Yelling Preparation and Recovery

How would you recommend both preparing for and protecting your voice when given roles that require screaming/yelling/etc? I can imagine any anime actor would have their vocal cords torn to shreds when shouting for battle scenes, is this something that would just require regular practice to strengthen cords, or is there a particular way to shout and bluster that will do less potential damage to the voice?

The easy warmup is to sing on your way to the job. Or if you’re not in the mood to sing anything in particular, just do as many scales as you can squeeze into your range.

While in session, err on the side of doing theatrical projecting for yelling. Which is basically speaking as loudly as you can just on the verge of screaming, without screeching. If you listen to the callouts in Call of Duty, those are pretty good examples of a stopping point for how far to push the yelling.

If there’s particularly screechy or shrill stuff where you’re going for broke like deaths or being set on fire, they should always be at the very end of the session. If an amateur director tries to make you do strenuous yelling before the end of the session, stand up for yourself and tell them it’d be better for the client if there’s an effort made to conserve your voice and you’re not yelling till it’s the last thing left to do.

Even tiny two minute breaks will have an incredible effect on your throat, you’ll have the opportunity to recover and recharge just by shutting up. Take short breaks often if the voice over session mostly consists of yelling.

For the inevitable aftermath of a tough session, these are my favorite goodies. I combo them up into a single giant serving of tea:

Sometimes Throat Coat tea and the loquat honey combo are necessary to get through a strenuous session. I always have tea bags on me and if I know it’s going to be a rough day, I’ll bring my own bottle of loquat honey.

At the end of the day when your throat feels rough, straws are your best friends:

There’s no such thing as “strengthening vocal cords [folds]” with yelling. Repeated yelling to the point of abuse results in scar tissue and creates nodules, which can only be removed with surgery. I don’t recommend trying to toughen up your throat, it’s not that kind of organ.

To learn how to metal scream without hurting yourself, Melissa Cross is well regarded for her method and training materials.