VAM 026 | Discovering Your Character Types

VAM 026 | Discovering Your Character Types

Welcome to episode 26 of the Voice Acting Mastery podcast with yours truly, Crispin Freeman!

As always, you can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

http://www.voiceactingmastery.com/podcast

In this episode, I talk about a very important aspect of voice acting that is often overlooked and sometimes deeply misunderstood. I mentioned it in episode 22 of the podcast, where I outlined 5 Essential Steps for Voice Acting Beginners. It was step 3 in that list of 5 and it is this:

You must discover your Character Types.

It is vitally important to your success as an actor to understand which kinds of characters you can believably and competitively play. This is true of acting regardless of the medium in which you’re performing, but it is especially true in voice acting. Most people think that a voice actor can and should play any character they want to. While this is theoretically true, the reality is that there are always going to be certain types of characters that suit your voice better than others. Without understanding which characters are most appropriate for your voice, chances are you will try to audition for roles that do not suit you. Doing so lowers your chances of getting hired. This can make you incredibly frustrated as you try out for role after role and can’t seem to make any headway.

Let me help you avoid that headache. I want to explain to you just how important it is to understand which characters do and do not suit your voice. Armed with that knowledge, your chances of getting cast will improve astronomically.

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #26 Here (MP3)

 

64 Responses to “VAM 026 | Discovering Your Character Types”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Thankfully, I’m currently taking Speech for Stage and Screen for Summer I at my University. My professor has told my me that by the end of the class my diction will have improved and I’ll even get a CD of our recordings, similar to a demo.

    Now, I have not taken my Acting class yet so I’m not going to just grab the demo and send it off to casting directors. But I bet if I use that recording to compare the style of my voice to various other actors, I can probably find a lead to discovering my character type. I’m not saying I’ll be 100% sure, but at least I’ll know which direction to start in.

    With the recordings I’ve done so far, I decided to take a guess and I think I might be able to do better in shows like BAKA & TEST than in shows like Naruto. But that’s just a guess.

    Also, my professor said my voice was, “B below middle C.” Would you mind telling me what that means exactly? I tried google-ing* it, but with no luck.

    *NOTE: Apparently, google is both a noun and a verb.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Congrats on all your training! It sounds like it’s going to help you a lot!

      As far as your voice being “B below middle C” that’s an indication of a note on the piano and how your voice relates to that note. Usually singing coaches tell you your highest note and your lowest note. I’m not sure what it means to say that your voice is one note since no one’s voice is only one note. We use many notes when speaking. Maybe your coach meant that the center of your voice is at B below middle C. I’m not sure. You could go to a piano, find middle C and then hit the B note just below it and see how that relates to your voice.

      Hopefully that helps.

  2. Caitlin says:

    Loved the podcast, very helpful. I plan on asking others what my character types are. I know that there are plenty of voices that I need to try so I can be aware of the types of people I can voice effectively. I can obviously play female voices, I just have to figure out what type. I can also do a select few male voice.

    I never knew that when hear yourself talk you sound deeper then you really are. That makes me wonder what I sound like to others.

    Anyway, a question for you. When it comes to dubbing I heard that you shouldn’t have an agent because you get paid less, but you should have an agent for pre-lay, video games, or anything else. Is that true?

    Thanks and by the way I love the Sasuke and Itachi reference, big fan of those two (and Yuri as well). Your casting type is even true in Durarara since Shizou has a younger brother and seems to be one of the oldest compared to the others. When I think back to some others shows or anime you are in I can see the pattern.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the podcast and that the skull resonance explanation helped you!

      Most agents are not interested in dubbing work for anime because the pay is too small. You don’t get paid less with an agent. An agent takes 10% of your salary but if you’re working on a union show the producers can’t pay you less than union scale so you get paid your fee plus 10% for the agent. So working with an agent doesn’t mean you get paid less. Most pre-lay work pays far better than anime and so agents are interested in representing you in that area. But you never get paid less, it just means your agent gets paid a little to give you access to the work and represent you for the contracts.

      Glad you can see the pattern when it comes to character types!

  3. Dylan says:

    Another fantastic podcast. I never knew the reason for hearing yourself differently on a recording than you do in your head, and I find it interesting that it’s to do with the bones in your skull.

