So above is a pic of my studio.
This is a POV shot from me sitting on the sofa bed at the back of my studio listening to music after I’ve finished work for the week. Those who know me won’t be at all surprised to see just how messy it is.
And this is the thought that stuck me. I really enjoy being in this room.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been avoiding coming into this room if I’m not working (not difficult as it’s on a different floor to the rest of the house) just to give myself a bit of a work/life balance partition. But this view is very different to the one I get when I’m sitting in my chair facing the monitors. Staying up here after hours this evening has reminded me that I find this a really comfortable space. Helen very rarely comes up here, so it’s pretty much exactly as I want it to be, and obviously that makes it a great place for me to work.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance for creative people to be comfortable in your workspace. If something in your space is putting you on edge it takes away from your creative juices and you can’t give 100%. I like my mess, Helen hates it. Every Monday before she starts work she spends an hour cleaning and hoovering her studio before she can relax in it and get on with her work. That’s fine for her, it sounds like a nightmare to me; she can’t work in my mess. Whatever our creative job may be, we not only need to make sure our studios contain everything we need to do our jobs, we also need to make sure our environments are a happy place for us to work in – whatever that means they look like.
On my studio tickling tours I’ve seen all sorts of studios from the Heath-Robinson-esque to the purpose built almost-an-anechoic-chamber that required a second, third and fourth mortgage. For audio production it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, it’s how it sounds that’s important. But in order for you to perform at your best all the distractions need to be removed, so although fastening duvets to the walls does work as acoustic treatment it’s not for everyone. Some people appreciate the cost saving that such rudimentary treatment offers, others need a more pleasing aesthetic to be able to perform well. The only right or wrong is recognising what you need in order to be at your best and making it happen. Obviously that doesn’t just apply to voiceovers and/or audio studios. There is a bit of a cliché about ad agency and creative marketers having table football tables, beanbags and hammocks in the offices, and it’s all part of the same sphere – you’re at your creative best when you’re happy and relaxed (unless you’re a Blues singer – then you need a woman who constantly leaves you and a compulsion to hang around traffic intersections). It’s not an easy thing being creative-to-order. We all have days when we’re inspired, and other days that prove fruitless (like me taking four attempts to write this blog). Being creative-to-order is a difficult business model, but it’s one we’ve been compelled to follow. There’s no room in our business model for anything approaching Sick Building Syndrome or SAD.
The upshot of all this is that, yes we need to spend money on recording equipment to do our jobs, and yes we need to spend money on acoustic treatment to make sure our recordings sound professional. But we also need to spend time and money personalising our spaces. All those little nick-knacks that your partner hates should be in your studio if they make you happy, the photo of your in-laws should be removed if they wind you up. Your space should be your space, it should be somewhere you want to just hang out in. It should be an old friend. It should be dependable, it should make you laugh. It should be a refuge, a source of strength and a confidant.
TL;DR Everyone should have a sofa bed in their studio.