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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The 5 Rules of Voice Over Etiquette

Miss Manners may know the correct way to position silverware at a formal dinner or the proper timeframe for RSVPing, but when it comes to voice over, there’s a whole different set of expectations. For people new to the industry, there are certain rules that must be followed when you’re recording in a studio other than your own or dealing with clients there. Here are the top 5 tips for proper etiquette in VO.

1.    Don’t touch the equipment.  Seriously, DO NOT TOUCH THE EQUIPMENT. When you’re behind the mic at a recording studio, please keep your hands to yourself. Someone paid a lot of money for that equipment, and they’ve positioned it just so, and they don’t want you messing with it. It’s as simple as that. Let the sound engineer or assistant set the mic position for you.
2.    When recording, keep your own sounds to a minimum, or better yet, don’t make any noise at all other than what you’ve been directed to. Coughing, clearing your throat, or making other sounds into the microphone is going to make the sound engineer very unhappy, not to mention deaf. Step back from the mic to warm up your throat.
3.    Show some class. Don’t show up in worn-out jeans and your old Aerosmith t-shirt. You may be thinking, “I’m just doing a quick reading, so what?” but it’s not just a quick reading to whoever is paying you. They’re paying you to be a professional, so dress the part.
4.    Be on time, and be prepared. Time is money, and when you show up late to a gig, you’re wasting both. Plus, late arrivals run the risk of seriously upsetting a whole slew of people, who are more than likely trying to stick to their own jam-packed schedules. Also, make sure you’ve got everything you need with you - a copy of the script, some water, a business card, and even an invoice if necessary. In fact, I make a point of showing up 10 - 15 minutes early for the session. To say my hellos, fill out the studio paperwork and read over the script.
5.    Turn off your phone. I repeat, turn off your phone! This one is so ridiculous, yet it is overlooked all too often. We live in a world of constant cell phone use, which is fine, just make sure it’s not in use during your recording. 
6.   Unless you're asked to or it's obvious that your encouraged to, don't hang around after you've done your recording. Chances are the client and engineer have their mixing to do within the same session. You need to give them their space. Smile and wish them a good day as you exit.

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