Voice Artists Have Loud Mouths

Now that may well have come across as a misleading title. I’m not suggesting that we voice overs are rude and abrasive people just queueing up for a place on the Jeremy Kyle Show. No, what I am talking about here is the fact that the human mouth makes noise.

From time to time, whenever recording a session, I had noticed that my mouth would make the occasional clicking sound, brought about by being a little too dry.

I didn’t really give it much thought, as the means to remove those clicks in post production were not that much of a problem. But then I start narrating an audiobook. Six hours of completed audio where my voice would not be mixed with any music or sound effects, or where there would be visuals on which the viewer could focus, putting my voice neatly in the background.

Nope, this was narration in the rawest of forms and I found out that the gaping chasm that is my mouth makes noise – a lot of it.

And so I began my research – what to do? Certainly many engineers talk about how they edit out clicks and pops but what about the voice over themselves? Is there anything we can do to speed up the process?

Well it turns out that there are lots of different things to be done, but what works for one person may well not work for another.

The clicks and pops are a result of the mouth getting dry – not the throat, so whilst drinking water can help, it won’t really get to the root of the problem.

First, the teeth get dry, so the lips will smack against them. Best solution for that? Vaseline on the teeth. It may sound horrible, but that’s only because it actually is.

But then if you have a wide tongue like me, air will get trapped around and beneath it. One simple trick there is to purse your lips together and blow a lot of air out of your mouth – simple enough, and it works.

For many years I have also used the trick of eating a green apple before a recording session, and it’s important to take a bit bite and then let the juice fill your mouth. Other juices work too – cranberry is a personal favourite, and lemon juice in hot water works well too.

And then last week I read a tip which I simply did not believe until I tried it, and it actually worked, and this one really is weird. I licked my shirt. Yep, you heard me, I licked my shirt and almost instantly, the clicks went away.

I don’t know why it works, and frankly I don’t care. The only downside is that this is fine whilst working at home, but when going into a studio I am sure I am going to get some funny looks from clients, so I’ll probably just stick to the cranberry juice!

Until next time.