The Case of Voice Acting

From radio broadcasts to the first cartoons, voice acting has been a part of popular culture for over a hundred years. Listen in as Adam, Marci, and Robin discuss the history of this art form, popular voices of today, and the pros and cons of celebrity voice work.

vo episode

A Brief History

  • Emile Berliner invented the microphone in 1876
  • The first voiceover was in 1900 when a Canadian inventor, Reginald Fessenden, wanted to communicate without wires
    • His first broadcast was a recording of himself reporting the weather
    • In 1906 near Christmas time he recorded Bible texts, Christmas messages, and a music program to ships out at sea
  • In 1928, Walt Disney provided the voice of Mickey Mouse. This was a turning point for voice-overs and animation
  • In the years following, radio dramas became a major source of entertainment. Though many voice artists at the time were not credited for their work, this is how many pioneers in the industry got their start

Voice Artists Mentioned:

Mel Blanc

  • “The Man of 1000 Voices”
  • Over a thousand screen credits
  • Nearly 400 voices
  • Began with Warner Bros until 1960 when his contract ended
    • Still worked there but began working for other studios as well
    • Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Barney Rubble, vocal effects for Tom and Jerry, Wile E. Coyote, Toucan Sam

 

June Foray

  • Started in the voice field at age 12
    • She voiced an elderly woman on a radio show
  • Played Rocky the Squirrel up until her death at age 99, including her last credit: Rocky and Bullwinkle (2014)
  • We learned a lot about her by reading her obituary which we linked to Here.
  • Oldest person to win Emmy at age 94

 

Don LaFontaine

  • Known for the phrase “In a world….” in movie trailers
  • Began recording trailers in 1962
  • Performed voice overs for over 40 years and reportedly recorded over 5000 film trailers 
  • We found a youtube playlist of his movie trailers here.

 

Tom Kenny

  • Prolific voice actor known for his work as many animated characters such as: Spongebob Squarepants, Ice King (Adventure Time), Heffer (Rocko’s Modern Life), Mayor and Narrator (The Power Puff Girls), Dog (Catdog)
  • *Also a hero to Robin and Adam and probably kids everywhere

 

Tara Strong

  • Another prolific voice actor with over 500 acting credits listed on IMDB
  • She is known for characters such as: Timmy Turner (The Fairly Odd Parents), Bubbles (Power Puff Girls), and Sunny Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events, 2017), Raven (Teen Titans) 

 

John DiMaggio

  • Known for characters such as: Jake the Dog (Adventure Time), and Bender (Futurama)
  • In the episode, we mention that he produced the documentary, I know That Voice (2013). It is a available to watch online with an Amazon Prime membership. It’s also available on youtube, google play, and iTunes (for a fee). Otherwise we’re sure you can find it at a local library!

 

Phil Lamarr

  • Known for both animation and video game voice acting
  • Some acting credits include: Samurai Jack (Samurai Jack), Hermes Conrad (Futurama), Vamp (Metal Gear Solid 2 & 4), Vulgrim (Darksiders 1, 2, 3)
  • Correction: An earlier version of the episode credits Phil Lamarr as the voice of Kratos in God of War. This is incorrect. Kratos has been voiced by Terrence C. Carson and now Christopher Judge

 

Dee Bradley Baker

  • One of his earliest credits is as Olmec on Legends of the Hidden Temple
    •  For all the Hidden Temple fans out there, we linked to a cool Buzzfeed here
  • Known for voicing animals like Perry the Platypus (Phineas and Ferb); Momo and Appa (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Daffy Duck (Space Jam)
  • Has a personal blog about voice acting at iwanttobeavoiceactor.com

 

Dan Castellaneta

  • Credits include: Grandpa (Hey Arnold), Homer Simpson (The Simpsons), and The Robot Devil (Futurama)
  • In 2002 his trademark “d’oh” as Homer Simpson was approved and put into the Oxford English Dictionary

 

Mark Hamill

  • Well-known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, though he started voice work in the early 70s
  • Has voiced the Joker in many video games and in eight different series starting with Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1994)
  • He is also the voice of Firelord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

 

H. Jon Benjamin 

  • Most famous for his roles as Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) and Sterling Archer (Archer) 
  • Many of his characters speak with a monotone voice and deadpan humor

 

Alan Tudyk

  • Known well for his part as “Wash” on the cult favorite Firefly
  • Well-known voice roles include: Hei-Hei (Moana), K-2SO (Rogue One), King Candy (Wreck-it Ralph), and Alistair Krei (Big Hero 6) 

 

Kath Soucie

  • An Ohio native (woo!)
  • Well-known as Phil and Lil (Rugrats), Lola Bunny (Space Jam), Dexter’s Mom (Dexter’s Lab) 

 

Movies talked about:

  • Trolls (2016)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Tangled (2010)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • Home (2015)
  • Isle Of Dogs (2018) 
  • UglyDolls (2019) 
    • Features famous singers such as Blake Shelton, Janelle Monae, Carrie Underwood, Nick Jonas, Bebe Rexha, and Pitbull
    • You can watch the trailer here

Sources:

https://www.gravyforthebrain.com/what-voice-acting/

IMDB.com

The Case for Knowing the Scores

Join us this week as we discuss movie music!

