich, vibrant community and not the nightmarish hellhole people think Baltimore is. I can also totally hear the difference in my voice and overall work if I haven't exercised and meditated that day.
Marketing, which I guess can be fun sometimes.
My marketing activities vary from day to day, but I usually do some or all of the following:
- Search Craig's List for VO gigs
- Write new blog entries, find and post work samples, or update my website
- Research production houses, agencies, and casting sites and contact them
- Take a walk and drop business cards off around town
- Read a book on Voiceover, Acting, Marketing, or Advertising
It's not all bad. Honestly, the more I learn about marketing, the more I like doing it. Must have something to do with liking my job.
Practice (or Work, if I've got it).
Like marketing, my practice regimen varies somewhat from day to day, but it always has the same components. First, I warm up with sirens and that mouth vibrating thing horn players do. This warms up your head and chest registers and you can also focus on closing that gap between your head voice and falsetto, which is a nice thing to do. I also yawn a lot, as that's supposed to strengthen your throat muscles. Obstruction exercises (put a cork in between your teeth and say lots of sets of rhyming words) are great for making your face stronger and your enunciation cleaner and clearer.
Next, I do a handful of tongue twisters. There are tons of these out on the internet, so I made a file of a ton of them. I also sing every day, which is prefaced with several vocal warm-up exercises. Studying singing is the absolute best way to learn more about your instrument, how it works, and how to make it do what you want it to do. Do it. Once you finally start to get good at it (I did for Avenue Q which I'm performing this weekend!), it's one of the best feelings in the world.
Finally, I read scripts. I'll clear out any auditions I have in my email, then move on to Voices.com, and if I still want to work, I'll practice my accents along with my accent book. This part is deliberately last on the list. If my mind, body, and business aren't seen to, then I'm not ready to give my best performance.
So that's a normal day in a nutshell, even if I'm "doing nothing".