VAM 052 | Q & A Session 06 – High Pitched Characters and Voice Acting Part-Time

VAM 052 | Q & A Session 06 – High Pitched Characters and Voice Acting Part-Time

Welcome to episode 52 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:

In this episode, I continue answering questions that my listeners have been leaving me on the podcast voicemail number. I’ve been getting so many good questions lately, that it seemed appropriate to go through a number of them. For those who don’t know, in past episodes,  I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question as a voicemail. From time to time, I’ll pick the most relevant questions I receive and answer them here on the podcast.

For this round of Q & A, I answer questions from Stuart from Westhill, Scotland and Victor from Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Stuart wants to know how to do higher pitched characters without his voice cracking or feeling pain in his vocal cords. In order to help him with his question I explain the basics of traditional western vocal production, a skill I learned from my classical singing training. I demonstrate with my own voice the best way to do higher and lower pitched characters without straining your vocal cords. I then explain why one’s voice “cracks” and what can be done to minimize the effect.

Victor wonders if it’s possible to pursue voice acting part-time instead of full-time. I begin by reiterating the two types of voice over work that I discussed in episode 16 of the podcast:

  1. Narration style voice over
  2. Character style voice over

While it is possible to do one of these on a part-time basis, it is far more difficult to do the other part-time. I talk about what agents and producers are looking for and how if you’re going to play in the major leagues of voice acting, you need to show a major league mindset and commitment level.

I hope you find the answers useful in your own voice acting endeavors!


As a reminder, the number where you can call in and ask your question is:


Please don’t forget to include your first name and what city in the world you’re calling from. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for listening!

Download Voice Acting Mastery Episode #52 Here (MP3)


26 Responses to “VAM 052 | Q & A Session 06 – High Pitched Characters and Voice Acting Part-Time”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Wah! Crispin Freeman turned into Chuck Huber for a second there.

    I’d love to take some classical singing lessons. Dang.

    Thank you for your time and wisdom.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Chuck Huber? While I’m familiar with the name, I’m not certain I understand the reference. But I’m glad you like the episode.

      • Eric Rivera says:

        4:19 you sounded like Chuck Huber for a second there
        Chuck Huber is the actor featured primarily in FUNimation titles. One of his more popular roles was Professor Stein in Soul Eater.

  2. Stuart says:

    Thanks for answering my question, Crispin! Thanks to your tips on vocal production, I’m going to practice constructing both higher and lower-pitched voices.

    Minor note: My town is Westhill, not West Hill 😛

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Glad I could help! And sorry about the misspelling of your hometown. Should’ve looked it up online before I posted. It was a late night for me! Should be changed now. Thanks!

  3. Kalyn McCabe says:

    Great techniques shown here! I’ll put them into use when I get behind the mic again.

    Great job answering the questions. I look forward to the next one!

    ~ Kalyn

  4. My voice teacher is amazing; he can vocalize from A *below* the bass-clef staff to A *above* the treble clef staff; from basso profundo to first-soprano range. And he sounds *great*, and is *very* relaxed. NO!!! strain! But the core of his teaching is that *you* sound like *you*, and you sound best doing what *you* do, in the way *your* voice was built to do it. Which is not to say that you can’t expand your range! But he teaches “get out of your own way,” not “here’s some more stuff to add.”

    Since the question was about making “high” voices, from my teacher’s point of view (and my own experience), “high” comes faster and easier than “low.” But even if I, a baritone, can now *hit* a first-tenor A, it doesn’t mean that I *sound* like a first tenor. Nope, I *belong* in the bass section, because that’s where my voice is happiest, pleasant-sound-wise. And that’s what I’d add to the discussion: First, do what you’re *good at*, what your voice is happiest in doing. Then, explore, of course! But first get good at what you’re good at. Having been blessed by Crispin’s “Archetype” class, the first thing you learn is “*That* is what you’re right for.” Squeezing harder doesn’t make you right for something else.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Absolutely true! And it’s funny, I’ve always found it easier to go lower in my voice than higher, but that’s probably because I’m a baritone with a low extension.

      Thanks for all the detailed advice!

  5. Melissa Golobish says:

    I have a question about yourself

    Have you ever had a hand in motion capture before?

    I’m trying to figure things out about the whole motion capture for video games and animation.

    Let’s say…I wanted you to voice a character in a video game or animation. Would you (the voice actor) do the motion capture. Or are there actors just hired for motion capture.

    I’m trying to figure this all out for things I’m planing, but I can’t seem to find too much about it.

    I know they have motion capture to get facial expressions, too. And the person can talk and the model does. Would seem sort of hard for someone to come in and voice over that

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I have been hired to do motion capture on a number of different video games including Castlevania, Tomb Raider and Resistance 3.

      The trend now is for the voice actor to also do the motion capture. That hasn’t always been the case and sometimes it’s not even feasible. If the character is acrobatic, it may be difficult to get a voice actor who also has acrobatic abilities who also sounds like the part.

      So there are some actors who specialize in stunt motion capture and may not lend their voice to the character.

      Sometimes they also do facial motion capture, but that too is a more recent development.

