Easily Creating Authentic VO Characters

Hey, there!

I was thinking about this idea of how hard it can be for a character’s voice to come out of your mouth. It should, just by reading the script, but sometimes, we can be at a loss.

And I thought, how can I help you make that easier by sharing my process?

Here’s how.

Whether it’s animation, commercial copy, a quick recreation of a voice for narration, as a VO performer you’re often asked to create a character other than yourself. There’s a method I use that I learned from several masters of the craft that is almost too easy.

So. How can you go about creating a character voice with ease?

One of the people that I look up to as an inspiration in VO is Fred Willard. If you don’t know who Fred is, visit his IMDB page to refresh your memory. Then close that window and you’ll be right back here.

fred-willardFred was on stage as part of an absolutely brilliant seminar, along with Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) and the legendary Gary Owens, hosted by my friend Dan O’Day, that was extraordinary to watch. To watch these masters lay out the very secrets to their character creating success was nothing short of remarkable.

And just one of the hundreds of tips that I got from this talk was what Fred said about how he sometimes creates characters: he looks back to his childhood and teen years, and remembers the friends and relatives he’d mimic, poke fun at, entertain family with and so on – people that the public wouldn’t know, but that he remembers vividly. And amongst those is often the very character he needs.

Cool, right?

Well, we all have those characters buried in our memory banks. And it’s a short shot to recreate them and their idiosyncrasies, timing, phrasing, word play and so on to use for our very own. Use them as your archetypes. By conjuring them up, and maybe tweaking them a bit, you might just shortcut to a perfect character for the script you’re looking at.

If you want to be inspired by this seminar (the stuff Gary Owens has to say is worth a seminar all by itself), it’s available from Dan O’Day by clicking on this link: – it’s just $29, and that’s an absolute steal.

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

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