Time and time again, I see newer voice actors trying to create a voice that is not genuine and sounds forced. Such as a male voice actor with a medium range trying to create a deep and gruff voice or a female with an alto timbre trying to sound like a young girl. In most cases, and definitely not all, these “characters” that they are trying to produce is not believable; it sounds forced and inconsistent.
What if there is a role I really want to audition for though?
While it is true that roles or projects will come up that look great, you need to access your ability if you can genuinely audition for the characters in the casting call. Everyone has a limit to their vocal range and capability and it is important to know your strengths — and in this case your weaknesses. An audition should show off your skills as a voice actor, not be an imitation of a performance or an idea of a character. The first impression a casting director should have of you should be “WOW, that was good. Though they don’t fit this role, I have a role later down the line for them to audition for.” and not “Uhhh… they tried” *sad face*.
See where I’m going?
My vocal range has a limit of a mid-low. Unfortunately, that means that deep gruff character that even I would love to voice is really not within my grasp. However, knowing this not only saves me from auditioning for a role I cannot produce, it even saves me and the casting director time.
Can I expand my range?
Yes, to a point. Just like singing, the more you work on it, the more you can expand your vocal range. However, there is still a limit to this. This is due to genetics and your vocal folds. Just like a muscle your vocal chords can be strengthened and worked, but will eventually “max” out and will not naturally go any further.
To that, singing will help you expand your range, strengthen your vocal cords and learn breath control.
So what can I do?
Own YOUR voice! Learn how to control and work with the voice you currently have. Understand
your strengths and your weaknesses and learn where your vocal wheelhouse is at. This will help you know what you need to work on and what roles can be skipped over. There is only one you and that means that there is only one of your voice.
Learn how to use your normal speaking voice as your go to character and then expand from there — pitch it up, bring it down, speed it up and slow it down, learn a dialect, stutter, lisp, raspy… the list goes on.
Work with a coach who is able to help direct you in finding voices that you can create consistently and believably.
When you can harness the power of your voice, your performances will improve and the audition/casting ratio will also get better. This is because you are not auditioning for roles that you are not yet capable of creating and focusing your time and efforts for roles that are suited for your voice.
To that happy auditioning!