Learning Voice Acting/ Voice Impressions- For Beginners | MJ Christensen | Skillshare

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Learning Voice Acting/ Voice Impressions- For Beginners

teacher avatar MJ Christensen, Actor/ Voice Actor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Vocal Control & Resting

    • 3. Understanding & Creating Personality

    • 4. Knowing Your Strengths

    • 5. Pushing Your Limits

    • 6. Testing Your Voices

    • 7. Immerse Yourself In Your Characters

    • 8. Don't Be Afraid To Mess Up

    • 9. Inspiration Leads To Knew Voices

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About This Class

Welcome! This class will be a beginners guide and practice on how to learn how to do voice impression, as well as vocal modulation. This is perfect for anyone going into Acting, Voice Over/ Voice Acting work, or anyone who just wants to learn a new skill. No prior experience required. This is a skill that requires time and practice. I will see you in the classroom!

Meet Your Teacher

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MJ Christensen

Actor/ Voice Actor


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1. Introduction: So, hello everybody. Welcome to Learning voice impressions and voice acting. For beginners. My name is MJ Clark. I will be teaching you in these lessons how I not only learned to do voice acting and voice impressions, and not only just as a party trick, but professionally as I do, do this on the side as another job. But also how to train your voice, how to modulate your voice had a Teach Yourself different access the characters, celebrities, and even self, how to sound more professional for job interviews and things of that nature. Now, as far as introductions go, I am very pleased to say that I had been doing these voices since 2003 to 2004. I have taught myself on my own with no prior training and with no instruction on my own how to do this? An incredible skill. And a lot of people ask me, can you show me how, how do I do this isn't hard. How long did it take? It didn't take forever. It took practice. It took some time. And it took patients with myself and allowing my muscle memory to copy and paste the different accents and voices and characters all in my own head. And now I can pull them out for mountain. Absolutely. Anyway. I am so happy that we are going to go on this journey together and help you learn this new skill. My name is MJ Clark, and let's begin. 2. Vocal Control & Resting: All right guys, welcome to Lesson 1 again, I image J. Clark. This lesson is about vocal control and resting. Voltage control is important. This means, you know what your limits are to your voice. You know, that you have to have a certain range that you can stick with and stick to in order to get other voices down. You don't want to go above your pitch. You don't want to go below your pitch, but vocal control is more about maintaining those voices. Maintaining your control over your ability to make the voice consistent to flow. Now also do with resting as well. Now in order to get a more consistent quality to your voices needed without your voice to arrest. If you practice too much, you can strain or throat strain your voice. Make it a little difficult for yourself to get back to that consistency, at least for a few days because changing your range going outside of your normal pitch, your voice will normally let out for everybody else to hear, like my regular speaking voice. My voice won't strain from talking in my regular voice. But if I told like sneakily fun, pulled the time and did this for an entire day straight with absolutely no recall fold change in direction. My voice is going to strain because eventually in order to do these voices, you are stretching out your vocal cords or tightening them in order to get those voices through, as well as changing your pitch at the same time, this constrain your vocal cords. So it is important to not overstrained, maintain control that then allow yourself to a rest. Resting is going to let your voice relax back to its normal stretch, its normal shape, making it easier for you to practice layer ways to help your voice relax, recuperate from the strain. You can try things like hoc team, honey, or maybe even come from. Also ice water I have found perfectly helps soothe my throat, but also rehydrate my throat and my vocal cords is very important that before you try practices or try doing your voices, where your exercises that you make sure you are completely hydrated as this is going to make it so your throat is not scratching in that it is completely open to the flow of air that you are going to be pushing out and in different passes and in different sizes. All right guys, that was less than one. Simple, effective, but to the point, we'll see you in Lesson 2. Thank you. 3. Understanding & Creating Personality: Hey guys, welcome to lesson 2, understanding and creating personality in your voices and your characters. How it's great that you can learn all these cool characters, these voices, create your own, which is incredibly important, is to have your own sense of creativity. It's great to be able to do 65 voices like I can't. But what if I didn't have any that are my own? Create personality? Understand the character in which you are playing or representing. It's highly imperative as it's going to allow you to connect deeper with the character, create things that only that character would say or instances and that character's voice that only that character is going to have. For example, if we were to talk about Heath Ledger when he was the Joker and the dark night. He added all of these amazing little idiosyncrasies, these little tics that, that character had. For example, I don't know how I