Home » Voice Acting Life » Voice Acting Skills » 8 Tips to Nailing Your Character’s Voice

8 Tips to Nailing Your Character’s Voice

Performer Life is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

You’re watching an animated film or cartoon, and you’re thinking, “With my exceptional impressions, I bet I’d be great at voice acting.” You’re not alone. Most people believe voice acting is the easiest form of acting. After all, all you have to give is your voice, right? Wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, mastery of different impressions isn’t what get’s you inside the voice acting door. Many people can do impressions of popular cartoon characters.

However, it takes exceptional talent to bring any character to life. The next time you go for a character voice audition, consider the following tips, and you’ll leave the panel in awe.

Study the Copy from Cover to Cover

Before an audition, it’s crucial to go through the entire copy. Sometimes, going over it more than once will give you an edge. By reading through the story entirely, you get to understand your character more.

What’s more, you know what’s required of you in the chosen scene because you’re aware what mood your character is in and what triggered it.

Besides, you are better-positioned to plan your voice, choose your intonation, and other voice changes that make you stand out. Not to mention, you’ll be more confident to face the auditions panel when you’re prepared.

However, don’t wait until the last minute to go through your copy. Start reading it as soon as you receive it. Practice in front of people you trust to get feedback. It also helps to role-play to have a feel of what it will be like on the big day.

Source: Such a Voice

Give Your Character a Therapy Session

You may not have a hard time mimicking Mickey Mouse because you’re well-acquainted with him. You’ve seen him countless times on your TV, and you probably know the cartoon by heart. You’re aware how this character reacts, his voice, and all things that make him unique.

But auditions are different. You will never be asked to give a voice to an already existing character because they already have one. It’s always going to be a new character. To give life to the character you’re presented with, you need to understand them completely.

A good way to go about this is to imagine you’re a therapist, and the character is your patient. Ask them questions about themselves and imagine which answers they’d give.

Try to figure out why they react in certain ways and why they have different feelings about certain situations. This imaginary dialogue gives you more insight into your character, thereby allowing you to give a convincing performance.

Make them Laugh

Casting directors listen to hundreds of auditions, hoping to find the right person. The only way to stand out is to leave a lasting impression. When it comes to animated films, your ticket to getting the role is to leave a smile on the directors’ faces.

In most cases, animated films have funny elements in them, and you’ll most likely be required to bring out the funny side of your character. This is a tough nut to crack. You may have delivered a stellar performance, but if you don’t bring the joke across and make the directors laugh, you’ve lost them.

Therefore, you need to find a unique way to tell your jokes. This takes practice. It may help to do it in front of your friends and get feedback. Do it until it comes effortlessly to you. If you can get them to laugh, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Understand All Your Characters Moods

Every character in a story goes through different circumstances that trigger different emotions. Some situations may make them happy, and others sad. Creating a mood spectrum helps you understand your character better. To create a mood spectrum:

  • Draw a straight line on a piece of paper
  • On one end, write “terrible mood,” and on the other, “great mood.”
  • In the middle, write “normal mood.”

Under “normal mood,” write down all the adjectives that come to mind describing how your character feels when everything is routine. Now imagine the character has received fantastic news and describe how they feel under “great mood.” Do the same on the section dubbed “terrible mood.” How do you imagine your character behaving on a bad day?

Now, create a scenario where your character would move from one mood to another and try to act it out. Doing this gives you sufficient practice of different scenarios. As a result, you’ll be ready if the casting directors ask you to act out something that wasn’t in the brief sent to you.

Borrow from Your Personality

You’re the only one who has your voice in the entire world, and that’s your superpower in voice acting. Every voice you make is unique to you, and you should leverage on that.

Do not try to sound like another person when you’re doing your impressions because it steals from your magic.

Instead, try different sounds like squealing, snorting, laughing, crying, and more in your own voice.  Doing so gives the casting directors a true image of who you are as a voice actor.

Create Your Character’s Morning Routine

Creating your character’s morning routine gives you an idea of what they’re like when life is ordinary, and the spotlight isn’t on them. As a result, you get to understand how they’d react if circumstances changed. Try to figure out what your character:

  • Likes to do first thing in the morning
  • Has for breakfast
  • Thinks when she looks into the mirror in the morning
  • Prioritizes: Is it brushing their teeth, meditating, praying?

Create a scenario where the scene starts in the morning and go through the process. It may seem unnecessary, but this trick helps you get an even deeper understanding of your character, which makes delivering a believable and memorable performance easier.

Source: The Write Practice

Do Your Homework

Apart from understanding your character, it’s also crucial to understand the show creators’ vision. When do they plan to air? Who is their target audience?

Such information gives you a better understanding of what’s expected and who your audience is. As a result, you know where to draw the line and how to deliver different scenes in an expected manner.

Be Receptive to Directions

Nothing is as disappointing to a casting director as getting the perfect talent for a voice acting gig, but they can’t seem to follow directions. The worst thing you can do when you walk into a voice acting audition is to stick to only one way of doing things. It’s best to have multiple versions of your character in hand if the one you present is rejected.

In most cases, casting directors also ask to see something different or give specific instructions. Listen to what the directors are saying and deliver with their notes in mind. If you’re able to do it while following their directions, you’re on the right track.

Final Thoughts

Voice acting may seem like the easiest form of acting, but it’s the hardest. You’re only relying on your voice to bring a character to life. The slightest mistake can make the casting director to rule you out.

Therefore, don’t rest n your laurels just because you believe you’re a perfect impressionist. Use these tips to take your acting a notch higher and secure your next big role.

Don’t forget to have fun and take the casting directors on the journey with you. Remember, the goal is to make it believable and to ensure they don’t see anyone else giving a voice to the character but you.