Santa is possibly one of the most popular characters around the Christmas season in the Western world, with an astounding number of male individuals attempting to play a role in mass media and shopping malls.
But not everyone gets Santa’s voice right. In this article, we’ll provide some useful tips on how to do a more authentic Santa beyond mere aesthetics.
Without further ado, we’ll proceed with our first tip:
1. Strive for authenticity
It’s normal for voice actors to try to imitate another actor’s rendition. However, while listening to other Santa voices is useful, you ought to make your own version of Santa instead of ripping off someone else’s. That way, you’ll be putting less thought into your own delivery and, consequently, your performance will sound much more natural.
This involves using your normal voice and twisting it somewhat without losing spontaneity. In a sense, you’d acquire the fictional character’s general attitude and “make it yours”.
2. Deepen your voice
Judging from the overall appearance and by the prevailing consensus, Santa’s vocal profile is generally warm, deep, and intense without being unnerving.
At first, try practicing with your normal speaking voice and make it sound slightly deeper while trying to get into character.
Also, try to physically feel the voice. Santa’s voice is prone to come out from the diaphragm and stick around the rear portion of the throat. As you speak, place your hand over the belly button with your fingers stretched out. That will give you an idea of how the air travels through the diaphragm and esophagus whenever you speak. mentally establishing that route as a pivotal point in your voice acting.
Some are wont to compress the vocal cords to grant their voice a slight brightness, though this is not needed to make a good Santa impression. You’d just need your voice to fill the larynx as much as possible and the brightness will eventually come out naturally (particularly during the iconic laugh).
In like manner, you could try lowering the pitch, though It’s not absolutely necessary to do so unless your normal voice is too high-pitched.
3. Develop a loud voice
In line with the observations laid out in our previous point, this is an extremely important and frequently overlooked factor when performing these types of voices.
Santa is known for having a resounding voice. This might be a stumbling block for people who are not accustomed to speaking at high decibels or who have poor postural health and/or breathing technique.
With regards to posture, focus on sitting or standing straight, This will enable your air canal and chest to expand, allowing air to reach its destination more effortlessly, boosting your volume.
Breathing is another crucial aspect of doing a good Santa impersonation or vocal performance. Endeavor breathing exercises by doing deep inhalations and holding the breath for a few seconds, exhaling slowly while feeling the air being expelled from the belly button.
Lastly, undertake stretching exercises with your arms, pulling them back softly while bringing your chest forward. By doing this, you’ll be progressively “creating space” around the chest’s voice chamber, permitting airflow to traverse freely.
You’d want to acquire these habits in your daily routine, especially in preparation for a Santa voice gig.
4. Acquire Santa’s humor
Just as it’s indispensable to get the physiological and technical elements of the voice right, the psychological elements should also be stressed.
The importance of having the correct mood should not be understated, as it’s a core aspect of doing a convincing Santa voice. If this is not mastered, you will sound like a different character from the Santa people are accustomed to hearing.
Try to liven up as you prepare to assume the role. Think positive thoughts that could elicit a compelling Santa vocal delivery. In the meantime, get acquainted with the “Christmas spirit” by watching seasonal movies or visiting places that heighten that Christmas feeling in the days or weeks before your performance.
5. Practice in front of the mirror
Practicing your Santa in front of the mirror will help even more in developing your character. Look at your facial expressions while you say your lines to remind yourself always to retain a smiley face.
If you find that you struggle to keep a joyful semblance, you might want to rest for a while and try again. It should never be forced but flow spontaneously.
6. Practice with the costume on
Another good (yet optional) way to get into character is to actually look like Santa. You probably won’t need the whole attire, but it’s a good idea to at least put on the beard and the hat. This aids in giving a mental cue so that you’re reminded to behave like Santa would, even if this is ultimately not going to be seen by anyone else.
If you don’t have the necessary attire pieces, at least imagine yourself with a large white beard and glasses. It may not be as effective, but it’s still helpful.
7. Laugh like Santa
Santa’s laugh is possibly one of his most renowned trademarks. It’s not just a catchphrase, but a burst of genuine laughter. You should be mindful of this when delivering your performance. Considering that, you might want to shape your own laughter to sound like Santa’s.
This can be done in various ways. If you’re not confident doing so in front of guests or acquaintances, try to watch amusing videos in private and develop the laughter so that it springs forth impulsively and habitually.
The laughter, just like the normal speaking voice, stems from the diaphragm, but even more emphatically so. Laughter is actually easier to master because it forces your diaphragm to move downward, especially if it’s loud.
When you laugh, just like when you speak normally, lay your hand near your belly button to feel the vibration around the diaphragm and help focus your laughing sound around that area.