got the scar. My father was a drinker and a and one night he goes out crazier than usual. Things like that. He added in those tics, twitches. The tongue thing that he always did in them film that was highly entertaining but very creative in making his character memorable. He changed not only as voice, but it also understanding his character. He made it so you forgot you were watching a character at all. It felt like a real person because he made it original to that character in which he portrayed and subsequently made it. So every last thing he did felt like it was permanently. But more importantly, only that character's personality trait. And when you create personality, Think of the character in which you're going to voice. The thing you want to make that character stand out with. Anybody can do some kind of I, this bad guy, this vivid, this horrible person. But what's going to make that villain stand out? What's going to make him different from all the rest? Instead of being the one-note character, that just sounds like he's got a deep and dark voices towering over the protagonist. Make him different, making three-dimensional. Add things to that voice, add a roughness, maybe some kind of air. Maybe there's something he always says that only he says maybe there's a personality trait about him that when he speaks, maybe it's an, a slower draw or he adds extra inflection on the end of his words. Like with Heath Ledger for example, when he was the Joker, he had all these inflections. Oh, night you're going to break your body. He always had a draw on the end of those now like a Southern draw. But he over uninflected to get his point across to make it sound sinister. And you believed him. And that is what's important believe ability through creating an understanding the personality in which the character you are portraying were voicing is highly imperative to making it stand out against everything else. That's why there are so many memorable voice actors, so many memorable radio personalities, because when they hear their voice you go, That's that person, that's that character. You know it from anybody else. That is the key to lesson number 2. Thank you guys. Will see you in lesson number three. 4. Knowing Your Strengths: Welcome back everybody. Lesson 3, knowing your strengths. Now knowing your strengths is important. And by knowing your strengths, what I mean specifically is not stepping outside of your vocal bubble until you realize that you might be ready for it. Now, knowing your strengths can mean a few different things. Knowing your range, not exceeding the pitch in which your voice actually levels out at everybody's voice has a ceiling. You've got all your different ranges. You've got your baritone Jim out toes, you're soprano should, tenors. Everybody speaks at a different volume and in a different pitch. Knowing your pitch, or at least understanding how high you can go, how low you can go, is very important to what voices you may or may not be limited to, at least for the time being. No limitations. It's a different video. This one is about playing to your strengths. Now maybe I've got a tenor when I sing. But when I talk, people think I sound deeper. You are going to hear yourself differently than anybody else. Hears the voice coming out of your mouth, that always sounds differently inside of your head. If you ever heard yourself speak on a recording versus in your head and thought, wait, tax what I sound like. And it shocks you and you can't believe that's what everybody else hears. That's what it is. Knowing your strength means, knowing your own voice inside out. Being able to play to those strengths. You have a deeper voice. Maybe if you have a baritone, maybe the highest voice you might be able to hit at the moment to stretch your vocal cords out further is maybe a tenor. But if you're a baritone, maybe the deeper voices are exactly your niche. Maybe that's what you should be sticking to, at least for the time being. Look at James Earl Jones, for example. A man as deep as the Earth goes through. He has an end Radical, beautiful deep voice. He voices move fossa and the Lion King. But you've never heard him tried to do a musical where he starts singing with Disney characters. And if you did, it would probably be in his pitch or his range. He's not going to go from everything. The light touches my son is yours, but she was never go there. He's not going to turn into everything. You see my son, that the light touches is over there, is never going to do that. He's going to stick with what he knows. And then sticking in his strengths of his vocal range, made a career out of being one of the most recognizable voices, not only in pop culture but in history. He's Darth Vader. Darth Vader. Are you ever going to hear Darth Vader in a musical? Know? Because even though James Earl Jones probably if he did sing, would have a beautiful baritone, he's going to stick with what he knows. His range may be somewhat compromised or his strengths may be somewhat compromised if he stepped out of that range because that's the range in which he found his niche. You need to find your niche. Girls, women have an ability to go to a pitch that most men cannot reach. Most men have the ability to hit a deeper range in which most women cannot hint. That is because our vocal cords, though they may be somewhat setup the same as far as anatomy as concerned. Jenner, generally, we have different ranges based on our genders. Because women are particularly supposed to be higher pitched and men are particularly meant to be a lower pitch. But there are men with very high voices and there are women with very deep voices. And that is okay. Play to your strengths. Miley Flanagan and amazing voice actors, voices and our toes. A Maki from