Creating a Character

This area of voice acting is a lot of fun. Before you create a role, you need to know more about the variety of roles voice talent play.


What kind of roles do voice talent play?

   ✓    Announcer: traditional, broadcast

   ✓    Narrator: omniscient, unbiased, separate

   ✓    Real Person: friend, colleague, neighbour

   ✓    Teacher: educator, didactic

   ✓    Spokesperson: brand ambassador

Let's explore each of these in more detail...

Real Person

You’ve likely heard that people don’t like to be sold, they like to be told. Enter the Real Person role. When you write copy meant to be voiced by the Real Person role, it is important to remember that this is someone the audience will trust implicitly. The words they say should sound like they come from a friend or family member. This type of character role isn’t as concerned about pushing a sale, concept or way of thinking as they are with connecting to the audience on a deeper, more trusting level. Voice-overs written for this role are still on the upswing and continue to be sought after because they satisfy the consumer need for authenticity and the marketers desire to have their message connect more fully with their audience.


The narrator is a role that literally lives outside of what they are talking about. Narrators provide commentary on what is going on. In this way, they are not necessarily interacting directly with the content but rather giving insight about what they see. The narrator, therefore, should not have any bias in their read and present information or tell a story objectively. Usually the narrator is on the outside looking in and is perceived to have an almost omniscient, all-knowing view of what is going on. Narrators are never surprised. The narrator should always know the end of the story before their audience so that they can tell it convincingly and with excellence.


Typically used in commercials, the announcer is also a type of role you’ll find at live events like award shows, sports events and reporting on television or broadcast radio. Live announce is also used in television shows like The Price is Right and previously on the The Late Show with David Letterman. There is a certain confidence that comes along with the announcer read. The announcer shares information with their audience and should do so in a fair and balanced way. You can have fun with the read, almost lampooning it or delivery the traditional announcer/news anchor read as the need requires.


When you need someone to represent you, the role of the spokesperson does this nicely. Think of the spokesperson as an audio ambassador for your brand. This read comes across with authority, eloquence and purpose. There’s a certain polish one expects when they hear a spokesperson delivery a message. You can make use of this read for commercial projects, testimonials, and even internal messages from the desk of the CEO.


The teacher delivers your script in a way that guides the listener through, just like a teacher would in a classroom or lecture setting. The goal of this read is to impart knowledge and encourage the listener in their studies. You might want to employ the Teacher role for eLearning projects, corporate training initiatives or explainer videos. The vocal delivery is didactic and engaging, creating an environment where learning and retention of said learnings is #1.


Questions talent ask themselves when creating a character and delivering their lines:

   ✓    What approach am I bringing?

   ✓    Am I painting with words?

   ✓    Which words should I emphasize?

   ✓    Make choices, not guesses

   ✓    Does this voice fit with expectations?

   ✓    Can I use real world experiences?

   ✓    Do I believe what I’m saying?


Characters talking to one another in a script need to consider the following when they read dialogue:

   ✓    What did the person just say or do?

   ✓    Who am I?

   ✓    How could/should I respond?

   ✓    How does my response move the story along?