How to sound like: Eeyore

eyore donkey winnie the pooh voice disneyOn the request of Marrianne, this week I’ll be going over Eeyore’s voice. Consider this fair warning, Eeyore’s voice is deep so you’ll have to get in touch with the lower parts of your vocal register. OK so without further ado lets start.

The first thing to point out is that Eeyore’s accent differs from Tigger and Pooh’s. Winnie the Pooh has a kind of transatlantic accent whilst Tigger’s voice just sounds like almost an accentless American (if that makes sense), albeit with a pile of lisps and growls thrown in. Eeyore on the other hand has a very obvious southern American accent (think Foghorn Leghorn the rooster, without the ‘Ah Say…Ah say…’). To get to something approximating Eeyore you simply take this accent and drop it as low in tone as you can get.

Once you’ve got there the next step is to get the pacing right. Typically Eeyore’s voice goes up in the middle of a sentence, it’s almost as though something cheerful is about to happen, only for him to drop back down again to a kind of wallowing tone. Overall this should set you in good stead and get you sounding a lot like everyone’s favourite melancholic donkey. The only extra thing I can think to add is Eeyore’s common phrases: “It figures…”, “Thanks for noticin’ me”, “…which I doubt.” (usually preceded by something cheerful) and “Ohhhhkaaaayy”.

Finally here’s a wee exercise to try out your Eeyore voice. He rarely gets long stretches of dialogue so to save you from having to jump between voices too much I’ve picked a few Eeyore quotes to have a go at (I found these over at winnie-pooh.org :

Eeyore: “I’m not asking anybody…I’m just telling everybody. We can look for the North Pole, or we can play ‘Here we go gathering Nuts in May’ with the end part of an ants’ nest. It’s all the same to me.”

*

Eeyore: “Good morning, Pooh Bear…If it is a good morning…Which I doubt.”

Pooh: “Why, what’s the matter?”

Eeyore: “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

Pooh: “Can’t all what?”

Eeyore: “Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

*

Rabbit: “Eeyore, what are you doing there?”

Eeyore: “I’ll give you three guesses, Rabbit. Digging holes in the ground? Wrong. Leaping from branch to branch of a young oak tree? Wrong. Waiting for somebody to help me out of the river? Right. Give Rabbit time, and he’ll always get the answer.”

Pooh: But, Eeyore…what can we – I mean, how shall we – do you think if we -“

Eeyore: “Yes…One of those would be just the thing. Thank you, Pooh.”

*  *  *

Hope you are enjoying these, I’d love to hear how people are getting on, just pop a comment in the box bellow. Thanks for reading/listening, Cheers, John

eeyore winnie the pooh piglet tigget rabbit toy figures

Here’s Eeyore looking uncharacteristically perky with some of his friends, you can buy the figure here and practice your Eeyore voice

UPDATE 13.02.14 : My ‘How to sound like’ posts are getting a lot of interest and it occurred to me that people might like a message recorded by Pooh, Tigger or Eeyore (can do Rabbit and Owl too if asked). If you’d like this message me on twitter and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

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How to sound like: Tigger

tiggerAs promised here’s my next instalment of character voice tips. Today we’ll look at Tigger from Disney’s rendition of Winnie the Pooh. First off Tigger is growly, you need to grumble your voice. Men will probably find this easier as our standard speaking voice is typically lower, though I’m certain women will be able to manage something suitably ‘Tiggerish’ too.

Lets try the growl now, it’s a slow and gentle background sound, it’s not a dog’s growl or even that of a big cat, I’d be more inclined to liken it to a deep purr sound (though Tigger doesn’t always make this sound with lips closed, as you would see in a purr).

The next thing to look at is the lisp, this lisp isn’t a side of the cheek lisp like you might hear from Sid the sloth (from the ‘Ice Age’ movies) or Donald Duck (a voice I find so hard that I won’t embarrass myself by showing you here). Tigger’s lisp is all in the front with a flattened hiss sound replacing most letters made by the tip of the tongue (‘s’, ‘ce’ and ‘sh’). It makes ‘this’ sound more like ‘thith’ and ‘ice’ sound more like ‘ith’. The only slight change to this is with a ‘sh’ sound which gets kind of whistlish (sorry for all the ‘ish’ words, dealing with Tigger makes me start to think in his language, more on that later).

Next comes pacing. Tigger is full of energy, that kind of goes without saying, and with that comes a kind of explosive nature to his speech. Where Winnie the Pooh kind of eases into a word, Tigger jumps into it full of energy and joy. This makes it a little difficult (though not impossible) to make Tigger sound sad.

