Friday, May 30, 2008

Miscasting voice parts is easy

Last week I released a short piece called My Voices, which was designed to show voice actors how they could show themselves voicing a range of different characters. Part of the reason for doing this piece was that voice actors often find themselves cast for their looks, rather than their voice, and this gives them a way to hide behind a character who looks completely different.

This week, I cast three actors for a short with the working title of Cormorant Close. After doing my auditions last week, I had a pretty good idea who I wanted for the two leads. Their demo piece had a lot in common with Cormorant Close, they worked well together, they sounded good, they were fantastic actors, and I was sure they'd be perfect. But then I listened to all the voice samples again, with my eyes shut, and without looking at the names.

Suddenly, among the female voices, I heard one who was absolutely perfect, and when I looked up who it was, it wasn't who I expected. Then I listened to the men again, and knew that to complement that female voice, one of the other actors would be much better than the guy I had originally thought of. It's no disrespect to my original choices. I'm sure they would have done a good job, and in fact, I have other parts in mind for them and hope to work with them later in the summer.

Without realising it - in fact, even though I was consciously trying to avoid doing so - I had based my original casting on the personalities and appearance of the actors, not on the sound of their voices. And, more subtly, I was perhaps thinking of their natural voices, not of the other voices that they could portray.

Now I'm just hoping they're free next week for a recording session and I can find out whether I've made the right call! Oh, and I suppose I'd better get round to building the recording studio as well. And finish the final, final, really final draft of the script in time for them to read it in advance...

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