a very popular anime called Naruto. Maybe you've heard of it, probably most of you have. But the voice of Naruto, at least in the American English dub. And tok is voiced by a woman that she has the ability to pitch your voice lower in order to voice Naruto, who is, at least in the original series of 12 to 13 year-old boy, and in the subsequent SQL series, shipper than 16 to 17 years old. And she even voices is English double adult voice when he's at his 30s. She has the ability to do that. Not everybody does. And that's important. Terrorist strong, another incredible voice actress. Not only did she voiced Timmy Turner from the fairly odd parents, she also voiced bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls, but also Raven from Teen Titans. And she also voiced Ben Tennyson from Ben 10. A woman who was incredibly well-rounded, knows her range and our pitches. Not only she famous for playing of male characters, she's incredibly famous for playing women characters. Knowing your strengths can truly help you mark out and map out the voices in which you should try to choose to go after and create on your own. And you should remember, just because you have your strengths, doesn't mean you can't push past those limits. Thank you guys. Will see in the next lesson. 5. Pushing Your Limits: Hello everybody, Welcome back to Lesson 4. Now in the first three videos, we discussed full control and resting, understanding and creating personality within your characters to really make them stand out and be memorable. Knowing your strengths in order to never step out of your vocal range until you're ready. But knowing how to play to those strengths in the vocal range which you are currently placing yourself. Not only you are going to know limitations. What have we talked about? Less than four, pushing your limits. Now, at a certain point, you're going to have numbers of voices down. The ability to do different accents, knowing which ones you can't do, knowing which ones you excel at. Limitations exist, at least in your head. You've got to get outside of that. Sometimes the best way to keep up in your repertoire, in enhancing your catalog and portfolio of your vocal range, and your ability to add all these new and different voices to your skill set. Knowing how to step past your limits or more importantly, pushing yourself past your limits. Now, pushing pasture limits for a lot of people sounds intimidating, but it really isn't. Have you ever heard a song that you loved years ago? And he used to sing it so freely as a kid with a reckless abandon, nothing held you back. It didn't matter that you were on heat or out of qi, just mattered that you are trying. Now, years later, when your vocal cords are fully developed, you are completely able to control the fluctuation of your voice. Now, you can hit those notes. You never could. Well, congratulations whether you realize it or not. You push your limits. You see people think it's intimidating, but you're already there, aren't you? When you're 13 and you're going through puberty and your voice is always cracking and it's always seeming so awkward to speak out loud in front of a class for a project. Or perhaps you're talking on the phone and for an interview and you're 16 and you're trying to sound professional, but you're nervous. That is you setting a limitation on yourself. And you may not realize that you have that limitation set until you realize that getting out of your own way is you pushing those limitations? Now as far as pushing your limitations goes, and doesn't mean tomorrow, start trying to sing like an opera singer to see just how many riffs and how high you can push your voice. That's an actually a great way to damage your voice. Pushing your limitations means all the characters that you've added to your repertoire thus far. Now, at that other one that seems like a, I don't think I could do that. I don't think that's in my vocal range. But have you tried? And if you haven't tried, Have you tried again? Pushing past your limits means not being held back by the intimidation feel when a new thing brings itself forward. If you're curious, let curiosity being the very thing that fuels you to reach that next point and your professional or personal journey as far as it comes or goes with setting vocal limits. You're only going to be limited by the very foundations of which are inside of your head. You will always be your greatest obstacle and you need to overcome that in order to break past. It was full of limitations. I was never able to do Mark Hamel's joker from the animated series until I learned how to do PS20 Griffin from the hit TV show Family Guy. Here's how high still microphone here. They'll come on, Brian. And then because I learned stewing and I was intimidated to try to learn something is sinister or is raspy versus bombastic. As Mark camels Joker, I realized what if I pushed past my limits? What if I used PS20 to reach the joker? For example? Hi, my name is student driven, but what if I wanted to transform into the jail? Still, if I take my voice and I get a deeper and deeper and deeper and add a rasp and then started feeling a little free. But apps, so thing like this, I knew how to be methodical. Realize that stealing griffin talked a little bit fast, but then I slid it down and then down. This nella, slower and slower until I was able to reach something like this. It is a pushing pasture limitations. Don't be intimidated by the ceiling. Ceilings, especially glass ones are made to be broken through. You will always be your greatest obstacle. So jumbo for it. Thank you guys will see you in the next lesson. 