Friday Double Feature: Voice-Overs

January 16, 2015


Above: Today's image has absolutely nothing to do with the movies discussed below. I just like to have images at the start of my posts, and this was some fun I had with the brush pen one night doing quick memory sketches as I watched TV (i.e., I let the TV continue running and try to sketch what I remember, which I can tell you is not much as neither of these guys look like who I was remembering). I was using a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and working in an 8 x 10 inch (or so) Hand•Book Journal, which I will review soon as promised a couple weeks ago.

At the end of my December 29, 2014 post "A Movie Marathon…" I suggested a double feature about the wine industry. That started me thinking about other double features people might enjoy. So I decided to make this a semi-regular feature. Today I am recommending movies about the voice-over industry.

Since I believe sometimes viewing order does matter, I recommend that you watch these two movies in the order listed below—it will be a little more interesting and fun for you if you do. (I saw both these videos on Amazon Prime and they may still be there, but they are also on Netflix, as well as available as DVDs for purchase.)

I Know That Voice

Documentary. Voice-over artists discuss their craft and the industry of giving voice to the animated characters we've grown up loving, as well as video game voice-over work. We hear the thoughtful way in which they create characters not just funny voices. 

I love watching interviews of people involved in a creative process especially collaborative art forms like film, animation, and video games. This movie is full of fun anecdotes and reminiscences. My only disappointment with this movie is that Phil Hartman, who gave voice to so many "Simpsons" characters before his murder, was not mentioned. I still see his influence in the industry and think it was a sad oversight.

In A World…

Comedy-Drama. This is a little gem of a movie about a young woman working as a voice coach and living in the shadow of her voice-over legend father. When the death of another voice-over legend creates a vacuum, talent rushes in to compete for a big new series.

This movie contains so much more than the hilarious (and sometimes painful) fulfillment of this synopsis. Director Lake Bell (who also wrote the script) has created a movie about familial relationships that is deep and insightful. She even manages to create a stark but hopeful statement about the state of feminism and the responsibility of the individual.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Lake Bell writes and directs next.

Extra Viewing Fun

Now that you've watched movies about the voice-over industry it might be fun to explore a couple things like the following:

The Nut Job, with an absolutely crazy character created by Brendan Frazer. There is a lot of great voice acting in this animated feature. The trailer is a little misleading about the characters' relationships and roles. It's a movie about being an individual in a complex society and hero worship. 

You might also want to watch a movie staring Edward Everett Horton, or rather, including him because he wasn't exactly leading man material. "Arsenic and Old Lace" is good and you get to see Cary Grant. Or any one of several Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's movies—I suggest "Top Hat." Then watch any episode of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show containing an episode of "Fractured Fairy Tales."

Susie Essman does a marvelous job in "Bolt" as a rather jaded cat.

I've always been partial to Bruce Willis in movies and his voice-over of Mikey in "Look Who's Talking" is spot on. In 2006 he gave voice to a cynical raccoon, RJ, in "Over the Hedge," and if you watch that movie you'll also fall over laughing at the way William Shatner gives voice to an opossum. (Gary Shandling, Steve Carell, Nick Nolte, and others also give great performances.)

I could list more. I'll just say this, watch a couple Ronald Colman movies. (His voice has been much imitated.)

A Side Note

If you're looking for a series to binge-watch that also deals with familial relationships, I found "Transparent", an original Amazon show (available on Amazon Prime), totally engrossing. Jeffrey Tambor's performance as a transgender father was painful, funny, and intense all at the same time.


    • joanne
    • January 16, 2015

    A question. How many video services do you have?

    At this writing I have only Netflix but so many programs I would like to watch have been snapped up by Amazon. I often wonder if I should “buy more” but don’t really know if I want to.

    Can you recommend a good, inexpensive, all purpose print paper?

  1. Reply

    Snowsilk, thanks for reading, I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Yes, there are new online classes coming in 2015. A bookbinding class is coming in February (or early March) and it will be followed by more binding, and some drawing, painting, and journaling classes so check back now and then and look in the classes category in the category list.

  2. Reply

    Joanne, I subscribe to Amazon Prime (because besides getting a bunch of free movies and TV shows I can get free two-day shipping on books I order); Netflix; and Acorn (because I love British TV).

    Netflix and Acorn are both totally all you can watch for a flat monthly fee.

    Prime has a lot of free stuff and also recent releases that are initially available for rental or purchase.

    I like them all.

    Shows go from one to the other. I needed to get Netflix because it had so many of the shows I wanted to watch right now, but for months and months I was happy with just Acorn and Prime.

    Try a service for a month and see if you like it.

    As for a good print paper what are you trying to print? Etchings, woodblocks, linoblocks, letter press? Or do you just want to print with your inkjet printer, and if so I’m assuming color?

    And if you’re making prints with an inkjet do you want to sell them and have archival inks to make archival prints and want to know what to print them on?

    I need more info before I can answer that question.

    • joanne
    • January 19, 2015

    I have been making some carvings (using medium sized flexible blocks) and wanted to print them using Speedball printing inks. I am really just seeing what all this looks like–student work.

    I also purchased a silk screen and was thinking of re-living my college class and actually TRYING to do good work this time. Warhol is a favorite. I am a four year art student who actually didn’t learn anything while in school 64 to 68 because we were either “born to do art” or we weren’t. Others had better experiences in other schools with actual demos. I was given tools and told to “make something”.

    So I am asking for guidance. For student work. Trial and error.

  3. Reply

    Joanne, if you’re printing carvings I would recommend you try almost any printmaking paper with the Speedball inks, but some favorites are Rives BFK, 140 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper (usually for me it’s Fabriano), Stonehenge, and if you have some Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper you might use it. Esp. if you’re going to do additional work on your prints when the inks dry.

    Strathmore has just come out with a lovely printmaking paper line that would be good for your work. They have a 500 series in that but it might be more expensive than you want to use. The 300 and 400 lines are also good. I like them all.

    I think any heavyweight printmaking paper would probably be good for silkscreening, I’ve seen it on so many different types of paper.

    If you want to run through a lot of paper at low cost I suggest you go online and find NASCO

    They have a bunch of “student” papers that teachers can buy (anyone can buy from them, but teachers are usually the ones who need that kind of bulk at a discount) and you could read up on what they have (I haven’t looked at their catalog for a long time.

    Good luck. I hope you have a lot of fun with your art this time around.

    • joanne
    • January 28, 2015

    I am having more fun–thanks to good examples like yourself.

    My journals are usually mostly words, some clipart, and a bit of drawing. No painting as the pages in my favorite journal are smooth and not up to anything wet. Even the brush pens–your work got me to buy one and now I have many more–bleed through. So I just paste something over the backside.

    Thank you so much for the recommendations. When we dig out, I will suggest a drive into Portland (maine) to our only art supply store.

  4. Reply

    I’m glad the blog is helpful, it’s what I’d hoped. Keep going with that journal. It sounds wonderful even with the bleed through!

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