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In preparation for this episode, Robin created a playlist of film music for Adam and Marci to listen to. You can find the list (along with some other examples) Here.

We covered a lot of ground in this episode because it is such a broad topic. We did not discuss everyone and everything that we wanted to, so expect a part II in the future. But for now, sit back and enjoy the music!

A Brief history of film music:

  • Before sound was introduced to movies, theatres provided music for films. This could be played live or a recording.
  • The first original film score was written by composer Camille Saint-Saens for The Assassination of the Duke of Guise
  • After the ability to synchronize sound to film, film scoring became the norm
  • In the 1930s-1950s, movie scores had a large European influence and came from composers well-versed in concert music
  • Leitmotif: Attributed to Richard Wagner, this is the principle of using a specific instrument or theme for a character or event. Max Steiner, also known as the father of film music, was known for using this. Unfortunately we did not mention Steiner or the other founding composers of the golden age of film. But, there is always next time!
  • After the golden age of film, movie music broke a little from European influence and began using newer musical concepts like Jazz and electronic music
  • High Noon (1952) featured a commercially successful original song. This inspired studios to ask composers to write original songs for movies to play on the radio and convince listeners to buy albums.
  • This concept continued through later years as many films have original songs associated with them. For example: “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr for the 1984 film of the same name

So, let’s start talking about the composers!

  • Alfred Newman
    • Score Mentioned
      • How the West Was Won (1962)
    • An iconic composer from the golden age of film, he composed over 250 scores and is the father of David and Thomas Newman
  • John Williams
    • Scores Mentioned
      • Witches of Eastwick (1987)
      • ET (1982)
      • Indiana Jones (1981)
      • Jurassic Park (1993)
      • Star Wars (1977)
    • We mentioned his work with Steven Spielberg, though he has worked with many other directors
    • Well-known for creating iconic melodies and for being the most nominated living person in Oscar history with 51 nominations
  • Wendy Carlos
    • Scores Mentioned
      • Tron (1982)
      • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
      • The Shining (1980)
    • A groundbreaking composer in electronic and synth music, Wendy Carlos introduced the Vocoder in her score for A Clockwork Orange (1971.) The Vocoder is a device that synthesizes human voices.
  • Mark Mothersbaugh
    • Score Mentioned
      • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
    • Has worked with Wes Anderson several times on films: Rushmore (1998) Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and more
    • Known for writing music for Rugrats (1990-2006)
    • Also a founding member of the band Devo
  • Jerry Goldsmith
    • Scores mentioned
      • Mulan (1998)
      • Rudy (1993)
      • The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
    • Robin mentions an NPR piece which you can listen to here.
    • Goldsmith was a pioneering composer well-known for integrating ethnic sounds into his scores as well as electronic samples with a full orchestra
  • Hans Zimmer
    • Scores Mentioned
      • The Lion King (1994)
      • Interstellar (2014)
      • The Dark Knight (2008)
      • Inception (2010)
      • Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
      • Gladiator (2000)
    • One of the most well-known composers working today, Hans Zimmer has become a household name and has even played Coachella
  • Danny Elfman
    • Scores Mentioned
      • Batman (1989)
      • Edward Scissorhands (1990)
      • Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
      • Corpse Bride (2005)
    • Elfman was in the band “Oingo Boingo” 1974-1995
    • He was the singing voice for Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • He also sang “Remains of the Day” in The Corpse Bride (2005) as Bone Jangles
  • James Horner
    • Scores Mentioned
      • The Pagemaster (1994)
      • Casper (1995)
      • An American Tale (1986)
      • Titanic (1997)
    • Wrote “Sarah’s Theme” or “Come Little Children” for Hocus Pocus (1993)
    • Frequently worked on films with James Cameron Titanic (1997) Aliens (1986)
  • Elmer Bernstein
    • Scores Mentioned
      • The Magnificent Seven (1960)
      • The Great Escape (1963)
      • Ghostbusters (1984)
    • Known for writing some of the most recognizable themes in movie history, he composed over 150 original movie scores
  • Thomas Newman
    • Scores mentioned
      • Finding Nemo (2003)
      • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
      • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
    • Son of Alfred Newman, Thomas Newman has made a name for himself by scoring many films for Pixar and other studios
    • He got his start working in the music department for Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • Randy Edelman
    • Scores Mentioned
      • The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)
      • Dragonheart (1996)
      • Angels in the Outfield (1994)
    • Pieces of his uplifting scores have been used many times in film trailers and television promotions
  • Rachel Portman
    • Scores Mentioned
      • The Cider House Rules (1999)
      • Only You (1994)
      • One Day (2011)
      • Emma (1996)
    • Originally from the UK, Rachel Portman is known for being the first woman to win an Oscar in the scoring category
    • She began scoring at age 14 and had scored her first major motion picture at 22 years old
    • Her music has often been described as uplifting and romantic
  • Alexandre Desplat
    • Scores Mentioned
      • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
      • The King’s Speech (2010)
      • Isle of Dogs (2018)
    • A talented French composer, Desplat was inspired to write for film after hearing John Williams’ score for Star Wars (1977)

