When building your stable of characters, it's important to decide the age of your character. You not only need to speak like them, you need to move like them, feel like them, think like them. Study people in each of these age ranges. Select and write down their most unique qualities. Record their voice and keep practicing.
Record your voice and see how well it matches. Take your time. Write down everything your character likes and dislikes. This will give your character strong opinions. Here are some lines that your characters may say:
Whaa! I wanna go back in the dark again where it’s warm. Let me back in! Whaaaaaaaa! It sure is bright out here. Who are you? Put me down! Upside down, cool. Whaaa! That smarts. You hit me! Hmmmm. You people look nice. Do I belong to you? Hey, what are you doing? I can’t move my arms. Ah, nice and warm. Whaaaah! I’m hungry. Whaaah! Give me something to eat! Where’s my thumb?
Being five is not easy. I keep stubbing my big toe on the bottom of the swimming pool. I wanna go swimming in the big pool! Mommy says if swim right and don’t doggie paddle, things like this won’t happen. I don’t get it. My toe hurts when I swim, not when I stand.
Ten Year Old
What’s happening to my body? I hate it! It’s so embarrassing. I wish my bother would move to Australia. That’s on the other side of the world, where he belongs. He likes to turn out the lights in the bathroom when I’m taking a shower. He's such a jerk.
Fifteen Year Old
Do you think that boy who sits next to me in math is cute?
Yesterday he asked to borrow a pencil. It’s got teeth marks on it. That’s cool. He probably thinks I’m a dork with these stupid braces.
Twenty Year Old
College is sweet. You get to live away from home and stuff like that. Lots of hotties, know what I mean? Costs some bank. The ‘rents nag that money doesn’t grow on trees. What do they think credit cards are for? Duh. Get a life.
Thirty Year Old
What are you doing this weekend? Cool. See you at noon at the coffee shop. Need a double skinny mocha latte after last night! We’ll chill there for a while and then go for a ride. Gotta pick up the jacket I left at the club.
Forty Year Old
Honey, will you pick up the dry cleaning on your way home? I’m taking Johnnie and Sally to soccer practice after work. Oh, the car is making a weird noise. Can you take it to the shop? Have a big meeting on Thursday. Hey, what should I pick up for dinner?
Fifty to Sixty Year Old
Can’t believe it. Our daughter, married. Guy is nice enough. Been living together for years. He’s in management. That helps. Why do weddings have to cost so much? Should have let them elope.
Seventy Year Old
Oh, look, honey. Our social “insecurity” check arrived. We can take that cruise. Always wanted to see Alaska. Hear it’s beautiful. Humpbacks and orcas, sea lions, and fresh salmon. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Should we ask Fred and Martha to join us?
Do you want to see pictures of my great-grandchildren? I’ve got ten. That’s Bobby. Or is it Ted? The old memory’s not what it used to be. Darn cute kids. Play too many video games. Should go outside. In my day, I used to shovel snow for entertainment.
Building a complete character with a past, a present, and a future isn't just about coming up with the character's voice. Spend time thinking about who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Give your character a 3rd dimension and you'll be on your way to booking more character work!