This is going to be a very controversial topic my friends, so get comfy and pour yourself a drink.
Let me start by saying that I believe there are basically 3 things my voice over students should always wear when doing voice overs: 1. Pants 2. A smile. and 3. Headphones.
I’ve discussed this on numerous occasions with other voice coaches who nod gravely in agreement with the pants thing and typically agree with the smile thing, but curiously, when they get to the wearing-headphones-thing, they all of a sudden get pretty damn huffy. They argue that it’s a phenomenally bad idea to have students wear headphones when starting out, because it can be very disorienting, and really, these students have enough to worry about without having to deal with THAT. This opinion flies right in the face of reason if you ask me. Allow me to expand on this.
I’m gonna make a pretty bold assumption here, and here it is: The first time you ever heard your recorded voice, you were shocked at what you heard. Really shocked. You probably said: “Hey! That does NOT sound like ME!”
Except it did. And it does. It sounds exactly like you. And, here’s what’s weird – you are the ONLY one who thinks that it didn’t sound one bit like “you”.
That’s right. Everyone else who listened to your recording is saying, “Um, yeah it sounds EXACTLY like you, doofus”. What’s going on here?
Here’s the deal. While the rest of us all hear you and think you sound perfectly normal, YOU, my dear, have pretty much only been listening to your voice from INSIDE your head for your whole life – and you are the ONLY one who hears it like this. So, forget how weird it is to wear headphones, and just get on board with what the rest of the world hears when you open your mouth. Your voice is your ”product” and it’s not a bad idea to have a pretty good idea of what your product sounds like, don’t ya think? And headphones are pretty much the only path to that road of glory.
Admittedly, it IS pretty weird the first time you slam on those headphones to do a voice over. In fact, it’s just downright freaky to hear SOMEONE else’s voice coming outta your mouth. Do it anyway. I get headphones on my voice over students as soon as they will let me near them. (And for some students, I also have to put pants on them too. No biggy.) And if none of this convinces you, well, consider this: you really DON’T want the first time you wear headphones ever to be in a real studio with a real client. It’ll throw you off your game pretty quickly. Gee, that’ll make a GREAT impression. So do it. Wear your headphones. Get used to it. The weirdness will pass. I promise.