Who is your favorite cartoon character? You may not notice it, but the boy voice you hear in cartoons is often created by adult women.
In the world of voice acting, gender does not matter. Many famous adolescent male characters you grew up with, including Jimmy Neutron, are voiced by adults. Many voice talents simply sound right during auditions that casting directors hire them to do a boy voice. The reason may be because hiring kids requires production to follow child labor laws.
Not only that, a boy’s voice changes and deepens once they hit puberty. Since it’s not common for cartoon characters to age, the production would rather hire someone that would not age out their role. Check out this post if you’re curious about doing a boy voice.
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This post was updated in April 2021
Female Voice Talents Can Do A Boy Voice
Women playing a boy voice is part of cross-gender acting, which refers to talents playing a character of the opposite gender. It is usual for cartoon characters under the age of 12 to be voiced by an adult woman since experienced actresses do not have the same requirements as prepubescent voice actors. Part of the reason this happens is also due to labor laws that prevent children from spending way too much time in the studio. Because of this, women can maintain their role longer.
There are also men who portray boy voice in films and cartoon shows. However, the voices of females are more adaptable and versatile than those of male voice over talents. Sometimes, even adult women play a young girl’s voice.
In Japan alone, child voice actors seldom have a successful career since finding an adult to do a boy voice is fairly easy. Employing someone who can do a high-pitched voice will allow a character to sound youthful and cute.
A man or a woman who can do a boy voice is considered to have a high level of skill. This reason is why it is a lucrative career. They can also work for decades, which means that they can do a wide variety of boy characters without showing signs of aging.
Voicing Child Characters
Whether you are a seasoned voice actor who wants to transition to getting your boy voice right or a newbie who wants to infiltrate the boy voice over scene, these tips below will help you. Although it wouldn’t be easy, you will soon sound authentic as you pull off a boy voice.
Listening to kids
The first step to getting a boy voice right is to do proper observation. While you may simply watch movies that feature children, such as The Incredibles, it would be better to invite your nephews over to your place and treat them to a game or movie night. Try to see how actual kids talk to each other and list the things you want to imitate in their voices.
If you don’t want to seem like you just inhaled five helium balloons, make sure to record yourself before you go to an audition. Through recording, you will know exactly how you sound. Most adults have a low register, so they think their voice can pass for a boy. However, sometimes their voice comes off sounding fake. Record and assess yourself first. This method is the best way to know how you sound. Then, you can start looking for ways to improve your skills.
Changing your tone
Even if you’re a newbie in the industry, you can still change your original voice to a boy voice if you pay attention to the tone. Changing your pitch will make you sound dramatically different. If you have a low voice, remember how you sound when talking to a puppy or a baby. Use this as an inspiration to speak in a higher pitch.
You can change your tone by pinching your tongue on the roof of your mouth. You should also talk from the back of your throat, just like when you have a cold. For adults who already have a higher voice, speak from your diaphragm. Pretend your voice comes from the back of your throat.
To have a boy voice, one of the key steps is knowing how to change your pronunciation. There are many ways you can alter your pronunciation, such as dropping the ending of words. For example, if you want to say “going,” you can simply drop the “g” and say “goin” instead. If this does not work, try sliding over the letter in the middle of the words. For instance, “whatever” can be pronounced as “whatevr.” You can also try adding a syllable, changing vowels, and speaking with an accent.
Many voice actors change the shape of their mouth when saying words. Altering the position of your mouth, jaw, and lips will also change how you sound. Try to purse your lips like you are about to whistle. You may also stick your tongue out if you are doing a boy voice who garbles words. It is also a good idea to open your mouth wide as you speak.
Most boys pause between certain words and sigh when they speak. It is recommended to draw out words to add extra syllables to your sentence. Depending on the character, you may also want to speed up your speech and chatter, although this can be very challenging when doing a voice that’s not your own.
Finding your inner child
The secret to doing a good boy voice is to teach yourself how to play again. This will help you embody how to bring life to a character. In your free time, try to ride a bike, climb trees, and play hide and seek just like when you were a kid. Remember the freedom you felt when you were young when your entire world was your school playground.
