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Do You Do Character Voices?
We're Not Just Talkin' Cartoons ... 
Rick GordonBy Rick Gordon
Voice Talent & Owner
& e-Learning
Note: From Sept. 15-30, Commercial - the online voice over marketplace, offers a membership discount for voice talents. For details, please click here.
Let's try to define the term "character voice." What does it really mean?
Well, the first meaning that comes to mind is a cartoon voice. They are characters aren't they?
But then there are characters in e-learning projects, too - yet they are "real life" people/characters as opposed to the cartoon kind.
So I guess a character voice could be both and, as you know, many voice over talents can record in many styles, some in dozens and dozens of styles.
So this brings us back to the title of this article.
And you are thinking: "No, not really, I don't record in any type of a character voice. I can be loud or whisper, but that's just about it."
Here is where you are wrong my friend. You do record in character voices.
In fact, you can record in many character voices.
How? Easy, you do it every day without knowing.
Let's count just some of the character voices that you do.
1. You record a narration that is informative or educational, pretty much straightforward. You slow down your pronunciation and watch your diction and teach something.
2. You holler to your wife from down in your studio, "Hey hon, what's for dinner?"
3. You son comes in with a bad scrape from falling off his bike. You console him and assure him everything will be OK.
4. You're in bed with your wife and you want to … oh well, there's another one.
5. Your boss has fired you and you unload what is on your mind about him and his company.
6. Back in the studio you are recording an upbeat and positive commercial for radio using your "smiling sale" voice.
7. The character you are playing in a narration on drugs and alcohol requires you to sound drunk. Of course if you've never been there, you may or may not be able to do this one.
8. You have to record something that requires sincerity. You really have to get your head into this one and really do your best to become another person - an honestly sorry person.
9. Your script requires you to read the text and laugh so hard you would fall off a chair. A real gut-wrenching laugh that is contagious to everyone in the room. A real head-to-your-belly laugh.
10. You are letting your secret out and you are intensely excited about it. It's the greatest thing ever invented and you are playing a big part in it as an investor. You are looking for a global market.
So, there you go, and that is just 10 character voices.
We didn't even mention a cartoon. That is an entirely different story.
Each of the above characters has a different and distinct personality.
More often than not, if you can supply two or more different character voices in e-learning projects, you will not only make more money but your client will keep you at the top of the list for future projects.
He may even choose one of your character voices to record the part of the main narrator. After all, this is where the real money is.
Meanwhile back behind the microphone, copy down the above samples and try some. Really concentrate and give them an honest shot.
Just make up whatever script that will fill the bill according to the character you are doing. Record all 10 right in a row.
Then sit back and listen. What do you think? I bet you're impressed already.
Congratulations. You do record character voices. Now get out there and tell everyone.
Rick Gordon is a veteran voice talent based in Canada, and is also the founder and owner of two major online voice over marketplaces: Commercial and e-Learning Commercial was created 10 years ago as the website where voice talents are "hit and heard." e-Learning was introduced in 2008 specifically for e-Learning voice over projects.

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Comments (2)
Joe Loesch
12/20/2018 at 10:36 PM
Wow! Well said Rick! Great points here!
Allen Logue
6/21/2016 at 10:06 PM
Great article, Rick. It truly helped me think outside the proverbial box with respect to "characters." Being surrounded in this industry with people who are capable of voicing multiple different, distinct cartoon character voices (seemingly without effort and instantaneously), that I occasionally neglect to consider the importance of the voices you listed in the article.
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