    I would also like to add that auditioning for amateur projects, such as through the VoiceActingAlliance, is another good way of figuring out what other people think suits your voice. Granted, most of them aren’t professionals, but I think it’s still useful to some degree.

    As a total aside, I wanted to ask about microphones. On the Toolbox page, you recommend Blue’s Yeti as a potential beginner’s mic, and there’s a small note about you not being a big fan of most of Blue’s products.

    There’s another Blue mic on the market, the Snowball, which is significantly cheaper than the Yeti, and as far as I can tell, does pretty much the same job. I’m far from an expert, though, so I wanted to get your opinion on why the Yeti is a better entry-level mic.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thanks for recommending the Voice Acting Alliance. I referenced them in an earlier podcast as well. They’re a great resource.

      The Blue Snowball does not do the same job as the Yeti. While both are USB microphones, the Yeti is a far more professional sounding microphone than the Snowball. The Snowball is fine for podcasting, but it sounds thin and in the past it has had gain problems so it can be hard to set the right levels with it. The Yeti was designed to sound more like professional large diaphragm condenser microphones, even though the capsules in the Yeti are actually medium diaphragm in size. That’s why I recommend the Shure over the Yeti, the Shure PG 42 USB is an actual large diaphragm condenser. However, the Yeti is a cheaper option for those who are on a tight budget. I know certain voice actors who use the Yeti as a home audition mic. I know of no voice actors who use the Snowball.

  4. Martin Giroux says:

    Nice, I’ve been waiting for this podcast for a while now! ^^ It was very helpful altho I already had a good idea of my voice type… But I kept hearing “baritone” and “tenor” and I never actually knew what they meant exactly so I was about to ask you but then I did a little research and I came up with this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_type

    Thought I might as well share here for the others to see! Altho I get that the letters and numbers represent musical notes… I don’t know what they sound like… Is there somme king of graph that shows how high or low are these notes?

    • Martin Giroux says:

      Oh yeah, I found this!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Vocal_and_instrumental_pitch_ranges

      Might help understand the range in a visual way!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast! Thanks also for the wikipedia link to voice parts.

      There are graphs that show which voice part sits where musically. They are usually done by putting the low and high notes on a staff of music. Do you know how to read music notation? Otherwise, a quick way of thinking of it is that I’m a baritone, Yuri Lowenthal is a tenor and Kevin Michael Richardson is a bass.

      • Martin Giroux says:

        It seems that I’m somewhere between bass and baritone… maybe more bass since I can do heavy set characters and big bad guys but I can also make Kevin’s joker quite easily… Bass it is! Thanks for the example!

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          Your voice part is actually determined by what’s called your passaggios, the points where your voice shifts gears. Being able to do high trick voices is not an indication that you are a tenor, it just means you’ve learned how to do a trick voice. Your voice part is determined by seeing where the passaggios lie in your natural voice. The only way to know for sure is to take some classical singing lessons.

          But I’m glad that I helped you determine more of your voice part!

  5. Trevor says:

    I really appreciate you taking the time to record this podcast for all of us trying to start a voice acting career. It feels great that someone as prolific and respected as you is doing all of this.

    I do have a suggestion for a future episode however. If possible, I’d like you to address the act of actually getting started. How to go about auditions, what places to look for, and where to go from there.

    I’m not asking for a tutorial or some such thing, because obviously one doesn’t exist and everyone’s situation is different. But just general tips on how to get started, make an impression and get noticed.

    Again, thank you so much for doing this.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      I’m a little confused by your question however. I try to outline the process of getting started in the first 3 episodes of the podcast. Have you listened to the first 3 episodes? Here they are again:
      Episode 1
      Episode 2
      Episode 3

      I’ve also done many interviews with people explaining how they got started in voice acting.

      If what you’re asking for is how to audition and where to look for them, my question to you would be: Are you an actor? Do you have competitive acting skills? There is no point in looking for audition opportunities until you’ve become a competent actor. As your acting skill improve, acting opportunities will begin to arrive. It’s sorta like magic.

      Is there something specific you’re looking for that I haven’t addressed in earlier episodes of the podcast?

      • Trevor says:

        My apologies. I had been listening to the podcast out of order, and thought I had caught them all, but missed a few. You’ve addressed the issue already. Sorry.

