Arts & Entertainment

Creating Character Voices

Nancy Cartwright

Lesson time 16:28 min

Nancy teaches you how to develop original characters by creating voices—in real time—for our original series called No-Effort Girl. She also teaches you how to find clues for developing your own characters.

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Topics include: No-Effort Girl · Yikes the Dragon · Two Mouth · Make Your Characters Specific


[MUSIC PLAYING] NANCY CARTWRIGHT: So there's a show that I'm working on-- for you specifically-- called "No-Effort Girl." We'll be using scripts from the show in our lessons. And as a bonus, we'll be animating my recordings to give you all a sneak peek into the animation process. But before we do that, I'm gonna show you how I develop original voices, starting with our star, No-Effort Girl. Okay, guys, so there's this description of her that has so-- it is just like, it doesn't take a whole lot of intelligence to look at this. There's gold mines. There's little nuggets in here, little gems, little hints, of who our girl is. So it just says here, "No-Effort Girl is a precocious" --hello precocious-- "thirteen-year-old girl who didn't ask to be born with super strength, x-ray vision, and the ability to fly-- so lay off her!" Okay, so that is pretty-- that first sentence there tells me so much about who this girl is. That alone-- I'm telling you, that alone gives me tomes to work with. But it goes on. "In spite of having to wear a cumbersome purple retainer" --seriously?-- "her favorite thing to do is gab with her best friend, Yikes the Dragon. Unfortunately, her superhero phones are always ringing off the hook with annoying calls to save the day. And when she finally gets around to putting on her homemade costume" --homemade, that's important-- "she usually fixes the impossible problem with basically no effort, but groans and rolls her eyes the entire time." This chick has an attitude, man. But she's smart. And she's specific about what she does. "Underneath, she loves all the attention she gets from helping others." That's a really good clue. She likes to help others. But she rolls her eyes. She's kind of like a little bit of a princess there. "She loves all the attention, even if it's an imposition on her plans to scroll social media on her phone all day." This is-- I'm telling you, this is very, very helpful to me, what the writer has done here. The other thing that will really, really help you out is if they give you a picture of the character, just the drawing. So when I look at the picture of No-Effort Girl, there's a couple clues here that help me out that are being reinforced by the picture. The cell phone is very important to her. She lives with her cell phone. To me, the artwork is very-- it's kind of the modern Jetsons in a way. It looks-- she's kind of futuristic. Look, she's got a little peplum-- the little boots on her, the booties, totally fashionista. She's cute. She's really cute. But look at the attitude on the picture of her on the left. She's got that gnah thing going with her mouth. She can stand up on her own. She doesn't need anybody to fight her fights for her. No-Effort Girl does it, and she does it without any effort. She's got blue hair, another thing, wow. I'm not sure if Mom and Dad really like that, but she is independent. This is a gal that-- she's got my heart. She really does. She...

About the Instructor

For nearly 40 years, Nancy Cartwright has voiced some of the most iconic animated characters on screen, including everyone’s favorite 10-year-old underachiever. Now the Emmy winner takes you into the recording booth to teach you the art of voice acting. In our first class to feature original animation, you’ll learn how to develop characters, get performance tips, and hear Nancy’s career advice. It’s time to get animated.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Nancy Cartwright

The legendary voice actor reveals her creative process for giving life to animated characters with emotion, imagination, and humor.

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