My top 12 productivity mobile apps

Colourful Roses

As voiceover artists it’s our duty and responsibility to keep on top of things in order to better service our clients and to increase our productivity without going mad in the process! These apps are useful for any entrepreneur really, no matter what your career of choice.

I decided recently that a little discipline & mindfulness wouldn’t go amiss whilst running my business. So I’ve been chopping and changing my selection of mobile apps to insure things run more smoothly.

I love my apps, but I’ve narrowed down the list to a selection of 12 for this blog. These are not in any particular order of importance. Here we go! Most of these are on iTunes, if they’re Android, I’ve listed it as such.

1. Wunderlist – This app is totally fabulous. I installed it a couple of weeks ago and love it already. You can make to do lists. But the great thing for me is that you can make explanatory/detailed notes for each point. For instance, if I make a note to record a chapter of an audiobook. I could expand on that in the notes section to include which characters are in that section. It’s brilliant. And, you can sync across devices. So a note can be written on whatever device is to hand, and then sync it across all of them. I have it on my Android phone, my iPad mini and my iPod.

2. Good Reader – This is brill for recording scripts as you can highlight and make notes. I will also upload tutorial PDFs and articles, and then open them from Good Reader to ibooks when that format is more suitable for reading and study.

3. Notepad – I use this iPad app to make notes for character differentiation when I’m preparing an audiobook/working on scripts with multiple characters. It’s also good for whipping out to take notes when I attend motivation/educational seminars, etc.

4. Sheet2 HD – This is an excel-compatible app. I use this to make weekly schedules for projects. I am as voiceover artist as well as a handcrafted goods designer. So I’m learning to assign different days to the tasks required of the two enterprises. This can also be used to break projects down into bite sized daily chunks. Making a table keeps me from drifting along, from getting caught up in the internet social media scene, and to stay focused.

5. Alarm – This is just the simple alarm function on my phone. I set my timer and then stick to a task till it goes off. It’s easy for me to get off track, so this pulls me back to the task at hand.

6. Kitchen Pad Timer – This is an iTunes app timer which is very clever. You can set multiple timers. Good when you’re cooking downstairs, whilst working on your projects upstairs. Alleviates “burnt pot” syndrome! And, of course you can use it as in step 5!

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7. Twisted Wave – This is a good one for recording. But I’m now experimenting with WavePad to see what it can do for simple jobs.

8. Twisters! – is a lovely free app of tongue twisters. I use these as a warm up, and at any time I think of looking at this app.

9. Prosperity – I see this more as an app for spiritual productivity and keeping my thoughts in the right direction. It’s got affirmations on it that are really powerful, as well as a few classic prosperity-oriented books.

10. Dropbox – This is great for sending, sharing and receiving materials.

11. Gratitude – This is a very beautiful journal in which we can record things for which we’re happy and grateful. I love it. You can put pictures in as well!

12. This Journal – This is an Android app which I have on my phone. I use it as an accountability journal. So I record days when I exercise, days when I study Japanese, keep track of when I blog etc.

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And there you have a small selection of the much loved apps that I keep on my mobile devices.

Cheers!

Stefania

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My voiceover website – corporate, character, mobile apps voiceover!

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Stefania’s Audioboo Podcast –AudioMysteryTym tales and more.

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The Positive Affimations and Audio Stories Facebook Page, bringing you inspiration and entertainment!

Train No. 2013 has left the station!

It’s a bit over a week into the new year and the clean up, clear up, move up campaign continues.

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You might have noticed the absence of the fluffy pink borders on this blog page. The colours matched my old website, but that one has been replaced for some time. So it’s time for the energy here to be freshened up, updated and brought into line with my current VoiceOver website. Next in line were the Testimonials and About Me pages. I hadn’t looked at them in some time. Next, it was a visit to my LinkedIn page for some tweaking. Maybe I’ve been a bit too much nose to the grindstone lately. When we make progress in our lives and careers we should mark and celebrate it!