        There is another question I wanted to ask you. It doesn’t need to be it’s own podcast episode, and has little to do with becoming a voice actor, but I wanted your opinion on it.

        I’ve been playing through Diablo 3, where you play the Male Wizard (great job, btw), and was wondering what your thoughts are on acting out a character that is essentially a “blank slate” for the player to cast a personality upon. Do you have to change the way you go about acting, knowing that your voice is essentially a backdrop for whatever the player wants the character to be?

        Sorry if that’s a tad confusing of a question.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          With the Wizard, I just try to be as simple and straightforward as possible. If I add to many flourishes to the character, it will be harder to listen to him over long periods of time. The variations must come in my emotional acting, not in my technical vocal production. I basically just try to act to the best of my ability.

          Hope that explains a little.

  6. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I agree 100% with your podcast, Crispin. Being miscast is a most horrendous feeling. I had brush with it a couple times when I first was starting out on the VAA. I didn’t believe my voice was coming out of that character, it just felt wrong.

    Through trial and error I figured out my niche in the VA world. And the added archetype is great help in discovering character voices.

    Very informational as always, Crispin.

    One question, when making these podcasts, how much do you edit them to make them sound smooth? I sounds like one contiguous take with no editing whatsoever. Are you just that good without messing up or just good with editing?

    Just curious.

    Much love,
    ~ Kalyn

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences being miscast! It’s not fun at all!

      I’m glad you find my episodes so seamless! I work hard to make them that way! I do not record them in one continuous take, that would be too stressful. I record a paragraph at a time and then stitch them all together to make one smooth whole.

      Thanks for listening!

  7. Jack says:

    Thanks for once again bringing us yet another clear and very informative podcast. It has really made me think about which roles I audition for when it comes to amateur voice acting.

    One thing I’ve been wondering about since I’ve noticed it myself when practicing. How do you take care of your voice? When I play some roles I can’t keep the voice up for long because my voice starts to give out. Also, how do you prepare yourself before beginning a recording session?

    • Ryan Ashlight says:

      While I’m certain Crispin is more experienced in this than I, perhaps some of my daily regiment may help you out regardless.

      To begin, make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night. Your vocal health can suffer if you’re at a lack of rest.

      Also, I drink at least two to three cups of “Organic Throat Coat” tea – to which I must give Crispin due credit for commenting on the product in the first place – every morning (with plenty of honey, mind you).

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009F3POO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

      Admittedly, it takes a bit of getting used to; at least in my case, that is. That aside, works great and seems to help keep my throat in awesome shape. Also, just the thing you’ll want around if you ever find yourself with a sore throat. ;>

      Now with respect to actual warm-up and/or strengthening exercises, I’m somewhat hesitant to comment on this because there are quite a few to be found; and, really, when all’s said and done, it’s up to you to find out what works best for yourself.

      Still, I can make a few recommendations to those with, by far, more experience than myself and to whom I have personally learned from.

      http://www.voiceovervoiceactor.com/the-warm-up/

      Also, I would recommend their book “Voice-Over Voice Actor,” which not only has some in-depth insight into warm-ups and how to take care of your voice, but into voice acting in general. Really good stuff.

      http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Over-Voice-Actor-What-Behind/dp/0984074007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339858828&sr=8-1&keywords=voice+over+voice+actor

      Hope this helps you out.

      • Jack says:

        Thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely have to check these out.

      • Crispin Freeman says:

        That’s all great advice.

        As far as the tea goes, I recommend that tea only as a remedy if your voice is hurting. You don’t have to use it as a daily regimen. Your voice wants to be healthy. You only need to use the tea when you’re starting to feel under the weather or your voice needs some help. I don’t want to make you dependent on tea to make your voice work!

        Thanks for the warm up tips.

        • Ryan Ashlight says:

          I’d like to be clear in that it wasn’t my intention to have the tea come off as something needs all the time, anytime. My drinking two or three cups in the morning is a result of my own convenience.

          Certainly, it’s not something I’d recommend if it requires you going out of your way with respect to more pressing affairs.

          That having been said, I can certainly see the impracticality of it with respect to a professional VA. I can only imagine the response I’d get, being in the booth and suddenly saying: “Hey guys, can we have a time-out? I need to go brew myself a fresh cup.”

