Pat Fraley has been kind to share his experiences onset at the filming of a Walt Disney movie this past week. Find out why ADR should be in your voice talent utility belt! I arrived at the huge, comfortable and famous Stage B at Disney Studios about a half hour early.
I’d like to share my day working at Disney on the upcoming film, Wild Hogs, starring Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, John Travolta, and William H. Macy. This is the facility Walt himself had created for all of the audio recordings of the talent for the classic animated features. Just knowing that the voice talent for Alice in Wonderland, Lady And The Tramp, and Peter Pan used this stage, is exciting.It’s an incredible building. Back in the 40’s, Walt knew that he would be up against the Burbank Airport, and the sound of planes overhead.
Walt Disney literally had his people create a “building within a building,” and NOTHING gets through the walls.Now, I’ve been working ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement) jobs since it was called Looping. But going in and meeting up with the rest of the group always makes me feel like a “side man” getting a gig with Benny Goodman’s Band. There were 18 of us, and the core loop group are very special people indeed. I was in awe working with these artists.
From the very first cue, where we were required to wander about the stage and create the sounds of people milling about a small-town carnival, I was impressed. These pros know how it’s done. I was struck by how LOUD everyone was, and how each time they would speak, they would reveal interaction, and relationship. One actor would ad-lib, “Where’s Eugene?” Another would come back with, “Well, he’s with you, right?” And somebody about 10 feet away said, “Check the Ferris wheel!”
What struck me was that not only did they create relationship, but the actors were never more clever than what you’d hear at an actual small town carnival.
Skilled ADR performance makes movies better than what was filmed. It’s not always about replacing damaged tracks (a plane goes overhead, etc.). It’s about having a “second shot” at getting something right, and making the tracks more evocative.
When it came time to re-voice some of the characters on the screen, I was relieved as I’m called into re-voice Tim Allen’s exertion sounds for Buzz Lightyear. I did all of them for Toy Story II, as Mr. Allen gets bored with that kind of work. So I felt like I was on “safe ground.” That was until the director set up my first cue: Tim Allen’s character getting hit in the crouch with a baseball.
After about four takes, my veins were pulsing on my temples, and I was happy to stagger back to a couch and take a breather. Not for long. We were up and down, re-voicing the background characters, matching some of the principals for lines, and sound, creating crowd walla, and generally yelling our heads off for most of the day. Since there’s a lot of Hells Angels and bikers in the movie, it was a throat-ripper.
It’s really wonderful work, however, and one of the most creative jobs in voice over. There is ADR work all over North American, too! Every voice over talent must have these skills.
Aside from group work, about a dozen times a year, I’m called into re-voice something – a commercial, a farm animal, or a few lines on an Anime project.
If Batman were a voice talent, he’d have ADR/Looping in his utility belt. The problem has been that a talent can only learn ADR skills by doing it with some very complex equipment, a sound stage, and skilled instruction. That’s why I was convicted as a teacher to put together an event that would teach participants all they need to know about ADR in one day under the very best circumstances.
You can read about my ADR/Looping Masters Event by clicking here.
Thanks for allowing me to share my day at Disney with you, Stephanie.
You Pal in LA LA Land,