Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Know That Voice

Have you ever wondered who that guy is that says "In a world...." at the beginning of a movie trailer?  Or who tells you the side effects of that medication you are now too afraid to take? Or maybe you never noticed. These people are called voice actors, and they are some of the most famous people you'll never recognize. Director Lawrence Shapiro and voice actor/producer John DiMaggio wanted to not only give the actors recognition, but the craft itself. In 2013, they produced the film "I Know That Voice", a documentary of countless famous voice actors talking about their personal experiences and the career of voice acting in general. It provides tremendous insight into a world that not many know about, or even consider a career at all.

DiMaggio narrates the film as well as gives his own story. He is best known for his roles as Bender from "Futurama" and Jake from "Adventure Time", but his talents expand far beyond that. He is also an actor, stand up comedian, producer and beatboxer. He is extremely passionate about his craft, and cares about the community of which he is he a part of, hence the creation of the film. DiMaggio skillfully tells the tale of the voice actor from the start of voice acting, to the start of their careers, to their daily lives, to the reason why each and everyone one of them has a passion for it.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is how they explore the concept of fame in the voice acting world. Unless they were speaking like the character they play, or are also a famous screen actor, most people would have no idea who they were. The title of the film, "I Know That Voice", is a comment on the reaction that most people experience when a voice they recognize comes on television, the radio or video games, but they can't pin down exactly who that person is, due to the facelessness and namelessness of the job.
Some of the cast members of "I Know That Voice"
Another interesting point the film makes is the broad range of areas that voice actors cover. Most people think of animated films when they think of voice acting, but it covers so much more. As previously stated voice actors are required for movie trailers and commercials, as well as video games, television shows, dubbed foreign language films, radio, and audiobooks, among many other fields. Each area comes with it's own challenges and rewards, which the film covers in great detail.

As someone who loves to do voices and comedic bits, this film felt extremely close to my heart. Voice acting seemed like a career that only a select few were chosen to do, and was completely unobtainable. After this film, I realized it was like any other Hollywood job, it required three main things: talent, determination, and luck. This film made voice acting real to me, not just something I wondered about after watching "Inside Out" or "Family Guy". Currently, I'm enrolled in a voice and narration class, which I became more inspired to truly learn about after watching "I Know That Voice". Hats off to John DiMaggio and the rest of the cast of this documentary, this one is a must see for anyone interested in the film and television business.

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