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How to be prepared for "Pickups" in Voice Over.

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

What's a pickup? How does it work? Don't be a scared little rabbit, learn how to execute a perfect pickup every time.

How to be prepared for "Pickups" in Voice Over. - 5:03

Thanks for joining me for another edition of The Gift of Gab. Today I want to talk to you about a really common, really consistent part of the voice acting profession, and that is pickups. Now if you’re unfamiliar with this term, you might mistake it for literally picking somebody up. Now that’s not what we’re talking about.

A pick up is what happens when a client that you worked for previously comes back, saying, "We want to re-record a portion or a segment of this job, but we’re not starting all over - we don’t need to re-record everything, we just need you to do a pick up for this one little section." Now on the surface, this sounds really easy, right? And it actually sounds like kind of a dream job because you go, "Well, I already did the bulk of the work. That should be super quick." And you’re right. Pickups usually are really quick, except if you’re not prepared for this or not familiar with the process. Your first couple of pickups are nerve-racking and terrifying. Reason why? You have to match yourself perfectly - you have to be able to match EXACTLY what you did for this client previously, right now on the fly, with little to no prep time. So we can talk about how you handle it. First thing, absolutely critical and essential: this is where your skills as an actor are going to be paramount. You have to be able to be a consistent performer. You have to be able to hear yourself and recall a process that you used to get to that character, to get to that vocal range, in order to be able to smoothly come right back to it like nothing ever was. Just like it’s the exact same day the first recording took place. Now, as far as your home studio goes, this is why microphone placement and consistency - and really not dickin' around too much with your equipment is kind of important because, if you’re always changing things and you’re always changing settings, you’re effectively going to alter sound, and when a client comes back to do a pick up, it’s not gonna sound the same - it’s going to be different. Then the other thing is this: you can actually use the client to your advantage. In a situation where they’re asking you need to match something that’s been previously recorded, ask for a playback for you. There’s something called a "lead in" and a client can actually play you back, inside of a directed session, the audio that you recorded previously and literally walk you right up to the line that you have to pick up or insert, and it allows you to follow along with your previous performance and that helps that matching process a ton.

If it’s not a directed session, this is the importance of archives. This is the importance of cataloging your material and holding onto it. Because yeah, the client may need you to go back to the file that you did a year ago and figure out what you did and how you did it and match it up. So, that goes without saying, this is where having a lot of storage space, a decent hard drive, and a cloud back up are going to be your best friend. Pickups are a lot of fun, and they’re also kind of a reason to celebrate! It means the client loved what you did so much the first time around, that they don’t want to reinvent the wheel, they don’t see a reason to change it or make a big alteration. They just probably had some information that changed, like the sale date, whatever it might be, and they just want you to go ahead and pick up that little line. So if you’re unclear about the pickup process, and it’s not really something you’ve had an opportunity to experience for yourself, this is where training really is your friend. This is what voiceover coaches like myself help you to achieve. We help you to find those consistent performances and work on your recall ability, so that you can come back to them time and time again to make for happy clients. Hey guys, thanks so much for watching. If you want to be featured on an upcoming Gift of Gab, or you just have a question for me that you'd love for me to answer about voiceover and your voiceover career, send it over! I'm happy to do it. You can email me at or shoot me a message on one of the socials. Thanks so much for watching, we'll see you next time.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, What Not To Do, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, Virtual Voiceover Exchange, How to Be a Better Voice Actor, Ask Gabby Anything, VO pickups, pickups, voiceover coaching, pickup process, directed session, cloud storage, actor training, happy clients, lead in, performance, performance matching


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