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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How to Develop Your Own Character Voice

Let me preface this by saying that character voices aren’t for everyone. However, you may remember an earlier article I posted November 2, 2015, "Think You're Not a Character Voice Actor? Oh, Yes You Are!" ( http://tinyurl.com/zkdyerx) about how I believe ALL voice actors can create character voices. So, at the risk of contradicting myself... developing an original voice specific to a certain character is a unique talent that we’re not all equipped with. While I am by no means an expert in character voices, some of my closest friends are, so I know a little something about it. If you think you have a knack for this particular skill, and you’d like to put it to use with a self-made character voice, here’s how you can do it:

     Start with an impersonation. Many of the voices you hear on the radio or in animation today are actually impersonations of other voices. Think of someone with a distinctive voice, such as Jack Nicholson or Fran Drescher, and try to impersonate it. You may find inspiration there for your character.
     Develop a voice you’ve already been using. Ever speak for your dog or cat? Ever mimic another person’s voice when you’re recounting a conversation? These are both great starting points for a new character voice, because they’re ones you’ve already been using.
     Does the sound fit the character? If you’ve already got a character in mind, focus on the sound to make sure it’s a match. If you’re envisioning a toothless farmer from the Deep South, then you don’t want to sound like a well-spoken Ivy Leaguer from the North.
     Don’t forget emotions. To be believable as a character, you’ve got to consider the emotions involved with what your character is saying. Can you change the voice to reflect anger, embarrassment, pride, etc? If not, this is something to practice.
     Have fun with it. Remember, this is YOUR character, derived from your own creative process. You should be proud! Don’t be afraid to have fun with it, and remember that you’re always learning and growing - and so is your unique character. 

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