There are two extra things worth including here. Firstly Tigger has a characteristic language which is difficult (though I’m sure not impossible) to do on the fly, the way his lines are written he sounds like someone trying to show a wide vocabulary but without much idea about what some of the words mean. As a result Tigger often mispronounces longer words, occasionally making up new words by splicing two or more words together, and the most common ‘Tiggerish’ word change of all is to add ‘y’ or ‘ish’ to the end of words (e.g. ‘debonairy’, ‘Tiggerish’, ‘impossibible’). Secondly Tigger has his own wee sound (like Pooh has his laugh/giggle) that sounds something like ‘woo-hoo-hoo-hooo’. He doesn’t use this nearly as much as Pooh uses his giggle, but it is worth throwing in every now and then, if you want to sound ‘Tiggerish’.

OK that’s the tips bit finished, here’s a wee example that you can use to test your Tigger voice (and your Pooh bear voice if you had a go at last week’s). I pulled the following script (from the Tigger movie) from a brilliant web site called ‘script-o-rama‘:

TIGGER- Hello! I’m Tigger. That’s T-l-double-geh-er. And that’s me. Hoo, hoo, hoo!

POOH- I know. You’ve bounced me lots and lots of times.

TIGGER- Yeah. Fun, ain’t it? Say, you want to go bouncin’ with me, on account of bouncin’s what Tiggers do…eh, best…Eww.

POOH- Well, I would go bouncing with you, Tigger, except that I must count all these honey pots…to be sure I have enough for winter.

TIGGER- Let me get that, please.

POOH- Bother.

TIGGER- Yech! What do these Pooh bears like… about this icky, sticky stuff anyway?

Anyway I hope you enjoyed that and next week I’ll have another Winnie the Pooh character for you, I’m still debating between Rabbit or Eeyore, let me know what you’d rather have a go at. As always thanks for reading, Cheers, John

tigger winnie the pooh eeyore piglet rabbit toys

Tigger decided to do a hand-stand for this picture, you can get your own Tigger figure here and practith your thplenfirerouth Tigger voith!

UPDATE 13.02.14 : My ‘How to sound like’ posts are getting a lot of interest and it occurred to me that people might like a message recorded by Pooh, Tigger or Eeyore (can do Rabbit and Owl too if asked). If you’d like this message me on twitter and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

How to sound like: Winnie the pooh

winnie the pooh standing and smilingIn light of my previous posts ‘How to play‘ and ‘5 Hints for Telling a Good Story‘ I thought I might go through some of my favourite character voices for you to try out at home. I know I said in ‘How to play’ that you shouldn’t choose a character that your child knows well but there’s nothing wrong with experimenting a bit. Just remember not to use it too often, especially if you get really good at it, because you could end up spending the foreseeable future as Winnie the Pooh .

OK lets get started, first of all try the giggle; Pooh’s giggle is very distinctive and it’s a signature sound that instantly helps you to sound more like him. Even if you speak in a vaguely transatlantic accent (a kind of Americanised English or Anglicised American accent) and do this giggle it’ll help you sound like him. It takes the form of a kind of breathy ‘hoe hoo’ with your tongue slightly raised at the back of your throat and a tightening of the muscles at the back.

The same ‘hoe’ sound can be used before ‘bother’ but this time you deepen the tone at the ‘o’ and then make a kind of grumbling sound as you say ‘bother’. In fact if you use the same breathy element to the first word of anything you say it should get you well on your way to sounding like Pooh.

The next thing to remember is that Pooh doesn’t rush his speech, he takes lots of breaks as he goes through a sentence. Some of these breaks are simply a holding-on to the sound of a word but sometimes there’s a genuine pause in which you’ll occasionally hear a sort of lip-smacking sound. An easy way to work this one into speech is to just imagine that you’re eating something sticky, perhaps sucking on a couple of toffees.

Lastly don’t forget to vary your pitch, Pooh seems to vary his unpredictably so I wouldn’t worry too much about anything specific, just keep it fairly low and jump it up and down every now and then to keep it interesting.

That’s about it, if it helps let me know. I’m also open to requests. If it’s a voice I can do I’ll put together a wee guide like this one. As always thanks for reading, and feel free to add any comments in the box below. Cheers, John

winnie the pooh tigger eeyore piglet rabbit toys

Pictured here are toy figures from Bullyland, you can pick some up here and practice your Pooh voice

UPDATE 13.02.14 : My ‘How to sound like’ posts are getting a lot of interest and it occurred to me that people might like a message recorded by Pooh, Tigger or Eeyore (can do Rabbit and Owl too if asked). If you’d like this message me on twitter and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

jack-reusen-cover-front2ONE LAST THING: I’m also a children’s author. The Jack Reusen series is about a boy who accidentally tears holes between his world and a magical one called ‘Fey’. A host of weird creatures make their way into Jack’s world, along with them comes a girl who can turn into a polar bear. Despite her fearsome power she’s lost, scared and alone and seeks Jack out to help her find her way home. In the process of trying to undo the damage he has done Jack discovers that more sinister forces are interested in Jack’s world too, will Jack be able to close up the breaches between worlds in time? Please, please take a look at the official site if you have the time (I’d really appreciate it).