Report – Sound Advice

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 2:54pm by Jessica Thornsby

The step-by-step guide to finding and using voices in your animation to ensure it stands out from the crowd


It is crucial that you find the right voice for your characters

Dubbing and localising content is a huge and growing part of the animation industry


In this session, a panel of seven industry experts offered their unique insights into casting, recording, directing, performing and dubbing your animation.
photo sound adviceMichelle Jones, Casting Director at Brilliant Casting, debated the tricky question of hiring child actors, versus hiring an adult who can impersonate a child.
“My advice is to do what’s right for your project,” she said, although she did point out that there are additional things you need to consider, when you’re working with child actors, for example you may need to apply for special licences.

Voice actor Marc Silk, who has provided voices for well-known characters in multiple hit animations, had some straightforward advice for voice casting: “When you get the voice of a character right, it just feels right. It all fits.” He also encouraged attendees to opt for full cast recording, wherever possible: “If you have that luxury – then do it. The voice actors bounce off each other and you get that sense of excitement.” He finished off his presentation with something fun: teaching the audience how to do the voice of Scooby Doo!

Sound Designer and Engineer at Soho Square Studios Adam Smyth stressed that sound is a crucial, but often overlooked, part of animation: “It’s 50% of the experience, but too often it’s the last thing production think about.” This point was driven home by Greg McLeod, producer at the BAFTA award-winning Brothers McLeod, and Tom Angell, who specialises in providing bespoke sound for animation, film and sound projects. They showed us the same short film twice: once without sound, and once with sound. “It doesn’t make any sense without sound,” said Tom.

Andy Marshall introduced the final topic of the session: dubbing and localising content. Andy is the Business Development Director at SDI Media, a major provider of subtitling, translation, and language dubbing services. He described dubbing as  “a multi-million pound industry” and told us that in Germany they even have dubbing awards! However, he warned that dubbing requires a Herculean effort, and it has the potential to make or break a show.

Executive Operations Director for Disney Character Voices, Jon Airlie also spoke about dubbing and the importance of ensuring consistency and quality regardless of location.

And, to drive home just how big a business dubbing and localising has become, Jon treated us to a clip from Disney’s Frozen – ‘Let It Go’ dubbed in 25 languages!

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Jessica Thornsby

About the author

Jessica Thornsby

Can Studios, Technical Writer

Jessica Thornsby studied Creative Writing at the University of Bolton. She has a background in technical writing and reporting, music journalism, and digital marketing. She is the co-author of O’Reilly Media’s iWork: The Missing Manual. She works as a technical writer at Can Studios, an award-winning team of developers, designers… Read more