The following narrative is my description of recording my first ever commercial voice over gig for a Boston area radio commercial.
Deafening. The silence is absolutely deafening.
Thick padded walls, subwoofers that supersede my body weight, dual monitors with custom built transparent towers, and a motherboard sound system with dials and EQ’s that I’ve never heard of.
Wait the script. You’ve got a commercial to do, focus…
“I’m just gonna set up the mic, and we can get started. Just need five minutes!”
I mutter a response, in this acoustic space, even the faintest whisper can be a scream. I had dreamed for quite some time what recording in a professional environment would be like. But I wasn’t quite expecting such an overwhelming atmosphere.
No you idiot, focus, look back at the script. Highlight, look for articulation points…wait, why is my heart racing so fast?
“Everything is all set up!”
I sound a bit hurried, too unsure of myself. In my haste to answer, my voice had cracked slightly. You can’t do that. It’s time to record, I push any thoughts on unease out of my mind.
“Check. Check…testing 1, 2, 3…”
The recording room itself is even more deadened than the the audio space. There’s no electrical hum, no ambience. Nothing but the feedback from my own voice, and about 12 inches of meticulously placed acoustic foam and tiles. My director is too busy setting up the software. My mouth is cotton, but the high sensitivity ribbon microphone picks up every lip smack, every swallow, every breath. I’m not usually this nervous before any recording…
I look back to the script…
“Don’t be nervous!”
My director’s voice cuts through the silence. She is Chinese, an exchange student only a couple years older than me. English is obviously her second language, but beneath her thick accent I can hear she is as just as nervous and excited as I am. Somehow, for some reason, that makes me feel better. I take a small breath, and readjust my headphones.
She’s poured her heart and soul into this radio advertisement, and she reached out to me to help make this project a reality. I can’t let the butterflies in my stomach delay this pivotal moment in my budding career, and hers. In a flash, anxiety and trepidation are replaced with a sense of energy and excitement I’ve never felt before.
“Not anymore, roll tape!”