6. Testing Your Voices: Hello everybody. Welcome back to the next lesson, number 5, testing out your voices. And testing out your voices. What does that mean? Well, exactly as it sounds. Tests the test them in the mirror, test them in the shower. Test them with your dog. I have a voice for my dog, Scooby. It's a beautiful little boy, pitbull. He's a, he's adorable. But when I talk forum, I gave them a little cute voice. I added some personality to it. You see, my wife always says, he's like our child. And my wife has a bit of a list. So because he's like our child and because dogs don't have an upper limb, when I talk for Scooby, uh, give them a list. But I don't just do it when it's me and my wife with our dog. I do it when we have family over, friends over. I do it whenever I'm telling people outside of work how I talk for him whenever we're just loving dogs out in public, people walking them. I talked for other people's dogs. Sounds a little weird, right? They find it hilarious. They think it's adorable. Scooby. I go, I'll, I don't know about that. Mummy. Excuse me. That means brains have been due. I don't want to go outside. I wanted him to bed and eat all your shoes in Chu Lai near fact, it is a cute little voice from I tested out. I created that voice, my dog because it's the way he looks at me. But now, I can't imagine him sounding any different if you did actually talk. I also recommend if there's a voice that you're trying to learn, test it out with your friends, test out your family. All the voices that I ever learned. My mom can attest to this. I will call my mother and I will do a voice on the phone when she doesn't answer and she will get a random voicemail for me in whatever voice in which I am currently practicing. So when I was trying to learn what Morgan Freeman, for example, she called me back laughing her butt off saying, was that Morgan Freeman? And I said yes, one. That was great feedback. She instantly recognize the voice I was doing and to she was entertained. And those are the two biggest things. Making sure that someone understands what you're going for. And also making sure that it's entertaining. It leaves an impression. That's what you wanna do. It's called an impression for a reason. Now, as far as testing out your voices, I went, especially when I was learning accents, when I was trying to learn British accents or Australian accents, I used to go out all day and at least for one day. And I recommend you do this, call it a class project. Pick an accent. Go out and spend the entire day doing that accent whenever you talk to people, this way, whenever you are not speaking to people, your voice is resting. James Franco, a very popular and famous actor, was a high-school dropout who was working at a fast food restaurant. He was doing voices for all the customers when he rang them up the register. One of those people happen to be a talent scout, at least as the story goes, and that's how he apparently was discovered. All you have to do is try your voices. You sound differently to yourself and to others. Feedback from people can help you change the range to pitch, to help you that, that voice in which you're working. My friends do it for him all the time. And it's very good for me. It lets me know where I'm at and more importantly, where I need to go. So test out your voices class project. Pick an accent. No matter what accident is, whichever accent sounds beautiful to you. Mean personally, I love a British accent. Go out and practice that accident at work with customers, with your friends and family and see the response. When I used to manage hotels, I used to have people from all over the world, different cultures and backgrounds, ethnicities. They would come in and I would ask them, Do you mind if I do a voice for you? After all? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You'll find that they don't seem offended. They're willing to give you pointers because they know how it's supposed to sound. So don't take it as an insult if they correct you. Take it as practice and more importantly, take it as another lesson. Thank you guys. Have a great day. We'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Immerse Yourself In Your Characters: Hello everybody. Welcome to lesson 6. Immerse yourself in your characters. Now, immersion. What does that mean? It means not only to lose yourself in the voices that characters you're portraying, the voices you want to learn subsequently that personalities, their inflections than tics and traits of that character. Immersing yourself. If you want to learn a certain character, you need to subject your brain to that character over and over and over in order to let your brain build up muscle memory for you. Because it's going to hear that voice and then it's going to know how to project it. Had a send it from your brain to your throat, out of your mouth. Immersion is actually pretty easy. If there is a character you want to learn. Let me give you an example. Scooby-doo is my favorite show, my favorite thing of all time in pop culture. I have seen every episode of Scooby-Doo since it debuted in the late 1960s to the current date and which we are presently sitting. I watched so much Scooby-Doo and immerse myself in it. Scooby-doo was the first voice I ever learned. I learned that because I was constantly subjected to his voice. I was always watching him, always hearing how he talked, how he laughed. Now he's been voiced by several people throughout his tenure. Originally, he was voiced by Don MSX. And then after Don message passed, he was voiced by Scott ends. And then when Scott in stop voicing him, he had a shared play by frame Welker, who also voices Freddie and the Scooby-Doo series, would then go on to subsequently voice Scooby-Doo as well. Now Frank Welker was able to do skin his voice because he had been a voice of Freddie since the original first episode of Scooby-Doo, where