There has been much discussion lately on some of the voiceover message boards about doing impressions of famous people – particularly Morgan Freeman, since he was recently tapped to introduce the CBS Evening news program.
Many people think that because they can do impersonations of famous people that this will lead to a career in voiceovers. This is an incorrect assumption for several reasons. First – the fact that friends and family laugh doesn’t mean that the impressions are all that great. Secondly, if a celebrity impersonation is being used in a commercial venue – radio commercial – there is a real risk of a law suit if not handled correctly. Additionally, there is only so much room in the fully sanctioned venue of comedy.
That being said, there is no reason not to TRY to do impressions, because you may find your own wonderful characters that you can use in your voiceover career.
Watch this video of a voiceover guy (Josh Robert Thompson) doing some pretty darn good impressions of four celebrities. See what he does with his face and body to get the sound he is going for. Listen for the differences in pacing and cadence and thought process for each personality.