          Needless to say, not good.

          With respect to Jack however, my recommending the tea was more or less a result of his comment of his voice being strained. As some comments on the Amazon webpage I linked beforehand will attest to, the tea certainly seems to help in such instances.

          When all’s said and done though, use it to your own convenience and, as in all things, do it in moderation.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      That’s a good question! I’ll have to make a podcast about it!

  8. Charles Ziese says:

    Marvelous as always, looks like I may be good as the “this guy has some serious anger management issues” type, self despising type or maybe a frail ghost for a 1 episode appearance. *goes to practice more characters (and some Japanese voices just for fun)

  9. Angelican Marcos says:

    This is a very nice podcast Mr. Freeman at least i get to know what my character type would be. I was wondering if you could make podcast about when a character sings if you could. But for me i thought it would be the dumbest podcast idea i would ever come up with about when a character sings. Even though I’m not sure if that’s okay with you i guess.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      However, I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you asking me to do an episode about how to sing “in character” when you’re playing the voice of an animated character?

  10. Pat says:

    Hi Crispin, I had a question not specific to this particular episode; you’ve made it clear with previous discussions about not being late, availability, etc, that time is an incredibly important factor in voice acting work. So, I was curious as to how many attempts at delivering a line a voice actor can make before it starts to become unprofessional.

    The question occured to me because I like to watch blooper reels, where the actors appear to mess up all the time. But television work is obviously quite different from standing in a sound booth, particularly when you have a script in front of you, and you only have to deliver a single line at a time. I guess that’s where the importance casting comes in; you’d want the actor’s first attempts to be consistently true to the character.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      That’s a difficult question to answer, but I would say if you’re giving the director close to what they want after 2 or 3 takes, they will probably think that either that character is out of your range, or that you are difficult to direct. However, this is all relative. It depends on the nature of the project and the nature of the director. I’ve had directors that I’ve given 10 different takes because they just don’t know what they want. There is no hard and fast rule about this.

  11. Andy Hopkins says:

    Greetings once again Crispin to comment about what I told you bought when my video production class being cut and all saying one door closed another door opens, that is exactly what both my family and I both think definetly. God guided my work somewhere hopefully it’s toward what I wanna do. I also wanted to tell you that today I finally did what I at least consider my first official voice over job for a highschool DVD!!! One thing I learned at least is when a VO job is local the director may sometimes be a bit vague with process of recording as leaving me in a room with a mic attached to a camera with the only person giving me feedback being my Mother. I also was given some wisdom because my sister showed me a video of when recently Nancy Cartwright came to her university to talk to the graduating class, it opened my mind to some new things. Just wanted to give you an update with myself and my progress, which will be expanded with a assessment workshop with The Edge Studios in a few weeks. But as always hope you work and life is going fantastic.
    Sincerely,
    Andy Hopkins
    P.S. Wonderful job on Durarara and Young Justice.
    reply

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Congrats on your DVD voice over gig! That’s great news. I’m sure Nancy Cartwright had some great insight to share as well.

      Take care and best of luck to you!

  12. Kevin Powe says:

    Hi Crispin. First of all, thank you SO MUCH for such a great resource in your podcast. I’m still working through episodes, but it’s a fantastic learning experience.

    Two quick questions for you:

    I’m coming over from Australia to LA and Seattle between August 24th and September 7th. If you’ve got a class scheduled around that time, I’d love to know so I can plan ahead and attend in person.

    Second of all, I’ve noticed you mentioned learning at the Stella Adler Studio – I’m curious as to how relevant you’ve found what you’ve learnt there for voice over acting in comparison to on stage acting?

    I’m considering committing to learning at a local studio that very much follows Stella Adler’s training, but I’m wondering how relevant that part of the craft will be to voice over, where you don’t get anywhere near as much time to prepare with a script.

    Thanks again for the great resource, and I’m hoping I get a chance to thank you in person!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the podcasts! Thanks for listening!

      For my LA classes, my August date is already set, it’s my Anime Workshops on August 19th.

      As far as September, I haven’t set a date yet. I am attending the Burning Man festival the first week of September, so I won’t be able to do a workshop before the 7th. My LA classes need to take place on Sundays to work with the JVTA schedule. Sorry about that. Hopefully we can find some other time to work together. There’s always my online classes as well.

