Three pigs and one person? Voice overs for animation.
As the voice of the interactive children’s app, The Three Little Pigs, by Irene Deev, I had to be four different people! Or, should I say three different pigs and one person?
To do this, I asked myself some questions. Things such as, “What makes each pig unique?” “How is squiggly tailed Nicky or super smart Ricky different from extra nerdy Mickey or the kid-friendly narrator?”
How does a voice talent bring each character in the story to life in their own unique way?
To understand this, let’s first look at how the process of character development works in voicing animation.
Animated material is produced in many different ways for every client and project, depending on their style, budget, experience level, etc. Here is how it went down with the recording of The Three Little Pigs, so you can get an idea of one process.
Step 1: Audition.
In this case, I was provided the distinct characteristics of each little pig. Info. such as personality quirks, speaking style and personal interests were given. I was then asked to send back recordings of the voices I came up with.
Step 2: Develop the characters.
For me, creating backstories for the piglets was key. I asked myself questions such as “What is Rickey’s favorite thing to do?” “What makes Mickey happy?” “What makes him sad?” “What did Nicky do this morning?” “What SPECIFICALLY makes each of these piglets tick?”
This last question is my favorite because, as a voice actor, you need to be able to dive into the MOTIVATION of your character. This allows you to provide deeper nuances and personality.
Step 3: Develop your character’s unique sound.
In animation, your ability to manipulate vocal sounds is very important!
When working on character development of the Three Little Pigs, I asked myself questions such, “Based on what I know about these characters, should Nicky’s voice be higher than Ricky’s?” “Does Mickey talk slower than the others?” “How old should the narrator be?” “What narration age resonates well the target group of children who will be using this app?”
As a voice talent who does animation work, use your vocal range, cadence, style, pitch, and tone to make your character who she is. Then: Practice. Practice. Practice. Next: Listen. Record yourself then play it back. Finally, tweak your character to make it exactly the way you think he or she should sound.
Step 4: Have fun.
Narrating for animation is a ton of fun! It’s an opportunity to bring to life the direction provided by the writer and producer. Also, you can flex the muscles of your imagination. While doing all of this, you can use your vocal technique to turn your voice into the very best little piggie you can be!
Rachel Alena is an eLearning/Tutorial narration expert. She is a national voice talent who brings over 20 years of experience in voice acting to her clients and students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential.
She also provides private voice over training for voice acting students as well as for corporate communicators across the country. She is a recommended acting coach of Voices.com. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.
Feel free to reach out to Rachel directly or to Big Fish Talent for bookings.