Podcasts Voice Over Experts How to Sound Like Famous Stars
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How to Sound Like Famous Stars

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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Have you ever heard of a soundalike? The ability to sound like Hollywood celebrities, politicians and public figures is greatly in demand. Rodney Saulsberry introduces the concept of finding the right key to speak in when imitating celebrated personalities by demonstrating his own abilities as a soundalike for Morgan Freeman, US President Barack Obama and James Brown. Learn how to use your voice as a soundalike to increase your opportunities for voice-over work in this fun and exciting area of voice acting.

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Rodney Saulsberry

Your Instructor this week:

Voice Over Expert Rodney Saulsberry
Rodney SaulsberryRodney Saulsberry is the voice of choice for behind-the scenes narration. This Detroit native and University of Michigan Graduate, is one of the premier voice-over talents in the country. He is also a published author with two bestselling books, You Can Bank on Your Voice and Step Up to the Mic.
Saulsberry’s distinctive announcer voice is literally everywhere. He has announced promos for the ABC hit Dancing With The Stars and the ABC critically acclaimed Charlie Brown Christmas Special. He announced the 34th NAACP Image Awards and the Essence Awards specials on FOX Television and voiced promos for the Grammy Awards and Country Music Awards for CBS.
As one of the top trailer voices in the business, Rodney’s voice has promoted many favorites: Red Tails, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Friday After Next, Drumline, Undercover Brother, The Best Man, Dumb & Dumberer, Finding Forrester, Soul Food, Crooklyn, and many more. Black Enterprise Magazine called Saulsberry “The voice of choice for behind-the-scenes-narration.”
What do Zatarain’s, Instant Tax Service, Twix, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Verizon, White Castle, 7UP, Burger King, SBC, and Nestle Crunch all have in common? Saulsberry has been a voice-over commercial pitchman for all of these products and many others on television and radio. He can also be heard reading audio books, as well as narrating E! Entertainments, True Hollywood Story, about Motown R&B singer, Marvin Gaye. His imaging voice has represented NFL Films and several NBA Basketball teams that include the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers and the New Orleans Pelicans. For the past eight years Rodney has been the voice of the stock trading website Interactive Brokers TWS Tours.
Animation is another strong suit for this versatile voice actor. Saulsberry is the voice of Joe Robbie Robertson on the hit cartoon series Spider-Man and James Rhodey Rhodes in the animated feature film, The Invincible Iron Man.
Rodney’s acting credits include guest star appearances on Monk, Without a Trace, Law & Order: LA and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. He currently stars as Anthony a street musician and former homeless man on the Daytime Drama The Bold and the Beautiful.
In 2013 and 2011, Saulsberry received an NAACP Image Award nomination in the category of Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his role on The Bold and the Beautiful.
Saulsberry is also a gifted singer who has lent his melodious baritone singing voice to a jubilant ensemble of background singers on a spirited recording of “Hakuna Matata” on The Lion King movie soundtrack. He continued his animation musical journey by singing When You Believe and Playing With the Big Boys on The Prince of Egypt soundtrack. As a soloist, he has recorded two Rhythm and Blues albums that have resulted in two Billboard charting singles, I Wonder and Look Whatcha Done Now.
Recently, Saulsberry wrote and composed the song Miracles, which aired on The Bold and the Beautiful on January 13, 2011 and is available for purchase on iTunes. He continues to get his musical compositions featured in television and movie soundtracks. To hear more and learn more about his song placements, visit his music placement website at: Tomdor Music.com
Rodney also has a Consultant’s Club. Learn more about Rodney’s classes and programs by visiting his website, RodneySaulsberry.com.

