Blog 2015

Voiceovers and Allergies

Posted On: June 30, 2015

Voiceovers and allergies; they don't play well, together, in the sandbox.  I love when the warm weather comes but I don't love knowing that allergies come with it.  I've been suffering from allergies since my late 20's (I didn't have any growing up); so I'm sure you know that they can be a real pain in the...ears, nose and throat.  Allergies have caused me to lose my voice, which led to an upper-respiratory infection, appointments to the doctor then filling prescriptions at the pharmacy and, of course, time off from work:  Not fun.  As a male voice talent I can't let that happen; no voice?  NO WORK!  No work?  NO MONEY!  It's that simple; a client ist't going to wait around til it clears up,either.

Allergies can be anything that your body is sensitive to; for me, the big one is ragweed.  Every year from mid-August thru mid-September I'd SUFFER terribly; sneezing fits (sometimes up to 10 in a row), not a runny nose- a flowing nose (I'm not kidding) and eventually- NO VOICE.

Remedies, be-it homemade or over-the-counter, helped but they weren't consistent from year to year. My doctor gave me an allergy test (a simple test that's done in the office) and it told me what elements I was sensitive to.  Aside from ragweed I have a few smaller allergies that I wasn't even aware of; so, to aid in these reactions I get 2 injections a month and they greatly reduce the severity of my allergies.  So now, when I'm ready to hit the RECORD button all I have to worry about is JustMyVoice.

by Rich Brennan


Facts about your voice you probably didn't know

Posted On: March 25, 2015

Prior to the Renaissance period, the voice was thought to be ‘sent forth by the heart’. Vocal cords are now referred to as ‘vocal folds’ which reflect the different layers of muscle, ligament and membranes that make up their structure. The normal anatomy of the human voice includes both ‘false’ vocal folds and ‘true’ vocal folds.  Many of the muscles used for swallowing are also used for talking; it's impossible to talk and swallow at the same time. When you swallow the epiglottis, at the back of the mouth, closes (like a valve) preventing aspiration of the food into the lungs. That effectively closes the layrnx; which prevents speech.

When you speak air travels in/out of your mouth and throat, causing normally moist and lubricated surfaces to become dry.  We drink to hydrate our body but liquids do not, directly, coat and lubricate the vocal folds.  If that were to happen, we would choke and cough badly!  Think about what happens when you drink something and it goes down the 'wrong pipe'. 

Whispering may actually make your vocal folds work harder. 

Maximum phonation time (MPT):
The average time during which an individual can sustain a sound at a comfortable pitch and loudness (with one breath). An MPT of more than 15 seconds is commonly considered to be normal for adults.  Women are thought to be more talkative than men; but, in some studies, males have been found to have a longer MPT than females.

Voice problems usually have multiple causes. Even with good voicing technique that optimizes breathing, vocal fold vibration and amplification, it is still possible to develop a problem if other lifestyle and medical issues are not addressed.

So take care of your voice and it will take care of you. 

by Rich Brennan

Source:  Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

The information provided within this blog is intended for general information and is provided with the understanding that no recommendation, surgical and/or medical advice is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician


A 5-Point Checklist For Choosing the Best Voice Over Production Company

Posted On: December 11, 2015

audio productionWhether you realize it or not, audio production has deep roots in American culture. From Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats to the podcasts you listen to at the gym, chances are good that you'll hear a voiceover or audio production (in some form) every day.

Even in our digital times, radio is the second most far reaching medium in the country, reaching 59% of consumers on a daily basis and 90% of consumers weekly. All told, nearly 236 million Americans listen to the radio every week, to say nothing of new mediums like podcasts, online music streaming, audio books, and more.

So what should you look for from voice over services? How do you know you're working with only the best voice over production companies? When researching audio production studios for your next professional voice over project, here's what you need:

  1. Demos, Demos, Demos: The best professional voice over artists are proud of their work. If a diverse sampling of demos isn't prominently displayed on their website, that should be a major red flag.
  3. Fast Turnaround: Obviously long projects, like full-length audiobooks, take longer to record, edit and produce; but the best production companies can turn around your project quickly. For small projects, there's no reason you shouldn't have a demo or even a completed recording in a day, or two.
  5. Script Writing: Even the most well-written piece of copy writing will need to be modified for voice narration. That's because voice over projects are usually more conversational. The best audio production companies can provide copy writing and script consultation services to ensure your project is optimized for audio.
  7. Commercial Production: Not all voice over artists are capable of doing audio production themselves. Make sure you're working with a studio that can handle all your production needs, including complex multi-track projects with music and sound effects.
  9. Experience: Just like the best companies proudly display demos, the best companies proudly display their clients. Look for artists and studios that have experience recording audio for a wide array of sectors.

And finally, you should work with a company that's willing to work with you. That means they should know how to listen before they push that little red record button.

by Rich Brennan


The Voice: Piercing the Mystery

Posted On: February 19, 2015
The voice
Is an instinctive, complicated, process that people use every day as a form of communication; and have been for millions of years.  In fact, 'the voice' can also be applied to the animal kingdom, as well.  In simple terms, the voice is the movement of air (from the lungs) over vocal folds, up the trachea (windpipe) and out through the mouth- creating sound.  It's the evolution and refining of those sounds is where we are, as humans, today.  Within the animal kingdom defining what those sounds mean and how they're interpretted is another subject; although, I suppose you could apply that concept to the way some people speak, too.

Like a radio, anyone can “turn it on” anytime and anywhere, but only few know how it really works. To pierce the mystery of the voice, one needs to understand how it works – there's the power source, the vibratory source, and the amplification.



Power Source
The power behind the voice, is breathing.  Breathing is essential; with each breath, the diaphragm (muscles that separate the lungs from the stomach) expand downwards. This allows an individual to take in as much air as needed to power the voice for speaking. During speech, air travels from the lungs to the windpipe (trachea) before reaching the vocal folds (larynx) at the top of the windpipe and out through the mouth. 


Vibratory source
When exhaled air from the lungs reaches the voice box, the vibration of the vocal folds produces sound. The pair of vocal folds forms a ‘V’ shape during quiet, relaxed, breathing. During voicing, the left and right vocal folds come together and oscillate (in an opening and closing movement), producing a tiny “buzzing” sound. The sound produced is then carried by the air molecules upwards along the throat and out through the mouth.


The sound gets amplified and becomes audible through the various spaces in the throat, mouth and even nose. Typically, sound amplification through the mouth and nose is regarded as the most efficient. Additionally, the lips, tongue and teeth help shape the sounds, enabling us to pronounce words and phrases used in speech.

by Rich Brennan

Source:  Speech therapy dept. at Singapore General Hospital.

All information provided within this blog is intended for general information and is provided with the understanding that no recommendation, surgical and/or medical advice is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician