Insights for Non Artists:
Greg Weisman Interview, Part 2 - Voice Directing
Shannon Muir - This article originally appeared
his foray into animation voice directing to a longtime interest
in theatre. He acted in high school and college plays, though
the majority of his experience was as the collegiate level. Once
he found himself acting alongside people such as Andre Brauer
(the star of Gideon's Crossing on ABC), Greg realized maybe he
wasn't cut out to be a big-time actor. However, he very much enjoyed
directing college productions and made sure to try his hand at
all aspects of play production. Some things he liked doing, and
others not so much.
moved to New York he left theatre behind entirely. Greg told me
there's really no room for someone who wants to do theatre in
New York or Los Angeles as a hobby because "community theatre
in that sense doesn't exist because there are so many actors looking
for some kind of showcase." Producing and directing a play
for his Masters Degree was the only theatre work Greg did for
years after returning to Los Angeles.
While a supervising
producer on Gargoyles (see Part One) Greg began to attend the
voice recording sessions. Greg describes these sessions as "the
fun part of the process
on he whole," and a "compact
moment of three hours all about the possibility." Problems
may crop up later down the line in production, but at the voice
recording, you get a sense of what can be. Of the caliber of voice
actors he's worked with over the years, Greg says, "you can
people, professional voice actors and others to work
your stuff. Absolutely talented and they bring the words you've
written to life." As a writer, he feels 7 out of 10 times
voice actors bring words alive, maybe 1 out of 10 times it's better
in your mind, but there's 2 times out of 10 where dialogue's improved.
to voice directing while on Gargoyles. He sat in the sessions
alongside Disney's voice director Jamie Thomason, whom he credits
as "a better dialogue director than I'll ever be." Jamie
gave Greg the opportunity to oversee a few "patch" (phoned
in) sessions and eventually gave him the opportunity to voice
direct an entire Gargoyles episode "Vendettas." With
its small cast, "all five actors made my first experience
of directing a show myself a complete and total pleasure,"
though the final animated episode didn't turn out as well as he'd
He also had
the opportunity to assist dialogue director Sue Blu with pickup
sessions while working on the several series with her at Sony.
These were Starship Troopers (the official show link is http://www.spe.sony.com/tv/kids/roughnecks/index.htm;
also is also worth checking out) and Max Steel -- see sites at
opportunity came when a former UCLA Extension student, Jonathan
Klein, asked him to voice direct a new English adaptation of the
Japanese series 3x3 EYES which the company wanted to make a more
prestige -- and union -- project.. If you're not familiar with
the series, you can get more information at http://www.pioneer-ent.com/
but be aware this series considered for age 13 and up in the United
States. Greg recruited many of the voice talents he'd worked with
on other projects, including Christian Campbell (Josh McGrath/Max
Steel from Max Steel), Brigette Bako (Angela from Gargoyles),
and Edward Asner (Hudson from Gargoyles) as leading characters.
Dialogue Replacement (the technical term for the dubbing process,
often called ADR) differs from creating original animated product.
When animation's created, the process goes from script to voice
record, then storyboard and animation. With ADR, the finished
animation already exists. Greg told me that the challenge is "translating
Japanese to English not only literally
also idioms and that
it fits the lip synch."
At the time
of our conversation, Greg just began work as voice director for
the new Disney series Team Atlantis, based on the summer movie
release Atlantis (see http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/atlantis/index.html
for the official movie website [click
here for the Digital Media FX Atlanis Site] ). Of the
first session he said, "It was fun but it's too early to
say how the whole thing will go." He looks forward to the
challenge and feels all his work up until now prepared him to
helm voice directing for a series. (NOTE: not long after this
was published, Disney decided to shelve the Team Atlantis series.
The exact reason is unknown. There are plans for a direct-to-video
using some of the completed material.)
enjoys directing original radio plays every summer at the "Gathering
of the Gargoyles," an annual convention dedicated to the
Gargoyles series he worked on as supervising producer. The convention's
official website is http://gathering.gargoyles-fans.org/
Join me next
time for Part Three: Writing and Story Editing.
is known in the animation industry for her work as a production
coordinator for Nickelodeon's Invader Zim. She also served as
a Production Coordinator for Extreme Ghostbusters and a Production
Assistant for Jumanji: The Animated Series. Muir is an accomplished
writer and often participates on panels or as a guest speaker
at conventions like Comic Con International.
to Los Angeles in 1996 from Cheney, WA (population approximately
8,000), knowing she wanted to be part of the animation business.
Since then, she's never strayed far from making that dream reality,
whether it be actively working on a production or writing articles
about the industry.
You can email
Shannon Muir at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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