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Taking care of your voice


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Taking care of your voice is probably one of the more important but overlooked parts of being a voice-over actor. Not doing it can lower your stamina, make your days in the booth tiresome, drain you of vocal energy, and impact the quality of your finished deliveries. 

The most important lesson I've learned is to listen to my voice. If I'm getting hoarse or weak, I'll try to avoid pushing it too far.

Booth hangover

What you eat and drink also has an effect. At least for me — coffee before a take = mouth noise and clicks. Water, on the other hand, is something I always keep with me in the booth. Lukewarm is best, in my opinion, with a dash of lemon. Ice cold water will make your vocal cords and muscles tense. I don't drink alcohol anymore, but when I did, I always avoided long recording sessions the day after a party for obvious reasons. Anyone who has stayed for three hours in a vocal booth with a hangover knows why. 

Musky booths (even worse with a hangover - haha)

Voice actors use their voice a lot, and maintaining an engaged voice for several hours can be strenuous. So get enough rest. Get a break, and don't talk for a while. If you're working from a booth, fresh air can do wonders, so go outside for a bit! The ventilation systems I've tried aren't quiet enough, so it can get musky in there!

Don't project so much

Shouting or speaking loudly strains your vocal cords. Be aware of how much you project your voice. For longer takes, I prefer to use cans (that's headphones for anyone not in the industry) because I can turn up the volume, and by doing so, I tend to speak with a lower volume. Your mic is your friend, and it can hear everything, so no need to project like you're doing an opera. The results are better, too, when you're not so pushy. 

Smoking? Really?!

I'm just going to leave it at that. 

Coughing/clearing your voice...

...Can damage your vocal cords. Try a glass of water instead. When you cough, you smash them together. It's like giving your chords a good beating. 

And lastly, working from home can be stressful. You have to manage everything yourself, from marketing to delivery, sometimes even production. You're constantly working with deadlines, and it's easy to put projects off because you have a lazy day, leading to even more stress the next day. Managing your time and stress levels is important to have some resemblance to a normal life.

Eating healthy and getting enough exercise is also essential (I need to take my own advice here!). 

What're your best tips to take care of the voice? Let us know :D 

Edited by smashradio
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6 minutes ago, smashradio said:

Taking care of your voice is probably one of the more important but overlooked parts of being a voice-over actor. Not doing it can lower your stamina, make your days in the booth tiresome, drain you of vocal energy, and impact the quality of your finished deliveries. 

The most important lesson I've learned is to listen to my voice. If I'm getting hoarse or weak, I'll try to avoid pushing it too far.

Booth hangover

What you eat and drink also has an effect. At least for me — coffee before a take = mouth noise and clicks. Water, on the other hand, is something I always keep with me in the booth. Lukewarm is best, in my opinion, with a dash of lemon. Ice cold water will make your vocal cords and muscles tense. I don't drink alcohol anymore, but when I did, I always avoided long recording sessions the day after a party for obvious reasons. Anyone who has stayed for three hours in a vocal booth with a hangover knows why. 

Musky booths (even worse with a hangover - haha)

Voice actors use their voice a lot, and maintaining an engaged voice for several hours can be strenuous. So get enough rest. Get a break, and don't talk for a while. If you're working from a booth, fresh air can do wonders, so go outside for a bit! The ventilation systems I've tried aren't quiet enough, so it can get musky in there!

Don't project so much

Shouting or speaking loudly strains your vocal cords. Be aware of how much you project your voice. For longer takes, I prefer to use cans (that's headphones for anyone not in the industry) because I can turn up the volume, and by doing so, I tend to speak with a lower volume. Your mic is your friend, and it can hear everything, so no need to project like you're doing an opera. The results are better, too, when you're not so pushy. 

Smoking? Really?!

I'm just going to leave it at that. 

Coughing/clearing your voice...

...Can damage your vocal cords. Try a glass of water instead. When you cough, you smash them together. It's like giving your chords a good beating. 

And lastly, working from home can be stressful. You have to manage everything yourself, from marketing to delivery, sometimes even production. You're constantly working with deadlines, and it's easy to put projects off because you have a lazy day, leading to even more stress the next day. Managing your time and stress levels is important to have some resemblance to a normal life.

Eating healthy and getting enough exercise is also essential (I need to take my own advice here!). 

What're your best tips to take care of the voice? Let us know 😄

Though not professionally, I love to sing.. so I am sure these tips will come in handy.. thank you @smashradio 🙂 

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Just now, alphagev said:

As it seems impossible to bookmark this thread as I occasionally did on the old forum, I'm following it. I like to sing but I'm just an amateur so I'm curious to read tips from others!

I use my browser bookmarks for it. I hate following threads because I keep getting notifications from ancient topics every time someone says "congos". 

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3 hours ago, smashradio said:

What're your best tips to take care of the voice? Let us know 😄

I try to concentrate on working as early as possible. At the end of the day, the voice is just not as smooth. For my work that I can schedule - like my fiverr work, I generally do that in a few hours in the morning. For my non fiverr work, which is largely daily booth announce for TV news stations, that can happen anytime. So for example, if the current president wakes up and decides to bomb the North Pole because Santa didn't bring him a pony, I am in the booth immediately, and for quite a while as news breaks. But that's OK, because I charge them an obscene amount of money for that. 

Edited by newsmike
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3 hours ago, surajkartha said:

Though not professionally, I love to sing..

Oh me too ❤️ Do you have a recording of yourself anywhere?

14 minutes ago, newsmike said:

But that's OK, because I charge them an obscene amount of money for that. 

That made me grin

3 hours ago, smashradio said:

What're your best tips to take care of the voice? Let us know 😄

I always take warm lemon tea with honey before I sing, but I'm not sure if it really helps or not. As I've gotten older my voice starts cracking  apart when I sing in the lower register more than it used to and it is causing me some distress. 

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Here's my secret weapon. Mouth moisturizer. I've tried a few and the one that seems to destroy any mouth noise or clicks for me is Biotene brand Dry Mouth. I got "hooked" on the stuff when I was doing radiation treatment in my face and my mouth was super dry. My skin was too, I was falling apart like a zombie no matter the amount of moisturizing I did. But I'd since kept up with the Biotene because it's a life saver.

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14 hours ago, finndev478 said:

Also the right singing and speaking technique can influence how is easily your vocal chords are stressed. Basically using your diaphragm and only putting as much pressure as needed to produce the results.

Yeah, this falls under "Don't project so much" for voice-overs. Same thing. Don't overstress your cords and use the correct technique. Great advice! 

5 minutes ago, precords1275 said:

Here's my secret weapon. Mouth moisturizer. I've tried a few and the one that seems to destroy any mouth noise or clicks for me is Biotene brand Dry Mouth. I got "hooked" on the stuff when I was doing radiation treatment in my face and my mouth was super dry. My skin was too, I was falling apart like a zombie no matter the amount of moisturizing I did. But I'd since kept up with the Biotene because it's a life saver.

Everyone has their own technique for avoiding mouth noise. For me, being too moist actually creates more noise, but drinking lots of water (even when not recording) helps me stay hydrated in general. But I know several VAs who use mouth moisturizers, and love them. Man, radiation treatment must be tough! I hope you got well! 

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