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Puppet voices

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by CaptCrouton, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. CaptCrouton

    CaptCrouton New Member

    I find that alot of my puppet voices tend to be imitations of Muppets. It's frustrating to know that I have an Ernie voice, a Grover/Yoda Voice, a Walorf voice, Sweetums Voice. The characters themselves are completely different. But whenever I do my Schmutz character, people say, "You do a great Grover."

    I want to create my own voices, but I keep tending to gravitate. Anybody deal with the same thing?
  2. fluffmuppet

    fluffmuppet Member

    Yes...sometimes I can't stop myself from sounding like Kermit, but since I'm a girl, it's the only thing, and my *Swedish Chef* voice that I can do for male puppets...bleeh.

    Oh well, I'll figure out my own voices someday..hehe
  3. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    Yeah, I have the same problem.

    What you can do to expand your vocal repetoire is to use what you watch on TV (other than Muppets LOL), hear on the radio, or hear when people talk in real life. Especially cartoon voices on TV, or humans with unusual-sounding voices that you might meet.

    Imagine how you think your puppets might sound based on their looks, and then "create" a voice based on the other voices you've heard. Sometimes combining two voices into one can be fun :)

    Whenever I encounter someone with an unusual voice, I imagine a puppet or drawing of that person that fits their particualr description, and then I match that voice to them.

    That should help (some) :p

    - Billy :cool:
  4. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

    My Candy is a close resemblance to Miss Piggy. Just voice, not personality.
  5. CaptCrouton

    CaptCrouton New Member

    Those are some great ideas Matt. I think I'm going to start studying and imitating cartoon voices. Hey, I got the Monsters DVD. Sounds like a place to start. Even if I can't do the voices properly, it probably would become an original character voice for me.

    I think maybe because my biggest influence in puppetry is the Muppets, (how couldn't it be?) my mind pulls from them the most.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    If you want to know, I can do a mean Swedish Chef and Link Hogthrob voice. Capt. Vegtable too, since Jim used a similar voice as Link.

    But here is a list of other voices I can do well,

    Bullwinkle Moose

    Baby Kermit

    Fearless Leader

    Boris Badenov (kind of a stretch, I got his accent and speaking mannerisms down Pat!)

    Spongebob 9though a tad lower)

    Patrick Star

    Daffy Duck

    Sylvester (this and the last one sound more like Joe Alasky's interpretation, he's the guy that voices him now)

    Taz (like Jim Cummings)

    Foghorn Leghorn



    Cookie Monster (not extreemly well, I can squeak by)


    and Professor Hastings
  7. CaptCrouton

    CaptCrouton New Member

    In a way, it's kind of good that your voices aren't perfect so they sound like your own.

    After starting this thread, I began really studying some of the voices on TV. You know what cartoon has a great library of voices? Darkwing Duck!

    I'd forgotten what an all out great show, Darkwing and Ducktales were, until I sat and watched them with voices in mind.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yes! If there is one thing to say about those old 80's an' 90's DISNEY cartoon shows, they had excellent voice casts.

    THere's Jim Cummings, who..well, it's pretty hard to find a cartoon he does NOT do a voice over on.

    Dan Caslenetta (sp) who is best known as Homer Simpson, Groundskeeper Willie, Krusty the Klown, and assorted others from th Simpsons (on Darkwing he voices Megavolt)

    Then there's Russi Taylor who can do quite a bunch of children's voices. She played Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Weby on Ducktales, and Baby Gonzo, and a bunch on The Simpsons.

    And also, June Foray, who is my favorite VO actress. She did old Looney Tunes cartoons, Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Gummi Bears, Smurfs, Ducktales, and Garfield.
  9. puppet builder

    puppet builder New Member

    Finding the hidden voice...

    This is why puppet actors are more often than not equally talented as puppet builders. Puppet personality and voice comes from the creative process. Sketch, build and perform!

    Find a someone willing with complimentary sense of humor and the rest will fall into place. The more people you involve, the better the end result.

    Think about what you want to puppets do, why they do it, and well... (to borrow the phrase) just do it!

    Good Luck!
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Re: Finding the hidden voice...

    Well, performers usually bulid the characters in the sense that they create the personality. Look at what Dave Golez did with Gonzo!
  11. Stryder Wolfe

    Stryder Wolfe New Member

    if you want another good source of interesting voices, I recommend the Beast Wars cartoon. Especailly when you consider that Silverbolt, Waspinator, Rattrap and Dinobot are all voiced by one person (Scott McNeil). In any case, that show had one of the best group of voice actors ever, IMO, especially in their 2nd season
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Stryder, you know who my favorite Scott McNeil character is? Sr. Hasbeena on Mucha Lucha! I have a picture of him on my Locker at art school!
  13. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    I ahve the same problem. I have a puppet called Super Gran and she sounds just like Piggy. Also I have a boy puppet who sounds like kerm.
  14. Hays

    Hays New Member

    Y'know, back when I was auditioning, I found that a good place to start with was vocal positioning.

