Arts & Entertainment

Voice Acting Tips for Recording

Nancy Cartwright

Lesson time 07:21 min

Nancy walks you through techniques and situations to be aware of during your first time in the recording booth. You’ll learn how to prepare and care for your voice before, after, and during sessions.

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

Topics include: Your First Record · Preparing Your Voice for a Record


[MUSIC PLAYING] NANCY CARTWRIGHT: The same recording techniques can be used whether you're in a closet at home working on a demo tape or in a professional studio working on a multimillion dollar TV show. For The Simpsons, we actually started out in a small little booth where they filmed The Tracey Ullman Show. They put, like, moving carpets up on the walls, because there was so much glass that when we spoke, it vibrated. It was not a good facility for recording. So shortly after that, they gave us a studio, and it was downstairs-- the Darryl Zanuck Theater, I think-- and it was a big soundstage. And we each had our own areas, if you will. Like Yeardley is to my right, Tress MacNeille is to my immediate left. Julie is beside her. Dan's over there. Hank is in the room. Everybody was there, and that's kind of how it is now, that we have our own stations. We have high chairs, and we have low chairs. Some people prefer to stand. I prefer to stand. So once we get our station and the microphones set up, you've got your script. You take the brads out of the script. You line up the pages. You ask the script supervisor, which scene are we going to start with today? She'll say, we're going to start from the top, scene number one. We're going to try to go all the way through. And everybody's like, yay, this is good. When we do it consecutively, that's nice, because you get to track. You get to track the emotional changes in the show. It's so much easier that way. But all too often, somebody will have to leave, or somebody is not there, and they kind of bounce around a bit. That's fine, too. It works, because you just get yourself right in that moment and deliver the goods. Everybody's quiet. Roll sound. Sound's rolling. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Welcome to my 3D audio booth with my personal 3D engineer. He's in the control room in the back, and I can see him through a window, even though you can't. He's still rendering. Hi, Jeff! JEFF: Hey, Nancy. - When you go in for your first record, and you're in a professional studio, you might be a little nervous, but I have a few tips for you to keep in mind. For example, just be aware of where you position yourself. The distance between you-- right now, I'm about maybe six or so inches from the microphone. That's a pretty safe distance. To give you an idea of what that is, you take your baby finger and stick it out and your thumb, and it's that hang loose sort of a thing. And you just put your baby finger up there, and that's where the normal placement is. If you pull yourself too far away, like I'm doing right now, I have to call out a little bit more, but it sounds like I'm calling out. Or if you're going to be talking a little bit closer, and I get a little bit closer to the mic, I've got the-- the pop screen is right in the way, but I've got to bring my voice down a little bit, so I don't blow you out of the water. And likewise, if you're going to-- hey! Hey over there! You hear me? You got to...

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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