Arts & Entertainment

Performing a Range of Emotions

Nancy Cartwright

Lesson time 12:21 min

Nancy teaches you how to navigate scenes in which a character experiences a wide range of emotions. She then demonstrates with an original script and reveals the benefits of ad-libbing with a story from The Simpsons.

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

Topics include: Demo: Yikes the Dragon's Emotional Range · Make the Words Your Own


[MUSIC PLAYING] NANCY CARTWRIGHT: In addition to keeping their voices consistent, voice actors also need to showcase a huge range of emotion, sometimes even in the same scene. [MUSIC PLAYING] For example, in one of "The Simpsons" episodes, Bart gets an F. There is a huge emotional range that Bart has. So when Bart finds out that he gets an F, he gets so incredibly frustrated. [FOOTSTEPS ON TV] - Please turn in your exam, Bart. Class is over. - Do you think you could grade it now, please? - Well, all right. Let me get Old Red. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Well, Bart, it's a 59. That's another F. - Oh, no. I can't believe it. - I know, I know. Another year together. Oh, it's going to be hell. - [MUSIC PLAYING] - What's the matter? Well, I would think you'd be used to failing by now. - No, you don't understand. I really tried this time. I mean, I really tried. - There, there. - This is as good as I can do, and I still failed. - Well, a 59, it's a high F. - Who am I kidding? I really am a failure. Oh, now I know how George Washington felt when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in 1754. - What? - Oh, you know 1754, the famous defeat to the French. - My god, Bart, you're right. - So? - You just demonstrated applied knowledge. And due to the difficulty and relative obscurity of the reference, you deserve an extra point on your exam. Hey, it's only fair. - You mean, I passed? - Just barely. - I passed. I got a D-minus. I passed. I passed. I passed. I passed. I got a D-minus. I passed. I got a D-minus. I passed. I got a D-minus. I passed. I passed. I-- kissed the teacher. - When I did that, honestly, I really wasn't thinking about it. I'm just hired as a performer, and I'm just delivering the goods. But I allowed myself to really feel, and really I backed up the emotional stress that Bart was having. It was for real for me when I did it. It's like I wasn't really acting. I just made it some truth. Here's the deal, is that when you are doing these scenes, you're going to be creating a lot of different emotions. You're doing all kinds of things from being super exhilarated to being depressed to being you don't know what to say anymore to being angry to being completely bored with life. All this stuff, you got to trust your instincts, guys. Trust your instincts emotionally, and don't be afraid to go there. Because when you use the emotions and use all the things that I gave you in your little tool kit, don't hold back on gesturing, on furrowing your brow, on pursing your lips, something like-- because these kinds of things help to define who these individual characters are. So I have a scene here from "No-Effort Girl" where I am going to take you on an emotional journey. Ready? Let's get emotional. I don't think anyone has...

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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