You’re in your booth recording auditions and you are just NAILING the takes. You are in the zone and taking the copy to a whole new level. You finish up, feeling good about what you just did. Maybe, just maybe, you’re struttin’ over to your computer, knowing that you just killed it. There’s no way a producer could pass you up. You put on your headphones and hit play. Hooray, your voice sounds great! But then you stop and listen a little harder.
What is it that God-awful clicking noise you’re hearing that is straight up RUINING your recording? And a realization dawns. Mouth clicks. Disgusting smacky sounds coming from your mouth that take the listener’s focus away from what they should be listening to - your voice.
You cover your face with your hands in despair. Nooooooooooooooooooo.
So, now what do you do? You can’t send in the auditions sounding like that! Can you re-record? Or maybe spend HOURS editing each click out of the take? Give up all together?
Well, I’m here to help save your takes. Mouth clicks are a fairly common occurrence amongst voice actors, and most can deal with them easily. I, however, have battled significantly with the problem. Basically, mouth clicks are my JAM. If I’m talented at one thing, it’s ruining a take with mouth clicks. In fact, I have yet to come across another voiceover person who’s had as many consistent and plaguing issues as myself. So, the self-titled Queen Bee of smacky mouth, I know a thing or two about how to stop the smacky nightmare from ruining your career. Mouth clicks have plagued my voiceover journey since the beginning. I have had many takes ruined. And it felt near impossible for me to get a quality demo - not because of the producers/editors, but because of the enormous amount of clicks the editors had to deal with. There’s no way they could’ve gotten every single one! I had more clicks than words!!!
Knowing this was (and still is) a SERIOUS problem for me, I dove into some research and asked a lot of questions. I had to solve this problem if I wanted to make voiceover my career. And I have learned a LOT since then about how to mitigate a very significant voiceover problem - the smacky mouth.
Tips to prevent mouth clicks
Our mouths are smacky because they are dry. Water combats dry mouth. Be aware that many medicines can cause dry mouth, which means we have to drink even more water to offset the effects.
Stay away from - or limit)- sugar and caffeine
Sugar and caffeine dry out the mouth and make the problem soooooo much worse. Asking folks to step away from coffee, tea, or soda is flat-out offensive, so… I guess we’re back to hydrating.
Dairy is a no-no
Dairy is a big contributor not only to mouth clicks, but to phlegm ewwwwwww. a-hem* Yeah, it’s gross, but it’s part of being a dairy-eating human. If you scoffed at the thought of giving up cheese and ice cream (- yeah, me too, then make sure you save the dairy intake for AFTER the recording session.
If sipping water throughout your session just ain’t cutting it, sucking on sugar-free candies is a great option.
Brush your teeth
Start with a fresh and clean mouth. Be sure to brush your tongue as well.
It’s really important that the mouthwash is alcohol-free, as alcohol will further dry out your already dry mouth. I’ve found an option that I like and is fairly easy to find at drugstores - Biotene Dry Mouth. Biotene also makes lozenges that are helpful.
The pectin in green apples is really helpful in alleviating dry mouth. And the sour of the apples will surely get the saliva flowing. Green apples are the #1 recommendation I’ve received from voice actors battling smacky mouth.
If you’re dealing with mouth clicks, try each one of the tips above. You’ll find that some work better for you than others.
But what if those tactics aren’t enough?
Well, for me, they weren’t enough. Some of the hints I gave above didn’t work at all for me. And some worked well but didn’t completely solve the problem. My clicks lessened, but I still had some awesome, noisy, distracting, nasty clicks to give. Talk about frustrating! And then, I was introduced to something magical. Software. That’s right folks. Technology can fix mouth clicks. Apparently, mouth clicks are a common enough problem, that a wonderful company has gone about creating a decent plug-in for your editing software.
I use Izotope RX8 -(I believe RX9 is out now, and let me tell you...it’s MAGIC. With its help, I’ve taken my audition game to a whole new, smack-free level. My confidence has increased when submitting auditions because I no longer have to be overly self-conscious about my smacky mouth. Hooray! It’s not an inexpensive fix, but it’s working well for me and my clients are happy with my high-quality recordings.
If you battle with mouth clicks, my heart goes out to you. I totally understand the frustration of what you’re fighting. Just know that there are ways to work around it.