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How Do You Stay Awake When
Voicing Those Late-Night Jobs?
 
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Co-Founder Voices.com
 
If you are like most voice over talent, you'll have the odd (or regular!) evening recording session.

By the end of the day, you're tired, spent and may have little to give in terms of energy or enthusiasm. But those late-night sessions still exist!
 
So how do you keep your voice buoyant and faculties alert?

Here's how a number of professional voice talents survive late evening and even nocturnal recording sessions.

MIC ALWAYS READY
 
Most pro voice talents say their microphone is at the ready when clients need them - even after they've had dinner and are ready to call it a night.

You might be on-air talent working in broadcast radio, and the evening shift is part and parcel of what you do on a daily basis.
 
Or you may face similar challenges in television or film.
 
STAYING AWAKE

The thought struck me that these recording sessions or opportunities to use your voice and acting skills pose unique challenges that you might not face during a morning or afternoon gig ... one of which includes staying awake and the general condition of your voice.

Since copy reading at night deserves the same professionalism and energy as copy reading during the day, I thought it would be good to explore a few ideas on how to maintain your vocal stamina and remain alert when reading copy later in the day.
 
ARE YOU KIDDING?

One idea that came to mind was laughter.
 
The simple act of laughing releases endorphins that will cheer you up (lift your spirits), engage your musculature (exercise), and brighten your eyes (make you more alert).
 
WHAT PROS DO ... 

I posed the question of how one stays alert via the Voices.com Facebook fan page, and received many comments to share.
 
What did they say?
 
 A number of your peers feel that caffeine is the answer. 

Thomas Buxton relates, "Two words: Rockstar Cola. Works for me."

Diane Merritt cited Red Bull as her first choice when staying awake and alert during evening recording sessions.

Steven Stone mentioned,
"There is a wonderful product called Mountain Dew. It all depends on you wanting to keep your teeth."
MOVE AROUND

Not everyone has jumped on the caffeine bandwagon, though.
 
Robert Ready was quick to add that he prefers breathing exercises and or a quick walk.
 
Robert also gave his thoughts on caffeine, stating that caffeine jitters are counter-productive. Good point!
 
HEALTHY HABITS 

Rest is paramount where your voice is concerned, especially if you've just come off a long day and have been using your voice quite a bit.

Ralph Hass thinks along the same lines, recommending that a voice actor in this situation, "Lie down earlier and have a bit of a rest."

Peggy Tisone has an entire regimen for such recording sessions. Peggy said,

"What works best for me is just a little prep that makes a big difference.
 
"First, a cool shower, a light dinner, hydrate with water and of course, rest my voice for several hours prior to recording. Since I'm up every day at 6:15 a.m., maybe a catnap followed by a short brisk walk."
DEDICATION TO VO
 
Kevin Keplar chimed in with,
"Passion for the craft! When I'm working on a project I'm excited about, I actually lose track of time.
 
"Of course, by the time I do send out that finished file, I crash hard!"

Scott Feighner pointed out the obvious, reminding us that
"It's your job to stay awake. If you don't stay awake, you don't get paid to be a voice-actor."
COOL IT

Shawn Koontz is an on-air talent at a radio station. He states,
"I did a seven-hour request and dedication radio show. Cool fresh air and/or water to the face seem to work the best for me."
And sometimes it's simply the work that keeps you on course.
 
Lisa Ritchie, who is also an on-air talent, works 8.5 hours a day and says that professionalism keeps her going.
 
WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Whether it's staying awake at night and giving a session your all - or trying to remain alert during a particularly lengthy or tedious narration - how do you give 100% to the copy?
 
ABOUT STEPHANIE ...
 
Stephanie Ciccarelli is co-founder of Voices.com, the online voice-over marketplace. One of the most connected people in voice-overs, she is a sought-after expert and industry source, and is actively engaged in the voice acting community. She graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts '06 from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario, and is the author of many eBooks, including the Definitive Guide to Voice Over Success. She is editor of the VOX Daily Voice Actors Blog, and also shares her insights and perspectives via podcasts.
 

 

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Comments (2)
Bill Smith
11/4/2010 at 1:22 PM
Let's keep in mind that coffee contains caffeine ... and that leads to dehydration. VERY rough on the vocal chords. Stick to luke warm water or herbal (decaf) teas.
Paul
11/4/2010 at 6:44 AM
A 45-minute nap works wonders! My biggest challenge is not late night voice sessions, but late night editing!! That takes 3 times as long!
Paul
www.pauljwarwick.com
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