Wednesday, November 7, 2007


My first week in L.A. I got a job doing voice looping for an action film. A woman I know, a producer on the film, heard I was in town and called me in. In case you don't know what looping - or ADR - is, it's the replacement of dialogue and vocalizations on a film soundtrack after photography is completed. It's an important part of any film, and most pertinent to action films, where you have to cover the sounds made by actors getting the shit kicked out of them by the tough guy lead action hero. As an action sequence is cut together from many angles and takes, a stuntman or actor isn't going to go OOF! the same way each time.

Now, the tough guy lead action hero in this film is a bit passed his prime and now makes direct to DVD films. He's also a little overweight, and not as...nimble, as he used to be. I mean, he doesn't kick the bad guys anymore. He resorts to these furious little hand movements that are meant to overwhelm his opponent. He whisks his lethal paws around in front of the faces of his opponents and they flail their bodies around furiously...overwhelmed. The other actors were clearly doing most of the work. UGH!

Also - and I can't say this is because of his...lack of nimbleness - he has two sequences in the film where he sits down at a table and surprises the guys he doesn't care for with a move I call the "steak-knife-in-the-face". In one of these sequences he doesn't even get up from his seat, while his opponents thrash around all over the place. This might have been a cool premise when action guy was in his prime, but now it just seems un-nimble. HURKH!!

The steak-knife-in-the-face brings up another point. He uses weapons a lot rather than his lethal appendages, plus the element of surprise (nimble-deficient?), in ways that make him just look like a murderer. He's doling out his own brand of justice, but do you really murder a table full of guys for insulting a woman with sexually explicit requests? Hmmm...they were "bad guys" anyway, right? OOF!

I got to get beat up a whole bunch. At least vocally. It's not always easy matching the physicality and timing of the actors in action sequences, and though I've acted a lot since I was a kid, it's been awhile since I've done ADR and my voice skills need a little work. But it was a BLAST and I was called on to do some tricky individual work: multi-part ass kickings, such as "gun shot in the shoulder, fly back on casket, slump forward" and "elbow to the face, chop to the neck, punch to the solar plexis and flip on back". Also, I was very excited to get to work for my friend, the Producer, whom I had only known socially up until then and is one of the coolest, smartest people I know. This was a real breakthrough for her in terms of position and I'm really happy for her and glad to have been even a small part of it.



Bella Rossa said...

See? This is exactly what I'm talking about. This is awesome stuff. Are you doing the illustration jpegs, too? They're really cool looking.

Paintstain said...

Yep. Doing the illos too. Thanks!