Voice Matching and Imitating Voices
Join Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley as he teaches you about “Voice Matching”, which is a fancy phrase for “Mimicking Money”. Pat shares his knowledge on how to match voices with famous celebrities closest to your own voice type. Examples referenced are Tim Allen and Jon Voigt.
Pat Fraley, Pat Fraley Teaches, PatFraley.com, Voice Matching, Mimicry, Mimicking, Mimic, Jon Voight, Tim Allen, Voice Overs, Voice Acting
Transcript of Voice Matching and Imitating Voices
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week Voices.com is pleased to present Pat Fraley.
Pat Fraley: Hi, this is Pat Fraley and here’s a word and a skill that has been bad wrapped over the years. Mimicking, perhaps because it comes from the same word root as “mime”, all right, all right settle down. It seems the copy or imitate. It’s something that I confess I discounted for years as it come naturally to me all my life. Imitating voices I heard in character I would see on TV and films and over the radio.
Of course I knew it was a great value, it generally making me more versatile and able to manipulate my voice but I haven’t thought of the practical applications of mimicry. It’s just sound so uncreative and unoriginal but lately, I’ve reevaluated this maligned skill. I started to think about the fact that for the past 12 years, I’ve mimicked Tim Allen’s voice as Buzz Lightyear for toys, commercials, games, rides and alike. Even to the point of doing Mr. Allen’s exertion sounds in Toy Story 2. I got up my calculator and did fast tally of what that single voice pulled into my coffers; $500,000.
So, how did I land this job and I how can I teach others to do the same? Well, there are two factors, one I know my voice range, so I can recognize voices I’m naturally close too. So, it’s a matter of recognizing that I’m genetically in the ballpark, believe me I wouldn’t be going after a sound alike job for Ben Affleck or Matt Damon. So, knowing my genetic vocal print is 80% of the job, then two I have the skills to tweak the voice to bring it closer to the sound of the performer I’m trying to match or mimic. So, that’s brings to the 90% and that’s as close as it gets.
Mimicking skills or voice matching is part of an arena of the voiceover industry that falls into post-production work, specifically voice matching, voice replacement, ADR or looping, ADR stands for Automatic Dialog Replacement. The school term for this is looping. That aspect of the work has to do with the small group of actors adding background sounds to films, adding sounds of TV or radio and a movie and generally fleshing out the film in a studio or ADR sound stage.
It is an insular world of work, which most time is not auditioned for and this is not work only available in LA. In any major city in America this is ADR looping work. Assure the films in the TV jobs aren’t always major film work, some of it is non-union and some of it is for industrial films, independent films and TV production for cable. Do this Google the name of the city you live in along with the words post-production, go to a few sites and look around for the word ADR and you may be be delightfully surprise at the results. Of course you have to have the skills and training to delivery the goods, I’ll get to that but for now let me circle back and talk to you about the aspect of this work which entails mimicry or voice match. I’ll give you an example, I got the opportunity to try to match Jon Voight performance as John Keller in the movie Transformers. It was a one line job.
In this case in the completed movie when his head was turned away form the camera they wanted to change his line and slap it in. So, I didn’t need to match his lips which made it somewhat easier. I got the voice sample here it is.
Jon Voight: At June 900 Sachs and Ford operations base in Qatar was attacked. The only lead we have is this sound.
Pat Fraley: So, I recognize that I’m genetically close enough to his performance, so I’m at 80%. If by the way I’m not in the range of that performance, I don’t audition for it. Now, here’s where my training come in, I know how to break down a voice to its six elements. This allows me to accurately address the elements of a voice one by one and avoid confusion, first pitch. It’s a little higher than my own. Pitch characteristic, it’s a little more breathy with the kind scrapping or gravelly finish in a few words. Here’s the end of the clip, listen for that scrapping or graveling finish,
Jon Voight: The only lead we have is this sound.
Pat Fraley: The only, you hear that? Did you hear that scrapping? The third element I listen for is tempo. It’s faster than my own. Rhythm, clipped, informal kind of military. Placement of the voice, basically the same as mine and finally the six elements I listen for is mouth work. In this case Jon Voight was doing an accent which to my ear was like West Virginia with hard R’s, so I was ready. That was my 10% work, hopefully adding up to 90%. I recoded my efforts and slap a bit of echo on it so as to better match the clip I was given which had an echoey room tone. Now, that’s trick I’ve learned which helps the casting person better evaluate the match. Also another trick, I slight in arrange in way that is sort like Jon Voight performance, no non-sense, a bit higher than my own normal specking range. So, here’s my audition.
Pat Fraley to Jon Voight, first the match and then my sample.
At June 900 the Sachs in Ford base in Qatar was attacked. The only lead we have is this sound.
At June 900 the Sachs in Ford operations base in Qatar was attacked. The only lead we have is this sound.
Now, is that a marriage made in heaven? No. But is was close enough to get me the job and the director got me a bit closer to Jon Voight performance at the session. Now, where can you get the training to do voice match, replacement and skills at ADR and looping? The problem with getting training for this is that you need to actually be on an ADR stage or in a studio. The reason that there is very little training for this is that you have to be in a multi million dollar facility. For matching lip sink of a character in a movie. You have to have the pitches splashed up on the screen and have the technical facility and stuff to generate beep tones, so you can come in on time when you’re replace a voice and have teachers who know about this and cast and direct for a living.
So, here’s what I’ve done. I put together a two day ADR looping event in Los Angeles, March 8th to 9th with the very best instructors and facilities in the country. If you’re interested in getting all the skills you need to be able to delivery the goods, details can be found my website, patfraley.com click on teaching at the menu and you’ll find a link for details on this event.
Thanks for listening.
Thanks for listening.
Who was that?
Who was that?
Who is mimicking me?
Who is mimicking me?
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast visit the voiceover expects show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExpects. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Your Instructor this week:
Voice Over Expert Pat Fraley
Patrick Fraley has created voices for over 4,000 characters, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animation. He has produced dozens of award-winning audiobooks, such as, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Very Easy Death, and The Light in The Piazza. Pat produced and performed all 100 voices on the award winning audiobook, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which People Magazine hailed as, “The best yet of this evergreen.” Patrick teaches events, workshops, and seminars on various aspects of voice over across the country, and has created a variety of instructional books and CDs, all available at PatFraley.com. He is a member of The Voice and Speech Trainers of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Acting from Cornell University.