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Tips for Voice Over Artists: Cartoon Voice Overs

In the first animations, cartoon characters were voiced by their creators rather than professional voice over artists. One of the first cartoons, Steamboat Willie, featured Mickey Mouse, who was voiced by Walt Disney himself!

Nowadays, this has changed and cartoons are voiced by professionals. The world of cartoons is still mainly focused towards children and teenagers, however, television programmes such as The Simpsons and Family Guy cater towards a more adult audience. Cartoons and animations are also becoming more popular in the corporate world as well, with characters popping up in advertisements, as well as in training videos and presentations.

You may be wondering whether you have the skills for cartoon voice overs and how you can get a job in this specialised market? We've prepared some tips to help you:

1. Practise a wide vocal range.

Cartoons always sound fun so it's important your voice can display a range of emotions and sounds. Practise sounding younger as this is a trait many animators are looking for. Being able to reach a high pitch like Angelica from The Rugrats then slow to a lower, calmer Winnie the Pooh may make you seem a little crazy but will definitely help!

2. Be energetic.

Whether the cartoon is on television, an internet sensation or for a corporate purpose, you need to sound motivated and full of life. Cartoons are a vibrant mix of colour and activity, and they need a voice to match. The majority of animated characters are active and adventurous so make sure you have that extra shot of coffee before your audition!

3. Take an acting class.

You are the voice of the character so you need to convey all of the emotions and thoughts with only your voice as a tool. Acting classes can be great for this, and you can also learn how to improvise which is a necessity for cartoon voice over work. Lose your inhibitions and go for it!

4. Practise being different animals.

This may seem like a strange one, but a lot of cartoon characters are based on animals. Practise characters that you're familiar with from a range of mediums. Try Minnie Mouse, Mufasa from the Lion King and the bulldog from the Churchill adverts as examples. Learn which emotions, traits and techniques are appropriate for each animal you voice. You can even try making up some of your own characters!

5. Find auditions.


As with all other VO jobs you need to get your voice heard by the right people as often as possible. Research toy companies, cartoon advertising companies, animation companies and anyone else you can think of in the biz who might be in need of your talents - and keep on their radar with polite persistence as often as you can. You never know when it might just be your day. Good luck!


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