References:

https://ew.com/article/2015/06/23/james-cameron-james-horner-tribute/

http://collider.com/alexandre-desplat-interview-isle-of-dogs-star-wars/#images

https://www.filmindependent.org/blog/know-score-brief-history-film-music/

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/01/john-williams-oscar-nomination-record

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/wendy-carlos-mn0000203175/biography

https://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/jerry-goldsmith/40813/the-30-greatest-film-scores-of-jerry-goldsmith

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/02/how-hans-zimmer-became-a-rockstar/516912/

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/thomas-newman-mn0000923497/biography

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/rachel-portman/reasons-we-love-rachel-portman/

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006035/bio

The Case of the Disney Re-make

You know what they say, “If it ain’t broke, remake it!” At least, that’s how we think the saying goes. From Fuller House to Kim Possible, remakes are the biggest thing around. Studios have learned that just because nostalgia is priceless, it doesn’t mean they can’t make serious cash from it.

Listen Here. 

So, we decided it was time to talk about this phenomenon. In this episode, we discuss the Disney (mostly) live-action remakes.

Movies Mentioned Today:

  • 101 Dalmations (1996)
    • Directed by Stephen Herek
    • Stars Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Hugh Laurie, and Mark Williams
    • Fashion Designer Cruella DeVil plots to steal Dalmatian puppies in order to create the perfect fur coat but from there chaos ensues.
    • Budget $75,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $45,073,479
    • USA Gross $136,189,294
    • Cumulative Worldwide Gross $320,689,294
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010)
    • Directed by Tim Burton
    • Stars Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Anne Hathaway
    • Alice is older in this version as a 19 year old who is proposed to in front of friends and family.  When she runs from the situation she follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole into the curious world of Wonderland.
    • Budget $200,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $116,101,023
    • USA Gross $334,191,110
    • Worldwide Gross $1,025,467,110
  • Maleficent (2014)
    • Directed by Robert Stromberg
    • Stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning
    • Maleficent is an innocent fairy turned vengeful due to a betrayal.  This treachery leads her to put a curse on young Aurora.  As the child grows Maleficent finds that she may be the key to peace in the kingdom.
    • This film takes after the famous book and Broadway musical “Wicked” by showing the evil character as the protagonist
    • Budget $180,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $69,431,298
    • USA Gross $241,410,378
    • Worldwide Gross $758,539,785
  • Cinderella (2015)
    • Directed by Kenneth Branagh
    • Stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Madden
    • Lily James was not a well known actress and this was her first starring role in a movie
    • You should know the plot of this by now!
    • Budget $95,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $67,877,361
    • USA Gross $201,151,353
    • Cumulative Worldwide Gross $543,514,353
  • The Jungle Book (2016)
    • Directed by Jon Favreau
    • Stars Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, and Ben Kingsley
    • Bagheera (a panther) and Baloo (a bear) accompany a man-cub named Mowgli through the Jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan.
    • Budget $175,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $103,261,464
    • USA Gross $364,001,123
    • Cumulative Worldwide Gross $966,550,600
  • Pete’s Dragon (2016)
    • Directed by David Lowery
    • Stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Oakes Fegley
    • Pete, an orphan of 6 years found in the forest, tells his new caretaker Grace about his friend Elliot the dragon.
    • Budget $65,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $21,514,095
    • USA Gross $76,233,151
    • Cumulative Worldwide Gross $143,695,338
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)
    • Directed by Bill Condon
    • Stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and many more
    • A self-centered Prince is cursed and must find someone to love him before time runs out.  Belle, an odd townswoman who loves books, may be his only chance at breaking the spell.
    • Budget $160,000,000 (estimated)
    • USA opening $174,750,616
    • USA Gross $504,014,165
    • Cumulative Worldwide Gross $1,263,521,126

Upcoming Disney Re-makes Mentioned:

  • Lion King (July 2019)
  • Aladdin (May 2019)
  • Dumbo (March 2019)
  • Mulan (2020)
  • Lilo and Stitch (TBA)
  • Prince Charming (TBA)
  • Lady and the Tramp (TBA)

*We mention a movie called Magic Kingdom which is still in development and has been for several years.  The general plot is to be about attractions at the theme park coming to life and interacting with each other.

