Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Mouth noise - the bane of a Voice Actor's life.

My last post was all about how great it was to take some time out this summer, and boy, am I glad I did! Since the day after that post, until now, I have been flying by the seat of my narrator's chair to get project after project completed.  Lots of lovely IVR for a major high street retail, some fabulous corporate videos for new clients in Europe, and four separate Audiobooks, some self-produced, some recorded elsewhere, on top of my usual client list for ISDN work. I completed all my long-form work two days ago, and my corrections and pick-ups. Phew. I'm done!
(Here's a little pic of me hard at work.)

One of the things that strikes me about the longer narration pieces, is the responsibility the VO or Narrator has to keen their mouth clean, in order to provide as clear and concise a read as possible. And it is not a simple as it seems. There is definitely far more discipline and awareness required than on shorter commercial pieces.

Some people swear by eating an apple between recording segments. For me, this just ends with apple skin irritatingly stuck in my teeth. Some like to drink apple juice. That works ok, but I find I can only drink so much, and needing the ladies room an awful lot. And of course, there is water. Obviously keeping yourself hydrated means that your mouth won't sound dry and sticky, but personally I find that water is better as a something to drink during the days leading up to mammoth recording sessions to ensure my body is about as hydrated as it can be. If I drink too much whilst 'on the job', my mouth noise takes on a different quality. Finding a balance is all important, if you want to save hours of editing on the other side.

I've recently seen people blogging about a quirt of lemon juice, and have yet to give that a go. Already my taste buds are popping at the very thought of the sharp tang. I have been trying out different juices and foods, and I think I've found my very own recipe for success. I like to use a chewing gum as a quick fix (this is far easier to do when recording solo, as it would be a little bit
gross to remove gum in an outside studio!),. My preference is Wrigley's Extra Peppermint Sugar Free Gum. And then recently I found what has become my golden elixir for Voiceover work: Tropicana Orange and Mango Juice. For some reason it seems to soothe the throat when it begins to tire, and cleans my palate, ready for lots more clean talking (or not so clean, depending on how raunchy the bedroom scene in the novel I'm narrating is!)

What do you use? Are you aware of your mouth noise, or trusting an engineer to pick it up and clean up the mess you made? I'd love to hear other people's special recipes for success.


  1. Strangely enough, Diet Coke seems to work better for me than the apple trick. Diet coke right before hitting the studio and water while in it every few lines.

  2. I have found that apple juice works well for me but when it comes to tough "growly" character voices, a room temp Coke can help. I asked Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, what he uses to recover his voice after a tough session and he said, "I make a remedy of pure maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper in hot water and sip that."
    I have to admit, I haven't tried that one yet.

  3. I'm going to try your orange-juice trick, Anna, as I spend a lot of time fixing little pops and squeaks. I've found that warm water is more helpful than cold water.

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