Have you checked out your blogs, websites, and social media pages to make sure that the message that you’re sending out reflects you and your product as you are today?

What kind of tweaking and revamping have you been doing or plan to do?

Another top thing on my list is more VoiceOver training. One can never be too good, and have learned everything there is to know about the field. Things change everyday. Even watching the telly or listening to the radio is often study time for me. I’ve been watching lots of animations and narrative-type documentaries lately. And, in addition to in-person work, there’s distance learning, and there’s the Weekend Workout programme as well. I’ve fallen off the wagon on that one a bit. Time to get back on the horse!

I’m finding James Alburger’s book, The Art of Voice Acting – 4th edition, The Art of Voice Acting: The Craft and Business of Performing Voiceover to be quite an interesting piece of work. It makes a good refresher study, and I’m picking up some new ideas as well. The CD that comes with the book is handy to, because I can hear examples of what the book is covering and I’ve put a few bits on my iPod as well.

There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is by Elaine Clark, There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Insider’s Guide to a Career in Voice-overs is a valuable resource as well.

That’s it for today. May you be blessed, prosperous, happy and busy in this new year. Go out and let it happen! Cheers!

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Please visit us Facebook for crafts,culture and arts news!

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My podcast of storytelling and positive-inspirational messages.

Positive Affirmations and Audio Stories.

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Voiceover Rambles – Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve been happily a bit busy lately with various commitments and projects…so this blog is a bit of a ramble… but I missed you all!

My colleagues James Alburger and Penny Abshire at the Voice Acting Academy in San Diego, California are holding a Voice Acting Performance Intensive Workshop running on various dates from 24 November through 30 December. There are twelve dates on offer at $597 per ticket. It’s a little too far for me to attend from England, but I have some of their teaching materials and have found them very very useful. One day, I’d like to get some coaching from them. [There are other teachers on my list as well like Pat Fraley, and Nancy W., but that's another day's blog entry!]

The description of the workshop that came my way ran thus ” This 2-1/2 day voice acting workshop will take your performing skills to an entirely new level. Whether you are an on-camera actor, stage actor, or just interested in breaking into voiceover, this workshop will give you the skills you need to work as a professional voiceover talent or improve your verbal communication skills. Taught by James Alburger and Penny Abshire of VoiceActing Academy in San Diego. ..”

Go to their website for more particulars, and the latest info on available dates (things might have changed since I received the above news) at http://www.voiceacting.com . Or, you can find them both on Facebook.

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Ramble number two.  Many people look way down their noses at USB mics, but I think they do have a place in one’s voiceover toolkit.  They’re good for travel, quick auditions, and a good many actual VO gigs. If that’s what you have, work with what you’ve got and don’t worry about the opinions of others. Just do your best! There are many people with Neumanns and other super duper powerful mics, who haven’t work a VO gig in donkeys (that’s a UK expression for a very long time). But do dig in your pockets and invest in a decent mic. Tinny, weak-sounding voiceovers are not on! Ramble no. 2 done.

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App of the week — Daily Affirmations –This is an Android app which I’ve just discovered. It’s very good for keeping us focused. You just write one affirmation several times a day, or for several days,  whilst it sinks into your subconscious. It’s great because you must write the entire affirmation each time. There’s no shortcut copy and paste mechanism. After a while you might find yourself avoiding old behaviour patterns because they’re no longer in harmony with the new vision that you’ve set for yourself. It’s all about persistence and repetition.

What kind of techniques do you use to keep yourself on target with your professional and personal goals and dreams? Feel free to comment and share.

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All for now…Happy Thanksgiving…we are blessed…let’s be grateful for that, and for all of the good in our lives!

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stefsvoice4youBroadcast Podcast on iTunes.

Positive Affirmations and Audio Stories.

