Feeding the Fire: Voiceover and Coffee

21 Apr

Voiceover acting, and acting in general, is a vocation you simply cannot “phone in.” You might be able to drag your tired self out of bed to drive your kids to school, answer phones, run a cash register, or even attend a boring five-year strategic planning meeting with your boss, but you cannot bring anything less than your A-Game to an audition and expect to find success. No matter how much you love what you do, sometimes you need that extra oomph to get you going, to get in the zone, to do a stellar job, and to land a gig.

I’ve found Twitter to be a great place for advice on the subject of staying physically and emotionally motivated while pursing work in the voiceover world. Lots of VO pros and newbies alike often tweet their thoughts about what keeps their VO mojo going. There are a lot of nuggets of wisdom out there. Let’s start with the easiest method: Coffee.

 “Disturbing news: coffee dehydrates the voice. Okay. But it engages my brain which my mouth needs to make words. Ugh! This is a dilemma!” @VOVillageRadio

No surprise that coffee is at the top of the list of motivators. We are a heavily caffeinated society here in the United States. In fact, you are probably drinking some coffee as you read this blog!

Coffee is a cheap and readily-available commodity that has grown into a daily ritual for most Americans. Already a global phenomenon, coffee got its lucky break into North America during Colonial times, when revolutionaries wanted an alternative to highly-taxed tea. No doubt that the Founder Fathers were hopped up on caffeine as they debated and eventually penned the Declaration of Independence, right?

Like all things in life, coffee has its pros and its cons, its fans and its haters. Recent research suggests that the benefits of drinking one or two cups of coffee each day may in fact be beneficial. For example, WebMD notes that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes. Coffee has also been used to help treat depression and severe cases of I-don’t-want-to-go-to-work-today-itis.

And now for the sad news: According to the Cleveland Clinic, the caffeine in coffee may cause increased stomach acid production and acid reflux, which can irritate the voice. This is bad news for voiceover actors who suffer acid reflux. After all, what good is it to have your mouth awake and ready to work, only for your vocal cords to sound lousy?

Luckily, I haven’t had this experience. I drink coffee, the caffeine kicks in, and then I’m awake and ready to rock n’roll… for a while. The problem I personally have with caffeine is the crash and burn that follows. Today, for example, I drink the equivalent of three cups of coffee, and then had a two hour phone call. Afterwards, I was physically exhausted. I crashed hard.  Fortunately, I was at home and had a couch nearby. When I awoke a few hours later, I was refreshed but ready for more caffeine, which is fueling my writing of this blog and will shortly fuel this evening’s recording session.

Maybe, if we all committed to going to bed on time and getting enough sleep, we wouldn’t need all that caffeine in the first place. We would all be well-rested, fine physical specimens with clear heads, focused minds, and crisp voices. And we would all have extra funds for voiceover classes or that new mic in no time by skipping the daily Starbucks trip.

Easier said than done.

🙂
Wendy

References:

Twitter

http://coffeeuniverse.com

http://www.webmd.com

http://www.sharecare.com/group/cleveland-clinic

 

Follow me on Twitter @AlgranatiW

View my website and listen to demos at http://www.wendyalgranati.com/

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One Response to “Feeding the Fire: Voiceover and Coffee”

  1. Peter Katt May 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    I used to drink a pot of coffee every morning. Then after a friend lent me “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels I discovered that I was actually craving the sugar and creamer in the coffee. So instead I added a piece of toast or some oatmeal to my usual breakfast of two hard-boiled eggs, and I was able to function fine without the coffee.

    I think people underplay the role of nutrition in overall health. People eat too much junk and then wonder why they feel junky. Well, you wouldn’t expect your car to run very well on poor-quality fuel — your body needs the best fuel to work at its best.

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