Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Crispin Freeman Gives Tips on How to Fix Bad Voice Acting


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 23, 2009

Comments (5)

Crispin FreemanCrispin Freeman is one of the biggest North American Anime voice acting stars.

Not just a talented voice actor, he's also a wonderful speaker and insightful teacher as I have come to discover.

This year, Freeman spoke on the "Get Paid to Work in Anime" panel, hosted by the Japan Visual Translation Academy (JVTA).

I've included some tips from that panel here for you to discover and hope you enjoy them!

Notes From Crispin Freeman

"A critic will see a piece of art, realize that it's bad and then tell you about it.
An artist will see a piece of art, realize that it's bad, and figure out how to fix it."

That's what Crispin Freeman teaches in his voice acting classes; how to fix something and make it better.

If something is unbelievable and you're not convinced by what is coming out of actor's mouth, you may feel compelled to tell the voice actor to act better... but how?

Crispin suggests that you play pretend, citing that playing pretend is at the very core of acting.

Voice Acting Comprises of These Elements:

๏ Character
๏ Relationship
๏ Objective
๏ Where?

You have to know what your character is about, it's relationship to other characters, their objective (what motivates them), understand the character's environment, and of course, context.

Weird Technical Skills:

๏ Match lip flap
๏ Follow the beeps
๏ Take direction
๏ Microphone technique

If you've ever had to dub, you know how very important those technical skills are, however, without the emotional side, it doesn't matter how good you are at dubbing to picture.

The Emotional Actor and the Technical Actor both need to come together to get a believable performance. Improvisation helps you on the emotional side, and when you're working on an Anime project, dubbing to picture is imperative on the technical side.

Have You Ever Worked on an Anime Cartoon?

I'd love to hear about your experiences with the process and what shows you have worked on. If you're a fan and dub for fun or as part of a dubbing community, your perspective is welcome, too!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,


Related Topics: Anime, cartoons, Crispin Freeman, dubbing, how to, Japanime, JVTA, voice acting, voice actor, voice talent


    I found that voice overs aren't about what you sound like but how you're heard. Recording yourself and listening, helps.

    Posted by:

      I've had the pleasure of working in anime dubs for almost a decade now. A partial résumé:

      Pokémon - Interim Narrator
      Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy - Meat
      Sonic X - Dr. Eggman, Ella
      Yu-Gi-Oh! G/X - Jean Louis Bonaparte
      Kirby: Right Back At Ya! - Mayor Blustergas, Samo
      Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie - Newscaster
      Yu-Gi-Oh! - Arthur Hawkins, Gurimo
      Jungle Emperor Leo - Dr. Moustache
      Moon Over Tao - Suikyo
      Demon Fighter Kocho - Professor Kamo
      Twin Signal - Professor Otoi

      For me, anime dubbing is always a joy, but it's often a bit of a challenge. You've got a finite amount of time to deliver each line while giving it the proper emotion, whether you actually know what's going on or not. And that's where a good director comes in. Having had the benefit of having read the script in its entirety -- at least a day or so before you got there -- he or she most likely knows more about the story than you do, and can help make sure you're giving a correct performance.

      As anyone who's ever directed me can attest, I'm prone to giggling in the booth, which I think is mostly because I can't believe they pay me for doin' this. It's unbelievable!


      Posted by:

        Kudos to Crispin for his insightful take on the voiceacting craft. We are back to the days when a performance really mattered...childhood! It's obvious by his work and work ethic that he has a lot to share.
        Thanks, man!

        Posted by:

          Go Mike!

          That's a kool "partial resume" ;-)

          I've done a few anime roles, the most notable being Sawatari on "Bleach".

          It is definitely a skill-set that takes a bit to learn.
          Can be a catch-22 to get in with a dubbing group.

          I find that the director is crucial - they will know the characters, story arc, and subtle points of the plot.

          If you have the chance, try it!

          Posted by:

            Haven't done any anime dubbing, although I would love to have the opportunity to do so in the future.

            I just wanted to thank you, Stephanie, for posting these workshop highlights. Insightful, useful info. (And I linked it on the blog too.)

            Posted by:

Leave a Comment

Recent Articles

Does Practice Make Perfect? 4 Steps You'll Want to Follow!

Be Our Guest! Unless You Can't Make It - How to Record as if Your Co-Stars Are in the Room

Want to Create Sound? Check out some Foley in Zootopia!

New Features! File Management Made Easier at Voices.com

3 Common (Yet Avoidable) Audio Editing Oversights

Is the Role Right for You? 6 Ways to Know.

Want to Get Noticed? 3 Tips for Featuring Your Vocal Talent

5 Ways to Maximize Your Voice Acting Auditions

What's the #1 Secret Ingredient for Box Office Success?

How To Use Storytelling to Make Science More Accessible