We’ve all done some silly, stupid things, and I’m sure you have your collection of embarrassing situations you put yourself in, as a VO Pro.
I remember one particularly long recording session on a very hot day in August. I’d been drinking an entire carafe of water in the booth, and nature was calling rather urgently. But I still needed to nail the tag lines for this incontinence commercial, and the director wasn’t willing to let me go. He kept on pushing and pushing for different takes, until my bladder was ready to burst.
I can still see me standing cross-legged in front of the microphone, desperately praying for a miracle.
“What’s going on, you look uncomfortable,” the director said. “Stay with me, Paul. We just need to flush a few things out. While doing the next couple of lines, imagine the relief you experience when using Oxytrol. You feel liberated! I want to hear that feeling of tremendous relief in your voice!”
I whispered under my breath: “If you’re going to mention the word “relief” one more time, I will step outside this booth, and pee all over you!”
“We’re nearly there,” the director said. “Why don’t you take another sip of water to lubricate those vocal cords. Urine the home stretch.”
I don’t know how, but I managed to squeeze a few more tag lines out of my twisted body, when the director stopped me in the middle of a line.
“You really need to sound more relaxed, Paul. I’d like you to take a few minutes to gather your thoughts while I use the men’s room. Don’t go anywhere!”
Little did he know that at that moment, I was ready to literally GO ANYWHERE.
I was MAD. In fact, I’d never been so pissed in my entire life!
The moral of this story is obvious. Never drink too much water during a directed session. Especially when recording an incontinence commercial. This had me thinking, though.
FIFTEEN VO NO-NO’S
What OTHER things should a voice over not do? Rather than racking my brain, I enlisted the help of my Instagram followers. They had some pretty good (as well as creative) ideas as to what to avoid.
To get things started, the first suggestion about what not to do, was mine:
1. Lick a knife
2. Go cheering your team, a day before recording, Sakshi Sharma
3. Open a beer bottle with your teeth, JD Trefney
4. Put down another VO. Everyone is on different paths of their career, Ginger White
5. Gargle with tiramisu, Ally Murphy
6. Swallow a sea urchin, Jason Thomsen
7. Chug chocolate syrup in order to coat and soothe the vocal chords, James Cheatham
8. Contact your pharmaceutical eLearning clients, using your erotica pseudonym account, Sumara Meers
9. Attend a drinking/singing VO social the day before recording, Emma Wheeler
10. Kiss your pet scorpion, Kristian Eros
11. Live near an airport, Jordan Drayer
12. Record your auditions in the bathroom, Dylan Walker
13. Eat a double peanut butter sandwich just before recording, Joe Fink
14. Break off the door knob inside your booth, Bart Kooiman
15. Eat gassy foods right before a directed session, Monique Bagwell
And that last suggestion is a nice transition to where we began: in the realm of toilet humor.
Let’s go back to that recording studio to see how things ended.
When the director eventually returned from his bathroom break, we finished in five excruciating minutes, and I made a frantic run for the restroom.
While passing I heard the director say:
“Great session, Paul, you’re my number one talent.
Drinks are on me, everybody!”
“Sorry,” I shouted.
“I have to go.