Aishwarya Ramesh
Anonymous Angst

"This is the right time to learn new things"

In this series on how anonymous, young people are coping with the lockdown, an upbeat voiceover artiste has useful tips to offer.

This is the account of a 31-year-old voiceover artiste, who lives in Chandigarh. His company had three studios in Chandigarh and Punjab, but due to the lockdown, he has been unable to visit the studio (physically) to get work done. He now primarily works with radio stations and TV channels – the programming properties continue to run, although the business has been hampered. As of now, PSAs are airing and regular shows are on, too. He has spent six years in the industry as a voiceover artiste for different channels, and now admits that work has been suffering due to the global pandemic.

Can you tell us how your work is being affected because of the Coronavirus outbreak?

The work that we do on channels has suffered a lot. The retail market has also been badly hit, as has everything else. The channels are continuing with regular programming. On that basis, work has not suffered. But when it comes to individual clients, who used to bring in a lot of business for us – that’s quite dead right now.

Most of these clients are retail brands. We do a lot of in-store radio work and we're serving clients, who had nearly 2,700 stores across India. Now, because of the virus outbreak, stores are closed. Every brand we’ve been working with so far, for in-store radio, has shut down. Payments are stuck and there’s a huge amount that’s been frozen because the stores remain shut. I hope this ends soon…

How are you sustaining, in that case? Do you stay with your family, or alone?

I stay with my family and this is not my only source of income. It’s important to ensure that you create multiple streams of revenue. I’m into radio consultancy as well, and we assist a radio station in Canada with that service (launched in January this year).

I also do voiceover work and radio shows on the side. Although I’m working quite a lot, I’m also learning new things right now and teaching people to do voiceovers, too. This is the time when we should be utilising to learn new things because we’ve never got this kind of time before. We need to do things that create multiple streams of income – and we don’t get the time or the resources to do that in a regular work schedule.

Right now, everybody’s at home and ready to learn and consume content. There are people who are also willing to partner with you to create content. I’m trying to utilise this time period to the best of my ability.

What worries/scares you most when it comes to the future, and life after the outbreak?

It’s easy to be negative, what is required right now is to be positive and channelise your energy in the best way. The only thing is that I’m a very social and outgoing person. Meeting people helps you develop new ideas and supplements your creativity. When we’re not meeting people, there’s a creative blockage of thoughts.

One way of looking at it is to be sad about it. Another way is to focus on the positive aspects of it. We’ve started finding new ways to connect with people – and this includes the likes of Zoom and WhatsApp video calls. The energy keeps travelling and communication doesn’t stop. Even if we’re not going out, we’re still being social.

Can you tell us about your mantra for staying productive, while working from home?

Staying focused is important. I’ve never been this focused in my career before this. This is the best time to be creative. My clients are also very supportive and I didn’t lose a single client. I have a good home studio – that ensures my work is not suffering.

I’m a lot more productive right now. I was actually a lot less productive when I was in my office space. I’m being more disciplined and creating content for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. Discipline is key. If you’re not disciplined, you won’t be able to work from home because essentially, it’s a shared space with your family and kids, and there are bound to be distractions. You need to communicate and make it clear to them that ‘this is my time, and I need to utilise it for my work.’ They will understand...

One thing I’d really like to tell everyone during this period is, please do not take WFH as a holiday. It’s not a leave! This is the time when you really have to prove your worth to your company and your employers, and remind them that you were hired for the right reasons.