Perhaps one of the greatest joys for any voice actor is having the opportunity to “become” an animated character on the screen. Your voice will, in essence, make that little cartoon come to life, and that is a very thrilling experience. But, if you’ve never done it before, the whole process can be a bit intimidating. After all, in most cases, you aren’t going to use your natural speaking voice for that character. So, the process must begin with a “finding of the appropriate voice”. Chances are this will happen long before you are even hired, secure in knowing that you have the gig.
So, whether you are creating a marketing video to showcase your ability to “be the animated character” or you are auditioning, you will need to have that voice developed before you being.
Start by looking at the cartoon. It is so helpful to see what the character will look like, if you can do so. Obviously, if you are creating the marketing video, then you can work with the animation artist to have a clear sketch of the character in advance, but that isn’t always the case when auditioning. Nevertheless, they will likely provide a bit of detail about who the cartoon will portray and you can sketch your impression so you have a visual.
Once you have a look, you have to consider the speech pattern. Is this a young being, likely to have a higher pitch? Does the character slur, stutter, whistle or have other recognizable speech idiosyncrasies? Once you have answered questions like these, give it a try. And keep trying, until you are really happy with the voice you have assigned to the character.
Practice, in this case, really can lead to perfection (or pretty darn close to it!), so once you have honed in on the voice that you want to use, really take the time to practice it before you go in to record or audition. For some, this means trying on the voice in all conversations during the day. If, though, you really don’t want to annoy everyone you meet in the course of the day, then you might, instead, consider retreating to a quite space and reading a book or newspaper in that voice. The more you practice it, the more confident you will be when it comes time to record.