      As far as Stella Adler goes, I have not personally studied at her school, but I have friends who did. I’m not sure I can comment directly on how her teaching methods apply to voice acting, but I have found that most reputable acting techniques will help voice acting. There is no right technique, there is only the technique that speaks to you. If you find Adler’s conceptual framework for acting useful, then by all means use it. If her method requires you to spend a lot of time with the script beforehand, it might be a challenge to adapt it to voice acting where you rarely get the script ahead of time and when you do, it’s usually just the night before. However, any acting training and experience is valuable. The more hours you log practicing acting the better.

      Hope that helps some.

  13. Roy Mills says:

    well hey folks it’s been awhile, but I have a trifecta of questions all revolving around perception of dealing with wait for it, but fan ran/based productions. Now before my head gets chomped off for mentioning fan ran productions, you do have to start somewhere, and more than likely some of us have gotten our feet wet through them. Now my first question is how do we treat them in regards of letting others know that you are in them. I personally am involved a few, some I feel I could mention while others I feel that I can’t. One that I feel I can’t revolves around the fact that it is a radio dramatization of well known franchised work and an interpretation of a japanese comic series, of which my character stems from the comic/manga version only. While one of my other roles is also from a well established franchise that character is completely fresh and original, and one I am more inclined to promote to others. I want people to “watch” my performances just like in any other medium i.e. film and stage, but feel highly limited in how I should “advertise” them, if you will. Secondly and thirdly really is with these works and others that I have been apart of in the past how do you treat them in the pursuing future clients by way of demos/reels and how to use them in the sense of resumes. Since they are fan written productions, you can’t, at least in my understanding of laws and regulations, use these in any form other than practice. It’s sort of like saying: “hey I’m doing a really good job on some characters that I can’t and can’t really let you know how to find them, but yeah I’m still honing on my craft, except you can’t listen.” Am I overblowing and overanalyzing this predicament, or just blowing steam. Since this is such a touchy, gray, and for some people, a forbidden taboo offense. Any help on this would be helpful. As I am just getting the ball rolling, not just in fan productions, but in original contented roles as well. Thanks.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I don’t think there’s any danger of getting your head “chomped off” for mentioning fan projects. I see no problem with working on fan projects when you’re just starting out and need to get your feet wet in the world of voice acting.

      While fan projects are good for practicing, they are not a good way to represent yourself professionally for one simple reason: professionals want to see that you work on professional projects. They are not interested in work you’ve done on fan-driven projects, they want to know that you’re good enough to work on bonafide productions, even if you weren’t necessarily paid for it. For example, if you work on an independent video game as a voice actor and are paid very little for your work (or not paid at all), but that game sells well, you can now say that you’ve been in a professional production. Other game developers will respect that you have what it takes to work on a successful game title. Student films are bonafide productions. The Powerpuff girls started as a CalArts student film called the Whoop-Ass girls.

      Fan projects on the other hand tend to be self-referrential and assume the audience is already a fan of the subject being used. This makes it difficult for those outside of fandom to watch and appreciate the content. You want to put together a resume of content that people can watch without already needing to know the show you’re referencing in the fan project. Does that make sense?

      Just imagine if you were casting. Would you want to cast someone who had only worked on fan projects, or would you want to cast someone who had worked on bonafide productions, even if they were student films?

      • Roy Mills says:

        So I was correct in not really letting at least professionals know of these series I’ve been working on. But, as far as friends go I could mention it through my personal facebook page, just not my professional one or through my website, as that would seem highly unprofessional. It is rather rough at least in my circumstances since my one professional credit as I’ve wrote of in the past won’t allow me to use the material I recorded with them for my professional demo. At least the I feel concerning this is like having a math equation where both the way you operate the problem is missing and so is the answer. Where I have done work both on a professional level and through fan series, but neither one will cooperate with one another to bring about a solution. But, the main point is to keep striking away at the pavement and getting others to hear me. I have had a current problem with one director saying I used a pitch modulation and I hadn’t. It was for an audition. I have a fairly high voice I sing as a Tenor I and even as far as a Counter Tenor, and I have played teenagers and younger voiced characters before. Is there a way or a process that I could take that may assist the CDs when I audition so that they won’t feel like I’m cheating the system if you will. I have tried to audition for characters that would also stretch my performance range to the lower corridors, but was told I sound to young even then. So, I have gotten both the you sound too young to also your using something outside of your own vocal talent to produce this, when I haven’t. As I could prove it through the work I’ve done that I’m also not allowed to showcase what I’ve done. Is there a way to remedy this unique problem?

