How Do You Get Into Character?
Before you get in front of the mic, do you have anything special that you do to get in the ‘zone’?
Even the VOX Talk Podcast has a story to tell! Share your “pre-game” rituals and recording session routines with your friends at VOX Daily.
I thought of writing this post a couple of months ago when we started the VOX Talk podcast (18 episodes and counting – yippee!) because at that time, I had instituted a recording session ritual for myself. Before I recorded every episode of the VOX Talk podcast, I would do all of the usual things (warm up, drink water, eat an apple (thanks Julie), rehearse, etc.), but to me at the time, the real clincher for a great session character-wise was all in the footwear.
The routine was simple. Put on my boots, sit down, pick up the microphone, hit record, and click back to my Word doc with the show notes. For a number of episodes, I recorded wearing my podcast boots (don’t laugh, that’s what I called them!), and found that they helped me to ease into hosting the podcast on psychological and artistic levels.
The boots also gave me:
• A mix of inspiration and extra confidence
• Something unique that I only associated with recording
• Artificial height. When you’re 5’2″, you’ll take whatever you can get!
Regardless of what I thought the boots did for me, one night, I didn’t feel like wearing them. I think it may have even been when we recorded the Voicey Awards.
Bryan Cox said it was a pity that I didn’t mention the dress I was wearing in the podcast. Well, I was wearing pants and a shirt, not a gown created by Valentino, and to have admitted then that I was also bootless (in stocking feet) on top of that would have been too much!
Since that fateful night, I have not worn the boots during recording sessions for the podcast, and truth be known, I don’t need them. Everything that I had inside me was there already, and not because of the boots. Until now, only a handful of people were privy to the fact that I was wearing the boots to get into character. Now, it’s out in the open! I’m hoping that my story will encourage you to share any silly or meaningful recording session preparations or rituals you observe.
What do you do that makes a recording session special for you?
Kudos for being able to talk and wear heels at the same time! (Seriously!) I despise any shoe or boot with any ‘rise’, so it’s slippers or bare feet for me (even in other studios- if its a new producer, I am kind enough to wear my Uggs). A heel would distract me to the point of not being able to utter a word! I have to be comfortable in my clothes as well.
A ritual I have with the characters I record on a regular basis is to recite one line that reminds me of that character just before I begin. For some, it’s an actual line from a show, for others it’s a line I imagine the character saying.
Even when I am asked at conventions, etc to ‘do the voice’- I revert back to the same lines. After that- I can have an entire conversation in character.
Body language also plays a part- if the character is upset, I get upset- if they are young, my posture is ‘small’. I like to ‘get in character’ just like I would when filming a movie.
Finally, I never go to a session without my Arizona green tea (although I have been able to use lipton on occassion). It’s just superstitious… I’m sure any tea would do.
You’re in good company among the Green Tea drinkers of voice over.
Rodney Saulsberry also favors Green Tea before recording. Maybe we could have a tea session at the conference 😉
Keep the stories coming!
It’s those heels I can’t get over. Dan-ger-oussss.
There is no way I’d ever tell anyone what I wear while recording… oh no did I leave that darn webcam on again???
Anytime I need to project attitude, I find I do better if I’m wearing a ballcap low over my eyes. I guess like we used to do in college when we thought we were so cool.
While heels can be helpful recording anything needing real diaphragm power, as with singing, I go for comfortable as well. I often favor dim or dark studios whenever possible.
I am a fan of Tazo ‘Calm’ tea, or simply warm water, but I never eat anything for at least 2 hours before. And, I do what Kara does for Character. There’s always a line or two that helps me step inside that character’s skin.
Thanks to everyone for their contributions!
I love hearing about the tips that work for you.
I agree physicality is important and I too often have a lead in line to get in character. But I find the laugh to be the key. I once had a role in a play that was the complete opposite of me. Just before going on stage each night, I would have a good laugh as the character in the wings and that would set the tone for the show.
I usually sing on the way to the studio. Not all out… just as a warm up. I seldom ‘rehearse’ a script. I usually just become familiar with the words and then drop into the style or character on the spot. I find, the spontaneity really works. Sometimes I have to imagine a picture of the character and the setting. If it’s a repeat character, I, too, say a certain phrase to fall into it.