Enjoyed Rodney’s episode? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
Rodney: Hello, this is Rodney Saulsberry. Did you know that one of the hottest genres in voice over today is the art of sound-alikes? The ability to sound like famous stars is very popular. Sound-alikes are used in video games, cartoons, toy voices, commercials, movies and television shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live, David Letterman and The Tonight Show. These comedy-themed entertainment shows constantly feature spoofs with sound-alikes for Sam Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian and whoever is currently hot in the news. Let me go down on record as saying I am not an impressionist. I am a working voice over actor and instructor. I have had the pleasure of working as the voice of Sam Jackson and Morgan Freeman more times than I can count. I want to share with you one of my secrets to sound-alike success. Now, anyone who has ever studied with me knows that I believe that voice over is analogist to music, so I start with being in the right key, or vocal pitch.
It turns out that being in the right key is one of the most important aspects of matching the dialogue of a famous voice. Now here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Let’s listen to this sound bite from the great voice of Morgan Freeman. The lower your voice is the better your sound. If I speak in this key it would be too high. The lower your voice is, the better your sound. If I speak in this key it would be too low. The lower your voice is, the better your sound. If I speak in this key, now I’m in the right key or pitch. Morgan, the lower your voice is, the better your sound. Me, the lower your voice is, the better your sound. Me, the lower your voice is, the better your sound. Now I’m going to try to match is cadence and other vocal characteristics. Morgan, no, but you would certainly get a deeper voice. Me, no, but you would certainly get a deeper voice. Me, no, but you would certainly get a deeper voice. Remember, you don’t have to be dead on perfect.
You don’t have to be an impressionist. You just have to be in the right key. Finding sound-alike work can be a challenge, but there’s one place to start with, in the beginning. It’s called looping or ADR. ADR stands for automated or automatic dialogue replacement. Let’s say a loop coordinator puts out a call for a sound-alike. Let’s say it’s a sound-alike for Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry or Tom Hanks. You would submit your MP3, reading the dialogue from the audition. If you were chosen you would come to the studio and replace Jennifer, Halle or Tom’s voice with your own voice, sounding like Jennifer, Halle or Tom. It’s usually just a few words here and there, but they have to match the rest of the words coming from the actor’s mouth. You have to start by being in the right key. When you get to the stage and stand before the microphone you will hear three beeps in your headphones. On the imaginary fourth beep you will start to sync your voice to the actor on the screen.
You have to have the ability to match the wording and lip movements of the actor whose dialogue you are replacing, to capture the emotional tone of their performance. You can find loop coordinators on the internet or in the voice over resource guide. Sometimes agencies who hire lookalike actors also hire sound-alike actors too. Here are a couple of websites that might be helpful, extrasformovies.com, celebrityimpersonators.com. If you already have representation you should let your agent know that you have the ability to sound like certain famous people. I made it a point to let my agent know that I could sound like this famous person. Mr president, when will Americans begin to feel the effects of your stimulus package? Just as soon as they go to Cook Ford it in beautiful Texas City. Now let me be clear, any American can now get double, double factory rebates, right now, at Cook Ford. My fellow Americans, the time for change is here.
Forget about Wall Street. It’s time to [bell out 0:04:58] Main Street. Now, let me be clear, every American gets employee pricing plus, thanks to the fine people at Milford Chrysler, [Jeep Dock 0:05:07], Suzuki. Be sure to let your agent know if you can do singing sound-alikes too. I did. Wow, I feel good. I knew that I would now. I feel good. I knew that I would now. So good, so good, I got you, ow, yeah, whoa. I made sure that I was in the right key. I hope you enjoyed my podcast presentation. I can teach you more techniques, and consult you about various other aspects of you voice over career if you join me in my consultants club, and let me help you grow your voice over business.
Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcasts.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.

Stephanie Ciccarelli
Stephanie Ciccarelli is a Co-Founder of Voices. Classically trained in voice as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. For over 25 years, Stephanie has used her voice to communicate what is most important to her through the spoken and written word. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, Stephanie has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, Backstage magazine, Stage 32 and the Voices.com blog. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.
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  • Keith Copeland
    July 3, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Awesome podcast!!! Not only is Rodney an A-list voice actor, he is also a top notch teacher. I am looking forward to studying with him and taking my voice acting career to the next level!

  • Joseph
    July 3, 2014, 11:06 pm

    I’m looking for a person who sounds like the actress Jean Simmons

  • Laverne Bissky
    July 3, 2014, 11:16 pm

    Wow, fantastic. I hadn’t even thought of this area of voice over!

  • Azucena Carrasco
    July 18, 2014, 2:55 am

    Fantastic teaching and sharing! Thank you so much.

  • Alita Bruce
    July 27, 2014, 1:19 am

    Love the podcast! Very informative…another something I can look into. Thanks…:o)