Working from home during the lockdown is nothing new for voice over artist Marcus Hutton
There’s nothing new about working from home for voice over artist and actor Marcus Hutton. He’s been doing it for 20 years.
Based on the south coast, Marcus keeps connected with his advertising clients from a recording booth in his Georgian flat.
The Covid-19 lockdown has created a surge in home working, and in order to keep up productivity, businesses are having to quickly find solutions for their home working staff.
“Working from home is nothing new for me, I’ve been doing it for 20 years and am very glad at the moment that I invested in my own studio, as all acting work has stopped for at least the next three months. The media businesses and advertising agencies I work for need to keep themselves going and to also be able to keep their output up to the professional standards that their clients expect . The studio enables me to deliver high quality audio and clients are appreciating that. I either self record voice overs and then ftp the audio files to audio engineers for mixing or the client records me via a live link. Engineers are able to do their work from home. The technology and quality, even when run on a laptop, is amazing these days. I am noticing that media folk are becoming very inventive , very fast. Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams are being used everywhere. We are more connected now than at anyone in history”
For live recordings he uses a high quality IP based audio service called Source Connect, with a fast fibre broadband connection . This enables him to record voice overs for commercials and business videos with other studios all over the world, while agency clients listen into the recording session remotely via Skype. In the past week Marcus has recorded live sessions with Swiss, Dutch and Croatian clients.
Marcus’ voice is easily recognisable from TV, radio and online commercials. From TV commercials for L’Oréal to Kelloggs to business films for Rolls Royce and KPMG, to museum guides and phone systems, he has an extremely diverse list of credits.
“An ability to be versatile and available at five minutes notice is a requirement in voice over. At 10.00 am you can be recording a medical video with your best serious doctor voice and an hour later be playing a hyper excited animated character for a confectionary company. It’s never boring”.
“In the past couple of weeks I’ve been recording a lot of voice overs for explainer videos about the coronavirus for clients in Europe , as well as a large numbers of telephone prompts for IVR systems, explaining why there are call delays or why no one is available to answer the phone”
Marcus’ acting career has been extensive; working in Theatre, TV and film. Highlights include playing regular character Nathan Cuddington in Brookside, as well as appearing in Midsomer Murders, Made in Dagenham, The Inspector Allen Mysteries, Doctor Who and Holby City . His most recent film appearance is in the Film 4 and Studio Canal produced “Saint Maud”, starring Jennifer Ehle and Morfydd Clark , which was due for a worldwide cinema release this month and has now been postponed.
“I am sad for the director and producing team that the cinema release has been postponed as Saint Maud is a fantastic film and was generating a lot of heat after big successes at international film festivals. The entire acting, film and tv drama industries have been put out of work in the past two weeks, as has been the case in so many other sectors”
There is an established network of professional voice over artists in the UK with home studios, working in audio books, e-learning, radio, video gaming, business video and commercials.
“There’s a tight network of home working VOs in the UK and we mostly know each other. We keep in touch on Facebook forums and all try to meet up a few times a year, just to get out of the house. Obviously we can’t at the moment. We are people who spend a lot of time sitting in airless booths and not seeing anyone apart from family from one day to the next, so the lockdown experience is not all that novel for us. Lately everyone has been Zooming each other. Freelancers have been hit quite badly by this. There’s a lot of uncertainty about work, whether invoices will be paid and whether people will be eligible for government support. These are testing times for everyone and the video chats are comforting. Perhaps there will be an upside to businesses having had the home working experience once the dust settles. The outbreak is showing that it can be done and for a lot of people that could well improve their overall work life balance in future”.