Adventures of Jonny Quest and The Smurfs. Plus, the money was good, the jobs were SAG, they generate residuals, and he got to work with Jonathan Winters. Upon learning that Rob could sing in character, the VO work became more frequent, and he made the choice to focus his efforts there instead of live-action.
“Talent is talent, whether behind the glass or not,” he said, speaking of the actors, musicians, and recording engineers. He was genuinely grateful for the technical talent on the other side of the glass; he is good at his job, but will admit he doesn’t know how to work the equipment. His goal in every session is to give the producers and engineers an embarrassment of riches, trying to get them to tell him: “I don’t know which take to use.”
At nine years old, Andrew Morris saw his first Warner Brothers cartoon and wondered how they created the sound. Fast forward several years and he was interning at Bell Sound Studios in New York, and then moved to Los Angeles and Columbia. Eventually, he became the owner of Buzzy’s Recording Studio, and had the opportunity to work with such legendary artists as Stan Freberg, June Foray, Frank Welker, and Mel Blanc. Alone each is great, but put them in the same room, and their performances dramatically improve.
Kristopher Carter came at the industry through Shirley Walker, the first woman composer to score a major Hollywood film, Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Fresh out of college, he became her assistant, making bad coffee until she moved him into orchestrating, and eventually composed for Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, other Warner Brothers series. He says, “If it’s animated and they’re wearing Spandex, we might’ve done the music for it.”
The storytelling is driven by the music, regardless of whether the show is more sound design and less orchestral, or the reverse. A recording session with studio musicians exudes not only business, but a great amount of fun, multiplied by the number of musicians. Or characters like Rob Paulsen and Dee Bradley Baker might sit quietly in a session, tormenting the engineer by making cricket noises and watching them search for a pesky insect.
The evening ended far too soon. It was a treat to have these gentlemen sharing their stories and expertise with an attentive audience. If there was anything to take away from the discussion about audio for animation, it was that attitude is everything, even more than the technical aspects; prepare, prepare, prepare; be in the moment; let moments happen; and always, always have a backup recorder going.