VoiceOver Tip from a Colleague – Cutting down re-takes of your recordings

This time round in my blog, I’m quoting a post which was written a while ago by my colleague Tom Dheere. At the time that I read Tom’s post, I thought that his advice could save a lot of us voiceover peeps a great deal of time, and our clients would benefit as well. So, with Tom’s permission, I’m spreading the word and reprinting his blog. Enjoy!

Retakes usually are needed for a few reasons:

Technical Issues (feedback, low gain, static, etc.)
Background Sounds
Script Errors
Me Being a Doofus (I mispronounced a word, inadvertently changed a word, inserted a word, flubbed an accent, or stressed the wrong word)

These are all common errors, many of which you can minimize.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Here’s what you can do to minimize the amount of retakes needed:

Read the script. I know that sounds obvious, but I mean REALLY read the script. I try read it three times before I record. Once to enjoy it & understand the story, once to break down the characters, and once to review spelling and grammar.

Ask questions. If I’m not sure about something, I ask the publisher. If he’s not sure, he contacts the author and gets back to me. Once in a while you may get to talk to the author directly, but I’m not always sure that’s best. Writing something and reading it aloud are two different disciplines and it’s the publisher’s job to bridge them.

Take notes. I always build a pronunciation guide. Sci-fi stories tend to have a lot a big real words and even more fake words, some of which don’t feel organic. Get the correct pronunciations and practice them. Also, I like using accents so I track how each character speaks and make sure I get the subtleties right.

Have fun! If you do your homework and enjoy the session, your acting will shine through.

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Thanks Tom!

Cheers!

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Environment Equals Energy

I decided the other day that it was time to change my Voiceover working environment. Short of tearing up walls, or building an addition on to the house what else could I do? I decided to try and change the energy of my recording environment. I moved furniture around and changed the location of the mic and installed a more sound absorbing material around the perimeters of my recording space.

Then I found some inspirational pictures and hung them on the walls of my recording space. These were just small changes, but what a difference it made in the feel of my little “booth”. It felt very comfortable and cosy. Next on my wish list was “smell”. I envisioned filling the space with a fragrance that energised, but didn’t overpower. I found my special spray at a Mind, Body and Spirit festival. It’s made from herbs and essential oils which I spray in the area before every recording session. NOTE: This would be a definite faux pas in an outside studio where perfume, etc. is a no no! So don’t try this in the field kids. But at home, it’s a kind of signal to my mind that it’s time to do some very special work.

One thing I discovered after shifting everything is I have more room to move around as I record whilst still remaining on-mic. Nice! Because the space has now become fresh and new, I feel more creative and ready to work. I’m also purchasing some additional software which has different capacities than my current recording programme. So I can be more flexible in meeting a client’s requirements by being able to switch between different programmes as needed.

It’s good to keep ourselves on our toes and always moving ahead in a positive way. It’s great how change in one area of life spills over into the others. It’s good I think to keep our personal environment in a way that pleases and enriches us. If we are happy and productive then we’re in a better position to be useful and serve others.

How are you enhancing your working environment – whatever your career might be? Or maybe you’ve already done the work and are totally content and cool with where you are right now! Life is grand!

Cheers!

Know thyself! Let’s evaluate and grow.

This came in my email  from “inner space” the other day, and it’s so short, so simple…yet at the same time so powerful.

It’s about how to grow and improve as a person, but on reading the article again I dare say this could apply to how we see ourselves as professional voice artists/talent as well.

Quality List

Ask yourself:

What am I good at?

What are my strengths and special attributes?

What can people rely on me for?

How do I make others happy?

How have I overcome challenges?

Today, make time to list your best qualities.  Focus on the good

in you and watch it grow.
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I’ve recently gotten myself listed on the new google+ site. One more bit to add to the social media soup mix. The interesting thing is, while many of those in my circles are my favourite voice over colleagues, I find that I’m meeting many new people who are outside of my career circle.  Somehow, I’m meeting people from various groups with whom I didn’t cross paths  previously – even though we were members of the same online (and offline) groups. It’s quite interesting and wonderful. It’s kind of like a ripples in a pond and the circles are getting wider and wider. Brilliant!

