First, if you were in class you all received a picture for this exercise. For those of you who were missing in action on Wednesday the 10th of March you will need to do some additional digging in order to get this assignment done. You will need to find a picture of an animal, a cartoon vegetable, a cartoon character, a cartoon mineral, an inanimate object – something that could have an unusual personality – to create a character for this assignment – see below for a few examples that you can choose from for this exercise.
Written Homework – Part 1: – Using the cartoon you got in class – or perhaps another drawing or image of a “character” of your own choosing (those of you who were absent will need to do this – I’ll go into a bit more detail in a moment) – create a Character Profile and Voice for this image. (This “form” is based on Patrick Fraley’s Character Voice Worksheet from his audio book “Creating Character Voices for Fun & Profit.”)
Fill in all of the blanks here as you develop your character. You can change it as many times as you need until you find a voice that “works.”
- Character Name: Be descriptive – something memorable – a couple of words at least
- Character Source: Where did the idea come for the voice for this character – in this case we are building a character from a picture/drawing, so much of your character development will come from the unique attributes of the drawing.
- Key Phrase: A sentence that you say in your character’s voice that adjusts your head out of it’s usual spot and into the character’s spot. As you do the recording part of this part of the assignment, you may find a sentence that really sets you up and is memorable.
- Comments/Description: Tell me about your character. Age. Gender. Any strong accent? (New York, Southern, British, etc.) Socio-economic background. Education. Tweaks. General Attitude. Living conditions (remember our Dufus lived with his mom). Be as descriptive as you can. The more you know about this character, the easier it will be to slip into it’s voice.
Character Building Blocks
- Pitch: Low, middle, high-pitched voice? Falsetto?
- Voice Quality: Raspy, smooth as silk, Voice of God, rich, youthful, etc.
- Speed/Tempo: How fast or slow does your character talk
- Rhythm/Characteristic: Does you character has any unusual vocal patterns or rhythm to their speach? Think John Wayne. Or perhaps all of your character’s vowels are elongated.
- Placement: Where in your head does your character’s voice come from? Forward in the mouth, back of the throat, nasal, etc.
- Facial Talk: What is happening with your face as you character talks? Clenched jaw? Big eyes? Talks out of the side of the mouth?
- Bodywork: What is going on with your body and posture?
Recording Assignment – Part 1: Now, with the beginnings of your character, pick up a book, an article, the newspaper – something with a lot of words to read – start reading aloud in your character’s voice. Read for several minutes. Then start ad libbing in your character’s voice. Have a conversation with someone (or just yourself) in your character’s voice. Record at least two minutes of this exercise. I don’t have to hear this, but I expect that you will do it.
Written Assignment – Part 2: Now, as happens frequently with voiceover pros, someone will hear your demo and want you to do a certain “kind” of character for their script, but it isn’t an apple, or a fish, or a flower. It is something else that may SOUND like your character. Or ACT like your character. So, with your character nailed down, use the details of your character breakdown and change your character into a toaster. See Page 114 of your Textbook just before the indented text to get a little bit more information about this part of the assignment. The only part you need to write for Part 2 is to change the Comments/Description.
Tell me about the toaster and it’s environment. What does the kitchen look like? What does the toaster look like? What gender is the refrigerator? What kind of relationship does the toaster have with the refrigerator? Refer to your original character building blocks to remind yourself of your character’s personality.
Recording Assignment – Part 2: Record the indented text on page 114 of your textbook – starting with “I know I’m a little toaster, but I’m steamed.”
Have this ready for playback in class when you are called on.
Here are some pics you can choose from for this exercise…or find one of your own.