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I’m sorry that you seem to find yourself in a conundrum. I’m not sure I can give you any worthwhile advice without actually hearing you and seeing what you’re doing with your voice. If you’d like me to try and give you some feedback, I suggest you take one of my voice acting workshops. Then later, if you need more assistance, we could do a private coaching session. Otherwise, we’re just talking hypothetically about how high or low your voice is. Without actually hearing you, I can’t really help effectively.

  14. Charles says:

    This makes me wonder…. when dubbing anime can you ask when it is possible for characters of a specific seiyuu are available to dub?

    For examples: I have sort of a tough voice at times so I would immediately try to play a character originally played by Tetsu Inada if I felt I could match well enough and if by a miracle it was not his “pretty boy,” voice, I would jump at the chance of playing a character played by Hikaru Midorikawa. (your equivalent as Zelgadiss ironically)

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      No. You don’t get to ask which Japanese voice actors played a character before you audition for an anime. I would doubt if anyone at the American studios even knows who the Japanese voice actors were who played the parts originally. In the end it doesn’t matter. The American casting directors can hear the quality of the original Japanese voice actor and in general they’re looking for you to match their timbre and acting intentions. They don’t care what the names of the Japanese voice actors are, they care if you can sound appropriate for the character.

  15. Brendan says:

    Hey Crispin,

    In the podcast you said its important to do characters that suit your voice type such as the older brother or wiser older character for your Baritone voice.

    My question here is, how does one discover what type of voice they have? What types are there? In the primary school choir I was an alto and later I was shuffled to a tenor but that was before puberty and I suspect I’m very much a baritone now, but I have no idea.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Finding your character archetypes in voice acting can be a challenge. Ideally it’s great to have a professional coach helping you discover them so you know where you will be professionally competitive. That’s why I developed my Character Archetype class, to help my students discover their strong suit in voice acting.

      However, I also give some suggestions in that episode of the podcast about how to discover your character types on your own. Did you try my suggestions?

      If you’re asking which singing part you are (tenor, baritone or bass) that is technically determined by your passagios, or where your voice shifts gears between your upper, middle and lower voice. It’s best to figure that out with a qualified singing coach. However, you don’t need to know your singing voice part to discover which characters suit you best in voice acting. I just mention that I’m a baritone because that helps people understand that I’m between a tenor and a bass.

  16. Paul Finlay says:

    Thanks for the lovely podcast’s Crispin!

    As for my character type my friends and myself agree that I am more suited to both exaggerate as well as fairly casual characters. Whenever I play a more serious and subtle character I have a tendency of sounding monotone or lacking in personality. Funny enough even though I’m more comfortable in my lower pitch for delivery, I have been paid more often for higher pitch characters because they tend to be more energetic. It’s a work in progress because I would like to be able to play these types of characters more naturally as well.

    One more question that might be a bit off-topic but I hope that’s ok. When I record, I tend to have a habit of stumbling over my words or not reading ahead fast enough. Not to say I get tongue tied but I just seem to be reading too slowly so words will surprise me when I get to them. If you have any advice on this, I would greatly appreciate it as it’s my biggest stumbling block at the moment. Perhaps I should just be reading out loud until it becomes less of issue though.

    Thanks again and keep well!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad you like the podcast Paul.

      Unless I work with you personally, it’s difficult for me to tell exactly what you’re doing that’s making it difficult to read text out loud smoothly.

      However, I agree with you that reading out loud more and practicing your cold reading will help. If you can’t read out loud at an even and smooth pace, time to start practicing.

