Just like Tom Hanks coaching his female baseball team in A League of Their Own, remember, there is no crying in voice overs. The job must get done.
“If you don’t knock it off, I’ll REALLY give you something to cry about!”
In my years of being a creative director for voice-over sessions, I have had a total of 2 talents break down and cry during the recording session. It was unfortunate, but I get it. Doing voice work is demanding. You are thinking about a dozen things in terms of tone, technique, pacing, pronunciation and breath control, all the while taking in what your director is throwing at you. And maybe you also had a fight with your teenager right before your session, or you spilled coffee all over your new “audition pants” on the way to the studio. Yes, it can be overwhelming, and well, emotional. But, bringing your “A” game to a voice over project is important no matter what. If your head isn’t in it, your voice won’t be in it.
A radio guy I once worked with told me that his wife would be furious while listening to him on the air. Apparently, they would have an argument prior to him leaving for the studio, and while she was home still stewing and feeling awful, HE went on the air and sounded chipper, upbeat and full of sunshine and rainbows. When she tuned in, she felt like he wasn’t even affected by their disagreement, because he didn’t SOUND affected. She never understood that he had a job to do, and that he mentally needed to put away all the unpleasant things that had occurred to him prior to cracking open that mic. Not easy to do, but he did it, and his listeners never had a clue that he was feeling just as lousy as his wife.
“Hey, I have a radio show to do – I need my head in one piece!”
I have had TERRIBLE days where all I want to do is cry (I happen to cry a lot), and many times I have pushed away from the mic in my frustration with a read or equipment challenge. It didn’t get me any further with the work I needed to do. But, it happens. Life happens. We are emotional creatures. So get a handle on where your head needs to be prior to a session whether you are going into your own studio, or doing a session in a client studio. Remember that the mental prep you do PRIOR to speaking into that mic will make all the difference in how you sound AFTER you speak into it.
“Even though my life is CRAP, I will keep it together in the studio.”
Oh, and by the way, I stand corrected. Crying actually IS allowed in voice overs – but only when it’s IN the script. Then you can think about that fight you had with your wife and bawl your eyes out. The director will be very impressed.