Voice Overs Of The World: Fun With Animals!
There’s an old Hollywood adage that states that actors should never work with children or animals. That may or may not be true, but playing an animal has gotten many a voice over actor a job in the past. In today’s Voice Overs of the World, I want to look at some really fun advertisements with some great voice overs that all showcase animals in one way or another.
The first video is a really clever series of commercials from the Minnesota State Lottery. There are actually seven commercials total, and they’re all included in the video above. These are really pretty brilliant in my opinion, and you’ve gotta love the amount of voice over talent utilized for these spots. (And presumably, they’re all from Minnesota, proving once again that there is lucrative VO work to be found just about anywhere!)
Now, if I went through each of these commercials voice by voice, we’d be here all day, but I do want to point out a few highlights. I really love the over-caffeinated hamsters in the third commercial. That ditzy, run-on sentence style of delivery really gets the point across. Obviously, there was probably a little bit of post-production help added to speed the voices up a little, but the delivery is still great. Especially the one hamster’s annoying laugh at the end. I can only imagine what the voice actor behind that role had to go through in the booth; she probably recorded different variations of that laugh a couple dozen times.
I also really enjoy the fourth commercial a lot. What’s interesting to me is that the female voice actor has to sound like she’s eating the whole time, and I’m trying to imagine if she actually had something in her mouth while recording or if she just had to try to simulate the sound with her own voice. Either way, I’m sure it was a challenge to deliver a good read and sound like she was eating through the entire thing, but she pulled it off quite nicely here.
In the fifth commercial I really enjoy the frazzled office worker who can’t transfer a call. Besides the fact that I can relate because I can never transfer a call without hanging up on someone, the voice actor has a cool kind of Michael J. Fox/Dave Foley-sounding voice and he really brings to life that sense of panic that only a botched office situation can bring about.
In the final commercial, all of the voices are great, but I just wanted to point out the number of voices in a 30-second spot. I count no less than SEVEN different voice actors in just that one commercial! Eight, actually, if you count the narrator who comes in at the end, which is the one constant voice throughout the series of commercials. I like the narrator’s voice a lot, too. Combined with the upbeat, swinging music, it has a cool, jazzy vibe to it that really livens up the commercials in contrast to the boring everyday hamster life they portray.
Well done, Minnesota Lottery!
The second video above is a combination of two distinct voice overs: a narrator, and a different voice actor portraying a dog. The piece starts with a terrific upper-crust British-accented voice, describing the obviously-fake Doggie Dentures. The actor captures that perfect sort of BBC documentary approach that almost makes you think this piece is serious at first.
Then the music shifts subtly, and we get to hear things from the dog’s point of view: “You’re kidding… right?” I really like the voice the producer chose for the dog; it’s not a dopey, over-the-top voice, just a regular, everyday voice. (I think he actually sounds quite a bit like David Duchovny, personally, although I doubt that’s what the producers were going for.) Also, listen for that implied thought in his delivery (“Just… give me Dentastix.) that makes the piece sound so conversational, a nice contrast to the voice over that comes before it.
This last commercial doesn’t actually have any talking animals, but it does have lots of talking about animals. I’m can’t say for sure who the voice actor in this spot is, but I can tell you one thing: he sounds exactly like Mark Elliot. For those of you who don’t know, Mark Elliot has been the voice of Disney for many years now. Every time you hear a Disney commercial or trailer with that signature Disney sound (“Coming soon to Disney DVD and Blu-ray, all your favorite characters in an enchanting tale!”), that’s Mark Elliot. Now I’m not sure whether this is him or just a soundalike, but it’s clear that EA Games has made this trailer to emulate that Disney sound. From the dialogue (“Embrace all the adventure, fun, and mischief!”) to the delivery, it really captures the look, sound and feel of a classic Disney commercial, and I think the overall effect is both clever and effective.
So while it may remain true that as an actor, you may not want to work with kids or animals, working as a kid or an animal can clearly pay off quite nicely!
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