As a voiceover actor, I have a very unique, niche specific type of voice and that’s why I mainly get cast to do the voices of either children or very young adults. However, I don’t know how many times someone has come up to me and said,
“Do you know who you sound like? . . . You sound exactly like Melanie Griffith.”
Well, that’s pretty cool. I love Melanie Griffith as an actress and, of course, she gets to hang around Antonio Bandaras. Who could beat that?
It’s a bit weird though because I know Melanie Griffith smoked pretty heavily for a while. I’ve never smoked at all. That can really affect how your voice sounds.
I’ve often fantasized about going in and replacing Melanie Griffith’s voice in an ADR session. (That’s when you fix or enhance the dialogue in a motion picture because of either acting or sound problems) Maybe she hates doing her own ADR. Many actors don’t really like it or are just not good at it and that’s why there are people who specialize in it. I’ve done ADR on all sorts of projects including, The Santa Clause, Antz, Dr. Doolittle, Beverly Hills Cop 3, Innerspace, Power Rangers, etc. The only problem with that is; because my voice is so specific, it stands out, rather than blends in. It’s great if I’m replacing a child actor’s voice, however, or doing a teen party scene, baseball game or occasional talking animal scene.
People with “every-man or woman” voices get lots of work doing ADR voiceover work. I have many friends who do it all the time. It’s a great way to work. You usually get to go to a large studio sound stage, like Disney or Paramount, hang out on the lot, and get to meet some of the actors of the film or the director/producer. Another fun perk is that you get paid a nice all day SAG rate even if you only work for an hour plus residuals. I am still getting residuals on projects I worked 20+ years ago.
I haven’t done ADR on a film set in a while because the amount of work has gone down in recent years. The technology of today makes it possible to recreate sound electronically cutting out actors. I have also had to compete with working with real kids. The advantage I always had is that many producers do not want to deal with working with child actors who have hour restrictions and need a studio teacher on the set. You have to roll with the times.
One of the ways you can break into doing ADR for motion pictures is to join what they call a loop group. Loop groups usually consist of an actor who contracts out other actors to go from session to session doing background voices. If you look at the credits of a film, you will often see that group in the post production recording credits. Often you will see the same name over and over like Barbara Harris , LA Mad Dogs, Leigh French, Loop Troop, etc. If you have improv experience it is a huge plus. Many of the actors do extensive research on the film when it comes to periods of history, dialects, technical jargon, and other details.
My long time experience in dubbing certainly helped me. Lip syncing is not easy unless you are somewhat musical.
One advantage I have always had is having the ability to sound like a real kid, rather than a cartoony kid. That’s why I have often been asked to replace a child actor’s voice who may have had an accent or did not give a great performance. Some actors, like my friend Sandy Fox, have a very distinct cartoon sound. She is currently doing the voice of Betty Boop, and I’m so jealous because the ad company actually flew her to Paris to record. That would be so amazing! Anyone need an American kid sounding voice in an awesome foreign country? I love to travel and would gladly negotiate.
Oh, and Melanie, if you need a stunt voice, give me a call.