If you’re looking, I can be found here:

My google+ page

All for now….enjoy your summer!
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Oh, I almost forgot…my new podcast episode is now live. I learned a little bit about The Pomodoro (time management) Technique, and speak of it in the podcast. It’s totally new to me, so I’ll be blogging more later about the results of my experiments with this technique! Here’s the link for the podcast:

stefsvoice4youBroadcast

Cheers!
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Voiceover Tip – Motivational CD by actress Wendy Braun

I’m a big fan of actress Wendy Braun’s Actor’s Inspiration website. There are so many helpful tips and motivational affirmations there. “Empowering actors to believe, achieve and enjoy the journey” is Wendy’s motto.

She’s come out with a CD of affirmations tailoured for actors. And, there’s a sample affirmation that you can download to see if it resonates for you. I was all set to order one of these CDs for myself, but the high postage cost to England put me off. Hopefully one day it’ll be offered as a download, which would make a better investment costwise. I purchased Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt’s “The Voiceover Warm up” in this fashion and it worked a treat.

Anyway, if you’re Stateside, this CD by Wendy could be a valuable tool in your voiceover arsenal. You can order it via the “store”section of Wendy’s website. I’m not getting any kickback on this, I just found the sample affirmation to be brilliant and want to spread the word!

I’ve also now discovered Wendy’s Twitter page and she’s always tweeting some lovely affirmations there as well.

That’s today’s voiceover tip…bye for now!

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Paying it Forward – Part 2

Here’s my second video made on my BlackBerry 8520 phone. There’s a synching issue on this one between voice and video. I guess that could be a BlackBerry thing, as it was ok on the first one.

Or perhaps it’s because this one is much longer than the first video.

This is a mini-tutorial on mixing with Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 8 software. I’ll get a Flip video cam soon, but it’s good just to be able to share and maybe the tips might be useful to someone! I’ve certainly received much assistance – in all areas – from my voiceover pals. Here’s my tiny contribution to the community pool of knowledge.

BlackBerry Moments – Mixing with Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 8 from Stefania Lintonbon on Vimeo.

Cheers!

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Pay It Forward

BlackBerry Moment-Recording with Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio8 from Stefania Lintonbon on Vimeo.

I’ve learned so much from the various forums, my VoiceOver colleagues and my teachers. I’ve wondered what can I bring to the party.

Well, I’ve been experimenting with my little BlackBerry phone’s video function, and discovered that not only can I have fun making videos but they can be posted on the major sites like Vimeo or YouTube. So since I have a little knowledge about editing gained from my experience with gigs and auditions, I thought I’d pass this on for beginners to recording – be they voice artists, podcasters, small businesspeople, etc.

I hope it’s useful and answers a few simple questions for someone who might be in “scratch head” mode with their Sony software!

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Read a brilliant post by blogger Seth Godin ( http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ )on how, and I quote,

“Self sufficiency appears to be a worthy goal, but it’s now impossible if you want to actually get anything done.

All our productivity, leverage and insight comes from being part of a community, not apart from it.

The goal, I think, is to figure out how to become more dependent, not less.”

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I think it’s most important to choose your friends well. I’m very happy that I’ve met some wonderful friends in voiceover and other circles. Their help and encouragement has been invaluable. You can find many of their blogs and groups on the right hand side of my blog page.

The best of luck and blessings to all my wonderful “online” and “real world” friends!

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Christmas special podcasts-Love is the Reason for the Season

Here, to celebrate the festive holiday period, are three special Christmas narrations which I recently did for my podcast – stefsvoice4you Broadcast (iTunes).

This week’s holiday narration

Christmas Poems – Chrissy the Christmas Tree; Tis Time

 

The previous Christmas special podcast

Christmas Day In the Morning

 

And the first one:

The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

 

Happy and Safe Holidays to all my friends and readers! See you in the new year.

 

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