This installment of ‘voice over tips’ is not just something you need to know as a voice over actor but something every recording engineer and singer should be aware of as well. First the story…
Snow White and the Apple!
Once upon a time a studio I was working at in Los Angeles was contracted to produce some advertising for Disneyland. One of the commercials featured Snow White’s voice prominently. Disney has a very particular way of working. They are very protective of their brand and how it is presented, and rightfully so. It is a key factor in their success.
So on this magical day they sent over the ribbon microphone that the original Snow White recorded on in 1937 along with several pages of instructions on caring for and using the microphone. They delivered precise notes on how to EQ the voice to get the signature velvety sound. A character director arrived solely to observe and ensure we didn’t have Snow White do anything that was out of character. And, they sent over the actress who was the official voice of Snow White at the time.
This actress, a lovely lady, entered the studio and greeted everyone in her naturally cartoony voice. (I was a little sad to see she wasn’t surrounded by cute little forest animals) We went over the script, then I led her to her place in the recording booth closing the double air lock doors behind her. From my desk I watched her place her script on the stand and reach into her hand bag and… pull out an apple. (dun dun dun) Those of you familiar with her story know that an apple is the last thing Snow White should ever eat! I reached for the talkback button and yelled “Noooooooo Don’t Eat The Apple!”
The magic of green apples!
Why did the actress bring an apple into the booth? No, not to help get into character. The pectin in green apples stimulates the saliva glands in your mouth. Why do you want to stimulate your saliva glands you ask? It works to combat a dry mouth and a dry mouth is a noisy mouth. Eating the green apple can get rid of the subtle sounds of your lips pulling apart or teeth clicking, etc. that expensive condenser microphones are so apt to pick up. (Not to mention you don’t want the words jumbling up into a big ball as your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth.) So, as a voice actor or singer, you should try to hydrate with plenty of room temperature water before a session and in case that isn’t enough you should consider bringing a green apple with you as well.
If you are an engineer have some green apples stashed in the fridge in case you need them for a singer or actor. It has saved me a couple times in sessions. Many actors don’t know this trick so as an engineer you should be prepared if you get one of those noisy mouths! (And I am not talking about the producer who won’t get off his cell phone- apples don’t work for those mouths.)
Interested in getting into voice over? Check out my series on becoming a voice over professional.