“Okay … Quiet On The Set!” We’ve all heard that classic phrase, customarily uttered as a movie scene is about to be shot. Of course, any voice actor that has been to a professional recording studio is familiar with the glowing “RECORDING” light outside of the booth, informing passersby to remain mute. Obviously, the reason for these moments of silence is to keep whatever is being recorded clean and free of unwanted background noise that could ruin a golden take.
Remember, the microphone is like an ultra-sensitive ear. It picks up any sound, no matter how slight. An audible movement, tick of the copy stand, mouth pop or click, or other ambient noise will likely be transferred to the recording device, rendering what could have been a winning performance unusable.
I was uniquely reminded of this impressible fact during a recent recording session while donning my Producer’s hat. The talent (an artist with some experience under his belt) came impeccably dressed … but, attired in a shirt made of synthetic material that emitted a slight scrapping sound with every movement of his upper body. Since he was a physical actor doing an emotive piece, it became a troubling problem. It gave me no pleasure reminding him that cotton, or other silent clothing materials, were a must for any recording session. Unfortunately, we had to suffer through several retakes of what would have been phenomenal passes of various sections of the script wrecked by his noisy shirt. Meanwhile, this voice actor struggled to keep his natural body movements to a minimum, undoubtedly distracting him from his highest execution.
So the next time you are scheduled to be in the recording studio, make sure you are literally suited for the occasion. There should be no chance that any sounds not intended for the final recording are emanating from you. And, whatever you do, make sure your cell phone is TURNED OFF! Follow these rather obvious tips so that you don’t become known as “that actor”, and are fondly called in for the next project.
By Voice Actor Mark Avery