The guide you never knew you needed.
by Elizabeth Altenbach and Jenni Noordhoek
aka the Gollums, Precious, Inc.
(Note: I do not own the picture.)
First of all, there is a knack to pulling off a convincing Gollum. In no particular order, here are ten tips to get it done right.
#1 – The Voice
Drop your voice down into a gravelly low range – like when you get up in the morning and your voice is all foggy. Except worse. You have to be careful not to sound like Yoda, though – see Reason Why #6.
#2 – The Precious
Everyone needs their own Precious. We talks to it and forgets all rules of grammar for it, and we loves it more than anything in the world.
#3 – Fish
Gollum has exactly two things in his mind at all times, regardless of all other obligations: the Precious and fish. Repeat often. Add adjectives. See below.
#4 – Appropriate Adjectives
Fish is tasty, juicy, sweet, and always raw. Elveses are nasty and smelly. So are hobbitses.
#5 – Plural Nouns
Plural nouns always add an extra ‘es’ after the appropriate plural form. Slither those s’s as swiftly and smoothly as you can.
#6 – Plural Personal Pronouns
We are never alone, are we, precious?
#7 – The Pose
While you may not be the size of Gollum, you can communicate that size by hunching over a bit and crouching. Practice a bit so you don’t fall over when you try to move.
#8 – Movement
And of course his movement is its own special thing – a scamper that is willing to skitter and climb over anything and everything in its path. Give it a bit of the bounce with the crouching.
#9 – Eyes
Your eyes must be wide and huge and crazy, just like those of our little friend. If you can keep them open for a long time without blinking (DON’T BLINK!), so they turn a bit reddish, this will be more convincing. It could also work if you have double pink eye, which, in my opinion, is an asset. In occupations of this sort, anyhow.
#10 – Evil
Everyone knows that when you’re playing a character, you have to adopt their personality and make it your own. So sign those adoption papers and be a clever, cunning, conniving wretch like our little friend.
And now we have the why side of things.
Reason #1 to Imitate Gollum
You can easily scare people who don’t know you very well, or at all.
Example: If you suddenly heard “THE PRECIOUS! WE LOST IT!” in your ear, no matter where you were, you’d probably jump and spin around looking for the voice’s source. After all, you don’t want Gollum behind your back. You want your eyes on him at all times.
Speaking of eyes, this brings us to our next reason.
Reason #2 to Imitate Gollum
If someone hears Gollum in their ear, and then they whirl around and can’t find Gollum, they’re going to be unsettled (because, as mentioned, you want your eyes on him at all times). So if you can pull this off, you’ll have the cruel enjoyment of confusing and frightening your unfortunate victim.
This is best done in public, where there’s a crowd you can melt into. Either that, or somewhere dark, where you can escape undetected.
Sneak up behind your unfortunate victim, drop your voice down low into Gollum’s tone, and say something like “Where is the Precious?!” Then, blend into the crowd. When your unfortunate victim turns around to look for Gollum, stare at them like you think they’re crazy.
Reason #3 to Imitate Gollum
Uh, duh. Because it’s entertaining.
Who hasn’t passed time that would otherwise be boring by doing impressions? But next time, instead of Ozzy Osbourne, or Jack Sparrow, you should try Gollum! It may be a popular voice to mimic, but it never gets old.
Reason #4 to Imitate Gollum
Answering the phone takes on a whole new life with your Gollum voice.
“Hello? Do you have the Preciouss?”
“Um… hi? I thought this was Julie. Er…sorry, wrong number…”
“THE PRECIOUS! THE NASTY HOBBITSES STOLE IT FROM USS!!!”
Happy prankful joy.
Reason #5 to Imitate Gollum
Because it’s FUN. How’s that for a reason?
Reason #6 to Imitate Gollum
Irritating genre purists. If you do multiple voices, this especially becomes a concern. Heaven forbid you mix up your sci-fi with your fantasy and Yoda’s voice comes out saying “We wants fish, Preciouss!” Or of course, the alternative – Gollum’s voice saying something like “The Force: strong it is in you.” Because either way, it would just be plain unacceptable, and you’d be branded as a deprecator of the good names of science fiction and fantasy, until the end of time. And you don’t want that, do you? DO YOU? No, we didn’t think so, Precious.
Reason #7 to Imitate Gollum
If you have a big test at school that you didn’t study for, just practice your Gollum voice the night before, until your voice gets all scratchy. Then you’ll be well on your way to faking a dangerous illness and getting out of school for the day!
Reason #8 to Imitate Gollum
Say you and a friend are in France on vacation. Maybe you want to watch your all-time favorite fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings (better known in France as Le Seigneur des Anneaux-at least that’s what Google Translate tells me). But your hotel’s DVD library only includes the French version.
Luckily, since you know every word of each movie, if you speak French, you can use your skills with the Gollum voice to “dub” the movie, or Gollum’s lines, at least, so your non-French-speaking friend can understand!
Reason #9 to Imitate Gollum
You can use improper grammar around your English teacher without getting in trouble.
“We needs extensionss on the due date for the essay, preciousss.”
“I’m imitating Gollum.”
“Oh, well that’s a pretty good imitation, Dwayne! Sure, you can have the extension.”
This totally works. Trust usss, precioussss.
Reason #10 to Imitate Gollum
We rests our case, preciousssss.
But not our fishes. We eats those, preciouss.