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Mic Tricks EVERY Voice Actor Needs to Know!

**No mics were harmed in the making of this video!**(Oh, and there's bloopers at the end!) P-popping troubles? Need to whipser? Yell? RUN?!? Gabby goes over some simple microphone techniques you can use on a regular basis to DRAMATICALLY improve your performances!

7/25/17 – Mic Tricks EVERY Voice Actor Need to Know! - 6:31

I swear to you no microphones were harmed in the making of this video. Hey, it’s Gabby. So today we’re going to talk about microphone techniques, microphone tricks, if you will. No, not the kind where I take a microphone and fling it around. That's not what we’re doing. What we are talking about is ways to use your microphone to achieve different sounds, different things. Sometimes it’s not about using your mic, it’s about you, it’s about using your body and you in relation to your microphone. Let's get started.

First thing I want to show you is something really common that you hear people talk about all the time, but kind of hard to really understand what they’re saying unless you see it. And it is talking off axis. Why do we do this? It’s really simple. It’s to avoid something called a plosive or a P-pop for, you know, slang, I guess. So here’s the thing. When we say words that start with a P or a B, like the word “poor,” we can pop the P and this is what that sounds like. Pour. What’s happening is I'm speaking directly into the microphone and there is this big rush of air that’s hitting the mic’s diaphragm all at one time, and that’s what creates that puh pop. So off axis means I’m tilting. I’m moving my body and my mouth to just kind of graze the microphone at a different angle so when I say the word pour, it doesn't pop anymore. Also you get yourself one of these, it’s a pop filter, pretty essential for reducing or eliminating plosives, but it doesn't do all of the work for you. You’ve got to do your part, which means speaking off axis.

Next step we’re gonna talk about ways that you can create an environment with your microphone. Probably the easiest, the simplest and the most in demand for today's performances is something intimate. It’s creating an environment where you’re really up close and personal with the audience, and it sounds like you’re in very, very close proximity to them. So you cozy on up to the microphone. The closer you get to the mic, the more of an intimate type of communication you’re gonna achieve. And you’re not really dropping your volume. You’re not reducing that so much, but you can see the richness and the fullness of sound that comes when you really sneak in close to that mic. Ok? Very different, very effective especially when you again are trying to create intimacy.

What if you’re trying to do the opposite? What if you’re trying to create something that’s spatially very big like maybe you’re supposed to be outdoors or you’re supposed to be somewhere that’s really loud and you can't quite hear yourself? This is common in a lot of scenarios. So let's say you’re supposed to be in a crowded bar or restaurant. And you can't quite hear what everyone else is saying, and you’re talking over this really, really loud crowd! And we’ve all had this happened when we’re standing right next to somebody but we’re basically screaming into their ear? To replicate that you have to be off-mic. You have to back way up and increase your volume, but by backing up, you’re gonna make it so that you don't over-modulate and the track doesn't become rendered useless. Ok? So it helps you to create that sound. That’s a really fun one to play with, and it’s all about that spatial relationship to you and your microphone.

Lastly there’s a lot of scripts and a lot of performances that call for physical activity where we are supposed to be doing something physical: working out at the gym, biking, hiking, running, playing tennis, skiing, I don’t know, any number of activities. And we have to somehow re-create that relationship. Well, that can be difficult to do on mic because obviously we have to be aware of the microphone, we don't want to tap into it, we don’t want to bump it, don't want to of course be off of it either, and that’s really easy to do is to get off mic. The thing you have to keep in mind is it’s all about your mouth. It’s all about your mouth in relation to its placement with the mic. The rest of your body is free to do whatever it needs to. And so you kind of work within those confines.

So this is something you can practice really easily. Keep your mouth stationary but keep the rest of your body moving and mirror or mimic the motion you’re supposed to be making. If I’m supposed to be jogging or running, this is what I’m going to do, but notice that my mouth pretty much stays in the same place. Even though there’s a little bit of bounce and a little bit of rumble in the room, it’s still not going to negatively affect the performance. It is going to mirror or mimic that idea that I’m actually doing that activity in real life, and it’s something that people can hear and it makes a big difference in your performances. So have fun with it. Figure out how much space you have in your booth, figure out how much room you have to play with, and get in there and move around, and play around with your microphone. It makes all the difference, and it can make for way, way, way more dynamic performances.

For more of these kinds of tips, you can pick up a copy of my book, VO 101, and you can do that on my website You can also look at private coaching and some of the classes I offer, and of course we can do them via Skype, we can do them via Zoom, or if you’re close to me, face-to-face. I would love to see you in person.

Is that good? [laughs]

Pour. I can't even do it because I am so used to not doing it. Puh puh. My mic won’t [beep], are you [beep] me? A pop filter, really, really [dog barks] important tool. [sighs] You can also check out my latest video, and you can take a look at this one where we talk about more performance techniques that can help your voiceover career.

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Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, Voiceover Coaching, VO Coaching, Voiceover Coaches, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, Audition, microphone techniques, tips and tricks, plosives, dynamic performances, VO 101, private coaching, mouth placement, pop filters, studio equipment, techniques, studio techniques, off mic, off axis

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