are you? In the late 1960s, he had been a rounded for so long. He was able to mimic it himself. So when the time came and they needed a new actor to portray Scooby-Doo. They already had somebody that they could go to. Immersion is important. If there is a voice you want to learn an accent, you want to get, you wanna do radio. Listen to radio hosts. You want to learn a character's voice. Constantly watch shows or movies with that character's voice. If you want to learn accents, watch nothing but British television, Australian television. Your favorite actors who might be Australia. Your favorite who may be British. Watch all of their movies, watch interviews with an out of character to listen to their voice on repeat, copy their inflections, their consonants or vowels, the way things sound coming out of the mouth. That way, you are immersed in the very character or person or voice in which you are trying to master. Thank you guys and we will see you in the next lesson. 8. Don't Be Afraid To Mess Up: Hey guys, welcome to the next lesson. Don't be afraid to mess up. Now this is important. Like I said in previous entries, in previous lessons, you are your greatest obstacle. You see messing up when you are trying to learn a new trait, trying to learn a new voice, trying to push your next limit is completely normal. It's incredibly normal to make mistakes, to mess up. You can only learn through failure. You have to learn from repetitive trying over and over again in order to hit the nail on the head in which you are trying to reach. Now, understand that messing up is a part of life, is a part of learning, a new skill. It's impart to you that you allow yourself to mess up in order to correct yourself further. The greatest lesson that you can teach yourself is how to get back up from those mess ups, how to try again from those mistakes. Perfection is highly overrated. Trying until you get it right is not. How are you supposed to succeed? If you don't allow yourself to fail? Messing up a voice in front of a bunch of people may sound like an intimidating task. But what you could do is take it on the chin and go, You know what? Now I know that I need to tweak it. If you mess up in front of a group of people you're trying to do a voice for or in an audition or on a recording for yourself preparing for an audition. Keep recording. Keep trying. Ask the audition person, the casting person. Can I give that another go? Or if it didn't go to what you want to ask them, what do you think they think you should do better? It's okay to give that feedback. It doesn't have to be a negative experience. In fact, it can be an incredible one. You'll never know just how good you can be until you mess up and then allow yourself to learn from the mess up. Remember, perfection is overrated is how you get back up and try again. That is not. We'll see you guys in the next lesson. Thank you. 9. Inspiration Leads To Knew Voices: To everybody who has made it this far in this class, in these lessons, let me just say, congratulations, I'm proud of the fact that you have gotten all the way to the eighth and final lesson. Inspiration leads to new voices. Now this one is an important one, and more importantly, and possibly my favorite. What is your voice? Your voice is you, your voices the most recognizable thing about you. It's the most beautiful thing about you, sets you apart in the world. Your voice is not only the most powerful thing you have in your arsenal and anything in your life and interviews. Anything. Inspiration, being inspired by something can truly help your voice. Music gives you this beautiful ability to sing and use your voice. Something that you see that inspires you to make a difference, make a change gives you this power to speak with a reverence in your voice to make you feel like you can make people see it from your point of view. Your voice is beautiful. It's most important that most beautiful thing, your children to your mother, your father, to your friends. Your voice brings people comfort. Your voice can bring you opportunities. Your voice can bring inspiration. You can be inspired by other people's voices and that can fuel your voice. If you love something, your voice, is it connected to that thing? It allows you the opportunity to speak on the thing you love with a passion in your voice, power in your voice to make you truly feel connected to the very thing in which you hold so dear to yourself. Talking about your mother and a lovely way speaking to your spouse in a way that is beautiful and only the way that they want to hear you speak. Your animal, your pet, your dog, your cat. They know your voice. It is the most important sound in their life. Being inspired by things can truly fuel your voice. Remember that in all these lessons, the greatest obstacle is you. Your greatest weapon, Erase tool. Your greatest strength is a power that conviction, the believability, the love. Everything is in your voice. We are all connected in the world through the power of speech, through the power of our vocal cords. Words build things up, words tear things down. It's how you use your voice, which is truly the most important thing to take away. You guys have been incredible. Remember to let inspiration leads you're not only to new voices, but lets you remember that you already have the most powerful one inside of yourself. And it's the original voice that you started out with from the beginning. We will be continuing these lessons, this class. And the next month, December 2021. Thank you so much. I hope you have a happy holiday. Enjoy, enjoy your family time. And remember, you guys have the power to change your voice, but you also have the power to use it. I've been MJ Clark and I have been honored to be your teacher. Thank you.