  17. Mary Tabitha says:

    Good day Crispin, these podcasts are very informative. Regarding the villains, I’ve used some of the tips you suggest when playing villains in RPGs. -Ive a couple of questions. 1. Why is Alucard a villain? I mean we know he is a monster but he is operating under the valid ruling authority.
    2. Do you offer the Character Archtypes class online? ( I didn’t see it under the current list of classes but wasn’t sure if it was a seasonal offering)
    3. Is there a place where can we hear your current demos?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Let me see if I can answer your questions.
      1. It is arguable whether or not Alucard is actually a villain. He certainly was a villain in the original Dracula legend. While it is true that in the Hellsing anime you can classify him as a tamed monster who now works for a ruling authority, that is usually not what fans find most attractive about him. Fans don’t tell me, “Oh, I love how Alucard is an agent of a valid ruling authority that protects us from danger!” They usually say, “I love how powerful and vicious and bloodthirsty he is!” Villains often have this perverse, twisted nature and Alucard is certainly closer to that villain personality than a traditional heroic personality. The problem for most people trying to play villainous, perverse characters is that they think it’s just a power trip being evil. They don’t realize that Alucard, like most villains, is deeply wounded. To play villains correctly you must understand that wound, not just get off on having powers that you use for nefarious purposes.

      2. I do not currently offer any version of my Character Archetype class online. However, I am trying to figure out some way to do so in the future, so stay tuned! As it is, I do my best to cast people as close to their character type when they do work with me in my current online voice acting workshop, so those students who take my online workshop certainly do get feedback about what kinds of characters suit their voice the best.

      3. As I mention in my podcast episodes on branding, almost all voice actors have their demos easily accessible on their website. Have you checked my website? I give the URL to it in the intro to every Voice Acting Mastery podcast. It’s http://www.CrispinFreeman.com.

      • Mary Tabitha says:

        1.I see your point. I was thinking of the classification of his role vs where his personality fell. I agree his personality does fall closer to the villain. I had thought of him in the anti hero role. Will you cover the underlying aspects of villains and heroes more in depth in the Mythology podcasts?
        2. Sounds good I ll keep watching for updates-any chance of a workshop at a convention?
        3. My apologies, I had overlooked them when I d gone to your site and since then I had been sticking to your Mythology and Voice Mastery sites. – I went to http://www.CrispinFreeman.com and found the demos.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          1. I’m sure I will address different character types in my Mythology podcasts. That’s certainly something I talk about in my live Mythology Panel performances that I give at conventions and conferences.
          2. I do sometimes do voice acting workshops at conventions, although I usually only have an hour to work with so that isn’t really enough time to go into character archetypes. If you’re truly interested in character archetype questions, you’re welcome to take my online class where I will try to cast you as close to type as possible, or you’ll have to patient and wait until I can develop my more in-depth online course that I’m planning. I’m hoping to have it up and running by the end of this year if my schedule allows.
          3. Glad you were able to find the demos.

  18. hey crispin i think i have found my character type. As far as i know my voice matches the characters that johnny yong bosch can do i can voice match mostly all of his evil characters like lelouch and izaya. i’m not really if off the mark or right on it. could you help me out. hey have you ever had of a voice actor named Vic Mignogna he played in that anime i asked about steal angel kurumi he is also famous for playing edward elric a character in the anime fullmetal alchemist and fullmetal brotherhood if you ever get the chance see if can get on the podcast think you will like him he seems cool just a suggestion

  19. Dominick Charles says:

    Hi there Mr. Freeman, I heard about and listened to your podcast years ago after seeing you at an anime convention in Florida, but I’ve been re-listening this year since rediscovering my love for voice acting post-college. Love all the tips, they’re really helpful!

    I have a question about this episode if you don’t mind: You mention trying to find your ideal character types by listening the sound of your own speaking voice and finding something within that range to start. I tried to find this out by recording myself over regular conversation for a few days, but the result wasn’t what I expected: I seem to have two speaking tones which vary based on my conversation or mood, and these variations are consistent from day to day. Of course, since I’ve noticed it I can’t subconsciously speak in either tone without realizing which one it is, so it’s made any further recording unreliable.

    The difference is about an octave in pitch if I were to match it on a piano, though naturally the pitch changes from syllable to syllable (one sits in the C3-C4 octave, the other from C2-C3, but the two tones are distinctly separate). My singing range sits evenly between the two as well (F2-B4). With this in mind, how do I find out which is my real “normal voice” – or does it even matter? Should I practice both to start or try to focus on one?

    Thanks for all the excellent podcast material, hope you come to another convention in Florida again soon!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there Dominick. I’m glad you’re finding the podcast helpful.

