VAM 080 | Q & A Session 14 – Acting Believably & Putting Emotion into Your Performances

VAM 080 | Q & A Session 14 – Acting Believably & Putting Emotion into Your Performances

Welcome to episode 80 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 from my podcast audience! For those who may not be as familiar with the podcast, in past episodes, I’ve given out a phone number where you can call in and leave me a question about voice acting 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 Andrew of Indianapolis, IN and Ryan from Piscataway, NJ .


Andrew finds that when he is reading a script that he tends to rush his acting resulting in a monotone or emotionless performance. He’d like to know how to solve this problem.

The challenge Andrew is facing is that he has a misconception that acting is about “performing” a voice or character other than oneself. This is a common misconception, especially in voice acting where people expect voice actors to be able to perform many different types of character voices.

I explain to Andrew what it takes to make sure you are speaking with your own authentic voice and how to a voice putting on a performance that an audience will feel is inauthentic and unbelievable.


The question that Ryan asks segues perfectly from Andrew’s. He finds it difficult to play characters that are very sad or are having intense emotions.

I assume that Ryan is comfortable acting in more casual or everyday circumstances, but when someone asks him to play something more passionate or dramatic, Andrew feels uncomfortable and unsure of what to do next. He may try to increase the intensity of his performance, but it always feels pushed and inauthentic. What’s going on?

The root of the problem is that Andrew is not giving himself permission to go to the emotionally dangerous places that the story is requiring of him. This is a common fear of actors, but it also a necessary aspect of great acting. If you’re playing pretend on a deep level, and you are asked to be believable in some horrible circumstances, the audience will not be satisfied unless they feel you go through that extreme experience. They want to hear you cry or sweat or scream as if you really are going through what the character is going through.

While such emotional vulnerability may seem unappealing or even irrational, I explain not only how important it is in order to create a captivating performance, but also how satisfying it can be to the actor if they commit to it fully and generously give to the audience an intense emotional experience.


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

If any of my listeners would like to call in with your own thoughts, thank you’s or questions, the number 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 #80 Here (MP3)


17 Responses to “VAM 080 | Q & A Session 14 – Acting Believably & Putting Emotion into Your Performances”

  1. Eric Rivera says:

    Good episode. Acting sounds like you’re trying to process a hundred things at once, but I think the more you do it, the more you understand it.

    Thank you for your time and wisdom. And thanks to Andrew and Ryan for their questions.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Not unlike driving. When you first start learning to drive, it feels like you have to micromanage everything, but after a while it becomes second nature.

      Glad you found the episode helpful.

  2. Meghan (Meg) says:

    I love that episode so far- Thank you guys (Crispin, Andrew and Ryan) for sharing this more important information about both believable and emotions in the performance. I know acting believable is much more important with natural voices. I’ve mostly been mimic of those characters from Disney since childhood;but, I always love doing my own natural voice than mimicking a cartoon character. My parents still want me to practice and understand more about emotional response from a character. Speaking of acting, I’ll be playing a young distress character and a small cameo as a quirky female lab assistant on a short film called Razor Sharp from in Mississippi area. The film director will help me to going through about the actions and emotions for my character(s) during a film. I’m really excited 🙂 Thank you so much for your wisdom as always, Crispin ^_^

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

      • Meghan (Meg) says:

        Hey Crispin, I’ve learned about miscast and rejection already. I’ve been miscast or replace a distress character because I’m out with my mom as family- it was really heartbroken emotionally. But, I’m still playing a lab assistant character. After that, I’ll be playing a Moneypenny character in the different film series. I do have a question, What is the best thing to do when you feel emotionally heartbroken after been miscast? Thank you for your time

        • Crispin Freeman says:

          When I have felt heartbroken about being fired from a job, I evaluate first if it was because I was miscast, or if it was because my skills weren’t good enough. If my skills need improving, then I do whatever it takes to improve them. If it was simply because I was miscast and there was nothing else I could do, then I realize that the problem was not that I wasn’t good enough, it was that someone else made a casting mistake. There’s no point in being heartbroken about someone else making a casting mistake.

          • Meghan (Meg) says:

            Yeah, it’s true. Thank you so much for your answer, Crispin 🙂 I’m still improving more skills and confidence after my director cast me different characters that would suit me better while I was out for family week. Thanks for your advice, Crispin

  3. Mike V. says:

    Thank you for addressing these two questions, specifically the second one about more dramatic acting. I was afraid of going down into those dark places with roles that call for it. I didn’t consider the satisfaction of the audience as the pay off of obtaining that level of believability. Thanks again Crispin.

  4. Kalyn McCabe says:

    I loved this episode. It was exactly what I needed. Thank you.

    ~ Kalyn

  5. Anthony Berbey says:

    Once again thank you for another amazing episode, Crispin. I appreciate your advice as always.

  6. Andrew says:

    Thank you so much for answering my question Crispin, through your answer I found an answer that I had been seeking from the very beginning of my endeavors but could never find the -right- answer to.
    Listening to you break down what I asked, and what Ryan asked was the exact insight I needed and has finally brought things into perspective with much needed clarity.

    P.S. It’s IN for Indiana’s abbreviation 🙂

    Thanks a ton! Andrew.

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      Thanks for your question Andrew. I’m glad my answer helped you to address some other topics as well.

      Thanks also for the abbreviation clarification. I appreciate it.

  7. This is a very useful episode. What about the opposite site of the spectrum? Let’s say an actor/actress has a scene that is emotionally overwhelming. How does one go about controlling/channeling the correct emotional response? Or is this something you would learn through acting classes?

    Thanks! ^-^

    • Crispin Freeman says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by a scene being emotionally overwhelming. Do you mean a scene that requires a level of emotional vulnerability that scares the actor? If so, then that is precisely the point of acting class, to explore different emotional acting situations and to learn how to navigate those emotional waters without feeling overwhelmed. Also, there is no “correct” emotional response, only believable emotional responses. Acting isn’t like a math equation where there is only one right answer. Acting is about communicating to others. Either people believe your communication or not. It’s not really about right or wrong. I hope that helps.


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