A Portrait Of The (Voice) Artist As A Masked Woman

2020, huh?

How’s it going in your part of the world?

Here in my small town in Central West NSW, the era of masks has finally arrived. There are still no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the area, but cases in other parts of NSW are rising again and, well kids, it’s mask time.

As a voice actor… I have several thoughts about masks. Allow me to elucidate my very important and relevant thoughts.

Thought One: Uh, guys, how do we avoid the glasses fogging up?

Help, I’m blind!

Thought Two: It can be difficult to understand people’s speech when they’re wearing a mask. Apart from the potential muffling of sounds, we rely a lot, in our daily interactions, on seeing a person’s mouth movements and facial expressions to understand what they’re saying.

For a voice actor, this isn’t a problem. We already have to do our communicating without anyone seeing our faces. We’ve learnt to use our voices to convey it ALL, baby.

Trust me, though, the facial expressions and movement all still happens! Otherwise you wouldn’t “hear” it in the final voiceover. You can hear a smile, as they say, and you can also hear a frown, a pout, a smirk… and I’m pretty sure you can hear the weird silent ways I move my hands while recording voiceovers…

Thought Three: Because of the aforementioned potential muffling… one probably shouldn’t record voiceover while wearing a mask. Except…

This was one of my Instagram Stories last December. My character in “Today Is My Birthday” (out soon on Steam! A bit like my glasses!) is Dorothy, a psychopathic cult leader who was badly burnt and now wears a surgical mask at all times. (I know right? Real life foreshadowing or something! Mind blown!) The game developer wanted some takes with me wearing a face covering to try to capture the sound of a voice behind a mask in real life.

Usually, though… take off your mask before recording. Put one on the microphone, if it’s a shared studio. Because if it’s not on, it’s not on, right? (That is such an evergreen slogan!)

Thought Four: I don’t want to get sick! I don’t want the people I love to get sick. Apart from all of the usual reasons like pain and discomfort and possible lifelong complications and… worse… I need my voice. Which means I need my throat, and my nostrils, my larynx, and my lungs, to all be functioning fabulously! So… wear a mask, please.

So I can pay my bills.

But also to avoid all that other stuff!

Thought Five: I am so happy, and grateful, and relieved, that I can work from home. I have a fabulous, professional home studio, a great internet connection, and voiceover clients all over the world. I don’t have to go out there into Mask World very much at all, and I am so darn grateful. Gosh I love my job.

Please comment below and tell me about your job – do you have to be out there where the people are?

THANK YOU to the people who DO have to spend a lot of time in Mask World – medical professionals, public transport workers, supermarket staff, so many other essential workers; you guys are awesome. Stay safe!

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Images today all by little ol’ me!

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2 comments… add one
  • Joshua Alexander Aug 18, 2020 @ 4:36

    OMG did you just say “elucidate”?!?!? WOW!!! And yes: I ALWAYS want more of Sumara. Keep those blogs a’comin’, and mask up, you fabulous VO woman, you!

    • Sumara Meers Aug 18, 2020 @ 10:26

      Of course I said elucidate! If anyone had an opportunity to use the word elucidate, and didn’t use the world elucidate, they’d be preposterously unsagacious! 😁

      Thank you for your support, Josh!

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