Old woman yelling bingoCreating characters, while fun in itself, provides a real opportunity to stretch your imagination and vocal versatility.

People watching is one way to conduct your research as you build a repertory of characters.
Going to different places to seek out interesting people to study often yields more than what you bargained for!
That being said, where is the strangest place inspiration has struck you to create a character voice?

Location, Location, Location!

Just short of a week ago, I happened to see something Connie Mustang posted asking about the strangest place you’ve visited to research creating a particular voice.
Connie Mustang shared, “I’ve been to Bingo games, yes I said Bingo games, to study elderly voices and was surprised to find bingo callers also have vocal personality. It can be quite amusing, but be forewarned, it can also put you to sleep. Beware: Seniors take their Bingo VERY seriously!”

Where’s the strangest place you’ve created a character voice?

I’m really interested to discover more about this! Looking forward to hearing your answers!
Best wishes,
©iStockphoto.com/Lisa Kyle Young


  1. I was once dragged, with my brother, to Hershey Park where my dad was attending a convention. The Park wasn’t open. The “Chocolate World” ride wasn’t open. The dang gift shop wasn’t even open. The air didn’t even SMELL like chocolate on that day.
    While my brother and I were waiting for my dad’s convention to finish, we took a tour of the Milton Hershey museum. While I appreciate that the man did build an entire city and start a worldwide industry, the most we remember from the even was the phlegm-filled, key-jingling, oft-interrupted-by-loud-coughing delivery of the tour, by our pudgy tour guide. As we were regaled with tales of the orphans that Milton Hershey saved from the streets, all my brother and I absorbed was this awful way of speaking… a speech pattern we continue to imitate to this day. I have yet to use this voice in a production, but ol’ Milton Hershey Museum Tour Guide will make his way onto the air waves one of these days.

  2. Working for different moving companies in Hollywood when I first arrived gave me great opportunity to meet characters and create them. One guy was an absolute brute (thick hands, muscles, neck, etc.) with the peircing voice of an angry woman! Needless to say ‘Tuff Guy Percy’ was not far behind. One driver had such a droll way of saying “Put that THERE” we all mimicked him for months to his face much to his amusement.
    Hard work…lots of fun!

  3. In the middle of a church service. The Pastor’s voice cracked and he made a funny sound, which he started joking about, and it caused me to play off of that sound in my mind. I created an Irish character from it I now call Officer O’Malley.

  4. My top locations:
    1. My own mind has to take the top spot. I don’t know how it manages to come up with these bizarre characters, but it works for me.
    2. Picture a small island in the Aegean sea, hardly ever visited by tourists. There’s only one ‘restaurant’ and the menu was in Greek. The owner was a triple threat: host/waiter/cook. He was also a fisherman who had spent most of his days out at sea, and as a result, his voice had been battling storms. Because I couldn’t read the menu and he couldn’t speak English, he took me to the kitchen and started showing me the catch of the day. He did his very best to explain to me what he was preparing, and I’ll never forget his weathered voice. Of course I didn’t understand a word of it, but somehow I knew exactly what he meant. It turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

  5. I often times draw upon my former boss, when I had a “real job”. He was an eccentric Billionaire, who looked like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. He had a southern accent and would always end his sentences with huh, huh, huh. As if he couldn’t understand you, but it was just a nervous twitch…would drive me crazy.

  6. I’m often inspired by people thatI hear being interviewed for news stories on the radio while riding in my car. Also those business owners who insist on voiceing their own commercials often lead me to new and interestering voices.
    I’m sure that those riding down the freeway beside me think that I’m talking on the phone through my bluetooth headset, but in reality I’m developing character voices.
    I have a lot of fun first seeing if I can match the texture, accent and delivery of the voices I hear, and then start working on new and interesting ways to put that vocal combination to work for my clients.

  7. After eating at a Chinese buffet…I was bending over to tie my shoe and tried to say something to my wife while holding my breath and straining~ I still use that voice to this day (but not professionally yet)

  8. In line while waiting to see Star Trek on IMAX. While not strange in itself, there was no one there in line IN COSTUME. THAT was definitely strange.

  9. At a company picnic sponsored by the property owners, I became “Tyrone Biddlesworth” for no reason whatsoever on the spot, and introduced myself as such. The property owner was shaking everyone’s hands (hundreds of people) and asking their names. I never met the guy before, and didn’t ever again. I figured it didn’t matter. I used the most urban, streetwise voice I could muster. The dude didn’t know how to react, and the look on his face was priceless! Probably because I don’t really look like an urban, streetwise guy. My friends behind me in line got a kick out of it.

  10. Several years ago while waiting for a stereo to be installed in my car, I went to a diner down the street for a quick lunch. At the table next to me were two rather large women eating fried chicken. Their conversation is etched in memory. With mouths full of food, they discussed – in some sort of “country” accent – their preferences in chicken – extra crispy vs original recipe (we were not at KFC).
    Anytime I need a country hick type character, I flash back to those ladies.

  11. I was actually inspired to create each one of my voices on my Animation demo by a different Beanie Baby in my collection. I began amassing an embarrassing amount of the collectibles when I was 3, and as the collection in my playroom grew, so did the need for a way to distinguish the characters that made up Beanie Baby Town. So, every one got his or her own voice and personality. To this day, I read a copy by the Beanie that fits – It covers everything I need to know about the read once I pick the right Beanie Baby!

  12. Try attending most any high powered athletic event. The vocal expressions expressed by sports fans can be VERY interesting.. From euphoric excitement to almost total depression and even some of the in-between conversation can be of future v/o value, and some of it is ultra conversational to say the least as you listen to fans communicating with each other. Mood swings personified. Also can work for animation character development when you think about it. One doesn’t need to attend a pro event, even some of the amateur and kid’s events evoke some interesting vocal fan reaction.. Try it sometime, it’s fun to listen.
    Robert Tomlin

  13. I get my character voices working in a veterinary clinic…..there are plenty of different personalities to match voices with!!!!!


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