Published August 20, 2011
Ever notice how nuts voice talents are?
It’s true. We are.
It’s the little things that prove it. You know, those little habits or superstitions. Some of them we swear by. Others, well, why should we take a chance and be wrong?
I had a voiceover friend who would suck in the cold air coming out of a window AC before doing a voice job. He said it made his voice deeper. I tried it and nearly choked to death.
I know a guy who uses a hairnet when he’s in his recording booth, because he swears his hair makes noise. I won’t mention names, but there’s a pretty successful voice talent that takes his pants off when recording for the very same reason. I’m not that bad, but I do check my shirt each morning to see how noisy it is.
Several voice dogs refuse to use any headphones but their own. And it’s not so much the quality of their cans, but that they just don’t want other people’s cooties. I can’t blame them too much. Some of those public headphones are just nasty.
My favorite idiosyn”crazies” are the hand motions we just have to make when reading copy. Some of you production studios should videotape us sometime. I was at a studio waiting for my session while the current voice guy was finishing up. I bit my tongue watching him read. He held his arms straight out and sort of flapped them while reading.
I was just in a session a few days ago where the talent emphasized everything with hand motions. Every once in awhile she would smack the copy stand and have to stop and start over. I asked the engineer if she always did that. He said, “I’m OK with the wild hand motions, but when she starts stomping her foot I get a little irritated.”
I’ve got a habit of shaking my hand, usually the right one, while I’m reading. The more intense the read, the harder and faster the shake. A client once asked me if I had been checked for Parkinson’s.
The superstitions we come up with are priceless. Borderline OC.
There is a voice talent I know that starts every day with a new pen. I guess that sort of makes sense after you see the pens and pencils on the copy stands in the various studios. Hey, chew your own pencil, will ya?
Then there is a gifted voice talent I work with that puts a barrette in on the right side of her hair right before every session. I figured it was to keep the hair out of her face. Nope. Turns out, as she explained it to me, she’s right-eyed.
I thought maybe she had that surgery done where they make one eye long distance and one short distance. No, she’s just right eyed. Apparently she’s got it in her head that she reads with her right eye. I asked her if it was a physiological thing, or if she had been tested for that. Was her left eye weaker? No. She just reads with her right eye, OK?
I must admit that I have my lucky reading glasses. I probably have 30 pairs of reading glasses around the house, but I have to have that one pair when recording. Hey, I make fewer mistakes with them!
But is there anyone flakier than the voice guy I know that has to touch every piece of equipment in the sound booth before recording? He says it brings them all into harmony. The engineer says it’s gonna bring him a black eye one of these days.
And the concoctions we come up with to stop mouth noise when recording! Everything from sour apples to olive oil with a splash of vinegar. I actually know of a voice talent that puts some Vaseline on his lips AND teeth before reading.
Some of us just have to have bottled water. Room temperature, please. No, really, there’s something about my tap water that seems to irritate my throat after awhile. Have you ever just let tap water sit around in a glass for a day or two? Gross!
I guess it’s all about what works for you. We all want to be our best and do our best. All those writers, engineers, producers and directors out there are counting on us. It’s a lot of pressure. Anybody getting into this business thinking it’s easy money is in for a rude awakening!
I’ve got a two hour narration coming up. I may try that no pants thing.