Voice actor Chris Edgerly is here once again today with the twenty-first video in the #VONotes series and in this episode, he’s talking about voice acting scratch tracks or temp work! The #VONotes series is a video series designed to answer common questions about the voice acting industry and each video contains some great tips and references for aspiring voice actors everywhere! If you missed the previous videos in the #VONotes series you can catch up on those here.
Voice Acting Scratch Tracks or Temp Work #VONotes
Today on #VONotes I’m gonna talk about “scratch tracks” or temp. work.
This is something that happens a lot in feature animation. At the very beginning of a project, the producers, directors, writers, they’re all getting together with the animators and they’re fleshing out the story, the characters, plot twists, and they’ll do a lot of “animatics” or storyboards (which are just very early stages of animation).
Now, a lot of things get worked out at this stage and what they usually need to do is hire a professional voice actor who can help them work on that character. This is work that hardly ever gets credited in the final product but, for me, it’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done because it is the most collaborative work you can possibly do.
As for what that means for the voice actor…versatility is key! They may be starting with a completely blank slate and they don’t know if the character is from one part of the world or another, whether or not they have an accent, whether they’re neurotic or just a confident person who’s in over their head…and it’s something that’s gonna change. I’ve come back a month or two months later and suddenly one character’s completely gone, replaced by another, and now they’re ready to work on that one and create it from the ground up. It’s really important to be able to ad-lib, to do a little improv, to be able to conjure up a new accent or a different personality on command.
You’re also going to take direction in a little bit of a different way. A lot of times you’re there just to read the script as written and you give a couple of different versions of the same lines; but in this case, you might have a director start to riff with you, read with you, and see where the scene goes. It’s like being a session musician in on a jam, playing by the seat of your pants and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Finally, you might not see the finished product for another three or four years or longer and know that you only worked at the very beginning but you were there to help give them a push in the right direction.
Hope this has answered some questions for you, if you have any more, put them in the comments section below and hit that subscribe button so you can see more #VONotes as I make them!