So where were we?
As previously mentioned HERE, the folks at Disney casting got ba-hundreds of voice auditions and then listened, and listened and listened until they picked out around 25-30 of the bestly best ones. They tell the talent agencies who they like and then have the actors come in to Disney to do the lines again, only this time under the direction of the aforementioned Mr. David Wright. He pokes and prods them with a very sharp stick to see if they get even better reads out of them. Then they send the auditions over to me.
So now it's my turn to listen and take notes. Who are my top picks for each characters? The ones who can really ACT! The ones with an interesting texture to their voice that makes it stand out. The ones that add funny bits to the lines without completely mangling the words. And of course, the ones that sound the way I think my characters should sound.
So then the Disney folk and I chat for a while and pick around 5-8 candidates for...
Now that the herd has been thinned a bit, I fly out to LA so that we can all sit in the booth and listen to these fine actors and actresses woo us with their beautiful voices. And there's no way I can do that without the mighty SUNDERWOMAN!
For those of you who actually read the credits, you'll recognize Collette Sunderman as the voice director for KND (as well as a million other shows like Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, Camp Lazlo, Wow Wow Wubbzy, etc etc etc). And she's really good at it. Instead of me just barking, BIGGER! LOUDER! FASTER! at the actors like some deranged lunatic (which i do anyway), Collette is well-versed in the art of cajoling the performance we want out of them. Some of my favorite tricks of hers include:
"If you're feeling uncomfortable yelling that line- that's right where I want you!"
"Do you have any siblings? They drive you nuts, right? Now try saying it like you're talking to them after they've REALLY pissed you off!"
"PERFECT! But let's get one more for choice!"
What's really cool is how we start to see the characters really come to life with each actor that reads their lines. It might not always be the right voice, but often someone adds an inflection, or an accent, that suddenly turns on a light in your head.
Collette's good at drawing those out of people.
And the amazing thing about working with Collette for so long is that she can TOTALLY read my mind. She knows exactly what I want from a performance and is almost always telling the actors how I want them to re-do the line without me having to say it.
She's also great with making the actors feel comfortable, especially new ones who are nervous or veterans who are getting frustrated with doing take after take. And of course, she treats every actor like they're the best in the world- even if they're stinking up the joint.
So after a full day, and a quarter of doing callbacks... we've got TWO awesome, awesome, awesome candidates for the lead character (and one is a pretty big Disney star! I wish I could tell you who... but the Disney ninjas would kill me if I did). We got virtually nowhere with another lead, and kinda somewhere with the third character. Not as far as we'd like to be, but you take what you can get!
So now it's back to more auditions!
Hope you enjoyed this little look into the casting process! Sorry I can't tell ya more about the pilot and have to use old pictures... but hopefully soon I'll get to drop you some hints!