When the pandemic hit, I noticed many voiceover actors starting to panic. This panic was born out of several roots. The first is the fear of not being able to work! Voiceover artists were used to going to the studio to record a session. The pandemic closed the studios leaving the voiceover actor there twiddling their thumbs. Let us circle back to this a little bit later in this blog. The second panic was birthed out of the fear of getting scared. Getting sick is an interesting concept, right? We are all used to getting sick from time to time but all of a sudden, it was a big deal for the entire world. But why was this? Well, there is an extensive list of reasons why and we all have our own opinion on the pandemic, but we can imagine that voiceover artists were concerned because the damage to their health could be crippling for their business. Post covid-19 voice over would be a new frontier.
The Number One Tool for Post Covid-19 Voice Over
Truth be told voice actors should have been concerned about their vocal health long before the pandemic ever hit the planet. I remember working in retail, whilst in retail, if you got sick the management really did not care all that much. Similarly, I have observed this behaviour in several other areas such as supermarkets, offices, and yes even certain parts of the health sector (crazy right?). These days we behave the opposite, we stay home and lock down until we are better – in fact, this is better when measured against its former counterpart. But here is the thing, the above jobs ‘can’ be done should the individual be well enough to conduct them. I barely ever took a day off when sick in retail, in fact – I think in ten years maybe 2/3 days tops were processed as sick until the point of me leaving and becoming a full-time voice actor. So though one can scan tins whilst unwell, they probably should not! A voiceover artist, on the other hand, REALLY should not work! Why? Because their number one tool, THEIR VOICE is already in a highly compromised position, and the more they push it the more significant the damage.
The Future of Voiceover When Battling Sickness
It is not about the next job! It is about the next several years of your career. Unlike a cut on the arm or a burn on the hand, your voice does not heal like minor flesh damage. Even broken bones can heal better! Sometimes the damage to our voice is irreversible; thus, the pandemic simply brought truth to life for voice actors. You must be careful, stay safe and look after your voice!
The Artist Had to Change!
No one likes to change, right? WRONG – I love a bit of change! Tons of voice actors were ready for the pandemic because when the studios closed, they had their home booth prepped and ready to go! Since then, voiceover booth installation is booming! Everyone wants their own. Studios still take a lot of the work for bigger jobs and for those folks without a booth, but overall voice actors were either ready for the pandemic or quickly changed to meet the challenge.
The Claim to Royalty a Voice Actor MUST Proclaim
When the pandemic started, I authored this article to deliver a powerful truth to the industry. The word Corona comes from the word crown, and the virus took precedence worldwide. The play on words here is that it was time to take the crown back. A nasty virus did not deserve to be the royalty of the world. It absorbed our times, lives, emotions, happiness, and, yes… sadly, even loved ones. I watched this, and I thought, enough is enough, and I decided it was time to fight back. Every artist needed to stand up and say, ‘this pandemic is not taking my joy; I will fight back!’ ‘This pandemic will not steal my career, I will fight back!’ And finally, ‘this pandemic is not going to ruin my life, I will fight back!’
Post covid-19 Voice Over Artists Fight Against Sickness
Whether it is a tickle or a nasty bout of flu, the top tip for a voiceover artist and voice actor is to rest! Do not overdo it; listen to your body and recover! You are no good to anyone if you are exhausted, and the thing is, the client will hear the difference in your voice too!
The next tip is to invest in a nice jar of honey. Manuka honey, in particular, has had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into research. Manuka honey has bacteria and enzymes inside it that will combat germs of all branches. Furthermore, honey offers a two-fold strike for a voice actor because it will soothe the vocal cords and some of the properties are proportionately relevant for the healing of the vocal area.
Next, if you have access to a local steam room, inhale as much steam as possible! Baths and showers will do if not. DO NOT stockpile on lozenges; they simply cover the pain and do not deal with the problem! Numbing the pain will damage your vocal cords further if you continue pushing it under the effects of these products. By all means, take one before bed if it helps you sleep; just do not use it as a tool to get you through a session.
This brings me to my next point! A voiceover actor MUST say no if a client asks them to do something that will damage them further. They must say no if the session has hit its limits vocally. If there are some physically challenging elements to your session, leave them to the end, do not let it wreck the rest of the session. In short, be bold and know when enough is enough. If you get hurt in the session, the client has a poor product, and you are out of work the next day.
Finally! Might seem simple but stay hydrated! Always have plenty of water and avoid caffeine, chocolate, and dairy leading up to the session. It can bung you up, and it is not worth the risk if you can avoid it.