Top Boy Voice Performed by Female Voice Talents
In every show you watch, there’s a good chance that some of the child cartoon characters are voiced by an adult. They can be cool teens, boy geniuses, and even troublemakers. When it comes to voice acting, females have a higher register. So it is very easy for women to achieve the ideal timber needed for a character. Check out these male characters voiced by female voice talents.
Charlie Brown’s voice actors were mostly male, but in This Is America, Charlie Brown, it was Erin Chase who lent her voice to the iconic character. She was the first female voice to do so. The former child actress and model has done a wide variety of ads. While her voice career may have ended, she still does speaking engagements from time to time.
The 1900s was an awesome time for cartoons, and one of the best ones to ever come out of this era was Rugrats. The show chronicled adventures of toddlers. If you’re an avid fan of this show, you’re probably familiar with Tommy Pickles, the group’s ring leader.
Known as the bravest of them all, Tommy’s intense sense of adventure led the Rugrats on tons of unique adventures. The adorable kid was voiced by Elizabeth Ann Guttman, or E.G. Daily. After doing the original runs of the show, she came back to do the voice in “All Grown Up,” a Rugrats spin-off, where she played an adolescent Tommy.
This show was initially only meant to be a film in 2001, but it was so successful that it aired as a cartoon show on Nickelodeon. Jimmy Neutron ran for three seasons, with crossovers with Fairly Odd Parents.
Although it ended in 2006, it remains one of the most well-loved shows to ever air. In the episodes, Jimmy, with his friends Carl and Sheen, invents new things and goes on extreme adventures. The boy genius was voiced by Debi Derryberry, who manages to give him the perfect voice as he cooks up troubles.
One of the most famous trouble-makers in cartoons, Bart Simpson has been Springfield’s resident skateboard prince since 1989. This Simpson’s pre-teens character, as well as his other co-characters Nelson Muntz and Ralph Wiggum, are voiced by Nancy Cartwright. The character and the rest of the clan are known for his clever catchphrases. It looks like you’ll still be enjoying Cartwright’s voice for quite some time since Bart may never get out of the fourth grade.
Pokemon is one of the most beloved anime series. It centers on a young boy named Ash Ketchum, who wants to become a Pokémon master. Brock and Misty join him on his journey as they face enemies like Team Rocket.
The show has more than one thousand episodes, and in its American version, the character is voiced by Veronica Taylor during the first eight seasons, then Sarah Natochenny. The original voice actress is not a stranger in doing a boy voice. She worked in other Japanese animes such as Sailor Moon and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Timmy Turner is one of the most recognizable cartoon characters of kids born in the 1900s and 2000s. The 10-year-old boy has two fairy godparents, Wanda and Cosmo.
It initially aired in 2001, and ran for five seasons. Then, the show was rebooted in 2008 until 2017. This show has won countless awards and remains one of the most successful shows ever. Timmy Turner, the show’s protagonist, is voiced by Tara Strong, who also voiced characters in Rugrats, Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls, and Teen Titans.
It seems that females voice most boy-geniuses. Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory, an inventor and boy genius who spends his time in his secret laboratory, is famous for his impressive inventions. Christine Cavanaugh voices the lead character during the first two seasons. Then, Candi Milo took over for an additional two seasons. The latter also worked for Rugrats and Puss in Boots, among many others, until she passed away in 2014.
Bobby Hill, voiced by Pamela Adlon, is part of King of the Hill, a show which focuses on a middle-class family living in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas. The show first aired in 1997 and had a successful run until 2010. Bobby, the only child of Peggy and Hank Hill, is mostly passive but exhibits an innocent and kind attitude. Adlon won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice Over Performance for her impressive work on the show.
Goku, an Earth-born Saiyan from Dragon Ball Z, was mostly voiced by women, including Saffron Henderson and Barbara Goodson in the English version. The only man who lent his voice to the character was Sean Schemmel. In the original Japanese versions, Masako Nozawa voiced the character.
Bring Out Your Inner Boy Voice
Just because you are an adult does not mean you cannot pull off a boy voice. Think about it: it would be a nightmare to recast an entire show just because child voice actors went through puberty. Now that you know most animated boy characters feature a woman behind the scenes, you can be inspired to follow suit. Soon, you can take part in this lucrative and rewarding niche.
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