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Voice Acting : A Critical Component of Characterization

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

November 18, 2008

Comments (1)

Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Chip or Dale in the Disney Parade

Ever thought about characters who run around at theme parks, at the fair or visit at shopping centers?

They all have one thing in common...

Is Image Everything?

One day I was shopping and happened to be at the store on a day that Dora the Explorer, Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants were posing for pictures with their pint-sized fans.

You've likely seen people in costumes entertaining children at a variety of places, at theme parks, especially.

While many were excited, several of the kids were intimidated by these larger than life characters and shied away, some even going so far as to leave the area.

There was certainly one very important element missing that may explain the response from some of the children.

The Missing Link

The characters looked well enough, but they were absolutely... speechless!

Although properly attired and presented, none of these actors spoke in character, in fact, the actors are usually silent and do not speak while performing (perhaps due in part to their hefty costumes?).

Upon seeing a character, one might expect that they would also talk, just like they do in the movies or on TV, however this isn't the case.

The physicality of a character is only one component of its presence. The voice and words that are spoken give a character their personality and ability to engage.

When those humanizing elements are missing the character isn't nearly as believable.

Getting To The Point

While someone can dress up and portray an animated character physically, it is rare to find a voice actor who can give life to the character through their voice.

This is why character voice actors, and their colleagues who can voice match, are worth their weight in gold.

Any Comments?

Best wishes,


Photo credit armadillo444 at Flickr

Related Topics: characters, child, chip, dale, diego, Disney, Dora, dora the explorer, mickey mouse, pluto, spongebob squarepants, theme parks, TV, voice acting, voice overs, voice talents


    Even if they could find a guy they can put in the suit who can do the voice of the character, usually their contracts state that the characters are not allowed to speak. This clause is there because of the fact that usually they can't find actors who can do the voice.

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