DC GoodeVoice over is really voice acting!

Learn more about how in the end, it’s all character work from voice over talent, DC Goode, our guest blogger today on VOX Daily.

Voice Acting? It’s All Character Work!

By DC Goode

I’ve got news for ya folks… it’s ALL Character work.

After attending many great workshops over the years, one on one coaching and coaching students of my own, I find that a LOT of VO folks (whether newbies or veterans) get into VO because they want to do “Characters”.
Most often quoted is “Cartoons” and or “Animation” work… I’m not really sure if there is a difference between the 2 unless you’re talking about Anime but I digress, the majority, still seems to be drawn to this genre of VO.

And why not?!

It’s way fun, you get to be someone else in full blown character mode and you can usually count on the fact, that the work is going to be truly appreciated by the audience… and Oh Yeh, there’s the money.

The magnificent Harlan Hogan says “I have 2 voices, Harlan Hogan and Harlan Hogan with a cold.” Harlan, Dirty Harry would be proud. “A man’s got to know his limitations” but with all due respect, I’d be inclined to disagree with you a bit. In that, as Harlan and many other greats of the industry know too well; a bit (or a bunch) of “Character” is involved in every piece of VO work.

Even if it is an Industrial Narration for (let’s say) a new medical device. The Director (be they the client, the writer, the producer, whomever) usually already has an idea of what kind of delivery they want. Be it “Authoritative”, “Conversational”, etc, etc.

Enter the “Character”

Let’s say the direction is “A 35 to 50 year old, Conversational delivery with an air of confidence but not arrogant”. Other Serving suggestions in descriptions, may be Alec Baldwin, Morgan Freeman, Ryan Seacrest, or if you’re old enough to know who he is, Walter Cronkite. As you approach this, what Character reference comes to mind for you?

Maybe, it’s that boss that you never really liked, a soft spoken drill sergeant or that
science teacher in high school that was dull but always accurate and articulate.
Then comes the Character’s agenda, motivation and all that other Stella Adler stuff…IE “The Acting”, if there needs to be any. You will need to develop, preferably ahead of time, a Character of YOU that fits the request at hand. You may already have someone in your “Bag of Tricks” that fits the bill.

Pat Fraley’s instructional CD’s and workbooks can help you with that if you don’t yet have a “Bag of Tricks”.

I would presume that by now, you’re seeing my point. It’s ALL character work.

Whether it’s the example quoted above or you’ve been asked to create the next Sponge Bob Square pants, there’s character in all of it. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
“Thanks” to Pat Fraley and Dave Sebastian Williams (although he doesn’t teach any more, he can tell you who else does), for being some of my major influences and teachers in this department.

There are other fantastic teachers, coaches and mentors that I have had the privilege of working with… and I will name drop you folks in my next writing. 😉
Go forth, be great and have a GOODe time.
DC Goode


  1. Good morning, DC, Stephanie, et al,
    GREAT info this morning! Even if you just skim through the Vox Daily, some of every day’s information gets stored in your subconscious somewhere to pull out when you need it most. DC is “spot on” about every v.o. being character work. Don’t you have your normal speaking voice, and your “professional” narrator voice? And I’m not talking about that phony “radio announcer” voice, just that you become a different persona when you turn on the mike. I’m thankful every day that I can make a living doing something so incredibly fun yet challenging, that makes me stretch the boundaries of my “comfort zone” to keep getting better. Thanks, DC, and Happy Holidays to all, wherever you happen to be.

  2. Right on DC! As always, You ROCK!
    I’m lucky, as well as the rest of the folks here in the Sacramento area, to have the pleasure to hear DC on the Radio and TV on a regular basis. Also, DC has been generous enough to lend his talents, time and direction to our Reading Buddy Nite at Nakamoto Productions both as a guest director as well as studio helper. And, DC has provided me with some very helpful tips and suggestions over the last couple of years and I would not have been able to progress in my own VO work if it were not for his help. He is a great a giving guy and it’s Goode to see him post some of his wisdom here for the rest to read.
    I’ll be seeing ya,

  3. This article is a great one!
    As an actor I love finding out how my peers find the characters they portray. One of my friends said that to find his character he needed to see the costume designer’s sketch of him, and another friend said she never really felt like her character until she put here character’s shoes on. For me, I had to find my character’s voice placement inorder to delve into who I was supposed to be. One character might speak in a higher chest voice, while another comes from a lower place in the diaphram. Once I figured out where I wanted the voice to come from, I would build the character around the voice. I was always myself, but a different version of myself. I love doing voice over work because it’s all about my favorite acting tool, the voice!
    Pat Fraley’s materials are wonderful tools! I recommend them to all the actors I know!
    As always, a great article. Thanks so much!
    All the best,
    Ashley Huyge

  4. DC- Good stuff!
    Many erroneously think characters are all about cartoon and animation or in commercials that are quirky, wacky, funny and larger than life. I’ve recently gotten heavily into developing characters (attitudes and by scene placement) within the audio book genre; characters that are diverse and finely nuanced in their dialogue and during their descriptive train of thought passages.
    Excellent article here!
    All The Best,
    Bobbin Beam-ISDN Voice Actress

  5. I have used Pat Fraley’s CDs and instruction books, and am currently doing “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the radio stage play where 7 people are doing all the voices, 40 or more. I am doing the voice of Potter, the heartless banker, as well as 6 other roles. My proud moment is standing in front of the mike and doing Joseph, Clarence’s head angel, as well as Potter and the state bank examiner in a quick 2 page exchange of dialogue. Certainly made me think, “Wow, I did pretty well there, didn’t I?”
    Happy Holidays!!!! Bill Middleton

  6. Thanks to all of you for your comments!
    Maybe I’ve got a a new career here ‘-)
    Good for you Bill! That’s got to be great fun! I hope radio theater is on a BIG comeback!
    Happy Holidays to all…and to all a GOODE nite!


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