Tell Them, Wil!

Wil Wheaton defends voice acting.

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time doing voice work, both for video games and for animation, and it is not easy. “Down on their luck actors” don’t get to just walk into a studio and wave around their list of long-forgotten on-camera achievements in exchange for a job. You can only get cast in these jobs — and keep them — if you have the skills and talent to earn them. It’s an incredibly closed community where the gates are jealously guarded by people who work very, very hard to get inside, and once you’re there, you have to constantly work your ass off to stay there, because there are so many people working just as hard to take your place.

I believe it.

I’ve heard great voice actors — most of those who’ve voiced Gerry Anderson’s Sueprmarionation series — and horrible ones (I’ll not get specific, but hint hint).

Wheaton is absolutely correct when he writes:

Here’s a shocking truth: a lot of so-called “A-list” celebrities don’t have what it takes to succeed in voice acting, because it’s an entirely different set of skills, and an entirely different work ethic. It’s hard, and it’s competitive, and it’s not someplace “down on their luck actors with distinct voices” go when they can’t go anywhere else.

I was startled by the contrast in approaches to voice acting Anderson used in the original Captain Scarlet versus New Captain Scarlet.

First, the original Scarlet:

The voices are crisp, mature, and actually dramatic and lively.

And now here’s New Scarlet:

Sorry, but the voices are just … flaccid.

Anderson believed that the additional “realism” of CGI should be accompanied by a more naturalistic style of vocalizing. As uncov used to say: FAIL!

There have also been several major CGI movies that have come out in the last few years that also suffer from bad voicing. It’s hard to tell if it’s the actors themselves (all who are Big Names) or the direction (if any!) they were given. Enunciation is only a smart part of voicing. The voice must convey life and emotion and the appropriate drama.

In Anderson’s instance, the one voice to make the transition between the two Scarlets was that of Colonel White. And I guess because of the maturity of the voice itself, it made the leap in approaches successfully.

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