Arts & Entertainment

Your Vocal Identity

Nancy Cartwright

Lesson time 06:09 min

Nancy reveals the benefits of identifying your vocal niches and strengths, and she shares how you can discover and identify yours.

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

Topics include: Draw From Your Life Experiences · Develop Your Personal Voice Print


[MUSIC PLAYING] - It's very important that you develop your own identity as to who you are and what kind of voices you do. Not everybody is supposed to do every single voice out there. The late, great Don Lafontaine established-- I'm going to call it a voice print, because it's like a thumb print. It's unique unto you. So this guy-- if I were to say, in a world-- you know, I can't-- I can only drop my voice so low. But his voice-- (LOWER) in a world full of stress and strife, da da da. He did, like, 5,000 trailers. He did so many voiceovers, this guy. He went from studio to studio, because he created such a recognizable, branded personality, so that when producers wanted to do an announce voice for their trailer, it's like, get Don Lafontaine. Because that's the sound that he created. In coming up with characters, you're going to find a specific niche of voices that you tend to go to. Like for me, for example, I found fairly quickly that my strength was in doing little character voices of little children, whether they were snorks or Pound Puppies, animals, it doesn't matter. I just found for myself that there were certain areas that I lean towards. For me to try to be a mother, the sound of my mother sounds very much like the sound of my kid. So I found that for myself, by taking my voice and just tweaking it a little bit, I could make that teenage girl younger. So I really concentrated on that, and it served me very well. I started getting cast playing young parts. - Oh, goody. NANCY CARTWRIGHT: Some were aliens. - You don't understand. I'm from Twinkle Twinkle, where everyone can do magic. NANCY CARTWRIGHT: And there were teenage girls. - I've got a secret. Billy Big Dipper isn't really from Saturn. Clarence Comet is flunking everything. NANCY CARTWRIGHT: And occasionally, I would do the voice of like a My Little Pony. - Who cares what the sun was doing when he had to leave his one true love? - Yeah, how can you ask a question like that at a time like this? - It took actually me getting cast on The Simpsons that I realized that I had this area that I excelled in, which was doing these quirky male voices or tomboys, because there was a certain quality that I can take on that this-- this sound, apparently, there was a lot of agreement that the natural sound of my voice sounded a little bit more like a boy. That became a launching point for me to develop even more characters. So you will find your strength, and that's a good idea. Play to your strengths. [MUSIC PLAYING] - This is practically a no-brainer, what I'm going to share with you, and that is to draw from your own life experiences. You know, as artists, there are characters everywhere. You know, it's your next-door neighbor. It's your granddaughter. It's your son. It's your daughter. It's your parents. It's your Uncle Barney. It's like, all these people that you know, and actually even people that you don't know-- you stand in line or you...

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.

Explore the Class
Sign Up