Arts & Entertainment

How to Become a Voice Actor: Jump-Starting Your Career

Nancy Cartwright

Lesson time 12:13 min

Nancy advises you on how to begin a career in voice acting. She shares stories of her mentor, Daws Butler, and talks about the role a mentor can play in developing your vocal skill set. You’ll also learn how to create an effective demo reel.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Finding a Mentor · Making a Demo · Pushing Past Doubt


[MUSIC PLAYING] - If you're going to start a career in voiceovers, there's a few things you need to know. Number one, the most important thing is you've got to be yourself. You have your own voice, literally. You have to commit 100%. You don't want to do a voice that has holes in it, and if you're certain about who you are and what you are doing, that is going to be so much easier. Another thing, a good tip, is watch animation. Be familiar with the ones that are doing really well, and watch those shows with the idea in mind of casting. Which part would you be? Which part do you like? Who's doing something that you feel you could do? And you can even make notes for yourself, and then you can refer to it later on. And a good tip is to just duplicate what somebody else is doing, and then by changing your pitch, your tone, your attitude, how fast you're speaking, you can make that your own. Get out there and perform and use your family. Use your friends. Tell jokes. Become characters. Read books out loud. Read them to children. Tell stories. You know, you can change your voice. You can become these characters. Do the kids like it? And just see what kind of an effect you create. And the main thing is if you love it, bam, go for it. [MUSIC PLAYING] - So let's talk about the value of mentors. A mentor is someone who is going to help you and are going to guide you and encourage you and answer questions and even open up doors for you. That's what I think a mentor is. How you get one-- that is a very difficult question to answer. I can tell you a couple of things. Number one, be yourself, and number two, don't stalk anybody. I was so fortunate. I had the opportunity very early on to meet a mentor. - I learned some pretty amazing lessons from Daws. - He would send me scripts, and I'd mail these back on cassette. He would listen and give me a critique and then mail the critique back along with either a letter or he'd talk into a cassette himself and evaluate what I had done. I don't know what it was, but he took me under his wing. - He used this expression. I didn't get it at first, but he said to me, don't be cosmetic, unless it's a Saturday night. I thought, what is he talking about, don't be cosmetic? Well, and then I thought, I guess cosmetic has to do with putting something on. You put cosmetics on your face. It's makeup. You're changing something. That is exactly what he was talking about. Don't be phony. Don't be fake, because a microphone is super sensitive. And more importantly than that, you're trying to communicate a message. And if you're not sincere about what you're saying, nobody is going to get it. Daws never taught me how to do voices. In fact, he didn't teach anybody. That's not what his job was. He comes from old radio. He was a writer. He was an entertainer, and he taught me to take a script and take the writer's words, the black on white, and make them my own. So don't be afraid to experiment. This is the ...

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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