Voice Over Tips and Tricks
oice Over Tips and Tricks“Warm Up Tips and Voice Preservation for Voice Talent”
Article by: Kerry McCall
“Work hard, play hard.” You’ve heard that one before. Whether you’re a seasoned pro constantly working your vocal chords or just beginning a career in voice-overs, it’s good to know some simple tips that will help keep your voice”well-lubed”.
Ask any experienced voice professional and they will have a handful of tricks for keeping their voice limber and relaxed. If you’re new to the voiceover business, you may not realize that there are a lot of things you can do before a session starts that will help get your voice ready to go. Some of these suggestions are so easy, you may not believe that they really work, but they do!
First off – yawn. Open your mouth wide, put your attention on the back of your throat, let the bubble build and let out a big yawn. Get on a roll and let loose with three or four of them. Your body has some 75 trillion cells and they function best on a rich supply of oxygen that enables them to carry out all of their vital functions. Yawning is the first step to boosting your oxygen flow and getting the “juices flowing”.
Next – stretch. How about stretching and yawning? All the better. Lift both arms over your head and reach for the sky. (Don’t lock your knees.) Now stretch your chin up towards your hands. Bring your head back down and with both arms raised, alternate stretching one arm higher than the other, like you’re climbing a rope. This limbers up your back, spine, neck and chest. For the lower body, bend at the waist and bring your arms down towards the floor. Touch the floor, or your toes, or whatever you can comfortably reach. Again, keep your knees slightly flexed. You will feel a good stretch through your hamstrings, back and under your shoulder blades. Be sure to breathe regularly. There are so many benefits from stretching. It reduces muscle tension, improves circulation, reduces stess and fatigue, improves alertness and helps to synch up your mind with your body. That’s definitely helpful if you’re going to stand and talk for a while. During a break in a session, stretch to keep your body and mind limber. One last place to stretch – your face muscles. Open your mouth wide like a roaring lion and stick your tongue out as far as it will go. Then close your mouth and scrunch your face up in a knot. Next, open your eyes wide, open your mouth and pull your upper and lower lips over your teeth tightly. I know, not a pretty sight. But after all this stretching and yawning the blood is flowing and oxygen is making a beeline into your body tissues.
Prior to your session, like on your way to the studio in your car, do some good tongue twisters for 5 or 10 minutes. Start out slowly with each one. Enunciate and pick up the pace as you repeat the saying three times. Make sure you can do them accurately at a pretty good clip. Need some tongue twisters? There’s the old tried and true “She sells seashells by the seashore.” And “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Or try these: “Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins.” “World Wide Web.” “Eleven benevolent elephants.” “Pirates Private Property.” “Flash message!” If you get tired of these, there are plenty more here.
OK, you’re at the session, and you should be ready to go. Make sure you have bottled water with you to keep your throat from drying out. One of the absolute best tips I can offer you is to have warm water available while you are in a session. You can use a travel mug that seals completely (like the kind you’d use for coffee in your car). I keep a warm mug of water nearby the whole time I’m recording in my studio. My throat stays moist and relaxed from the warmth. If you tend to get the jitters a bit before a session and your voice pitch elevates because of it, warm water will help to calm you and bring your voice back down to a more normal range.
For sessions that are extremely stressful on your vocal chords (like some of the Rock Radio Imaging I’ve done), a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil beforehand will help to keep your throat coated.
Finally, there are some plain old common sense things you can do to keep your voice in the best shape possible.
- Get plenty of sleep the night before a session.
- Drink lots of water. Drink a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of honey.
- Don’t drink icy or cold, throat-restricting fluids before or while you are recording.
- Breathe deeply and regularly during the session.
- Don’t eat anything greasy or “gassy” prior to your voice job.
Good luck! And happy voice-overs.
If you are starting out in voice-overs and would like a review of your voice demos and even packaging and presentation, they are available for $50.00. To find out more email Kerry.