    Basically, in college, we did a lot of Kristen Linklater voice work where you learn the best place to put your voice for acting.

    Then I just did it over, all wrong. You come up with the seeds for interesting characters when you put your voice in your nose, or the back of your throat, or your sinuses.

    I also used to look at the puppet I was performing and tried to make my face look as much like the puppet as I could - how you hold your face is the single biggest determinant in what your voice sounds like.

    Hope this helps. It did get me at least one job.
  15. Joggy

    Joggy Member

    Many of my voices come from Muppets... The most Muppety is Randalph. His personality and voice are a true Jim Henson's. Like a Rowlf.

    My leader, Nergil, sounds like Kermit, but with a little more open throat, making it sound like a cross between Boober and Frank Oz. His sidekick Edward is a cross between Floyd Pepper and Rizzo. Marlene the Cat, my diva, has the exact same voice as Miss Mousey (a voice I'm very proud of!), but with a cute kid accent.

    What really helps is practicing different heights with your voice. Thanks to a lot of practice I can do both high and low voices. The easiest is to use your own voice and make it just a little higher. I use this for a boy character named Max, who is the lead character of my shows for children. His voice is a little higher than mine, and when he's panicked or energetic he speaks higher and faster. That gives him a lot of energy. For the Dutch people among us: this way he sounds like the Dutch Wembley Fraggle.
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Muley's voice is my voice, slightly-higher pitched and nasal, but sounds like ME on tape...go figure.

    Other voices are my voice changed somewhat with a gruffness for Buford the Dog, or REALLY nasal for Roy Duck (none of the attitude or spitting as with other ducks).

    I realize that my voices for Muppets characters aren't dead on anyhow, so I use them when I have to. Like, I steal Floyd's for my Rocky Robin, or Kermit's nephew Robin's voice for Kelsey.

    But, it's my voice doing their voice, so...keep doing your thing. Change it up some and it won't sound so much like Grover!

  17. CaptCrouton

    CaptCrouton New Member

    Hey, I was just at a puppet festival in Grand Rapids this past weekend. I took a puppet voice workshop and the instructor, a ventriloquist, taught a real simple methodology of creating voices.
    She gave a few different kinds of voices to experiment with. Since you can't hear me, I added little notes to explain what she meant (from my perspective)

    Nasal (as if you have a cold)
    Gutteral (think Wolfman Jack)
    Dopey (Bullwinkle Moose)
    Whisper (Kinda like Marilyn Monroe with lots of air)
    Melodic (hard to explain, but if you speak with an Italian accent and your voice kind of fluctuates, that's sing-songy)

    Anyway, the point was to mix and match one or two, then change your voice pitch, speed, intonations, volume, etc, to create a larger voice library.

    While I certainly can't reiterate the whole session here, I wanted to share a bit. It really was a great festival and alot of fun.
  18. fluffmuppet

    fluffmuppet Member

    I am starting to realise how many voice imitations I can do but I find it sort of difficult to make my own voices sometimes, but I try!
    Here's some of the voices I can do anyway...

    -Swedish Chef
    -Kermit (sorta, hehe)
    -the redhead baby from "Bobby Benson & the all baby band"

    -Ms. Swan from Mad TV (REALLY well)
    -Stuart AND his mom from Mad TV
    -Ryo-ohki from Tenchi Muyo (anime)
    -Sailor Chibi Moon (Rini) from SailorMoon
    -a strange sounding Yoda, lol...

    My mommy calls me a human tape recorder, hehehe! :D
    ::gets fwapped::

    Thats all I can think of at the moment, but you know when you hang around Muppet fanantics or whatever, when you can do the voices, you can play along to the monologues from the show or movie and its just a hoot!
  19. Sir Didymus

    Sir Didymus New Member

    I can Imitate Tutter pretty good. I used to be able to Jim's Kermit really good, but now it just sounds like a miserable fish! LOL!

  20. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    One of my characters used to sound like Dr. Teeth, and I didn't want that, so I fiddled with his voice a little, and now he sounds like a cross between Dr. Teeth and Link. Sounds pretty good, different enough, but it's hard to get to that register without hurting yourself!

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