I’ll admit it… from time to time like every voice actor, I suffer from mouth noise.
After all, I’m a human being! And, besides the great tones that come out of my mouth, there are days when oral conditions are not optimal and I end up getting those icky sounding “ticks” and “clicks” in the middle of words – they can wreak havoc with my confidence and my mood…
I recently posted this topic for discussion on LinkedIn, and I was overwhelmed with the number of responses from other voice actors who suffer from mouth noise – and heartened by all of the great advice, tips and tricks they offered. There were the common sense tips, such as make sure you’re well hydrated (starting a couple of hours before you enter the studio…), other had favorite lozenges (Ricola and Grether’s Pastille were tops!), sprays and rinses (Alcolol and Biotene), and then there were lemons, green apples and someone even suggested a few sips of red wine!
One thought I had when I started the thread was that people would chime in and say something along the lines, “Well, that’s too bad. Toots! It’s a deal killer for most directors! Obviously, you’ll have to find another line of work!” Thank goodness I was wrong!
It was an entertaining, informative and very uplifting discussion that lasted more than two weeks – and had nearly 100 comments!After reading and interacting with many of the commenters on my post, I landed on my own “trifecta” solution for reducing and eliminating mouth noise during recording:
- Mic placement – for me chin high, tilted back at a 45 degree angle, with the front of the mic angled at 45 degrees as well. This makes it so that I’m talking across the mic and not directly “at” it. I end up with a very clean “on mic” sound – with minimal “ticking” and “clicking.”
- Sugarless, spearmint gum (Orbit, for me) chewed during rounds of editing – then delicately placed in a dish during recording.
- Clearing my saliva glands before a take. This tip came from a Adobe Audition guru. He had to explain what to do, as I’d never heard of it (basically, you pull your mouth together like you are gathering as much spit as you can – then swallow.
Together, along with hydrating, of course, these three steps keep my mouth moist and yet uncluttered enough to get a great sound!
In the end I found that we (voice actors) ARE our own worst critics… And, the bottom line for all of us, I think, is that we are human beings talking into a device that captures all of our “very human” noises… and so, in addition to good editing software and patience, we all need to give ourselves a little grace to be human! ?