      As far as finding your character type, I think you may be overthinking things.

      Remember, the episode is called finding your Character Types, not your Frequency Range. What casting directors are looking for are Character Types: the Young Hero, the Plucky Heroine, the Wise Old Man, the Femme Fatale, the Goofy Sidekick. They’re not applying an oscilloscope to your recording to find exactly what frequencies are in your voice.

      Your “natural voice” is the one you tend to use when communicating with other people. It’s the one that comes out when you’re not trying to “affect” it in some way. What sorts of characters does your natural voice lend itself to? Luke Skywalker? Han Solo? C-3PO? Those are the questions you need to be asking.

      I hope that helps.

  20. Andrew Jackson Brown says:

    A problem I’m dealing with in voice over currently is my tone. I recently auditioned for a fan project based on Magic the Gathering, none of the characters have specified genders, or ages, they just say “adults” so no high or low voices are called for. Now all the characters have philosophies that clash with each other, and finding things to relate to with all of them was easy enough for me. But dispite my best efforts, I think I sound to young for all the parts, for me it’s not “do I sound like I believe in this philosophy?” It’s “do I sound old enough?”

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I don’t quite understand your question. When you say that the auditions for this project call for “adults” but that “no high or low voices are called for”, are you saying that they didn’t give you any character descriptions of the parts you’re auditioning for? Or that because they’re described as “adults” that they will not have high or low voices?

      If your complaint is that they have not given you enough information about the characters you are auditioning for, then I suggest you ask them for more information.

      If you think that adult characters do not have high or low voices, then I think you’re thinking to narrowly about the characters.

      If you think that your voice doesn’t sound mature enough to play an adult character, then you may need to find younger characters to audition for.

      Does that clarify?

      • Andrew Jackson Brown says:

        It does. But to better explain my thoughts while auditioning, I have a profile of one of the characters

        “Green believes we are but a tiny piece of a gigantic puzzle; that we all have a role in life. Green sees nature as the great example for all others to follow.
        Green values Growth and Community and despises Vanity and Pretense.

        At their best, Green is rooted and genuine. At their worst, Green is vicious and unthinking.

        Green’s allies are White and Red.
        Green’s enemies are Black and Blue.

        Tone: Gentle, yet firm. Character is content and calm, but can be vicious at the drop of a hat. Feel free to add a dash of hippie, southerner, or anything exotic-sounding.”

        Now since this character has never been a physical person until this project, just a philosophy to be followed, I thought any number of tones could work. From a mans voice as low as Alan Rickman, or as high as Michael Cera, or a woman’s voice as low Mercedes Mccambridge, or a high as Anna Kendrick. So I went for whatever tone I thought worked.

        I hope I clarified myself enough

  21. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  22. kaylandbowman says:

    Dear Mr Freeman I’ve quit voice over for 2 years now but durring that I had a nagging feeling that i really wanted to do voice over so I keep downloading the podcast and listening. After a while of thinking on it I’ve decided to get back into VO and I’m so happy about being back in the game.

    My question is on find my character type after listening to myself speak through a mic ive noticed that I sound alot like the voice actors john yong bosch and Brad Swaile. My normal speaking voice speaking sounds like the casual, funny andcocky voice of Johny ” I cant lose I’m unstoppable” and as for Brad Swaile I match the smart over confident tone of his voice. No matter how hard I try I can’t the the type of Voice if the the main hero would say to a female love interest ” No matter what happens I’ll protect you” or I can’t sound believable in a Romanic seen” I love you more then anything in world” I can say but not make it believable do you have tips for me.

    I having a trouble finding my character type if this helps any way let me know I hope it’s not just alot none sense

    P.S
    I’m sorry for any spelling error.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sleepless In Seattle (…’cause I’m waiting for the new demo) | Kevin Powe - Voice Over Artist, Games - [...] not satisfied by a long shot yet. I wish I’d had time to attend Crispin Freeman’s Character Types workshop…
  2. VAM 058 | Q & A Session 09 – Expanding Your Character Types and Auditioning for Schools | Voice Acting Mastery: Become a Master Voice Actor in the World of Voice Over - […] type, you will most likely be fighting an uphill battle trying to get cast as a voice actor. Episode…

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