10 Voiceover Go-Bag Must-Haves + 5 Must-Nots

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Photo Source: Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash

What goes in a voiceover go-bag? A VO go-bag goes with you on the job and needs to include any essential items you might need while avoiding others that could be problematic. You need to have whatever it takes to demonstrate your professionalism and remove the diva factor!

Let’s take a look at what that includes, starting from the actual session and moving backward.

1. Script(s)
If you’ve been sent the script ahead of time, absolutely bring it with you. Having it with you demonstrates preparation, especially if you’ve already marked areas with some self-direction.

2. Pencils
Make sure to bring pencils to make any in-session script or direction changes, which happens all the time. Being able to erase and rewrite is pretty darn handy.

3. Water
Sure, many studios offer you water, but why make their recording staff feel they’re serving you at a restaurant? Bring your own.

4. Throat Moisturizers
Whatever works for you to keep your pipes primed and ready during VO recording sessions is what you want to have in your bag. Common throat moisturizers include vocal sprays, lozenges, and warm tea.

5. Honey
Travel sized honey packets and sticks are great to keep in your bag. They can muzzle a noisy digestive system, coat a ragged throat, and give you a small burst of energy. It’s especially a must-have if you’re doing a long or physically taxing session like video game VO.

6. Agent Information
If this is a session booked by your agent, make sure to have the agent’s contact information readily available in case of project changes like, “While you’re here, can you record this little 15 second social media ad too?” Then, you can respond with “I think so, but let me go ahead and run it by my agent.”

7. Tax ID and Social Security Number
Occasionally, you’ll need to fill out tax paperwork before a session. Having these numbers handy is a major time saver!

8. Deodorant
While you don’t want to overpower anyone with perfume or cologne, you also don’t want to offend anyone with body odor. It’s always prudent to swipe some deodorant on before heading into the studio.

9. Toothbrush
Mouth clicks are no fun for recording engineers. Avoid them with a thorough scrub using a disposable toothbrush in your car just before going in.

10. Snacks
A VO talent with a growling stomach is embarrassing for the talent and awkward for the engineer to work around in session. Keep some quick snacks in your bag for a little pre-session nosh before your in-car toothbrushing.

READ: Voiceover 101

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a short list of what not to put in your VO go-bag too. Here’s what you should avoid:

1. Business Cards
This is not the time to be promoting yourself. You’ve been booked for a job, so focus on doing that job well. You can always follow up with your contact information later if it wasn’t an agent-booked session. Never contact a client an agent booked for you without the agent’s permission.

2. Coffee, a Latte, or Milkshakes
Coffee mucks up your mouth as do dairy drinks, so only bring clear drinks into the booth.

3. Competitive Items
Make sure nothing in your bag or anything you’re wearing is branded with a client competitor’s logo.

4. Perfume and Cologne
Some people are allergic to scents. Don’t wear them to a session.

5. Phone
It’s okay to bring, but put it on silent and leave in your bag. It’s there in the unlikely event of an emergency but won’t distract you during a session.

Keep these in mind as you put together your VO go-bag and make any tweaks you need. With this bag ready, you’ll be prepared to walk confidently into any studio.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Kelley Buttrick
Kelley Buttrick is an award-winning voiceover talent with a reputation for professionalism, easy directability, and exceeding expectations. Her voice is heard on national advertisements, documentaries, and corporate productions for clients like Disney, Michelin Tires, Country Crock, ESPN, McDonald’s, Target, IBM, Marriott, Pampers, Tennis Channel, Clinique, and many others.
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