Character Arch Types

Character Arch Types

Posted by John in Articles

In a large studio combine:

– Several typical characters you see on today’s animations

– A sprinkle of creatures and others

– Spice it up with a flavor of accents

– Bring in your unique history

– Add your inner child who is not afraid to take risks

– Mix in your multiple personalities and put them in full control

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls into a high quality microphone

Add just the right amount of acting to break up the copy

And find your own way to bring to life, different than EVERYONE ELSE

This is a much-needed recipe for any talent taking on the wacky world of animation and video games.  This can also be helpful for audio books, but each category requires its own type of arch-types.  One of the biggest keys to becoming a great voice actor is letting go of all judgment, however we all need to have some common ground so that we can bring the client exactly what they need.  What is important for you to bring in is characters other than yourself.  This takes personal assessment of other people/celebrities, so that you can have your handful of most requested characters and can bring them to life any time you have to get creative.  There will be many times you will be forced to come up with a character on short notice so you need to be ready.


In the world of animation it really depends on your voice age and style as to what your list of archtypes should be but commonly we all need:   Kids voices such as; Teen, pre-teen, over the top, real, bully, nerd, diva, dumb blonde, young kid, funny kid, stoner/skater etc.  Then of course our more adult voices such as; Villians, Mom/Dad (depending on age), Princess/Prince, Fighter, Commander, Teacher, creature, side kick, Rock star, Mafia (although this isn’t common), Scientist, Store clerks, Pirates, animals (all kinds), insects, talking objects like chairs, toasters etc.


There are many choices but it’s important that you start with something.  You need a list of characters that you have studied and TRULY understand and always have them ready.  You will need this for your demos, your auditions and the jobs that you book.  You need to know how to bring ANY copy to life in that particular character.  None of them should sound the same.  They need to have different voices, placement, attitudes, speeds, emotions and more than you can imagine to truly show off your versatility.


Believing in your characters takes a lot more training than one might think, so just because you have some good voices, doesn’t mean you know how to bring them to life and keep the decision makers and the audience wanting more.

So start with this list and work with your coach (someone like myself) so you can bring these characters to life and dig deeper into your rolodex to truly stand out

Until next time everyone

All my best

Vo Chef Deb

My Voice, Mixed Your Way!

06 Jan 2015 No Comments


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