Sources:

IMDB.com

http://collider.com/upcoming-live-action-disney-movies-release-dates/#tink

The (Brief) Case Into the Spider-verse

Welcome Back! We’re excited to share with you our first mini episode or “brief case” if you will (yeah we think we’re clever.) Listen in as we discuss the Golden Globe winner Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse!

Other Movies mentioned: 

Ralph Breaks the InternetDirected by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, this was the Disney animated sequel to Wreck it Ralph (2012). Fun fact, this was the first Disney Animated Classic sequel since The Rescuers Down Under (1990). It was also the first film sequel that starred John C. Reilly

MiraiDirected by Mamoru Hosoda, this animated fantasy follows a young boy struggling to cope with the birth of his baby sister. After discovering an enchanted garden, he travels to different eras in his family history.

Isle of DogsDirected by Wes Anderson, this stop-motion animated film is set in Japan. All dogs from Megasaki City have been sentenced to live on trash island due to Dog Flu. After a young boy arrives on the island, the dogs set out to help him find his lost dog, Spots.

The Incredibles 2Directed by Brad Bird, this Pixar sequel was released 14 years after the original. Adjusted for inflation, it is the highest grossing Pixar movie of all time. A list of the highest grossing Pixar movies can be found here.

People Mentioned In regards to the Golden Globes Ceremony: 

Carol Burnett: Actress, comedian, and TV legend Carol Burnett was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Television award, also known as the Carol Burnett award.

Jeff BridgesA charismatic and brilliant performer and producer, Jeff Bridges accepted the Cecil B deMille Award for lifetime achievement in film.

The Case for Second Chances

Today’s episode is about movies that deserve a second chance.

We’ve all seen movies that we don’t enjoy and will likely never watch again. But, sometimes we get a second chance to see a movie, and for whatever reason, it was better this time around.

What about movies that we enjoy, but no one else seems to? Can you think of a movie that got mixed or bad reviews and you didn’t understand why?

For today’s episode, we each chose a movie that we feel might deserve a second viewing. We could have chosen a movie we didn’t like the first time around, or an unpopular movie that we enjoy.

Movies Mentioned today: 

The Decoy Bride (2011)

  • Starring David Tennant (Dr. Who, Broadchurch), Kelly MacDonald (Brave), and Alice Eve (Before We Go)
  • This film takes place in Scotland on the fictional island of Hegg.
  • Lara Tyler (Eve) and James Arbor (Tennant) are a famous couple attempting to get married in a private ceremony. Despite their best efforts, the paparazzi have followed them even to the remote island of Hegg in Scotland. Katie (MacDonald) is a local woman who agrees to pose as a decoy Lara Tyler during the ceremony. However, due to some confusion, James and Katie end up getting married by accident. Lara, trying to evade media attention, has gone into hiding as the newlyweds need to find a way to divorce.
  • It earned a 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, 6.2/10 on IMDB, and 42% from Metacritic

Cars 2 (2011)

  • Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
  • This was the first Pixar movie to not earn an Oscar nomination. Monsters University (2013), The Good Dinosaur (2015), and Cars 3 (2017) also fall into this category.
  • This was also the first Pixar sequel that was not part of the Toy Story franchise
  • Lightening McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy/Daniel Whitney) head to Europe to race in the World Grand Prix. Things go awry when Mater gets mistaken for an American spy and his focus is no longer on helping McQueen with the race.
  • It earned a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.2/10 on IMDB

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

  • This Nickelodeon Studios film starred Jim Carey (The Mask) and was directed by Brad Silberling
  • It is a loose adaptation of the book series by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
  • Thomas Newman composed the score which we linked to here.
  • Wealthy orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny must navigate an unfriendly world after the sudden death of their parents. They are placed with an evil and eccentric “relative” named Count Olaf, who seeks to take their fortune. Surrounded by unhelpful adults, the children must look to each other to save themselves from danger. This movie was adapted from The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window. 
  • **We were not intending to compare the movie to the TV show. Where the movie succeeded, the show did as well in almost every case. It’s our opinion that the show is a fantastic adaptation that covers the source material better in many respects. 

Sources:

IMDB.com

https://www.filmsite.org/pixaranimations.html

 

Happy New Year!

Happy 2019! We already uploaded a blurb about the podcast, but we got new equipment and decided to record a mini-sode about us, the hosts.

This year, we resolve to upload episodes weekly (let’s see how that goes)!

In this episode, we mention our three favorite movies. Jurassic Park (1993), The Princess Bride (1987), and The Goonies (1985). We talk about our love of Disney Animated Classics (even the not so good ones) and of course, Spongebob.

We hope you enjoy getting to know us, and we will have more episodes coming soon in 2019!