  6. Melissa Golobish says:

    Sorry, another question

    Is it easier for the voice actor to be flown in or the producer (or whoever) to fly in for the actor?

    Yeah…I don’t know too much about this, but yet…I want to get projects made.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Depends on where the motion capture studio is. I’ve been flown to Tokyo to do motion capture, and I’ve also worked in Los Angeles when the Japanese producers were flown in here to work at the LA studio.

      • Melissa Golobish says:

        So, in other words, motion capture is treated just like live action?

        Can you recommend a motion capture studio in LA?

        While I live close to Nashville (I only managed to find 1 motion capture studio) I imagine LA would be a better place to find a studio and more talent. Unless they have an urge to come and see Nashville…it’ll mostly be easier to stay put in LA, I guess.

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          I don’t think I said that motion capture is treated like live action. Motion capture is never on location, you don’t need to get coverage from multiple angles and you’re limited in the size of stage you can perform on. It’s not much like live action film making at all. It’s far closer to theater in the round.

          There are a couple of motion capture studios I have worked at including House of Moves, Just Cause Productions, and the big Sony motion capture stage near San Diego.

          • Melissa Golobish says:

            Sort of wish I could talk to someone in person about all this.

            Thank you for all your answers. I expect I come back to back with more questions when I get lost

  7. Perry King says:

    Hey Crispin I have a voice acting mastery question for you. Is there by any chance a voice acting workshop for Video Games?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Yes. I would recommend any of my workshops other than my Anime Workshop. So I would recommend my Archetype Class, Scenes Class, Improv class and Audition Analysis class. In all of those classes I address voice acting in video games.

      In addition, while we work primarily on animation scrips in my online class, good voice acting is good voice acting. If you can voice act well, you can work in animation or video games. Anime just requires you to learn how to match lip flap on the screen which is it’s own skill set. That’s why the Anime class is separate.

  8. josh says:

    I’d like to know what anime shows/movies you would suggest that a novice voice actor listen to in order to gain a good idea of what constitutes good/great acting and what to aspire to. Are there any industry recognized GREAT performances that I can look
    for? It can be so hard and time consuming to find the good stuff among so many mediocre performances.

    Thanks for all your podcasts!

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Absolutely! I think the first dub that I found to be consistently wonderful and nuanced was the Cowboy Bebop Dub, both the TV and the Movie. I think one of the best dubs ever recorded is the Wolf’s Rain Dub. I’m also quite partial to the Hellsing Dub as well for obvious reasons.

      What might be even more helpful are “bad” dubs. Garzey’s Wing has got to be one of the worst dubs ever made.

      Hope that helps.

  9. Matthew says:

    I had a small question about pitches in anime and video games. I personally find myself to have a low pitch and it is easy to go even lower. I find it harder to go into higher ranges naturally. Do directors look for more of Baritone voices to go into lower pitches or would they hire a Bass to fill the role? The reason I asked is that in the voice acting communities I was asked to voice the dark villain or the narrator. I would really enjoy playing higher pitches as it seems to have more variety in anime but I wonder if I should stick with my strengths and try to voice the deep dark characters?

    Sorry if it seems like a two part question. I was curious as to what characters my Bassist voice would be best suited for.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I would always advise you to play to your strengths when auditioning for a character. I have a baritone voice. There’s really not much point in me auditioning to play the voice of a 12 year old boy. Not when there are so many other people with younger sounding voices.

      As far as what directors look for, they look for voices that suit the roles they’re trying to cast. It is a very subjective process so there’s no way to establish hard and fast rules for things. Do you sound like the character and can deliver believable performances? Then you have a good chance of getting cast.

      I think you might find my latest podcast on fandubbing very helpful. It’s Episode 53.

  10. Leesha says:

    Another great and helpful podcast Crispin! I’m a loyal listener and appreciate all your great advice.

    If I may ask, sometimes mouth clicks are an issue. How would you suggest addressing the problem?

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      So glad you found the episode useful!

      One of the best ways to combat mouth clicks is Granny Smith apples. For some reason, green, Granny Smith apples seem to eliminate most mouth clicks.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Alice Ma says:

    Hello Mr. Freeman. Going off of Victor’s question, how possible is it to pursue and hold two careers (both voice acting and another career)? For example, I am currently a nursing student, and am looking to go into voice acting in the future (for anime). A registered nurse typically only needs to work three days a week but an extended amount of hours each day. I’m not sure if that is flexible enough hours. Do you know any voice actors who does work two jobs and make their schedules work out? Thank you and thank you so much for making this podcast, it is very informative and inspiring.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Hi there Alice.

      Voice actors usually have to keep their days very open and available for work. It can be very difficult to do that if you’re already holding down a job with regular daytime hours.

      There are other areas of voice over that you can do on your own time. Narration style voice over such as audiobooks, corporate narration, industrials or phone trees, can all be done when it works into your schedule. However, character style voice over such as animation, video games and anime most almost always be done at a studio. For character based voice acting, you must be available when the studio needs you or they will simply go with another actor who is available. This can be especially true in the world of commercials.

      I’m actually going to be interviewing someone in the future who will be able to talk about how to balance a “survival” job while trying to nurture one’s voice acting career. Hopefully you’ll find that interview helpful.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: