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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » How about some new voice over talent?

   
Author Topic: How about some new voice over talent?
Charles
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Earlier today a thread was started which brought up this issue. It was locked by a mod and subsequently deleted because it named specific individuals encouraging studios not to hire them, which is a big friggen no-no here ladies and gents. I hope that in the future you'll exercise a little more sensibility and good judgement when publishing your opinions on the AN forums.

That said, the discussion can get a fresh start here. Please use common sense.

I agree, I think that many of today's voice over performances, many but not all, especially in TV animation, can be repetitive and annoying.

Take it from there...

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Christian
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My brother is very good at cartoony voices and I keep telling him to be a voice-over artist. Trouble is he has no awareness that there's anything he could do and I have just enough awareness to know that he really could do something with his talent but don't know the first thing he should do. I guess contact some agent in Hollywood? Does he send in a head shot? A tape?
When he gets big and you hear his voice in a lot of stuff don't start threads here asking studios not to hire him anymore.

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-FP-
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Hm. I remember that thread. I must have missed the good stuff, because last time I checked it over 12 hours ago, there were only two posts, the second mine. I don't recall urging that any voice actor be banned from the profession.

If the producers and the networks are satisfied, then there's no problem to address. For the person of adult age who has cartoons on all day, there is a certain cloistered feel to the small stable of cartoon voices, which seems to span studios and networks. It's probably unusual for someone (me!) to change channels all day and listen critically to cartoon audio while doing visual work. So, this may ultimately boil down to fanboy irrelevance. But, since the topic has been re-broached....

Everything sounds the same. DRAWN TOGETHER sounds like KIDS NEXT DOOR sounds like JIMMY NEUTRON sounds like JUSTICE LEAGUE sounds like a bunch of other stuff. This is probably inevitable. It's obvious on cable network cartoons that, rather than make adventurous, experimental casting choices, a certain well-used, small group of voice actors are repeatedly cast, and they've begun to imitate each other to the point of creating an ever-more-limited vocal palette. Making risky, possibly more appropriate choices would probably not translate into significant additional $ for anyone.

This isn't new. In the 1960s and 1970s, Hanna Barbera mercilessly mined its own vocal backlot, which seemed to consist entirely of 1960-era classic character variations, Paul Lynde, Paul Winchell, and the same two or three women for every female voice. It got to the point at which characters were drawn to resemble paul Lynde, and other actors were given the role. I heard a HAIR BEAR BUNCH earlier today, in which the voices were a Paul Lynde imitator as the zoo keeper, a Joe E. Ross imitator as the "ooh ooh" assistant, and a Yogi Bear/Top Cat clone to voice the head Bear. Other voices were by Paul Winchell and the usual Hanna Barbera stock players.

Didn't Howard Morris do about 75% of the Filmation voices for a while?

There are a few standouts in 1990s-2000s cartoons. Tom Kenny (Spongebob!) is versatile and a killer performer. Cree Summer is good. Her Foxy Brown is a favorite of mine. Charlie Adler is funny as anything. His Cow voice and his Rocko work as Mrs. Bighead are classics. I see Phil LaMarr's voice listed in the credits of nearly every animated show. And so on.

It seems that since Tim Curry was replaced with Mark Hamill as the Joker on BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES, he has striven to prove that he is capable of doing a Joker-like voice for every role in which he's cast.

As for Patrick Warburton, whose name was used to start the earlier thread, I'm a fan, even though he essentially does one voice. From EMPEROR's to VENTURE BROTHERS to THE X's and beyond, he always delivers that same sound - and it works.

The "need for new cartoon voices" will probably take care of itself, as it always has.

Have I heard a bunch of Nathan Lane imitators on cartoons lately?

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Methuselah
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I'd never want to discourage anyone from following their dreams, but after many years in the business I'd say to your bro and all like him--if you're a good actor, your chances are 1000 times better of getting any kind of acting job except voice work. There are loads of "workshops" that purport to get you started in voice work but they all cost a lot of money, and they do nothing but make the organizers....a lot of money. [freak]

The fact is that the group of people who are cast for literally everything on TV numbers about 10. The names haven't changed much if at all in 15 years. I'm talking about the people who make a good living at it. I'm not sure why that is. Not to take away from the talents of the frequently employed ones, but I think most of us know that any actor with a great voice could do voice work, yet it's always those same few people. Why?

Probably for the same reason that it's always THAT SAME GUY who narrated every. single. trailer. that was shown in the US for ages. It's so familiar that's it's become a joke to people in very un-Hollywood places. Probably owes something to the old story about "Get me Goldie Hawn/get me a Golide Hawn type/get me a young Goldie Hawn" etc....the mentality that, well, those people worked for us before, we know them, they do voices for Nick, etc. so let's use them too! That and great agenting on somebody's part.

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knowledge
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due to financial concerns a series I worked on used some mediocre talent associated with a canadian voiceover studio. NONE of the talent there had any rich cartoony character voices, yet I was made to utilize them. AAaargh!!

Voices are special and become everlastingly associated with characters - you just can't plug in any old voice if you want memorable characters!

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OFFBEAT
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I'm a jerk when it comes to people telling me "oh.. my _____(brother, buddy, sister, friend..) wants to do cartoon voices"

A friend of mine told me a story about how he was working on a personal project, a friend of his said "Oh.. my little brother wants to do voice acting.. he's hilarious"

So, he arranged for him to come in and do voices.. he rented a dat recorder and professional microphones etc.. set up all the equipment, and his friend's brother came in and knew how to do 2 voices.. 1. The Butthead laugh (only the laugh.. huh.huh.huh) and 2. The worst Roger Rabbit impression i've ever heard.

He tried getting the kid to act, but he just kept getitng the giggle fits, and his reading of the script would have been good evidence in court to condemn public schooling. He said his reading sounded like Butthead.. drunk.. and falling asleep at the wheel. LOL!

Complete waste of time and money.

People should know.. Voice Acting is EXTREMELY difficult, and requires A LOT of talent. It's not something you 'fall' into or back on.

I know hollywood hires big names like Julia Roberts, and Brad Pitt to do animation voice acting.. but mainly because they are retarded when it comes to such decisions. This doesn't mean anyone can do it.

Here's an example of a voice actor..
http://www.jamesarnoldtaylor.com/mp3/JAT-60%20in%2060.mp3
60 voices in 60 seconds.

If you want to know what it takes to be a voice actor.. listen to that. That's the Bar. Par for the course. An example of a portfolio.

Voice actors need to:
A) Have a naturally unique voice like Marge or Maggie Simpson (Julie Kavner & Yeardley Smith)
These people are usually typecasted though, and every range
and/or:
B) You have range, and the ability to do a variety of characters. Dan Castellaneta for example.. does Homer SImpson, Barney, Krusty the Klown, Groundskeeper Willy. Etc.. or better example.. Mel Blanc (the Master of Animation Voice acting)

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Matt Wilson
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I think the real unfortunate thing is that Boomerang isn't in many homes and so most people are growing up with no awareness or inspiration of people like Mel Blanc. If all people see growing up in this generation are the same 5 VAs in every show, and a handful of "celebrities" in every film, we're not going to see a whole lot of budding young 'rich cartoony character' voice actors looking for work.
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Christian
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OFFBEAT, maybe your friend's brother should be the new voice of Butthead.

The difference between your story and mine is that my brother is not the one who thought he should get a job as a voice actor. I am the one who has been trying to convince him he should do it. But I guess that nobody should ever try anything because sometimes people aren't good at things they try. I suppose there will never be any good voice actors ever again because your friend's brother did poorly in his audition.

Sarcasm aside, my bro probably ain't ever going to do anything with his talent and it's not my place to push him incessantly.

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OFFBEAT
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Christian.. I didn't mean for my post to be directed at you.. d'oops! my bad! sorry!

And you're right.. you can't push someone into doing something they don't want to. Something like that has gotta come from a personal long lived desire.

It's a very common story though. Often, when I tell people that I work in animation.. one of the most common things I get asked about is voicework

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Greg B
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Voice overs.

People ask me to do voice work alot. I have so many friends in voice over work and radio and television but I've yet to pursue it. I started to but got sidetracked. It just seemed like another entertainment wild goose chase.

I didn't realize I was doing so many voices in such a diverse range til a friend from Disney Features reminded me. Same with a pal who does pro voice over work for years.

I have a cousin who is extremely famous for voice work. He's just got a very natural great voice.

From what I've seen of friends in the business it's not easy work. You really have to work.

As for repetition of voices, that was common in the 60's and 70's especially with Kung Fu movies and the old Japanese animated shows. I think Mr. Jack Grimes did more voices than anybody.

I've been to project developement meetings where someone will try to market a project based on the voice talent. They believe the familiarity of a voice actor from one series will translate into high statistics. It may be that way in some cases and maybe not.

Whenever I think of voice over work I end up having to take time off to roll on the floor because the funniest voice gags ever came from Mel Blanc. Especially during that short where Bugs Bunny plays the minister and marries the two Tasmanian Devils. He does the ceremony in Taz Talk and I will never forget me and my Mom bursting out with uncontrollable screaming and laughter.

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Christian
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quote:
Christian.. I didn't mean for my post to be directed at you.. d'oops! my bad! sorry!
Not a problem! I started realizing I was getting a little too harsh in my remarks so I had to identify that I knew I was speaking only sarcastically.
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Mr. Fun
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Years ago, (before they were all dead) I used to continually seek out radio actors for voices. These old pros were masters at performing using only their voice. They were trained in radio, after all.

Many "movie actors" today simply don't have the training or experience. The exception would be those with a theatrical background.

You'd be surprised to know how many "stars" deliver a flat, lackluster performance, but for them I guess it's easy money.

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Rupert Piston
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I've done almost all my own voices for my own cartoons. [Big Grin] I don't think that's why they haven't gotten much attention (rupert needs to work on his animation more).

However, I did a little piece recently that I felt pretty good about, both voice-wise and graphically that I hoped a local business would use to promote their weekly discount phrase.

I learned a thing or two in the voice on this one that I hope will follow me to my next project.

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Greg B
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Mr. Fun strikes again!

When it comes to fine voices I remember as a child a group called 'The Modernaires'. One of the greatest vocal groups ever. My grandparents, parents and myself grew up listening to The Modernaires. They did the theme song 'Milkman's Matinee' that was a lonnnnng running radio show that was a staple of existence.

I have a couple dozen friends who all run their own radio programs. Some the biggest in the business and some just local folks spinning or nowadays double-clicking tunes or just talk. I got to meet some of the old greats in radio and voice.

Anyone remember Bud Collier? He had a super voice 'hint'.

Or Les Tremayne, Paul Frees, even William Shallert? Lucille Ball and so many others. In the old days your voice was needed to be as unique as your personage. We had voice class in school. I had a friend, my first best friend, we were 6 years old in kindergarten and he could read and elocute with such dignity that he got to do announcements for the whole school. We would spend many hours playing 'broadcaster'.

Toughest thing for me was getting lazy and letting my NY/New England accent take over. At home I sound like Tony Soprano meets Darth Vader, on the air or phone I sound like Prince Charming.

Mr. Fun you sure said it. It's difficult to do voice impersonations of today's actors because they're so bland and lack the idiosyncrasies that lend themselves to parody.

Peter Lorre is still being parodied. Same with Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Cagney, Mae West...

Even Bugs Bunny would impersonate people.

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Charles
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I've hired a homeless man to do voices on a project of mine along with professional actors. Once I was talking to a complete stranger, liked the way he sounded, then hired him for a voice over gig and he did fine.

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Jasen
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Thanks for letting me do it. [tipsy]

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